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Posts Tagged ‘boat show’

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If your dream boat was the Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 48, you may wish to steer clear for a bit; the boat at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis seems to have some legal issues…

In other news, the new Gunboat is rising from the ashes of their bankruptcy on the back of the just-announced Gunboat 68.  It’s just vaporware as of today, but with orders already placed, we expect we’ll see this gorgeous creature IRL before too long.  and she looks gorgeous.  The VPLP design seems to integrate some of the swoopier, sexier lines of the Nigel Irens boats (G55, G60) without losing the look of power and substantialness of the more enduring 48/62/66.  With longtime SA’ers running the project, you can of course get firsthand info in the forums.  Find Nils and Mer hanging out at the boatshow.

October 8th, 2016 by admin

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Well, against all odds, your Ed made it to the Düsseldorf boat show; not where you’d expect his GF Raina to learn sailing for the first time ever. It was pretty damned fun to watch an indoor sailing lesson, but the main show starts tomorrow.

We are astounded by the size of this show, which is so much bigger than anything comparable in this hemisphere that is easily amazes.  There are a number of current SA advertisers here and a bunch who are soon to be, but the coolest part of the show so far is the huge number of boats and brands  that we’ve never even seen before.

We don’t know whether European yachting is as healthy as it appears to be, but things seem like they’re humming along just fine from here.  We’ll have a more in-depth look a bit later during the show, so stay tuned!


January 24th, 2016 by admin

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20160115-2016 Winter Anarchy-41352

Clean Report

A YUUUUGE thank you to the more than 300 of you who attended the 9th Winter Anarchy drunk-a-thon at the Bottom Lounge last weekend, and to the dozens of volunteers, sponsors, and of course Morgan Kinney for putting it all together.  We’re proud of the roughly $7000 you all raised for the Skin Cancer Foundation, and we’re even prouder that we found a way to help an important cause a little bit while having a good time with great people and giving away some creative and awesome prizes.  We’ll have important news for the 10th Anniversary of Winter Anarchy in the next few weeks; whether you’re a sponsor or a partygoer, you most definitely will not want to miss it.

There are still a few Special Edition 2016 Winter Anarchy tees left; if you pick one up before Monday, Morgan will throw in a new SA alloy buckle belt with it.  All profits go to Skin Cancer Foundation.

Show Off

Key West and Chicago’s Strictly Sail show were the industry’s ‘must attend’ winter events for years.  The boat show, though, wishes it only contracted by the third that Race Week did over the same period of time.  Plagued by America’s general move away from boat shows and an expensive show at logistically difficult Navy Pier, Chicago’s big event moved last year away from downtown, becoming the tiny third wheel in the ironically named ‘Chicago Boat, RV, and Strictly Sail Show‘ at the huge McCormick Place convention center.

The sailboat industry was, quite literally, a side show, and few vendors had any optimism at all about making any kind of money there.  It remains a convenient spot for many industry workers to work out deals and check in with far-flung friends, but with fewer exhibitors than ever, there aren’t many out-of-towners coming in anymore.

For locals, it’s another story; a great excuse to break up the coldest part of the winter with a few drinks and a peek at the few interesting things there; the full J line up, relatively new dinghies from Melges and RS, and a few bits of hardware and software scattered around.  Area Yacht Clubs were looking for members and promoting their races, while a few MCSA university teams showed up to find supporters and recruit sailors.  But the show was dominated by the ACWS Chicago booth that was loaded with the baubles and trinkets to suck almost any sailor in.  VR goggles with the full AC45 onboard experience loaded in, a one-on-one match race game complete with carbon wheels, and even a long line to take your selfie with the real America’s Cup, which somehow managed to look gaudy even against the backdrop of a tiki bar set on a fake beach under a plastic palm tree to the sound of a live Jimmy Buffet impersonator.

Don Wilson’s ACWS organizing group included a diverse mix of volunteers doing their best to spread the message, and heavily discounted tickets seemed to be selling at a brisk pace.  It’s a very different place from Newport, but the pride amongst many local sailors that an America’s Cup(ish) event was coming to town reminded me of Rhode Islanders just before the Volvo.  Will the windy city turn out 130,000 fans for the ACWS like Newport did for Brad Read’s Volvo?  Not a chance.  But if the weather doesn’t make a complete mockery of the silly two-day format again, the event could easily hit her smaller targets and be considered a home run by AC teams, hospitality sponsors, and the City.  There’s also another reason to go: It could be the last time anything like it sees freshwater.  Alternatively, it could be the pioneer event that opened Chicago to inshore racing’s upper echelons.  It’s no secret that Wilson has big aspirations in the sport, and both his passion for racing and his bank balance are both off the charts.  That’s a potent combination that’s brought the billionaire commodities trading genius plenty of success on Melges 24s, Farr 40s, and match racing boats, and last week Wilson helmed his M32 cat to victory in Bermuda against three pro helmsmen.  Could we see a Chicago America’s Cup team some time in the next decade?  Sure.  And you can say you knew them way back in 2016.

