The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders














From The Boatshop
by Ron Magen

‘Boat Show Issue’

It’s been years since I’ve been to one of those extravaganzas called a ‘Boat Show’. Being a ‘rag bagger’ it is a given that it is a Sailboat show. [At this point I would like to apologize. I had intended to illustrate this column. I even took several digital pictures. Unfortunately, the camera was knocked off a table . . . and that ended that.]

Distance, time, cost, and DANGER {to the wallet} have all been factors. . . .we really have everything we need. However, this year was different. It was almost like I HAD to go. This year it was at the new Philadelphia Convention Center, literally a 30-minute commuter train ride away. The Center is ‘attached’ to one of the downtown stations . . . I didn’t even have to go outside. Add to this, that because I was a Volunteer at the U.S. Sailing booth {through MAYRA, the Red Dragon being a Member}, entrance was FREE. [Thank You - John Sheahan, Hart Kelley, and Julia Langford]. My Certification is from the American Sailing Association, and the two Certification Programs are equal. HOWEVER . . . U.S. Sailing does much more. They are the National Governing Body for sport sailing. They Administer & support many facets of activity . . . including the Olympics.

After my ‘watch’ at the booth I looked up several friends and suppliers who were ‘showing’. One of the first was my sailing alma mater - Chesapeake Sailing School - where Joanne & I got our ASA Certification. Now run by a young lady Kristy Goode, it was fun talking about who was still on-staff and getting caught up on people, classes, and what the new offerings were.

While neither the ‘Potter’ nor the SpeedTech people were there, Dwyer Masts was. I had a nice conversation with Bob Dwyer, the owner of the company. We discussed a particular problem I am having with slugs jamming {when hoisting the main}. It has been going on since I got the mast from them. The ‘fix’ they originally sent {via discussions with the local Marina that received it and set it up} was for the problem with the wrong size ‘cut out’. The slugs ‘tripping’ was the end result. We discussed making an ‘extended gate’ to hold the slugs below the level of the mast’s thickness. It’s nice when you can meet the manufacturer face-to-face and discuss solutions . . . that way you are all on the ‘same page’. My next stop was at Ronstan . . . and not just to hear the Australian accent. An old catalog shows a 3 inch long slug. A couple of e-mail conversations indicated they were still available. On the odd chance they had one or two physically available {for ‘touchee-feelee’}, I asked and at least got a new catalog.

I always like to ‘Thank’ people. Suppliers are always confronted with bitches & complaints about some product or service. Very seldom does someone come up to them, especially at a show like this, and just say, “Thanks . . . I like your product XYZ very much”. To that end, it was surprising how many of the booths were ‘manned’ by the owners of the companies - Dwyer and Gauheaur [Bill Feigenhauer - President], for example. Another was a recent friend - John Cherubini. He and I joined the Red Dragon on the same day, two years ago. The name Cherubini used to be synonymous with high quality custom made wood boats. Also responsible for the design of some classic production sailboats like the ‘First Generation’ Hunter’s {1972 to 81, and 25 to 54 feet} - designed by John’s father. The last time I saw their name on a ‘boatyard’ was several years ago, in Riverside, NJ. Then they were bought and the name changed. NOW, John and his cousin Dave, are trying to re-establish the old ‘credentials’. His booth had several beautiful, original design sketches . . . as well as a full size ‘segment’ of a wood hull and trunk cabin. They were very busy, and well on their way to the first ‘build schedule’ of three boats [the 44 Ketch, beginning in March, of this year], and the refurbishment of some past classics.

North Sails had a display booth. Seemed rather small {for them}, but it may have been because it was a ‘local’ show. Henry Bossett was from the New Jersey ‘loft’ in Manasquan. We had a short chat about small boat sailors, ‘big boat sails’, and racing/cruising schools.

With my involvement with wooden boats and ‘things Nautical’ made of wood, whenever I see large pieces of the material, or see the word “Teak”, it immediately grabs my attention. There was a small but interesting display from ‘Finger Lakes Sailing Services’. The back ‘wall’ of the booth was filled with large ‘traditional’ trail boards with deeply carved golden lettered names. Ken Brown {‘Marine Woodworker’} helps make the doors, trays, trim-work, and other ‘furnishings’. However he leaves the carving duties to Bob Haney {Bob & John Haney, owners}

Speaking of woodworking, sailing ships, & local . . . The Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild had a display with a ‘palm & needle sailmaker’ at work. We discussed a few ‘tips’ about making the ubiquitous and always useful ‘Eye Splice’. The beginning ‘3rd tuck’ {where you turn the eye over} is always the tricky part. Anyway, it looks like I might be adding my skills to the Guild . . . helping to maintain and sail the historic {100 year old} Portuguese barkentine, GAZELA PRIMEIRO.

Let me not forget the good people of ‘Sail Care’. While my sails are in pretty good shape, and there are at least 3 nearby sailmakers nearby, so I haven’t had them do any sail work. However, others have greatly benefitted from their LaMauney Process for cleaning & ‘re-resining’ sails. What I can personally recommend is their ‘Sail Cradle’ {NOT ‘just another Lazy Jack’} MK III. Plus, they remember people . . . even if you only bought one thing from them at a show several years ago !! “A great aid to short handed sailors. . . or couples” is 100% true. While we don’t need any more sail ties, with 17 colors available and up to 8 feet long, we can always use a couple more strong leads for our two Malamutes.

While it has been a few years, I have been to ‘this’ show at least three times. Even though this was a Friday, the one feeling I got was that attending people, AND VENDERS, were a bit ‘light’. I can understand the people . . . we were expecting a good bit of snow Saturday afternoon into Sunday . . . and DID get it. However, for something of this nature the vendors have to plan about a year in advance. From what I heard from people who were there on Saturday {and returned home through about 8 inches of snow}, the attendance was about the same as Friday. They did say it was an “. . .enjoyable and fun experience . . .” I agree, and very much recommend ‘playing hooky’ for a week-day or afternoon. With less crowding you get a better look, and maybe a bit more attention if you have a serious question.

Although this particular ‘show’ has been held for several years {from it’s beginning} at the Atlantic City {NJ} Convention Hall, this is the first year at this venue, in Philadelphia. It is also my understanding that not only was the name changed {now ‘Strictly Sail’} but the ‘promoter’ as well. Several other people have commented on the low turn-out; perhaps this accounts for it. If it stays here in Philadelphia, I’ll certainly be here next year.

It’s really nice to have one of these things right on your door-step . . . If you have one close by, or even an hour or so away, they are definitely worth the trip. This week Atlantic City is hosting the {SHUDDER!} Power Boat Show. A couple of weeks ago the Ft. Washington Convention Center {here in the ‘burbs} held the ‘Sportsman’s Show’ . . . with those ‘fast Bass boats’, etc. So there is probably something for everyone close by.

HOWEVER . . .there is always ANNAPOLIS . . . and Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs !!

United States Sailing Association
Portsmouth, RI [MAYRA]

Red Dragon Canoe Club
Edgewater Park, NJ Phila., PA

Dwyer Aluminum Mast Company
North Branford, CT

Garhauer Quality Marine Hardware
Upland, CA

Cherubini Yachts, LLC
Delran, NJ

North Sails - New Jersey
Manasquan, NJ

Mid Atlantic Yacht Racing Association

The Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild
Phila., PA

Chesapeake Sailing School
Annapolis, MD

Sandringham, Victoria, Aus.
info@ronstan.com.au {office@ronstan.us}

Finger Lakes Sailing Services
Ithaca, NY

Sail Care
Ford City, PA