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.
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.
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.
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.