Mary spent a long weekend with two girlfriends and her daughter in Denver, for a few days of pampered luxury. I was happy not to be invited and took Curlew for a blustery sail down to Annapolis and spent a few days at anchor in Weems Creek. I had heard from friends that the Annapolis Boat show seemed to be busier than last year the first few days, but when I went on Sunday afternoon and Monday I thought attendance was light.
Not many interesting new boats this year. The prize for the ugliest boat goes, hands down, to the Shannon 52. I don't know what the designer, or the buyer, had in mind when they "designed" this boat. It looks like an enlarged version of their Shoal-Sailer, with several trawler-style levels stacked on top. I can't believe that it will go to windward, and it must be scary to be at that high wheel station with a real sea running. (It had a sign indicating that this was NOT Bob Bitchin's new boat!)
I liked the new Morris 29 day-sailer and was pleased to see that it has a tiller. Did not ask the price. But what really intrigued me was the Italian Sensei. I saw her sailing when I left the Severn River on Tuesday and she looked really pretty. Not retro, but a well proportioned contemporary design. Sorry I did not look at her in more detail at the show.
It was good to see that Cabo Rico had a presence at the show, with Joe Batista's Cabo Rico 56. Too big for my taste (and wallet), but what a beautiful Chuck Paine design. Sometimes I think that in the future it would make sense to go smaller than Curlew's 42 ft. Not too many appealing boats in the 34-37 ft size. I still like the Pacific Seacraft 34, designed by the recently deceased Bill Crealock, and it seems that built quality has improved since the new owners moved the factory to the east coast. Needs a tiller, though. The wheel takes up too much cockpit space. The Tartan 37, although pretty, did not make the cut: Not one good sea berth in this boat. I like at least one (but preferably two) straight bunks parallel to the center line. As a day-sailer the Alerion 28 is still my favorite.
Do I need to vent more opinions? Too many boats that are great as entertainment centers in a marina, and too few that are designed for cruising, with good anchor gear, plenty of handholds below and above decks, and good sailing characteristics. I especially dislike the deck-saloon style boats with their sunroofs at mast level; slippery as hell, and not a handrail in sight. I would hate to work at the mast on one of those dark nights when things always seem to go wrong. Why do you need 10 ft headroom below deck? And why do you need these huge windows? To keep the shutter manufacturers busy?
It was my plan to watch the start of the Schooner Race from the Bay Bridge to Norfolk on Thursday, but the weather forecast was for winds from the north in the 25/30 range, with heavy rain, and temperature around 45. No fun. So on Wednesday I went back to my slip, and watched the schooner parade in Baltimore's harbor from the docks at the Anchorage Marina.
To conclude the trip, I went to West Marine to buy a new space heater. It feels like winter already.