My trademark Mr. Clean shaky cam footage of the boat show is below.

Spreader-level overview of the show

Lightning Round look at new stuff

Should you make plans for the ACWS-Chicago?


January 22nd, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

We took a whirlwind tour through the world’s most important boat show in Amsterdam last week, and our only regret is that we didn’t stay longer at the Marine Equipment Trade Show.  In the three years we’ve taken off from November’s marquee industry event, it’s exploded in size and scope – and for the sport we all love, that’s a very good thing, because METS may be the most accurate barometer in the world for the health of sailing globally.  And if that’s the case, we’re in for a hell of a decade – in just three years, the number of attendees has nearly doubled, and you may remember that the METS doesn’t allow public entry – every one of those 24,000-odd people is in the boat biz or a special guest of an exhibitor.

The number of exhibitors has also mushroomed up to over 1400 from literally all over the world; instead of a couple of exhibition halls, there were about 12 massive spaces filled to overflowing with products and service providers touting everything from infrared engine-room monitoring cameras to new fender systems for marina walls.

We were mostly unimpressed with the number of truly innovative new products, but that’s not a bad thing; rather than a lot of dreamy new toys, there were dreamy new companies from dreamy new lands – another positive sign that the sport’s providing new opportunities in new places.

We had enough time to pick our own ‘best in show’ as well as to grab some interviews with the sport’s movers and shakers.  Here’s the video guide, and no, we don’t care if the sound isn’t up to your standards.  If you want the info no one else has, this is your only option, and we can guarantee a much bigger effort for next year’s METS.

Outside looking in; entrance and intro to the METS

Oceanvolt’s new App and remote management for their electric propulsion/storage/generation systems

The obscene display of jewelry that is the Superyacht Pavilion

A quick look at SOS Marine’s new emergency MOB retrieval system.  Good shit.

The guys at Forward Sailing WIP have some seriously sexy helmets and armor.

One of our Best In Show choices – Rope Eye’s “Spiderblock”

A fascinating chat with Diab Composites engineer Valerio about the new Divinycell ‘anti-slam’ core, including a chat about Hugo Boss structural issues and the future of high-speed monohull construction.  Part One.  Part Two.

The kiwi hippies at Seabin Project need your help to clean the world’s harbors and bays.  Required listening.

A quick look at the DAME award winning PFD strobe, as well as the much more interesting new Rig-Sense gauge.

Two products Americans might never otherwise see despite their cleverness – the Ino-Block high-load block and the “Nub”.  If you want the latest and greatest as seen on the Mini/Class 40/Open 60, clicky.

With IRC and HPR proving dismal failures in the US and ORR struggling to get out of the box, it’s time for a new player in Grand Prix rating rules, with Key West 2016 ringing in the new year with ORC in America.  Learn all about the rule in this 20-minute chat with Dobbs Davis and Matteo Polli.

They kept trying to kick me out for shooting the “no photography” DAME awards hall.  I shot it anyway. 

BONUS VIDEO: The “Sailor Girl” Nic Douglass shot VOR Boatyard boss Nick Bice giving a talk about the shared boatyard concept.  Good stuff here.  Check Nic’s feed for more from METS and wherever the hell she is this week.

November 25th, 2015 by admin

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Clean Report

“A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up” -Mae West

It’s been a couple of years since I joined the sailing industry’s annual pilgrimage at the METS show in Amsterdam, and I have sorely missed it – and I’m not (only) talking about the ‘coffee’ shops.  Despite my general loathing for most boat shows, this one is as different as they come, thanks to a combo of its awesome location (who doesn’t love Amsterdam?) and its reputation as the annual font of innovation in everything sailing. It also ignores the general population, catering entirely to well over a thousand exhibitors and the buyers scouring the RAI for the next big thing.  If you want to see anyone in the sport, you go to the METS.

