10/16/2010, and I think we failed the test
Two booths over from our booth was the site of our moral dilemma. A large amount of water had collected at the edge of the tent canopy from the rain and when a wind gust would hit, water would spill out onto the unsuspecting show guests. We watched it happed the first time and then began our moral debate. A) Do we warn people or B) Do we sit back and chuckle. Lori and I went back and forth in what we should do and I'm embarrassed to admit that getting a cheap laugh won the day. If the water would have been over our booth, we of course would have done something, but since the owner of the booth in question was just as oblivious to the water as the show guests, we rationalized our need for some laughs. You can see the bulge of water on the tent in the above photo.
What do you do when the rain and cold keep the boat show visitors away? Well Lori practices her scrabble skills playing Cheez-it scrabble! (watch out Laura and Meri)
10/15/2010, From a Cruisers Perspective
Since long before we cut our dock lines and headed out cruising I've been reading about the major boat shows in all the sailing and cruising magazines. The new boat and gear reviews, updates on the latest and greatest equipment, and elaborate photo layouts of good looking boats. So it was interesting to experience one of the industry's biggest shows not just as a vendor, but from the perspective of a cruiser fresh off his boat in Mexico.
The docks at the show were jam packed with boats, but the only reason I recognized the vast majority of the boats in the show wasn't because I've seen them out cruising, but because I've seen and heard of them in advertisements. The notable exceptions were Catalina, Hunter, and Island Packet because when it comes to new boats, those three brands seem to make up the majority of the new boat cruising fleet. To be fair, not all of the new boats are designed with the cruiser in mind, but rather for dockside entertaining, with a 3 hour afternoon sail thrown is as almost an afterthought. I was on 45ft boats with ½ the storage space as our Pearson 36ft ketch, but they did manage to squeeze in room for a walk-in cedar-lined closet, certainly a must for your evening gown and sports jacket that comes in handy out in the cruising world.
The new Beneteau 50 with it's dark blue hull was definitely a looker and every few hours during the show the boat would put on a demonstration by spinning at high speeds in a tight circle to draw attention to their 360 degree rotating pod sail drives. There's no doubt that docking that boat be much easier than docking our Hudson 50, but at what cost?
I like looking at the sparkling stainless and freshly waxed decks of the new boat, but I also realize that the shine and sparkle of the new boat could come at a high price, which for many, keeps them from their dream of cruising. Potential cruisers send us emails all the time asking for advice on what boat they should consider and my answer is always the same, "The boat doesn't matter, going is what matters". If the boat payment is larger than our average monthly cruising cost, will that boat allow you to cruise or keep you from going? In our view, the sailboat show winner was the 36ft Gozzard, but at a price tag above $500K, the Gozzard would have turned into an albatross and kept us tied to the dock.
From strictly an average cruiser perspective, the sailboats at the show were a non-issue. Great to look at and admire, but worlds away from cruiser reality and even worse, they could easily give aspiring cruisers the false impression that unless they could afford such a boat their cruising dreams will be buzzed away by their morning alarm clock.
This certainly isn't the type of review or thoughts that you will find in Cruising World or Sail Magazines. More likely in those type of publications the 3 page color photos spread "review" that was partially written by the boat builder and industry insiders are as much concerned with selling ad space as they are reviewing the latest ½ million dollar coastal cruiser. We watched as 10 guys (interesting that we didn't see any woman in the groups) were given a tour of the new boat designs. They walked the deck and pointed out the new hardware innovations as the photographers snapped photos and the writers scribbled notes. I can't even imagine how the review would be written if these same people took a tour through any anchorage occupied by cruisers and went aboard their boat. What would they say to all the gear lashed to the rail? What would they say about the overflowing storage lockers and dated electronics? Chances are the reviews would cast a whole different light on the cruising community, a more honest, realistic, and affordable view that would inspire people to cast off cruising rather than hold them back for lack of the "right boat".
[Part 2 coming next on the gear and equipment at the show]
10/14/2010, new things are comming.
We are currently sitting in our show booth watching the rain and placing bets on just how many people will come to the powerboat show during the rain. It's VIP day today, but given the rain, if I was a VIP I would be sipping hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps on a day like this! Come to think of it, maybe I can talk Lori into making a run to the store?
Reflecting back on last week's Sail Boat show, it was definitely something I'm happy we did. Not only did we sell a few watermakers and get a chance to introduce Cruise RO Water, I got a chance to meet lots of blog readers and east coast friends while doing my best to eat crab once/day! One of the most exciting developments of the show didn't happen in our booth, but happened while I was walking the show looking for some boat gear I wanted to bring back to THIRD DAY. We haven't had a working alternator since our trip down the outside of Baja, like most people at the show I was looking for a "Boat Show Special" on an alternator. Additionally, Lori and I have also been researching the wind generator field but just haven't been happy with what we have seen on the market in terms of the Amp output vs. cost. Everything I've been looking for and more all feel into place during a ½ hour meeting.
The details and timing of the official announcement are being ironed out, but I'll soon be announcing that Cruise RO Water will be the west coast distributer for a new line of wind generators along with an industry leading high output Alternator. The real excitement isn't that we are simply adding a new product line, but the product quality and price. We tried to make our watermakers tops in quality and fresh water output, while still beating the competition in price and the new products will fit right into that philosophy. So stayed tuned and if you are in the market for a wind generator or high output alternator, your cruising kitty will soon get some good news!
I've had a few cruiser friends and "dirt dwellers" ask me how the four letter word (Work) is working out as we try to cruise. I've always said that they don't mix (cruising and work), but the truth is if done right, cruising and working can be pulled off in a way that doesn't totally destroy the other. There is no doubt however, that trying to work while out cruising changes things. For example, I'm currently sitting in the rain in a show booth in Annapolis in my foul weather gear rather than in shorts on the boat in Santa Rosilia; however, when the realization finally hits home that cruising is as much about a state of mind as a location or activity, its relative easy to transition between the two seemingly incompatible worlds. To cut to the point, cruising costs money. We have shown that it can be done cheaply but even at a $1000/month for a family of 4, food, fuel, and repairs cost money and if figuring out a way to work while we continue to cruise can help keep us out here, then it becomes just another part of our cruising experience rather than something that takes away from it.
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