Organizer Duncan McIntosh stands on temporary docks in the Lido Marina Village where the next Lido Boat Show will take place. (Don Leach, Daily Pilot / September 20, 2013)

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In an empty Lido Marina Village office space, Duncan McIntosh has assembled his boat show preparation essentials: a coffee maker, creamer and sugar.

"All the stuff that'll probably kill you," he said with a laugh.

McIntosh has organized the yacht shows in Newport Beach, including the one that opens Thursday, for decades. Beginning as an experiment in new ways that he might sell boats, the shows have evolved into a twice-a-year community staple.

The fall event is the Lido Boat Show, and the spring gathering is called the Newport Boat Show.

Experience aside, ensuring that the upcoming event runs smoothly will nonetheless require hard work and — inevitably — lost sleep. This fall's Lido Boat Show will be about four times larger than the first, 35 years ago.

On Thursday morning, McIntosh popped a "dark and intense" coffee packet into his machine and sat at the plastic folding table serving as his temporary desk. With the computer whirring in his otherwise empty makeshift headquarters, he reviewed a printed list of contact information for boat brokers.

"This is almost my life on this piece of paper," he said, glancing up from the packet. "Most of it is on my phone now but this is the way it started, you know?"

Preparation for the upcoming exhibition began just before Labor Day, McIntosh said.

The show, hosted in the harbor waters alongside the Lido Marina Village stores and restaurants, demands the installation of roughly three-quarters of a mile of temporary dock.

Potential buyers and the simply curious are expected to explore the more than 200 vessels. The boats feature luxury entertaining areas, staterooms, guest cabins and crew quarters.

Not only do McIntosh's events showcase more inventory than before, but the boats are also larger. A majority of those expected to arrive in the coming days measure between 35 and 65 feet. The largest will measure 118 feet.

"They're bigger, they're wider, they're deeper, they're taller," McIntosh said.

And they come with big price tags. While you might be able to pick up a boat for $500,000, another is going for $5.9 million.

Among the highlights are a yacht previously owned by Hollywood comedian Jackie Gleason and a boat that last year cruised 100 miles using just solar power.

But McIntosh hasn't always been promoting such large vessels. The Long Beach native once ran a smaller boat yacht brokerage on West Coast Highway now called Johnston Yacht Sales.

The current owner, John Siple, said he no longer participates in the shows because they largely feature such big boats, which don't match his "blue-collar" offerings.

"If someone wants to buy a boat, they better come find me," he said, laughing.

McIntosh, though, grew tired of waiting for potential customers to walk through the door. Instead, he decided to try something new.

When an offer came, McIntosh sold his brokerage. He began to develop boating publications, including a boating tabloid called Waterfront. And, of course, he had boat shows to organize.

"It was time to do something different," he said. "Beats a regular job, that's all I can say."