For this year, the innovation has stepped up, mostly because its the 25th anniversary of the DAME award, a fully legit (if still subject to intense lobbying) set of awards for the best new products in the game.  And even outside the DAME, there are plenty of sweet and slick toys to play with, so we couldn’t miss it.  Starting on the 17th, we’ll be doing video breakdowns from inside the show on the SA Facebook Page – we’ll grab all the good stuff we see (and no, you don’t need to be a FB member to see them – and some products that just make us laugh. And of course, there will be plenty of coffee shop time…

So if your company has something interesting to show the SA community, let us know! Post up in the thread (so everyone can see) or send me an email here and we’ll come have a look.

Title shout to anyone who doesn’t hate the idea of Jessica Alba stripping as a cowgirl.


November 13th, 2015 by admin

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Couldn’t be at the biggest sailboat show in America?  Don’t fret; like all boat shows in North America; there wasn’t much to see for the average racing enthusiast.  Sometime around 2008, when the economy was in full implosion, the Annapolis Show was more or less taken over by the only companies with money to spend – the big cruising manufacturers.  Enthusiasts get their ‘first looks’ from the web these days while racing manufacturers tend to save their real secrets – if there are any left – for the METS, Paris, or Dusseldorf So now the show is dominated by fat, slow boats and the people who love them – especially the folks at Cruising World, who are like royalty amongst the Annapolis crowd, using the show to get all their advertisers in one place for their 2015 sales book.

While there was almost nothing actually new in Annapolis, there were still a few interesting things to see from both randoms and friends of SA.  We didn’t get everything we liked – for instance, we missed the crazy Swiss guy 3-D printing models of your boat from existing CAD files (though not particularly new), and the wind didn’t cooperate either for an honest test of the MxNext or our Gunboat tests – but thanks to help from The Rev Petey, we’ve got nine videos from the show, and the best are embedded below.  Don’t miss interviews about new products from Zim Sailing (high-quality dinghies built in USA), Ganz Eco Energy (tough, efficient solar panels), and SailMon (best instrument displays ever) here

Gunboat 2.0

Folks tell us we have a love affair, but we don’t give a shit, because we love everything about them.  Peter Johnstone has not only created an entirely new genre of high performance sailboats, he’s created a brand that is now reaching into exciting new communities with some very hot new boats.  Extreme snowboarding legend Travis Rice is now cruising his Gunboat now, while dot com boomers like Carolyn and Chris Groobey and a pile of confidential Facebook veterans are easing into the new 55 series, and digital entrepreneur Rob from Vermont commissioned his new G60 with the first rotating rig on a Gunboat.  They’re fit, friendly, and none of ’em shies away from a good party. Gunboats still seem to be getting some of the older performance monohull crowd on board with the 55 as well, guys like the NYYC Commodore, for example.  Things are busy in Wanchese, and we couldn’t be happier for this modern American success story.

During what was meant to be our ‘test sail’ window in Annapolis for the newly launched G55 and the Spring-launched G60, we ghosted along at 5 knots under a big furling downwind sail in a hair less of breeze, sliding up the bay on the incoming tide.  So rather than shoot some uninspiring light-air sailing, we talked to Carolyn Groobey aboard Gunboat 55 #1, which she and her husband are sailing to be ready for their 55 #3, scheduled for imminent delivery.  She’s a great chat and the video above is an interesting look at a part of the new generation of semi-retired cruisers.

Our staff videographer got the chance to deliver the boat to North Carolina over the weekend in 20-40 knots of breeze and hurricane-driven following swell, and we’re looking forward to some excellent delivery stuff featuring Petey himself, as well as the Groobeys, Gunboat staffer Lauren Bataille and boat captain Chris Bailet.

Aero Space

I admit to being a little distracted during this interview with RS Sailing’s Riki Hooker thanks to his physical and vocal resemblance to Office Space‘s Ricky Gervais.  He’s funny as hell too, and very excited about the more than 400 orders RS have already taken for the 66-pound Aero.  We have no idea whether it sails well (though there are plenty of first-hand reports in the forum – and remember to take everything with a grain of salt) but it looks sexy and quick, and the price compares well to anything else in the market.  Learn more about it in my chat with Riki above.

3 out of 3

You know the old saying about “stronger, cheaper, lighter – you can pick two out of three”?  Dave from Samson talks about how the new Warpspeed 2 manages all three in the update on one of our favorite lines.

Watch This Space

We have a hard enough time keeping track of one watch, much less two.  Ronstan’s figured out a way to make something functional that looks good enough to wear to dinner.  Clean gets Moondawg to explain.

Rodeo Clown

There’s no question that conventional drysuits make us all look like a bit of a clown no matter how incredibly functional they are, and the PNW kiteboard guys at Ocean Rodeo have a solution.  We love to see new blood in the sport, especially coming from the young, hip part of things, so check out what they’ve got.

