Friday, February 10, 2012

Vancouver Boat Show, BC Place, 2012

This is definitely one of Vancouver's best shows. Vancouver is a port town and British Columbia has some of the greatest coastal waters as well as well stocked inland lakes and streams.  It's a fishing man's paradise and everything to do with fishing was represented. That said all the other aspects of pleasure boating were also there.
I am a coastal and offshore sailor with a Folkes 39.9 foot sailboat. I've had it for a couple of decades and am on the third generation of equipment. Steveston Marine, West Marine, and PocoMarine equipment have all proved to be suppliers of really tough and fine equipment that has stood the real test of harsh wear.  I've survived knockdowns and storms and crossed ocean worrying about workmanship only to have my Yanmar Motor,  North Sails and Pro Tech rigging serve me well.  Tonight I was able to get a replacement sailcloth for my Hydrovane self steering unit that served Tom and me so well coming back from sailing the Hawaian Islands.  I got Laura a new Mustang floater jacket. I live in my own Mustang floater vest and can swear by the Mustang Integrity Survival Suit as I lived in sailing down the coast to California in harsh winter weather.
Tonight I replaced my old and patched dinghy which frankly has got decidedly heavier over the years.  Only last year I replaced my outboard.  I started out with a Yamaha 9.9 horse power motor and found it got too heavy to lift onto the deck of my sailboat from the dinghy. Then I found the 8 hp too heavy and replaced it with a 6 hp that got heavy too. Right now I have a Yamaha 4 hp that I find just right for lifting in and out of the sailboat to the dinghy alongside. The only trouble was the dinghy, a hard bottomed son of a gun. My new  Achilles is a 68 lb skookum air bottomed dinghy at a $500 boat show saving.  Kits Marina has always taken care of my dinghys so I was glad to do business with them yet again.
Graeme and Laura held me back from buying an ATV toy trailer motor boat that could land on beaches like a miniature D day tank lander. It would allow me to drive my ATV right off the boat and  onto land chasing a big moose. .  It struck me as something every hunter needed. Fortunately someone bought it day 1.  Graeme and Laura were further not having anything to do with my idea that a monster beautiful speed boat that slept 8 and cost $100,000's of rock star dollars was just what I needed as a 'dinghy'.  In the end I was really happy with the Achilles.  I'm seeing my chiropractor in the morning and he'll no doubt agree that I made a wise choice.
I renewed my membership with CTOW , the on water tow insurance.  For $125 a year it's paid for with one tow.  They come by and jump dead  batteries too.  Not that I know anything about this.  I just heard it had happened to an unnamed sailor.
It was good to see the Mumfords and Copelands at the boaters books shelf too. I enjoyed talking with the Coast Guard and RCMP . These are the  great folk that help keep all us boaters safe.  I didn't attend any of the presentations but they're always good.
The Vancouver Boat Show is an annual event and I've been dozens of times and found great deals.  This year was no different. I even got the latest AIS radio. This is an amazing advance since 9-11.  To protect against terrorists and pirates all big boats must send out an electronic message giving their location and name. The VHF radio antennae receives this information and plots it with gps on a screen showing the distance to the boat.  Proximity alarms can be turned on too. Sailing solo alot as I do this is godsend technology. I'm forever concerned when I snooze or when I'm at sea actually sleeping for an hour at a time that I'll run into the big vessel.  I've had some harrowing close calls too. The proximity alarm on my radar required too much power. This radio with gps and AIS from Standard Horizon marine only cost $350 dollars.  My old mounted VHF which this will replace is a radio that is some 15 years old and worked questionably last year.  For the last few years I've mostly used my hand held ICOM radio which can't be beat.
So it was a good trip.  Laura and Graeme and I  had a good time walking about dreaming, and talking.  The only sad part is that they don't allow dogs so Gilbert, my cockapoo, couldn't come with us. He is definitely my first mate while my  cat, Angel, my longest sailing companions, is definitely the Admiral.
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