Sunday, February 8, 2009

Vancouver Boat Show 2009

We almost missed it this year. Crossing town from Christ Church we just happened to see the sign advertising the Vancouver Boat Show at BC Place. As a sailor I never miss it though in later years with my 39.9 foot steel sailboat GIRI completely outfitted I'm not the 'customer' I once was. In the past the boat show "deals" have always warranted buying there. It's where I got my Furuno radar, my Yamaha outboard, Garmin GPS, Moonlight windows, ICOM radios and countless other gadgets and gear. Otherwise Steveston Marina has been my greatest outfitters and even they have honored special boat show rates weeks after the show if you get your 'order' in. Eric was in good form when I bought my collapsible kayak dolly for $89.00 from Steveston's having worn out the one I bought years ago. He'd last sold me my watermaker which we'd carried to Hawaii for the sail back this last summer. The dolly will be used on an office move but then it will go into full use carrying 'gear' back and forth from truck to boat. One day a marina will get a conveyor system like ski hills eventually got tow ropes. Until then a major part of boating will be 'hauling'.
The fun of the boatshows is seeing the new technology as much as the new boats. I've got a boat so the boats themselves aren't as exciting though I'm always amazed at the better lay outs and designs that have developed over the years. The MacGregor, sailboat/motor boat with water ballast is one of the great inventions but other than that the show was mostly powerboats. Probably product of a faster age.
Seawise Marine impressed me most with their hydraulic dinghy and motor loading systems. Having hauled little boats for years onto my big boat I'm impressed with a brilliant reliable system that appreciates that some of us are getting older.
I loved the outboards having gone to the Yamaha 4 hp from my Yamaha 8 hp simply because of weight. Admittedly I loved the speed of my earlier Nissan 9.9 which over powered my little dinghy so planing I left jet boats in my wake.
The boat show is not just big boats. Every dinghy and inflatable and fishing boat imaginable was there. We liked best the outboard powered flatboat that carried a 4 x 4 ATV which could ride off the front onto a beach much like marine landing craft. Clipper kevlar canoes were there and all the variety of kayaks.
The Yanmar engines looked so pretty and clean compared to mine which has seen so many miles it's on the rebuild.
Full points went to Neptune Slat Systems for coming up with a way to ensure mattress stay dry and have movement of air below them.
Liza Copeland was there with her wonderful books chronicling her families sails around the world. I've enjoyed reading her books as much as the slide presentations I've been priviledged to attend at Bluewater Cruising Association club nights. I bought Mumford's latest book, Dangerous Water's, Tales of the Sea for the remarkable deal of $10 and laughed that it was at the boatshow a year previous I'd bought his African adventure book Friends from Bluewater Cruising Association were there with copies of Currents ,the international offshore cruising magazine.
I told the fellow at Cooper's Yachts Sailing School if I'd not have taken my first sailing lesson there I'd not have ended up solo sailing through winter storms to Hawaii. So beware of what you're taught and what you wish for. The Coast Guard and all the safety gear experts were also on hand.
Oh to have an extra million dollars. I loved the big aluminum fishing boats powered by Honda 200 outboards but thought Lowe's fishing boats and trailors as ideal for fishing on the Frazer.
If you can't afford things you can at least put in for the draws. And Yamaha had the best draw offering the G3 boat and motor. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Storm Tech had the most fashionable and durable lady's yachting wear as my friend walked away with a waterproof jacket insisting she could wear it anywhere. Thanks to Nikka Marine and Fishing I stocked up on my smoker supplies and now have unthawed tuna in brine preparing to be smoked on my balcony.
I missed seeing Barry the welder this year. When he had his wood boat next to mine in the Coal Harbour marine I was smoking venison one night on my steel boat when the wind changed and the smoke blew int his open hatch. He and his wife were searching their boat from stem to stern at 3 am for the fire until they realized the smoke was coming from my Little Chief.
The boat show is a great place for memories and dreaming. I'm sure glad I didn't miss it. I was especially thankful to talk to Rich Hutton at Shelter Island Marina about hauling my boat out so that someone like the folks at Bracewell Marine Group can fix my mast this spring. We've got the greatest sailing waters off the coast of British Columbia. After crossing the Pacific last summer I'm really looking forward to day trips where I can enjoy evening barbecues and gently rocking safe harbours at anchor.

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