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  #1  
Old 09-20-2010
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Newport Boat Show

Anyone else at the Newport show? I went with the Admiral yesterday (Sunday). Great weather, and it seemed, a great turnout of people. The number of sailboats seems to be down a lot though.

The Admiral's favorite was the first boat we went on: the new Beneteau flagship, the 57 (I think it was a 57). She was a big boat, with lots of creature comforts. Not my cup of tea, but an impressive value. Less than $900,000, fully loaded. That's a lot of money, but its also a lot of boat.

My favorites: the Spirit 46. Holy smokes, this boat was so sharp you could cut yourself on it. It looked like something from the 1920's. Loooong overhangs, very sharp bow, circular cockpit. Cold-molded. The cabin has less headroom than my Oday 23, but it looked like a work of art. This is the smallest boat they make, but they go up above 100 feet. The 52 was featured in the last James Bond movie. I don't get the logo; someone please check it out and tell me what it is. A hanger? A beaker? Regardless, works of art that sail and sail fast.

Spirit Yachts Modern Classic Yachts

There may have been fewer boats overall, but there were two new boats that I had never seen before: the Herreshoff Alerion 26 and the Herreshoff Newport 29. The Alerion is not related to the Alerion line of boats from Pearson Composites; it is based on Cap'n Nat's original design of his personal boat, "Alerion". Beautiful, but not like the Morris, Alerion or Friendship boats that use the old fashioned boats for inspiration. This Alerion looks like a new antique. The fittings are bronze, so only a few weeks from the factory, they had a nice patina. While the woodwork below is nice, it isn't fussy or fancy. Almost like a workboat (that is in pristine condition). And as the manufacturer hasn't altered the lines of the boat to accomodate lots of berths and to create headroom, there isn't much room below.

Along the same lines is the Herreshoff Newport 29. This boat is almost 37' long overall, but with a 29' waterline. Surprisingly roomy below, but still old fashioned. This boat continues with the same kind of style below as the Alerion, although there is more ornamentation. The butterfly skylight is really neat. Two real pilot berths! Again, the deck hardware (including the wheel pedestal) is bronze and completes the look of the boat. Lots of brightwork above, from the cockpit coamings to the coach roof.

Herreshoff Designs, Inc.
www.brionreiffboatbuilder.com

My favorite modern boat was the Island Packet Estero. Amazingly, this boat is almost the same length as the Newport 29, but couldn't be more different. The IP is made to allow a couple with the occasional guest to cruise in comfort and safety. The looks of the boat are secondary. I really like the cabin layout, with the salon pushed fully forward into where the v berth would be "normally". A really efficient use of space. I think the Gozzard (which uses the same general concept in its cabins) does this a little better, as they have a small dinette amidships too. It strikes me that this area is better for eating while underway due to the increased motion at the bow. But this is quibbling. The Estero really impressed me with the build quality, design and value. Were the Admiral and I off to the Bahamas or the Carribbean, it would be aboard an Estero.

I concede that my favorite boats from the show are very different. Just to compare, the Newport 29 carries 30 gallons of fuel and 40 gallons of water. The IP carries 60 gallons of fuel and 120 gallons of water. The Newport displaces 15,400 lbs with 7351 lbs of ballast. The IP displaces 17,800 lbs, with 7,100 lbs of ballast. Two different boats with two completely different missions. Its nice to dream.

Anyone else come away from the show with their dreams recharged/revamped?
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Old 09-21-2010
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I was at the boat show for 3 days, after crewing for a friend and staying on his boat.

I agree that there were not as many boats at this year's show as there used to be. One Catalina, no presence by SeaWind Catamaran, and a small booth by several manufacturers with no boats at the show (Oyster / Swan / Moris).

However, I discovered that Morris Yachts, while they only had a small booth at the show, had an example of 5 different yachts at a pier down by the IYRS. They did this as an experiment this year. The thought was that they could get serious customers out on their boats if they were kept on an open slip, and they decreased the number of "Lookie Lous" (with no intention of buying - like me), by keeping the boats away from the show. I saw several Moris' come and go while I was looking.

I was most impressed by the Tartan 5300 ($1.2M), the Alerion (georgous, and comfortable), and all of the Morris Yachts. There was also a Sparkman and Stephens 96' aluminum vessel at the brokerage show, Altair, ($4.5M) that was over the top.
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