Ronstan

My boat show field trip

Published on October 14th, 2019

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
The United States Sailboat Show, also known as the Annapolis Boat Show, is a must attend event for me. It is the annual coming out party for new gear and boats along with the leaders in the industry, and the 2019 edition marked its 50th year.

The 1970 debut of the show introduced a new concept – the first in-water sailboat show in the country. During its history, there has been stormy shows that flooded the venue, but none like the 2019 edition, at least for me, in which the ocean rose to provide booth exhibitors that in-water vibe.

While I primarily attend to visit with colleagues and clients, there are those exhibits that turn my head.

What I bought:
Aside from Painkillers, I picked up a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses that reminded me of my old Ray Ban Wayfarers, except now I’m old and need the 2.5 bifocals. I also put an end to my complaining about what to do with expired boat flares and now have the Coast Guard compliant SOS Distress Light from Weems & Plath. Replacing three C-Size batteries each year is doable.

Fan boy status:
While I’m late to the party, I’m now a fan of YouTube sensations Elayna and Riley as they cruise the world on La Vagabande, an Outremer 45 catamaran which was on display. While the Aussie pair weren’t available, the boat has fans too with a long line to get onboard. Whatever bro deal provided by the French builder was marketing genius.

It’s what you wear:
We’ve all gotten smarter about technical clothing with UV protection, but SOSswimshirt.com took it to the next level with their rash guard shirts with inflation bladders. They look like normal shirts, though a bit bumpy, but can be inflated manually or through CO2 cartridge. They’ve got neck support too and can be that perfect tweener for lots of activities.

Spinach can’t do this:
Rather than install electric push button winches, the Ewincher offers an alternative as an electric winch handle. While lacking elegance, this bulky unit fits in like a normal winch handle, and once you have a good grip on it, push the button on the handle and watch the winch turn. My main halyard winch wants the Ewincher for Christmas.

Apologies in advance:
One of my guilty pleasures is the 2005 movie Wedding Crashers in which there was a memorable sailing scene featuring the Woodwind II, a 74-foot wooden schooner. And there it was at the show, hosted by its owners which use it for day cruises on Chesapeake Bay. I could have been Owen Wilson on the foredeck with Rachel McAdams.

Intro to foiling:
The dirty secret about foiling boats is they are, in general, expensive, difficult to sail, and prefer ideal sailing conditions. However, foiling isn’t going away, so the F101 trimaran wants to be that introductory course at a beginner’s level, and this 18-footer on training wheels seeks to deliver fun that isn’t so hard.

 

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