Boats in the South Loop (Part 4)

Boats in the South Loop (Part 4)

So here it is a few degrees below zero and I’m looking out the window at my very own sailboat leaning up against my backyard fence in the South Loop that I won at one of the boat shows last year–that I still haven’t transported over to the yacht club that I also joined last year.  And I’m dreaming of summer.  And boating.

But the real reason I’m dreaming of boats is that I just attended the boat show at McCormick Place last week as a guest of my good friend Colleen Richardson who works for the National Marine Manufacturers Association–in the “Discover Boating” department. I’ve known her for a year now and as everyone knows, I have discovered boating.  She’s good at her job.

I was really surprised to see a lot of things that were new at the boat show in 2014.  Or at least that I didn’t see last year.  And had no idea they existed.  Like a toilet that pops up on top of a pontoon boat.

So, let’s say you have a guest in your big floating living room under the midday sun and you’re drinking a few beers or a bottle of champagne or something on a calm little lake.  And suddenly nature calls.

No problem.  You just hoist your toilet–surrounded by a canvas-like curtain–right out of your deck.  Then the person who has to goes in.  Surrounded by the curtain.  And afterwards, you just push the toilet back down and out of sight .  I saw the whole thing and how it works.  Although I didn’t see anyone tinkle in it.

Then there were classes at the show this year that explained how you can become a ship’s captain.  Or do engine maintenance.  My Topaz Taz has no engine to maintain, thankfully.  So that class wasn’t for me.  But, unfortunately, I wasn’t there at the right time for the class in becoming  a captain.  Or else I would have learned how.

I did take a class however, courtesy of the Annapolis School of Seamanship; in fact, I took a few:  one in how to navigate New York Harbor on a big virtual setup where I passed, among other things on my journey the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, the Brooklyn Bridge and Battery Park in Manhattan.

I also learned how to lasso–with a rope–a boat to the dock.

I could also have thrown off my clothes, put on a wetsuit and learned how to scuba dive in a big pool.  With a big instructor.  They were doing that this year at the boat show–and selling scuba trips to Bonaire, too.  But I didn’t do that because I already have my scuba certification.  Got it decades ago–and did scuba until I developed a pathological fear of breathing the air in my tank.

I also passed up the Stand Up Paddleboarding lessons.  And, thus, I didn’t learn about new trends like SUP yoga.  Makes me feel queasy just thinking of such a thing.

And I couldn’t fit in the Rockin’ Rollin’ Bubbles–which was only for kids.  Kids who wanted to experience life in a hamster cage–albeit on the water in a big plastic thing shaped like a hamster wheel.

So you must be wondering if there were any boats among all this stuff.  Yes.  Tons.  Vintage boats.  Simple motor boats.  Bigger power boats.  And two “queens” of the show.  Just imagine the galleys, the bedrooms, the heads on these babies!  The luxury was overwhelming, as were the extras for the captain lucky enough to navigate one.  One of the queens sold right off the floor for “just under $989,000.00,” according to a salesman from Prestige Luxury Motor Yachts.  A steal!  But the other, offered by Skipper Bud’s, hadn’t sold yet when I visited the show.  It was marked down from $1,587,066.00 to $1,211,165.00.  Another steal.

I just wish I could have figured out how to steal it with my newfound boat lassoing skills.

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