Boston Boatshow Blues
by Andrew Found
s/v Over EasyI awoke yesterday morning to a phone call from a local Chevy dealer asking how they could help me in my search for a new vehicle. I was confused as I am not looking for a new vehicle, then I asked if I had won a new truck. The sales rep didn’t understand until I explained that last night I had entered a free truck giveaway by GM at the New England Boat Show. It has only been twelve hours and I’m already being contacted by sales calls!
I had made a midweek trek to Boston to kick start my mind back into the boat world, talk to some people and see what’s new. The drive from Concord, NH to Boston amazingly took under an hour, yet little did I know that it would take nearly that to navigate the city to the BCEC! I’m adept at navigating with a road atlas on my knee, but this time had brought along “the Wench” my wife’s Nuvi GPS. With the destination address set, I was ready for the can of worms of Boston driving. I had even prepped the trip by previewing the route on Google Street View, committing landmarks and streets to memory. Be prepared? Ha… this is Boston!
Enjoying the sights of Bunker Hill and the Zakim Bridge, I was quickly in the tunnel. As the Wench was counting down the distance to the approaching exit, the GPS signal was lost. No problem I thought as I just passed what my gut told me was probably my desired exit, the GPS will just recalculate the route! Traffic in the Rt.93 tunnel under the city was sparse and brisk, however, upon emerging into the daylight, the traffic crawl began with just .3 miles to the next recalculated off ramp. Finally, as the GPS says to turn right, then left, then left, I realize that I’ll be making a U-turn that puts me back onto 93N and into the tunnel again. Now I am getting a bit agitated and am plotting an escape strategy in my mind!
A few more turns made as directed by the cheery voice on my dashboard and I vaguely recognize the streets that I had viewed on Street View. Eventually I am visually 500 feet away from the BCEC and Wench says to turn right. Oh #@&%!! Instead of Summer Street, I am on 90W heading towards the Mass Pike! Ok, this isn’t fun anymore, and I’m looking for 93 North to get the hull outta here! After four or so miles heading away from the boatshow and now into Cambridge, I take the U-turn that will send me back into the creeping madness from which I just escaped! If I quit now, I reason, I’ll at least save myself $30, but decide to make a third attempt. Back onto Congress St. for a second time, I turn off the GPS and trust my own inner voice over the Wench and very shortly am parked at the boatshow. THAT WAS EASY!!
My plan on the show floor was to walk the perimeter and engage the small booth vendors while mapping a strategy for the big boats. I had a pleasant conversation with a volunteer from Boston Family Boat Building that brings experiential learning opportunities thru boat building to Boston elementary schools. For eleven days, teams of six 5th graders build a 10 foot wooden rowboat by hand and over the summer will use those boats on area waters to learn about rowing and sailing. Next to the BFBB was the Pets On Board picture wall that I entered my pups to win a pet PFD.
At boat shows like this, it quickly starts to feel like ‘seen one, seen ‘em all.’ Even the fancy luxury yachts and cruisers that I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to set foot on all begin to look alike. Tugboats have always been of interest to me and tho I’ve seen the Nordic and Ranger lines before, they were the ones I spent the most time on, especially the little Ranger R-21. Com Pac had a couple of trailer sailors on display, as was a WW Potter 19. The Greenline Hybrid had an interesting VW diesel–solar-electric propulsion system.
At boatshows, visitors are always required to remove their shoes before going aboard. I understand the reasoning to prevent damage to the boats and ‘assumed’ safety. Assumed I say because sock feet on fiberglass and polished floors are certainly NOT safer than the Crocs I was wearing and the boatshoes of many others. Too many times I and others were slipping and sliding while entering / exiting cockpits. I caught myself on a stanchion to avoid tumbling off an elevated scaffolding while exiting the cockpit of a Jeanneau drop-deck transom! The Hunters had especially slippery cabin floors and the sudden two inch drop step into the V-berth cabin was a slip&fall surprise, on both boats!
Five hours of boat hopping went by surprisingly fast and the drive out of Boston was uneventful! I look forward to the contest drawings to see if I won a dog PFD, an R/C speedboat, a gas card for guessing the number of Giecos in the jar, a Sunfish or an inflatable dinghy with outboard. I hardly think anyone will be winning a brand new GM truck, however, for that effort at least I got a free elcheapo LED flashlight for entering. One can never have too many flashlights on board!