After a stressful week at work, I was more than excited to be heading off to the Annapolis Boat Show. This was our second go-around. The first time was five years ago after we took our sailing lessons but before we bought Little Bristol. During that visit we had fun wandering on the different boats and browsing in the vendor tents, so with some big purchases on tap for this offseason it wasn’t a hard decision to go check it out once again.
Honestly, we had fun the first time we went but nothing like this trip. As we have become more involved in the sailing community over the past five years, we have met many people (both in real life through Shenny and the Seven Seas Cruising Association, and on-line through Women Who Sail), we’ve read a lot of books, and we regularly follow several blogs and vlogs. Even with all of that, we didn’t realize what a small community it truly was until this show. Every few hours we ran into someone we knew, or had followed online. It. was. so. much. fun.
We flew down early Friday morning, dropped our bags off at the Air BnB we had rented (only a 7 minute walk from the show), and we hit the vendor tents hard. The plan was to decide on a windvane and a watermaker, along with some other purchases, and we had lots of questions so there was no time to waste. After three very full days we had settled on the big ticket items (the subject of future blog posts), and purchased binoculars, dual-line tethers, a new Garhauer Marine traveler, a back-up paper chart of the Virgin Islands (circa 2012 so only $20 at Bacon Sails), two Sport-a-Seats, two turkish towels from Maramara Imports, and a Good Old Boat hat. Our savings account needs CPR, but the deals were excellent. The savings more than paid for the trip, and the ability to get questions answered directly from the vendors (instead of spending hours on Google) was priceless.
In order to keep our credit card from bursting into flames, we paced ourselves with frequent painkillers from Pussers and a few stops at the Hendricks Gin barge. We also ran into people just about every time we turned around. We met up with our friends Tanya and Jay from S/V Minx, and they introduced us to friends of theirs who had spent seven years circumnavigating before returning to Maine last year. We ended up bumping into THEM on four separate occasions – at the Ram’s Head Tavern, outside Chick and Ruth’s deli, and twice at the show – which was a lot of fun and resulted in many laughs. Additionally we saw Bob on S/V Pandora from the SSCA, three couples from Shenny, the family from the Sailboat Story vlog, Michael from the S/V Del Viento blog, and others that I know I’m forgetting. I was also able to be a total fan girl, meeting Carolyn from The Boat Galley, Behan from Sailing Totem, Lyn Pardey, and Nica from Women Who Sail and Tasty Thursdays at the L&L Publications booth, and Mike Grant at the Sailrite booth. We truly felt like we were part of a community, and it was exhilarating.
By the time we flew home on Monday we agreed that it was one of the most fun not-at-the-boat weekends we’ve had in a long time. Before we left I wouldn’t have thought that I could get any more excited about our plans to cut the dock lines and go cruising, but I was wrong. We are PSYCHED and raring to go. Just several dozen things to cross off of the to-do-list first, and of course some more time needs to pass.
Now, back to boat projects!