Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 26, 2013

TC man takes over boat shows

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Paul Jacobs developed his love of the water in Traverse City.

His fondness for water bodies like Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan translated into an interesting new business venture for the retired Traverse City Area Public Schools teacher. Jacobs, 64, and four other investors recently purchased the Annapolis Boat Shows, which run two of the nation’s most prominent and oldest boat shows.

“We consider ourselves blessed to have been able to live in Traverse City,” said Jacobs, who still owns a home in the area. “Traverse City will always be our home.”

Jacobs was a longtime teacher at Traverse City Central High School. He also opened several local businesses, including P.A. Jacobs Clothier. He worked as director of industry training at Northwest Michigan College’s Center for Business and Industry.

He and his wife, Nancy, retired and left Traverse City in 2004, commencing a rather remarkable sailing adventure. The couple spent four years sailing from Maine to the Caribbean, but during the four-year-long trip, the couple had a taste of the boat shows held every year in Annapolis, Md.

Jacobs said he picked up an $8 an hour job at the shows running a forklift.

“We got involved working on the set-up crews on the boat shows for several years,” Jacobs said. “In 2008 we parked the boat and sold it and I went to work for the boat shows here full-time. In 2010, I took over as general manager and in 2013 we are buying the company.”

Jacobs’ company puts on the U.S. Sai.boat and Powerboat shows in Annapolis. The shows are the largest and oldest in-water boat show in the nation.

Producing shows is a taxing but exciting venture for Jacobs. He said the shows involve building a massive makeshift arena in Annapolis to house boats.

“In three days, we bring in 62 pilings and a mile and a half of floating docks and we build a temporary marina,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said he’s thankful for his decades of living in Traverse City, noting his passion for sailing started here. He still considers Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan the best for sailing, and he and his wife spend as much time as possible in northern Michigan.

“We were so spoiled (in northern Michigan),” Jacobs said. “We’ve sailed all over the Western Hemisphere, but to us, Traverse City is still the mecca, sailing and traveling to Suttons Bay, Elk Rapids, Northport. We’ve always loved sailing Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan, and we still do.”