Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2016 Miami Boat Show - Part 1

--Blogpost written by Bob

I've had my (South Beach) hotel and (Miami) flight reservations for nearly seven weeks in advance.  With temperatures in the 70's in Miami, lots of boats and marine accessories on display, and no schedule, how could this long weekend be any better?  (Well, Maggie coming along and maybe having lots of money to spend would make it better.)

At the BWI airport, the sun was shining brightly but the temperature was only in 
the low 20's with a 20-knot wind to make it feel much colder.  
I am so glad to be going where it's warmer!

I'm traveling light, after checking my bright yellow duffel bag, with only my foul weather jacket and my iPad.  I'm at the airport more than two hours in advance of boarding time and I'm in the first boarding group for my 2.5-hour non-stop flight to Miami.  You might think I was looking forward to this trip.

My long-time sailing buddy, Bill, flew into Miami from Philadelphia, arriving about the same time as my flight.  We shared a cab to the hotel in South Beach.  The next day, it was a $20 cab fare to the Bay Side Park where Strictly Sail Miami was taking place.  We bought a 2-day pass at the gate for use on Friday and Saturday. 

Strictly Sail Miami by itself was about half the size of the Annapolis Sailboat Show.
However, the part of the show dealing with power boats, engines,
and accessories was overwhelming.

Purchased Outboard Motor Lift

Shortly after arriving on Friday, I ran into Kato Marine's booth and purchased our outboard motor lift and received a 10% discount--this was on my list of things to buy at the show and is on my project "to do" list. 

I really like the 230-pound capacity and the elegant
design of the KatoLift 230 shown here with a 15 HP outboard.

Look for more information on the installation in a future blogpost.

Purchased RAINMAN Water Maker

Later in the day I ran into the RAINMAN booth and asked a lot of questions because it was one of the two water makers I was considering--the other one was made by Spectra.  The two water makers are very different--the highly regarded Spectra unit must be permanently installed in the boat while the RAINMAN is a portable system consisting of a gas or electric driven pump unit and membrane filtering unit that can be stored in a cockpit locker when not in use.  

I had been leaning toward the Spectra unit until I attended this show but I was having a lot of difficulty figuring out where all the components for the Spectra system could be installed and what storage spaces I was willing to give up.  Also, there was the issue of how to feed the created fresh water into all three tanks--it would require a manifold and plumbed connections into each tank's fill connection.  While certainly not impossible, it would be a lot of work while we are living aboard (which adds to the difficulty of any boat project).

Nine reasons why I bought the RAINMAN water maker:
(1) Both the gas-driven pump unit and the membrane filter unit could easily be stored in our starboard cockpit locker when not in use.
(2) The unit could be easily setup in the cockpit while fresh water is being produced.
(3) To use the unit, the suction hose will be placed into clean seawater while the discharge hose is simply inserted in each tank's fill connection--no manifolds nor plumbing involved.
(4) The gas tank for the small 4-cycle engine is only 1 quart and it will run for 70 minutes.
(5) In the 70-minute run time, it will produce 16 gallons of fresh water.
(6) After 70 minutes, I could refill the gas tank and produce another 16 gallons (or repeat as necessary) or safely put the unit back in the cockpit locker after using all the gas in the tank.
(7) The RAINMAN unit was about $1500 less costly than the Spectra unit.
(8) The energy to run the water maker would come from our on-deck gasoline jug (also needed for our dinghy's outboard motor) instead of our solar panels and batteries.
(9) The engine is the same one used in Honda's portable generators and it's very quiet.

The RAINMAN gas engine-driven pump unit is at the bottom of the display
while the filtering membrane unit is at the top of the display.

After discussing the situation with Maggie by phone, we decided to go ahead and buy the RAINMAN water maker at the show if the show discount was significant.  The discount proved to be sufficient and I made the purchase--it will be shipped to us in March.  It will not be used until we get to the Bahamas in late-November or early-December.

Purchased SOS Distress Light

My onboard safety flares were outdated and I needed to get replacements.  As I was meandering around the Virginia Key location, I ran across the SOS distress light being sold by Weems & Plath--it only costs $100 and it never has to be replaced.  When activated, it is visible up to 10+ nautical miles and runs for 6 hours at peak intensity or 60 total hours on three c-size batteries. 

The SOS Distress Light came with the orange day flag signal flag, batteries, and an
orange whistle (as a boat show special).  I hope we never have to use this!


I also purchased a couple cheek blocks (a single and a double) from Garhauer Marine for my new mainsail reefing system. 

These carbon fiber fishing rods were handmade by Connley Fishing in Palm Beach.
They were on display in the accessories tent on the Virginia
Key side of the boat show.

Part 2 (coming up in a few days) includes the most unique boat of the show, my favorite boat of the show, photographs from a boat tour of Miami, and some sights around South Beach.  You can't beat this boat show in the middle of the winter!

Thanks for following our blog!


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