The boat show last weekend was really fun. Chicago is such a great city. We thoroughly enjoyed out time alone, together. Our hotel was within walking distance to Navy Pier, where the show was held. The weather was beautiful, complete with a couple snow showers. The show itself was smaller than we anticipated. Meaning they didn’t have as many boats on the floor and not one catamaran. The largest boat they had was an 86-foot carbon fiber racing boat, which was amazing to see, but not what we “cruisers” were looking for. Most of the boats ranged in size from 30 - 40 feet. We laughed at ourselves as we went aboard these beautiful, modern, sleek boats, saying things like “this only has 2 cabins”, “there is no space in this galley to move around”, “I would trip over that step 100 times a day”, “there is no storage space!” As we climbed out of these shiny wood trimmed vessels, we consistently said “this would be fine if we were going to spend a weekend or maybe a week aboard, but definitely not for a whole year!” My, my, my, how our attitude has changed from when we first started looking at boats. A little education and research goes a long way!
The boat show, however, was less about the boats (for us, anyway) and more about the seminars that accompanied it. We spent all day going to one seminar after another. With notebooks in hand, we took copious notes, hanging on every word the presenter said. For most of the topics, an hour was not nearly long enough. We could have listened to some of them all day long, soaking it up like a sponge. Our favorites were Cruising south to the Bahamas, marine plumbing, and weather. Celestial navigation and storm tactics were overwhelming and really needed to be longer to go more in depth. We even won a boat hook at one of the seminars because we were planning to leave for our trip this year! Most people were planning or dreaming for “someday” in the future. Craig and I felt like we were the youngest people there or definitely in the minority!
The boat show would not be complete without all the stuff they are selling booth after booth. We did, shamelessly, buy a few things that were such good deals we couldn’t pass up. For example, we bought foul weather gear that was half price; binoculars, a LED search light and our offshore inflatable life vests (also half price)! These are things we knew we needed regardless of what boat we buy.
The main reason we attended the show was to attend Mahina Expeditions offshore cruising seminar (presented by John and Amanda Neal). We spent all day Saturday at this course. It was an amazing day chuck full of information, advice, tips and tricks to a successful and safe voyage. It was complete with pictures and diagrams, as well as things that work well and things that don’t. John and Amanda Neal made a great team, presenting to both male and female interests and areas of expertise. Pete shared his experience from a cruising family’s perspective. We learned a lot and asked many questions. We came away from it with new confidence and a diploma to boot!
Looking past Navy Pier to Lake Michigan
Looking back at downtown Chicago
Ice Sculpture contest taking place down on the waterfront!