Saturday, January 28, 2012

Boat Show!

Kintala's blowed up drive train precluded Deb and I spending the funds necessary to make the Annapolis show this year. We made it to Chicago, which is still one of my most favorite of trips. So far as I am concerned there are only two truly civilized modes of transportation on the planet; trains and sailboats. (Outrageously overpowered sport bikes which, truth to tell, no sane person would think of riding at all, are a concession to the Infidels, Pagans, and Bohemians among us.) At Oh-dark-four-thirty Thursday morning we boarded the Lincoln Express in St. Louis. I promptly fell asleep and woke up in Chicago. A short cab ride later and we were standing outside the doors waiting for the show to start. How cool is that?

Thursday is the day for a boat show. It seemed like a couple of hundred of us had the place all to ourselves. Booths still pristine, no lines to look at the shiny new boats; its like having VIP tickets at every-day-folks prices. Even better, Deb and I climbed around every single one of the Hunter, Catalina, Jeanneau, and Dufour offerings as well as the Estero, and we didn't see a single boat we would want more than our Tartan. (Tartan didn't make the show, so Kintala didn't have to compete with a new 4000.) We did see a bunch of ideas we liked that may find their way onto Kintala one of these days.

This was the first show we have attended where we were not debating "The Boat". Instead we were looking at stuff that we would need to add to "The Boat" before we can get going; dink & motor, auto-pilot, and dodger. Then there are the things we would like to add; chart plotter, solar panels, wind generator, and a more efficient fridge. And then there was the stuff we hadn't thought about but suddenly discovered we probably should take care of; most importantly a furling system for our (to us) massive head sails that doesn't jam or try to jerk my

fingers out by the roots when I need to get the sail doused before a mid-western TWR thumps us a good one. Crawling out to the bow to unjam the furler while bucking across the Gulf stream hard on the wind? I'm thinking that's a game for the young and limber; two descriptions that have not applied to me for many a year.

All of that was a bit discouraging. Even if we go with just the must-have of the must-have; dink & motor plus auto pilot - the SBUs add up to about equal to the hole blown in our credit card by the V-drive. And that set us back a year. But our friend John Kretschmer was one of those giving seminars at the show this year, and one of his talks was "Atlantic Crossings." (He has done 20 of them.) One hour sitting in a room with him and all discouragement faded away. We are going to get Kintala under way if I have to shade-tree the V-drive and row a worn out Dink back and forth to shore. We are going to take a season on big blue water to figure out the things we haven't figured out on our little lake.

Then we are going to the Med.

Which makes me think the Chicago boat show might be bad for me. The first year we went we were still thinking of ourselves as Catamaran people who might go as far as the Bahamas. Last year we went and found Kintala. and figured the Western Atlantic would be our playground. This year we decided we should sail our Tartan around the Atlantic ocean...all the way around. Clearly Chicago does somethingt to my brain, or maybe its the train rides?

Which, after the mid-night ride last night, has us back on Kintala this evening. Deb worked a contract job on another boat this afternoon while I managed to bolt our re-sized nav bench / storage bin in place. It isn't finished just yet, the lid awaits cushion and installation. But at least one project is as far as I can get it tonight, and that is putting a pleasant glow on the day. (The Rum & Coke I just finished isn't hurting that cause either.)


S/V Veranda said...

The boat show really IS a good place to look at all the clever ideas that you may be able to incorporate into your vessel. I even enjoy the things that we say "WTH were they thinking?"

TJ said...

I'm starting to think that when I see the beam on the new boats, and how they carry it all the way to the stern. What happens when Mother Ocean rolls one of these things over? Wide deck, shole draft, and 50 foot worth of mast stuck in the water...those things will never come back up in time to keep from flooding. My old Tartan is looking better and better.