Reel Big Fish

Challenged by Oakley at Harken, Mr. Clean stepped up to the pedestal to win the final day of the show by a whopping 18 hundredths of a second over the runner up.  It’s funny because it’s true.


October 23rd, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 7.54.28 AMClean Report

Two big events for the US kick off this weekend – the first is the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, and the second is the Volvo Ocean Race.  And as usual, SA’s the place to go for the best info.

After 6 years of economic mayhem and dying boat shows, the US economy has (maybe? hopefully?) finally begun the broad-based recovery we’ve all been waiting for, and our luxurious hobby is responding at last.  Sales are flat or increasing throughout the industry with both small and large boats selling, and, at Annapolis at least, it appears the exhibitor list is finally growing again.  For our part, we’re excited to see a new ‘Racing’ section at America’s most important sailboat show, and we’re especially stoked to see sexy new offerings from our pals at C&C and Gunboat hit the water.  And we timed our visit to hit what might be the most fun couple of hours at the show: Saturday morning’s start of the Volvo Ocean Race – live and loud – on the 70″ flat screen at the Musto booth.  With mimosa and bloody mary accompaniment.

We’re toting along The Goddamned Reverend Petey so we can get some high quality video interviews, new product showcases, and ‘first sail’ reports from the deck of the new boats, and we encourage you to send us an email with your booth location and product description if you’ve got something cool to show our team.  If you want to shoot the shit and just buy us drinks, you can e-mail us too.  For a decent bit of enthusiast info on the show (and the spot we ripped this photo from), check out this blog.


October 10th, 2014 by admin

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1We’re not sure why it is, but no one in America can pull together a decent sailboat show.  Go and check out Paris, or the RYA London Dinghy Show, or Dusseldorf, or La Grande Motte, or the grand prize of all of them – the METS Show – and you’ll be blown out of your socks by the experience, scratching your head at the incredible lack of quality, variety, and size of even the biggest American show – the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis.  It’s a little embarrassing for US sailors, and we have wondered for the better part of a downward-trending decade how any of these shitty shows even stay in business.

So we’re not surprised at all to learn today that one of the final ‘sailboat only’ shows on the continent has finally disappeared, with Chicago’s Strictly Sail show announcing that they’ve merged with the Chicago Boat & RV Show while moving from the Navy Pier to a normal convention center.  The move is a long time coming as anyone who’s attended the Strictly Sail show over the past few years would have foreseen; Since the beginning of the recession, Strictly Sail has seen a dwindling level of exhibitors dominated by manufacturers of fat cruising boats and non-boating trinkets – exhibitors that, in themselves, indicate dying interest in the sport.

A healthy sport with good industry leadership (from folks like US Sailing, the NMMA and SailAmerica) would see a show dominated by learn-to-sail programs, affordable sailboats and dinghies, and other booths focused on increasing access and growing volume, but Navy Pier and Strictly Sail seemed happy to price the grassroots out of their show, relying instead on a few major builders who could spend tens of thousands on their effort – the same kind of price-over-volume calculations that’s turned a huge sport with 11 million American participants into a dying sport with a million-and-change getting on the water.  Meanwhile, the American public seems to have lost their appetite for all boat shows, with most of the big shows down over the past few years, and manufacturers increasingly reporting less returns on boat show investment.   In the meantime, where is SailAmerica with all their guidance and help for the sport? We’re not sure, but they do have one hell of a crappy website to play with.   It’s long past time for the industry to publicly acknowledge the many ways it has screwed the sport and to try to fix it.  We’re not, however, holding our breath.

While the throes of agony will last decades,  the day of the American boat show is more or less over, thanks to the wide availability of everything on the web and the proliferation of demo days and try-before-you-buy events for boats of every size.  Tire kickers and inside industry folks who need to have meetings with the OEMS will still show up, and there’s no doubt, for Chicago, anyway, that parking, exhibiting – all the logistics – should be far easier at the new spot.  And we’ll be there too, but not for a sailboat – we’ve got our eyes on a pimped out Sailing Anarchy RV and bass boat combo…

One thing that won’t change? Our Winter Anarchy Party – the annual standing-room-only rager we’ve thrown for 9 years now that probably pulled in more people than the entire show last year! We’ll have piles of free, awesome giveaways, tons of booze, and hot bitches dancing in tight clothes – some of them even sailors.  And if you’ve never been?  You probably can’t handle it anyway.


September 2nd, 2014 by admin