Ahoy followers! As Phillip and I are here working in Pensacola and checking down our winter boat projects list, I’m getting lots of emails and messages from friends who are going to the Miami Boat Show, which is fantastic news! Phillip and I are huge fans of the show.
As many of you may be headed that way now, I thought I would share a little about our first Miami Boat Show experience back in 2015 when Phillip whisked this wanna-be sailor down to south Florida to board tons of fancy boats we would never buy and get starry-eyed from all of the “sailebrity” sightings! Think Pam Wall, Bob Bitchin, John Kretschmer, Nigel Calder, and the like. All those amazing worldwide sailors who were cruising way before we had auto-pilots and B&Gs and AIS.
And, I can with absolute 100% confidence say the reason Phillip and I are now committed cruisers and ocean voyagers is because we went to the Miami Boat Show in 2015. I’m serious. Ask Phillip and he will be the first to tell you, the reason he first started considering doing an Atlantic Circle was because of a talk John Kretschmer gave on it at the 2015 boat show. The reason I got super pumped about sailing our boat to the Bahamas to cruise the Abacos was because Pam Wall emphatically shouted over and over during her seminar: “You must go to the Bahamas! Go, go! You must! Pam says!” They and my other treasured sailebrities had such a positive impact on Phillip and me and our then just-flickering ambitions to cruise and cross oceans. For any of you headed to Miami for the boat show now, I hope these seasoned, experienced sailors have the same impact on you. Attend every free seminar you can! Soak up all their knowledge!
And, in honor of mine and Phillip’s first time at the show, I share now some fun throwback photos below and one of our most memorable moments from the 2015 Strictly Sail Miami show. I hope you all experience a similar “right and proper” Nigel Calder-esque moment like this during your time at the show. Enjoy!
Speaking of free food, after our third day at the show, we found ourselves nearing the evening, wandering the docks yet again and poking around all of the fancy boats we couldn’t afford. Inadvertently, we stumbled into the velvet rope cordoned-corner for Leopard Catamarans. Champagne glasses were clinking. Everyone had dainty little plates in their hands heaped with dainty little saucy bites and bits. It looked delicious, and we were hungry. We had no interest in buying a boat at the show, much less buying a catamaran, but that’s the beauty of the boat show–it doesn’t matter! All they want is your name and an email so they can eHound you later and you’re in! “I’ve got plenty of junk emails. You’re welcome to all of them!”
It didn’t take much and we were soon behind the velvet rope, standing in line at the hot bar filling our own little dainty plates with steaming empanadas, croquettes, meat pies, you name it! And, there we were, two stacked plates between us, and a glass and a half of champagne, and guess who we saw standing not five feet away? The one. The only. Nigel Calder. I nudged Phillip hard, pointed in Nigel’s direction and hissed at him, “Look, it’s Mr. Seized-it-up-Solid!” He was right there, eating the free food right along with us. I wanted to find a suitable bush I could nestle in, pick it up and twinkle-toe over so I could spy on him. Phillip had the better idea to actually walk up to the man and talk to him.
Turns out, he was super approachable and easy to talk to. After a few exchanges, Nigel asked Phillip and I what connection we had to Leopard, to which we replied, “None. We just wanted some free food.”
“Well, that’s very proper of you,” Nigel responded in his thick British accent. “Why d’you think I’m here?” he said with a smile and continued nibbling.
Nigel then told us how he and his family, when they were live-aboard, on-the-hook cruisers, would scope out the big boat shows at the marinas and find out when the roped-off sales tents–like the very one we were standing in–would shut down for the day. The whole brood would then plan to motor up in their dinghy about that time and let the good yachties know they were welcome to donate any food that was going to go to the trash to the Calder clan instead. Nigel said they used to rack up on all sorts of free provisions that way.
The man is a total cruiser to the core. Love that guy.
And, some fun photos from our time at the Miami Boat Show back in 2015. Enjoy!