Strictly Sail Pacific: A Bitchin’ Boat Show
April 16, 2014
Strictly Sail Pacific… in one word…WOW! I’ll admit, I’ve never been to a sailing show, or to northern California, so I had no clue what to expect. But when Matt asked me if I wanted to go, the answer was, “Hell yes.” Any opportunity to get away for a couple of days, is always appealing to a stay at home mother of two. So we purchased our thrifty Thursday passes for eleven dollars each, boarded our 8 PM flight on Wednesday and we were in Oakland by 10 PM. We found it easier to stay close to the airport (and the Raider’s coliseum) because we landed late Wednesday night.
The next morning we couldn’t get to the show fast enough! We wanted to experience Oakland to its fullest, so we jumped on the BART. If you’ve never been to Oakland, the BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit. You basically pay your fare at a kiosk and use the ticket to get on the underground train. I felt like I was in New York City! When we arrived, we immediately headed straight for the million dollar catamarans. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend our time, but to drool over boats we’d never be able to afford. After quickly realizing we were missing out on some free schwag, and Matt is a huge fan of free, we headed toward the main building. On our way, we ran into Mantus Anchors. Mantus is a smaller sized company gaining serious traction with an innovative product line. Visiting with companies like this is why Matt and I wanted to attend the show. We love hearing their stories, how they started out, and why/when they fell in love with sailing. We have also procured Mantus as our very FIRST sponsor and will be providing a detailed post in due time on this subject!
After visiting, we realized we were late for our first seminar on Off Shore Self Steering hosted by John and Karen Curry. It was very interesting and John is hilarious. The next seminar we attended was Communications on the High Seas for the Cruising Sailor, hosted by Richard Beckett. At that point my ADD was setting in and I split for lunch with our friend Amanda Best and Matt stuck around with Shane and attended Rig Inspection, hosted by Brion Toss. Shane and Matt are both diehards and could sit for days listening to ol’ salts talk about sailing. Once the seminars ended, we quickly sniffed out the Quantum Sail wine and cheese happy hour and after 3 bottles of wine, we finally decided it was time to meet my idol. Someone had said Bob Bitchin was in the next booth and I was ready to say hi, now that I had plenty of liquid courage. He was everything I expected, jovial, chocked full of great stories, and a giant teddy bear. He made my trip! He’s the kind of guy you could sit around a camp fire and listen to all night. As many of you know Bob has written seven books on sailing and his adventures in it, was the publisher of Latitudes and Attitudes, and now publishes Cruising Outpost Magazine. Bob really helped me to connect with sailing, he inspired me to love sailing in the first place, and then makes me fall in love with it all over again every time I read one of his books or magazines. He’s down to earth, positive and enthusiastic about sailing, and through that embodies the sailing community attitude.
Not only did we purchase our Guidebooks/Charts (at a discount) for the western coast of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez, but we met the authors themselves and they signed our books. Another perk to buying stuff at the show.
A huge factor in making the boat show so much fun was also meeting some new cruising friends. Shane and Amanda Best, who just purchased a Tayana 42 (s/v Sunday Morning…soon to be Wryly Phoenix) , were also at the boat show. They had originally emailed us for info on a Tayana for sale in Mexico that we had previously looked at. They like to party and have fun! So we hit it off. I have found the sailing community is filled with some awesome people, Amanda and Shane are two of them.
The boat show was a great way for Matt and I to experience new products, meet a plethora of great sailors and friends, and learn more on the finer points of sailing. We both decided next year we will go again, but we’ll be staying longer. One day just isn’t enough!