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  #1  
Old 09-21-2009
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Newport Boat Show

I went to the Newport Boat Show yesterday, and am interested in the thoughts of others who also attended. This year was different for me in that my wife and daugther came along. My wife hadn't been to a show in I don't know how many years (at least 10), and my thirteen year old had never been before.

A few random thoughts: The Morris 52 is unbelievable; what a gorgeous boat. In what is an almost unthinkable development, I am starting to like the M series better than the Friendship line. If I had the money..... Btw, it was a mistake to take the ladies aboard the Morris and Friendships near the beginning of our tour; it really spoiled them for anything else.

One thing we did do that was a plus: we went aboard a couple of catamarans. Normally, I don't bother, but I had it in my mind that a cat would be a great choice for a Carribbean charter and maybe if they saw one, it would get them excited. It did. Lots of room, trampolines, no heeling! Now, to follow up and actually go.

The e 33 was a revelation: an enormous cockpit with a sundeck where the lazarette would normally be. When I say enormous, I really mean it. You could fit eight adults in there with ease. Sail handling looked very easy. However, this is really a daysailer. There is a real head below, but its behind a curtain. There are four "berths", but it is really camping on the water. A beautiful boat for sure. The company is partially owned by the Doyles of Doyle Sails. This was my daughter's favorite boat.

I steered the family to the Catalina 309, as I thought it would be a realistic choice as a family cruiser for us. However, because we saw it after the Morris, the Admiral thought it looked "cheap" below. To put this in perspective however, she also didn't like the Hylas 46, nor the Island Packets. Granted, none of these boats have white paneled bulkheads or cabinetry with 15 coats of varnish below like the M line, but come on! She did however admire the Passport 515.

On a more mundane (but still exciting) note, I am always looking for a bargain at the Boat Show. I was able to pick up a Helly Hansen auto inflate PFD for $50! Should have bought two.

Anyone else take advantage of the spectacular weather and go?
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Old 09-21-2009
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I went with the wife. My boat needs some work so I spoke with a bunch of boat yard reps about that. We spent most of the afternoon there, but the wife soon got bored.

I didn't check out the cats, but I was lusting after the new Summit 35 and the King 40! The King 40, I was told, is an 18 month old design and they have made about 9 of them (at, what did he say, $350 each base price?). The Summit 35 is completely new, I think he said they made 3 so far.

The designer was there to answer questions. These look like, and are, all out racers, but they have deep, comfortable cabins. When I commented that most serious racers would want the cabin stripped, I was told that what I saw was made mostly from carbon fiber, so weight was not an issue.

The King 40 has a PHRF rating of 24, the Summit 35 60, although they think that was a gift. Amazing boats, and as soon as I win the big money lottery I'll grab a Summit 35.

It was an okay show, not as good as I had hoped. The Spring show was horrible. Im told the Boston Boat Show is the one to be at, so we'll see.
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Old 09-21-2009
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We went Friday.

Sometimes the little things are the most exciting: I stopped by the Edson booth to ask about the little black spacer rings. (We managed to misplace two this spring when we were working on the pedestal, and our table was slipping down despite our best efforts.) The Edson guy opened a box with lots of small parts, asked us what size we needed and handed us two.

Mostly we gathered information. We have the usual never-ending list of repairs and improvements. Is it crazy to be excited to find information on the head, bilge buster and water filters in one booth? We had to talk the the guys at Select Plastics about redoing the hatches. I ogled the Newfound Metals ports again.

We didn't board many new boats since we're not in the market for a new one. I found it more interesting to check out the variety of used boats at the broker show. There are always good ideas on boats that have been used and customized. We also looked at the new Hylas boats to see what has remained the same in the 19 years since ours was built and what has been changed. For example, I would really prefer the sliding door on the bunk room instead of the door we have that swings open and blocks the entrance to the v-berth. I can't see an easy way to retrofit that feature.

We should have gotten a couple of the Helly Hansen autoinflate PFDs. Kicking myself for that one. They were very light, more comfortable than any others I've tried.

We bought the obligatory $10 boathook, which we needed since we bent one earlier this season.

W also enjoyed a couple stops at the Hendrick's booth.
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Old 09-22-2009
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Thanks for Kind words on e33

Appreciate your daughters fine taste. Let me know if your family would ever want to go for a sail. We have three e33's now in Marblehead had and would be glad to take you for a sail.

Interestingly we felt the enthusiasm for boat purchasing was much, much greater this year than last. And thus the boat consumers had perhaps sensed what was coming a year ago before he pundits told us we were in a melt down, and hopefully they are sensing we are coming out of the downturn as well.
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Old 09-22-2009
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I went on Sunday. It was a perfect day weather wise.

Attendance seemed to be down. In past years I've seen it where the floating docks were close to sinking under the weight of all of the people and long waits to get onto the popular boats. This year it was much better, plenty of people but not enough to make it unpleasantly crowded.

There were definitely fewer boats. Beneteau, Jeanneau, Hunter and Catalina all usually bring 6-8 boats. This year it was only three each. Some of my favorites were missing too; Caliber, Oyster, Gozzard, Hallberg-Rassy. It seemed like there were fewer catamarans too.

There were two highlights for me: a one hour sail on a Swan 48 courtesy of Sail America and shaking the hand of Don Street.
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Old 09-24-2009
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I was diappointed somewhat

I have only been to a few of these, but this year was disappointing compared to other years. Less sailboats, and boats in general, and less vendors. I did go on a few boats and except for the very high end Morris and Friendship, most of the other boats were plastic and veneer. The Beneteau that I went on (36.7 First?) was absolute junk, IMO. The salon sole was a jigsaw puzzle of removable plastic panels that squeaked like hell when you walked on them. The wood was Ash veneer and some of the drawers wouldn't stay closed.

The Puma Volvo Ocean Race boat was cool in the fact that I can not imagine being on that thing in 40 ft seas in 40 kt winds. talk about stark underneath. There wasn't a shred of creature comforts. It was less than basic camping.

I did "wheel-n-deal" with one of the softsided cooler guys and got two coolers and a cold beer for a few bucks off.

DrB
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