Friday, October 15, 2010

We Left All Our Money at the 2010 Annapolis Sailboat Show


I’m surprised Jimmy Buffet hasn’t yet written a song called, “I Left All My Money at the Boat Show.”
As I wrote in another post: One of the responses we heard from a few people when they heard we were going to the boat show this year was, "But you already have a boat; why are you going this year?" Not only did we go this year, we went three days in a row (and in that time, we went aboard only a few boats).
Our main focus this year was acquiring the expensive gear we know we'll need, at boat-show-discounted prices. As you would expect at the largest in-the-water sailboat show in North America (the world?), more than just boats are on display. There are several large circus tents filled with vendors and exhibitors. Outside of these, there are vendors and exhibitors under smaller tents around the show grounds, and there are vendors and exibitors in open-air booths outside, everywhere. Literally hundreds of booths. I estimate that 75% of them are merchants with marine stuff to sell and 25% are manufacturers there just to offer information. For example, we purchased Standard Horizon radios from a vendor at the show after talking to the manufacturer in another booth. Same with our ACR EPIRB. I learned a ton of valuable info about our particular Yanmar diesel auxillary from talking to the guys at the Mack Boring booth. Same from talking to the PSS shaft seal folks. Same from talking to the Lofrans windless folks.
Our secondary focus was getting the girls on and around boats. On this front, we were able to get them rides in an 8-foot sailing dinghy, sponsored by a local sailing school. Then, after talking for a bit with the U.S. importer of the Torqeedo electric outboard we are considering buying one day, she tossed me the keys and the four of us jumped in an 11-foot inflatable to demo the thing (very nice motor, eerily quiet). Finally, we took the girls aboard a few boats just to further orient them and to hear their impressions.

Accordingly, we prepared for this show, our last show before heading out. We did our homework reviewing our vessel survey and my notes from the pre-purchase trip to Mexico. We created a laundry list of things we needed. We combed the Internet and Practical Sailor back issues to determine the exact makes/models we wanted.
  • Day One: We visited just about every booth that interested us, grabbing brochures, talking to people, taking notes, and taking pictures of price tags. It was a full day, but we did manage to enjoy a couple Pusser’s Pain Killers.
  • Day Two: We brought the girls. We made sure they went aboard a few boats, got rides in sailing dinghies, and got a ride in a regular dinghy—before they melted down in the heat. We left early and did not drink enough Pusser’s Pain Killers.
  • Day Three: Alone again, we arrived early to see Lee Chesneau’s seminar on marine weather forecasting (Windy loved it and plans to sign up for his marine meteorology seminar). After this, we stormed the show, armed with the information we gathered Day 1 and our knowledge from two nights of study, ensuring that every dollar we spent was spent on the right gear at the best possible price. We left all of our money at the show and did not drink enough Pusser’s Pain Killers.
What did we buy? Following is the list of our 2010 boat show purchases (gads!):
  • Auto-inflating life vest with integrated harness (Revere ComfortMax x2)
  • Auto-loading bit driver (Autoloader x2)
  • Boat knife (West Marine)
  • Boat knives (Wichard x2)
  • Boom brake (Winchard Gyb’Easy)
  • Deck key (Davis)
  • Ditch Bag (ACR)
  • Double lifeline tethers (Wichard x2)
  • Electronic LED candle (SmartCandle)
  • Emergency locator lights (Revere SeeMe x2)
  • Emergency strobe (ACR)
  • EPIRB with GPS (ACR GlobalFix 406 Cat 2)
  • Flare container (Pains Wessex)
  • Fixed-mount GPS (Standard Horizon CP-180)
  • Fixed-mount VHF (Standard Horizon Matrix 2100 with AIS)
  • Foam hull plug (Forespar TruPlug)
  • Handheld GPS (Garmin 76CS)
  • Handheld VHF (Standard Horizon HX751)
  • Headlamps (no-name cheapos x2)
  • Masthead tri-color with anchor light (Signal Mate 2NM LED Tri-Color w/ Anchor Light)
  • Men’s foul weather bib (Henri Lloyd TP1)
  • Men’s foul weather Jacket (Henri Lloyd TP1)
  • Opening stainless steel portlights (New Found Metals 3"x17" x7)
  • Ratcheting wire crimpers (Cruising Solutions)
  • Sailing gloves for Windy (Gill)
  • Sewing awl (Sailrite Speedy Stitcher)
  • Signal horn (West Marine)
  • Silicone repair tape (Rescue Tape! x2)
  • Stereo system (Fusion RA-200 with IPOD Dock and 2 speakers)
  • Two chart tubes (Weems & Plath)
  • Vinyl boat lettering (Del Viento 8" x2 and Washington, DC 4")
  • Water-tight plastic “wallets” with lanyard (Davis x3)
Damage? About 5 Boat Bucks. Ouch, but all of it anticipated.

--MR

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