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  #1  
Old 10-14-2002
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Boat Show Review

We (my wife, 17 yr old daughter and myself) spent the last 4 days sailing up and down Lake Havasu in Arizona. Winds up to 10-12 knots Fri through Sun were just terrific. With well over 20 miles of large lake to navigate it is needless to say, we had a great weekend. But in the evening, over dinner, the family conversation turned to the boat show and how it would have been fun to go. We all enjoy the comments, lessons and banter that you "regulars" post. As a matter of fact, I laugh out loud sometimes.

But enough now, here''s our questions;

What was the most interesting thing at the show?
What new tech devices are available?
What new boats should we look to see?
What was the best thing overall?
If there was a Sailnet message board members meeting for drinks, who was there and won the bar tab?
Thank you all in advance for your commentary.
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Old 10-15-2002
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Boat Show Review

I can answer your last question, in part. Very few SailNet message board participants showed interest in the Sunday meeting (mainly due to the day, I assume). The few who said they would try to make it had trouble rendezvousing, but John Drake and I (along with our companions) finally got together around 1645 for a bit. It was a great meeting and start of a friendship.

I was drinking Pusser''s rum, and the tab was surprisingly high considering the modest amounts.

Duane
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Old 10-15-2002
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Boat Show Review

I will try to anser your questions. I enjoyed the show a great deal and it was great to meet DuaneI at Pussers. A shame no one else showed up.

What was the most interesting thing at the show? The cheap fittings and joinery on the majority of boats. Amazing how many of the production builders have found the very edge of tolerable construction..and then put their toes right up to it.

What new tech devices are available? In boom furling for mains and new mast track slugs/systems.

What new boats should we look to see? How much ching do you have? My fav''s, if I had the winning lotto tic: Tartan 37 (207), Tartan 41 (280), Gozzard 37 (300+), Cabo Rico 42 (450+), North Wind 43 (400), Silver Phantom 44 (700-800). Alden 54 (1.5).

What was the best thing overall? Being able to get a table at Pusser''s without a wait!

:O)
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Old 10-15-2002
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Boat Show Review

You will think this is collusion, but I have to echo John Drake''s observation about the quality levels of some boats. As I get a little smarter with time around boats, I can see the same thing. I found myself thinking: 1) will this hold up under stress? 2) is this construction I could be happy looking at day after day?

We spent a lot of time on the Tartans, Sabres, Southerly, and the Morris. It was hard to look at the "value-priced" pack in quite the same way again. Please note I''m not putting down anyone''s choice in a boat; there are good reasons for purchasing whatever you do.

The best thing about this show was that I discovered my wife''s previous strong preferences are not as "strong" as they once appeared. It looks now like I can steer her to a boat other than just a "floating condo" and still have her blessing. Most married guys would agree that having a great boat and your wife''s complete approval is a nice combo.

Duane
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Old 10-16-2002
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Boat Show Review

A few more observations: European manufacturers are making a comeback in the American market after some were absent for a decade or so. Examples are Etap (Belgium), Dufour/GibSea (France, but now owned by Grand Soleil of Italy), Bavaria, Hanse and Dehler (last 3 German.) Also Jeanneau to a certain extent, although they never really left this market to my knowledge.

These Euro boats seem to fill the gap between the Benehuntalinas at one end and the Sabres/Tartans/IPs/J-Boats at the other -- not getting into the Morris''s, Aldens, etc. that are WAY out there. Plus their styling adds some spice to the look of things.

Will be interesting to see how well the Euro folks hang in there with this iffy economy. They should do OK as long as the dollar stays strong against the Euro -- and people keep spending $$$ of coruse. It will be interesting to find out how boats sales went at the show this year, too. The weather held down attendance the two days I was there, not to mention talk about this sniper in the DC area. (He obviously is not into boats since he stays inland.)

Multi-hulls also are still big at the show, but where do you dock them?

