Recently Seth and I flew to Miami for the International Boat Show, particularly the Strictly Sail show. I’d been invited to give seminars at it, and both of us were excited to participate in our first boat show!
Strictly Sail took place over five days—February 12-16—and was well attended despite its location across the water from the main Boat Show on Miami Beach. The big tent showcased a lot of great vendors and organizations, including our supporter Yanmar and the Seven Seas Cruising Association which we promptly joined!
We were especially excited to meet up with our sponsors Katadyn, OCENS, and Mantus Anchors. Katadyn recently acquired Spectra Watermakers, so the Spectra booth not only showcased its familiar larger desalinators but also our small footprint PowerSurvivor 40E. They’d brought along some AlpineAire food, which was quite popular despite being better known in the hiking/trekking market. It was great to meet the Katadyn and Spectra people in person—we had a lot of fun with Annie of Spectra one evening over nachos and mojitos chatting about cruising the Pacific.
Our sponsors at OCENS quickly became friends—wonderful people we’re excited to see more of either out in Washington State or at more boat shows! Dinner with them, seminar organizer Patty, and Blue Water Sailing editor George was another big highlight for us.
Things were so busy at Strictly Sail that we only got a chance to head over to the main show on the last day to see our sponsor Mantus Anchors, meet the crew there, and also meet two more of their ambassadors. The Mantus people are pretty amazing—she’s an engineer for NASA and he’s an emergency room physician when they’re not building and selling anchors!
My seminars were a lot of fun. I gave two on Sailing Alaska from Juan de Fuca Strait (Washington State/British Columbia) up to Ketchikan and the Inside Passage, across the Gulf of Alaska to Prince William Sound, and then all the way out the Alaska Peninsula to the Aleutian Islands. I had tips on general routes, where to anchor, where to get supplies or potentially leave your boat for the winter, where to see wildlife and how to behave around the animals, as well as showcasing some of our best photographs. My first audience was already quite knowledgeable about Alaska, which I’ll admit surprised me a little in Miami but which was great! My second audience had a whole bunch of really good questions which is always super fun!
I also gave a seminar on outfitting for offshore cruising and especially the higher latitudes. I put forth my experiences with avoiding and dealing with severe weather, qualities to look for in sailboats (stability, windward ability, hull strength, etc.), important cruising gear, essential safety gear, staying warm and well-fed, and navigating electronically and on paper.
Last but definitely not least, I served on a high latitude adventure panel moderated by Blue Water Sailing magazine’s editor George Day. (BWS sponsored the seminars.) With me on the panel were Jimmy Cornell (well known in the sailing world for organizing numerous rallies, sailing over 200,000 miles all over the world including to Antarctica and the Canadian Arctic, and writing World Cruising Routes, found on almost all offshore cruising boats) and Judith Jacobson (a Danish sailor who recently completed a 2-month cruise around Svalbard and up to 80° N). We had a great time relating our various experiences sailing, outfitting, and choosing our boats, and George had excellent questions, as did the audience.
My favorite part of the show was meeting all these great people. As well as George, Jimmy, Judith and her husband Haakon, our sponsors, and the tireless and wonderful seminar organizer Patty, we met lots of great people in our audiences, including Hayden and Radeen (friends of Judith), a couple more magazine editors including Mark of Cruising World and Bob of Cruising Outpost (see party picture below!), and many of the other speakers, including Mark and Diana Doyle (of Birding Aboard and On the Water Chart Guides) and Pam Wall, with whom we quickly became fast friends and with whom we went to our first Cruising Club of America lunch since being elected members!
We also really enjoyed walking the docks and checking out all the great boats on display. We particularly liked seeing Jimmy Cornell’s new Aventura, the Garcia Exploration 45. And the Gunboat 55 catamaran (see lead photo), which debuted at the Miami show, was really stunning! But if we could have any of them, we’d go for the little Corsair trimaran for pure fun on the water 🙂