looking different

boat show

looking different

Jeremy Leonard from Surf City Catamarans gives you his perspective on the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show.

By all reports, Friday day 2 of the show had outstanding turn out. Officials from the show said that they sold 15% more tickets this year, and the crowds in some of the tents definitely reflected that. I hadn’t seen that many people cruising around for years. If you haven’t been to this show for a while, gone are the giant circus tents. The show has taken over the old Barnes and Noble building, and anyone that remembers the old tents set up in a parking lot scenario, there’s no more giant lakes of water pooling on the floor. Three years ago I remember thinking that just a few more inches of water and I could’ve hoisted the chute and sailed the Hobie Tiger across the tent. It really seems like the show has its shit together this year. There are a lot of smaller tents selling things like sunglasses and sun block, and on the boat side of things, there are kayaks and Stand-up Paddle Boards. There’s really something for everyone here. Oh, and there were some girls there too..

Not wanting to get into the bullshit of a boat review style, because I know what I like is going to be different than what you like, I decided to look for things that were inspiring and truly innovative. I ran across a few neat things.

First, I’m an advocate of getting youth on the water. We should all do something to ensure that kids have an avenue to get out and sail. Many yacht clubs seem to be doing their part as far as dingy programs are concerned, but what about adventuring farther afield or even going off-shore? Stumbling down the docks I ran across the 82’ Staysail Schooner Seward a working vessel for the non-profit Call Of The Sea. The first thing that drew me toward Seward, was the enthusiastic, female crew teaching a group of 5 year olds how to tie a bowline up on the foredeck. I boarded and found the Captain, boat builder and founder Alen Olson up on deck going through his spiel with the show-goers.

The program is centered around a 3 hour tour that teaches 4th and 5th graders about California history, navigation, and the environment. But that’s just the beginning! These guys do a 5 day tour to destinations outside of the bay and a cruise to Mexico for young adults. According to Olson, “…well go out to the Faralons and come back in, we put them into a watch and are they’re in charge of every aspect of the boat… at the end of the longer programs the kids are entirely in-charge of the vessel.” StFYC sponsored a cruise from 2 to 4pm, where everyone can come take a spin on Seward. Truly a cool program.

What about products? Along with the dude climbing a rig solo with an arrangement of ascenders, the guy that backs out a million stripped screws, the chamois guy, the little elderly woman that sells cruising guides, and sundry other boat show staples there was one real innovation that caught my eye.

Moseying further down the dock I came across this 10’ RIB hauling-ass without making a sound other than the hull slapping the water. Strapped to the transom was a battery powered, electric outboard. It seems that the electric Torqeedo has hit its stride and is now a viable alternative to the traditional internal combustion outboard. According to Steve Trikla the company’s president, “…the max range for the motor is 8 hours at cruising speed.” This is not just another electric-outboard-with-seperate-battery scenario. The battery is where the power-head of a traditional outboard, and the actual motor is down by the prop. The entire unit is sealed, anyone that has dropped a traditional outboard overboard can appreciate that. All of those features are cool, but the best part of the whole thing is the integrated GPS. The Torqeedo uses a GPS to determine the distance you can travel on the charge that you have at the watts that you are using…perfect for optimizing the distance you can travel. Information is available in real-time in a screen on the tiller. Take the battery off and charge it at home, or plug in the solar panel and in full sun you can go 3 mph for as long as the sun’s shining.

And how’d our new West Coast editor Dixie do? She poured rum, passed out swag and took the heckling like a champ. Here Dixie and Harken’s Bill Goggins get blurry.

Several Viper sailors, the 5.70 guys, a few dudes from Latitude 38, and me the catamaran guy sat down for a little Indian food and talked shit until the wee hours. The discussion of people’s ages came up and most of us industry people at the table were under 40, kind of the ‘younger’ set of the marine industry. We’re all into fast boats, we all race, and we’re all passionate about getting people out on the water. I feel like I made some great new friends. And Scot, don’t be too pissed when you get the bill for dinner and all the beer we swilled!