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post #13 of Old 09-20-2015
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Re: Newport RI Boat Show Discussion

We went yesterday. The weather was just perfect. The past five years or so, I've parked in the lot at First Beach ($15) and taken the free shuttle to the show. I've done the "find a spot somewhere on the street" thing, as well as parking at the Visitor's Center. The beach may not be the cheapest, but it works best. We got there about 11 am, and the lot was just about full. The attendant said they had parked over a 1000 cars already. We managed to find a spot as someone else was leaving. Surprisingly, although the show was crowded, it wasn't obnoxious. I never had to wait to board any boats, although I did have to wait once or twice to go below.

The Admiral and I went on a number of boats. I must say I loved the Alerion Cruising 41. Just a beautiful boat. Wonderful craftsmanship, and very practical given the limitations of the design. My wife's favorite was the Italia 13.something. This was I believe hull #13 that had just arrived in this country. The sails weren't even on the boat. A very modern design, with some very clean woodwork below. Nice. Not my thing, but nice.

We also went aboard what is essentially a Friendship 50 The owner loved his Friendship 40 but wanted something bigger. He had Ted Fontaine (the designer of the F40) draw up a new boat and had it built custom cold molded by a yard in Maine. Crazy beautiful workmanship, above and below deck.

After lunch, the Mrs. went shopping and I went aboard a number of boats that I had never seen before. A lot of the boats looked very similar to the Italia: sloped cabin trunk, wide stern sections, expansive cockpit, open salon with light colored woods, kind of Ikea-looking. The boats that I really wanted to check out and did were the Beneteau Sense models. I know they aren't very favored by some "real" sailors, but I have to admit that I would love to be invited on a party or coastal cruise on the 50 or 55. These boats really hit their design brief on the nose; they really fit the way that most people use their boats: as party platforms at anchor or at the dock, which nice accommodations for coastal cruising. As I looked at the large cockpit, short three steps down into the wide open salon, with all berths towards the bow, I was reminded of the mullet hair cut: business in front, party in back. And while the Sense series (as well as all of the Beneteaus and Jenneaus) follow the same styling queues as the Italia, the Azuree and others, the level of fit and finish on the Beneteau Senses were clearly a cut below their more expensive European competition.

I also spent a lot of time on my favorite boat, the Seaward 32 RK. Spent some time talking to the sales person, a very nice young woman who happens to be the daughter of the company's owner. Wish I could buy the boat....

One of the main reasons I wanted to go the show was to talk to a stainless manufacturer about replacing my lifelines and putting some gates in. I found the Suncor guy almost immediately and found out exactly what I need. I will be buying new lifelines and gates to install next spring.

On a fun note, my wife and I were approached by three young ladies in Quantum Sails t shirts to undertake a "challenge". They had a deck of knot-tying cards; if I could tie the knot described on the card that picked, I would win a prize. Why not? So the card I pick is for a sheet bend, one of three or four knots that I can tie in the dark. Boom! and wife and I win a couple croakies. My wife (ever the trouble-maker) says, "give him another". So the next card I pick? A bowline. What are the odds that out of that big deck of cards, I would pick one of the other three knots I know well? Too bad that there were no more prizes.
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