I didn''t mess around looking at much new gear this year, although I always stop by Harken to see their new toys. I thought about checking out radar, but it''s hard to justify that for my 27 footer.
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Old 10-17-2002
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Boat Show Review

Hi, SailorMitch.

Sorry our schedules didn''t mesh during the Annapolis show. Your mention of the Bavaria, Dufour, and Dehler reminded me that we spent a bit of time with them, as well. I agree that, on balance, they seem to fill that middle spot. Although, like almost all the boats I checked out, each had one or more things I didn''t like at the time (don''t ask me what they were because I didn''t take notes).

On a related note: barring a financial windfall, we won''t be buying a boat (in 2005) less than 5 years old, and possibly more like 15 years old. I''m starting to think that looking at all new boats at these shows (Annapolis, Atlantic City, etc.) is counterproductive, since most of the older boats are fairly different. Anyone else in this situation?

Regards,
Duane
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Old 10-17-2002
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Boat Show Review

Duane

You have really hit the nail on the head. While I enjoy going to these shows, I did not for the entire year I was looking for my present boat. I knew it would be counterproductive, as I could not afford a new boat and it would only serve to either 1) push me into a newer smaller boat that would not suit my needs in the long run, or 2) frustrate me into going into a much higher priced boat for no good reason.

As it was, I spent higher than my original limit, but I did that for specific reasons and am most satisfied that I did.

And you are right, boats built 15 yrs ago are very different than boats built today. In some circumstances BETTER. Going through the show (as we talked about at Pusser''s) really reinforced my decision on Invictus.

I am glad I read somewhere on the net, "a less expensive boat out sailing beats a fancier expensive boat tied to the bank anyday".

I would also note that many of the classic designs, like a Gozzard 37, are quite a few yrs old. I have dock neighbors that have a (I assume) 80''s vintage Gozzard 36. It looks basically the same, with the same build quality and same layout (I think) as the Gozzard 37. Its $200k less than a new one. :O)

I went to the show expecting that a reasonably priced Jeanneau DS 40 or 43 or Bene CC 42 would be a major step up from my boat (a Wauquiez Hood 38) and thus something to consider for the future). I came away thinking how happy I am to have my boat and NOT one of those. In many cases their cabins were not any more spacious. Even after seeing boats I *would* like to have: Tartan 37 and 41, North Wind 43, Outbound 44, Silver Phantom 44 (at 700k, "800k nicely equipped")...I am still glad I have my boat...and the extra few hundred grand that I am not financing!

:O)

One last note...there is a wealth of information on how 80''s vintage boats hold up at sea and have held up over time (most of it from Jeff H ... only kidding...Jeff was sorely missed). And how these boats have held their value ... or not. Thus, you can make a choice based on 20/20 hindsight. Not a bad position to be in.

Great to see you

John
S/V Invictus
Hood 38
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Old 10-17-2002
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Boat Show Review

Hi, John.

Very good points, all. Beyond the obvious desire to "love" the boat you choose, buying a boat a dozen years old or more gives you the opportunity (if done carefully) to find one with proven capability, suitability, and reliability.

Thanks for the reply.

Duane
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Old 10-17-2002
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Boat Show Review

Duane, John,

Agree with you both. Going to the boat show anymore is sort of like going to Disney World. It''s a make believe world in many ways. I''m glad lots of folks have the bucks to buy these new boats, but I also am glad to have my long paid for 27 footer that is now 13 years old.

In past years I mainly have gone to see the exhibitors in the tents for new gear, new sails, inflatables, or with maintenance questions. Some years I doubt that I got on more than a handful of new boats. This year was a little different because I did get on more boats, primarily because I have upgraded about all that I can on my current boat. Seeing the new boats is a kick, but the sticker shock can be a bit much.

I plan to move up in a couple of years and also will be looking at a boat in the 10-15 year old range. Unless that lottery ticket hits big that is.
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