January 15, 2012

Impressions from the Providence Boat Show Jan 2012

We scored a couple of tickets to the boat show last week, courtesy of  SafeSea (boat towing & marine salvage) .

There was a marine bargain basement on the first floor at the entrance to the show.  I read it was offering donated leftover supplies from marinas as a fundraiser for Clean the Bay.  Although I'm a huge fan of marine consignment shops,  I didn't see anything I would be willing to pay for at the "bargain tables".  The good news for RI's East Bay boaters is that a marine consignment shop will be opening soon in Bristol RI.   I should have stopped to ask about the details, but I'll have to keep an eye out for more info.

As usual, the main focus of the show was powerboats, but there were a few sailboats on display.  .

The European Smartboat 23 was the most interesting powerboat I saw at the show.  There were no sales people in sight at the display.  I went on board and took a few photos.  I looked it up online and saw a lot of mixed discussion.  I won't pass judgement, but it was certainly an interesting and unconventional hull form. LWL = LOA 

The Harbor 20 - The Classic Modern Daysailer was unquestionably the prettiest sailboat on the show floor.  There was another sailor there, enthusiastically engaged with a sales guy while we were looking at it, and the prospective buyer told me after his conversation with the broker that he is looking to downsize from a Tartan 37, which is becoming too much for him and his wife to handle on their own, and he is looking for something he can race, but still enjoy daysailing with his wife.  Sounds like a good fit.

Hunter had the two largest sailboats on display at the show, a 33 and a 41.  They were very popular with the visitors.  I didn't venture on board either.   They appear to be heavily discounted off their list price to entice interest, but the so called "savings" are 2 to 3 times what I paid for my boat! 

I stopped by the Points East booth (publisher of my favorite local marine periodical) a few times Saturday afternoon, but never found anyone at the booth.  I usually get a chance to say hello to Joe Burke, but I missed him.

I also stopped by the Defender booth, to get the date for their annual spring sale.  (March 29-April 1)  An annual not to miss event for any boater who is looking to save on spring outfitting upgrades.   They were promoting an interesting looking inflatable RescueMax MOB recovery system from Revere. It looks like a compact inflatable alternative to the LifeSling).  I didn't really look at it that closely at the show, but their promo price is about half the LifeSling price.  When I started to look into it online today, I couldn't find any indication it is USCG approved, and it doesn't even appear on the Revere website.  I'm starting to wonder if they are clearing out inventory of a discontinued item that never really took off.  I emailed them to ask about the USCG approval and will follow up on that.  I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has experience with this unit. My old Jim Buoy horseshoe is getting a little tattered, and I really need to think about replacing it this season.  

Weta 4.4 Trimaran from the multihull source.  A neat toy if you've got $12K burning a hole in your pocket.

The show seemed a little better attended than last year, but I glad I'm not trying to make a living selling new fiberglass powerboats.  That's a tough way to make a living these days.

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