Monday, January 21, 2008

Been There... Done That

I think that Todd and I have officially grown out of local boat shows.

In the past we used to barely be able to contain ourselves with the anticipation of local boat show season. We’d see the billboards go up along I-95 in Providence that tell us when the Providence Boat Show would open at the Convention Center. We’d speculate about which vendors we’d hit up and what kind of deals we could get at the show. We’d excitedly wonder about which seminars would run at the show, and what new things we could learn about sailing, navigation, or overall life aboard. We would spend the better part of a day at the Providence Boat Show, and leave it exhausted at the end of the day.

We started to notice an inverse proportion of importance when it comes to seminars and vendors. Each year the seminars we’d attend would be a bit more advanced than the ones we attended the last year. While the vendors we visited were less vital than the ones we’d checked out the years before. There was one year where we looked for a good deal on a Yanmar diesel and a hot water heater at boat shows all winter long. We used to leave a boat show discussing the pros and cons of spending all that money on this engine or that hot water heater. We haven’t had a post-show boat budget talk like that in a very long time. Several years ago we went to a coastal navigation seminar at the Providence Boat show that we still talk about. In that particular seminar the presenter showed us how to read a chart, figure out where we are, and how that would translate to using a GPS. We left that seminar feeling empowered with new navigation know how. Now we look at the seminar list and say “Been there… done that…”because, well, we have been there and done that.

We moved on to the Simply Sail Expo in Atlantic City a few years ago. We attended that show twice; during one of the trips we got the chance to take Tom Neale’s offshore cruising 2-day class. The other time we attended Simply Sail Todd went to seminars that focused on diesel engine maintenance, while I scoped out sessions that were delivered by women for women about subjects that had nothing to do with cooking aboard, and other home-ec.-on-the-high-seas topics. But even after the second time around for that show we’d already felt that the show had served its purpose for us, and we haven’t been back since.

This year we went to the Providence Boat Show, and stayed for only a few hours. We walked the floor looking at the boats, renewed our SeaTow membership (like AAA, but for boats) and renewed the registration on the dinghy. We attended one seminar on using radar, but the rest of the classes were ones that we’d already attended.

Saturday we went to the New England Boat Show in Boston. Again we walked the show floor, looked at the boats, walked by the vendors and only stopped to talk to a custom fuel tank fabricator. The tank we have in the boat now is 19 gallons and was put in as a “temporary” tank 4 years ago. (How pathetic is it that my little Jeep Wrangler has a bigger fuel tank than my 41’ boat?) We didn’t attend a seminar at the show in Boston, because the topics covered were ones we’d already attended seminars on in the past.

Todd and I were eating some free ice cream that was given away as a promotion on Saturday after walking the show for about two hours. We were thumbing through the show program trying to find something we wanted to see when I said to him, “You know, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve been there and done that with respect to the local boat shows. There’s nothing new here. Let’s go do Boston instead.”

But I’ll bet you anything that when January 2009 rolls around, we’ll see the billboards on I-95 and say “Ooooh! The boat show’s coming! Wanna go?” How else are Rhode Island sailors going to get their fix in January?



Blogger Gypsy said...

Hey, at least you got out of the house! :)

January 22, 2008 at 10:49 AM  

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