Yahoo! It’s Annapolis Sailboat Show (and Cruisers University) time again! I’m jazzed about my upcoming 10 days in a premier location for sailors and sailboats, at the largest in-water sailboat show in the United States.
While I can (and do) talk about lots of reasons to go to a boat show, this year I’ve got one main one in mind.
I need my boating tribe. It’s been a gloriously long summer of slow-paced life (and fast-paced house projects) in Northern Vermont. But no matter how much life up there resembles the cruising existence, I’m ready to be surrounded by other people who understand boat.
This aspect of boat shows (and to be clear I’ve only ever been to the Annapolis Sailboat shows, both in the fall and in the spring - so I don’t know if powerboat shows are different) is not talked about a lot. What’s mentioned is the number of boats and number of booths. Maybe the sheer number of people who will be attending. You’ll hear about the seminars and featured speakers, maybe an associated class or two.
What isn’t mentioned, at least as far as I have seen, is how awesome it is to be around other cruisers.
It’s not as if every single person who attends one of these shows is planning on going cruising. Heck, not everyone who attends is even planning on ever owning a boat! For some, the entry fee to walk and gawk and walk on very expensive boats on a beautiful fall or spring day is a fun source of entertainment.
Still, the percentage of boat-loving people at the boat show is higher than your everyday ratio, unless you are already living aboard or steeped in local water-borne life. Being able to speak the language and be relatively assured that the person next to you will understand what you’re saying? This is priceless. It’s affirming. It’s a reminder that your dream is not crazy, or unique, or impossible to attain. You’ll meet cruisers and boat owners (sometimes the boats you walk on will be “staffed” by the owner, and the conversations about why that boat can be very very enlightening about all kinds of things you never thought about) and dreamers. Hanging around booths of interesting products that are cruising-focused (water makers come to mind, among others) will introduce you to terms that can come in handy.
People at the show, in my experience, tend to be open and friendly. They’re able to take time to chat, to answer questions, to talk to you. I’m not even talking about the vendors (some of those, on the other hand, appear to wish they were anywhere but there; catching their eye can be incredibly difficult) but of other attendees.
It’s been a long summer far from the boat for me. This feels like a bridge back to Calypso and the world I am so ready to be a part of.
Bring on the tribe. I’m psyched to see as many of you as I can.*