What We do, When We’re Doing Nothing: November 2016 to March 2017

Collier-Seminole State Park

I’m not sure how to attest for this missing period of time on our blog…so I’m just going to fill it in as best I can.  We finished our Short, Short Trailer trip and returned home in mid November. We had nothing to do, except unpack and relax around the house. If you know us…you’re already laughing uncontrollably.

We returned on November 13th and headed back out the door on November 18th, to meet up with our Florida kids and grand-kids, at Collier-Seminole State Park in Naples Florida. This was a very nice, small park. Great for the kids to ride around on their bikes. We had campfires every night and ate our way through a few bags of marshmallows in the evenings and pancakes in the morning.

Marco Island sunset with the family

Russ and RJ

Family photo time, Collier-Seminole State Park


It’s hard to get a good picture off this gang!

No wonder these people are a bunch of cut-ups! Apples and trees, they don’t fall very far.

Marco Island Sunset

We had a great few hours hanging out with Tommy and Alecia, as they headed South through Jensen Beach on Saol Nua. It’s amazing how many great friends we have made along this adventure!

Tommy and Alecia and the family, making their way back to Boot Key Harbor

We had a big crowd for Thanksgiving! Josiah and Sami came from Dallas to be with us, it was a great day to be thankful for family and friends.

Thanksgiving 2016

Josiah, Sami, Jennifer and Russ

Every year close to Thanksgiving, its gonna be Josiah’s birthday. This year we celebrated a day early, while the whole gang was here. Julie made a delicious cake, and Josiah’s still able to blow out all the candles, whoohoo!

Josiah’s 27th birthday…no helping with the candles, kids!

We always make time to go for a ride!

There’s always time for a ride with Rick and Jennifer

We have been blessed with so many friends since we began this adventure. Jack and Cheryl, from Zig Zag, came to visit! Yes…I promise Cheryl was there, too…she always manages to elude my camera!!! Eureka and Nyah had a good ole reunion, Pepe was being a cat.

Jack, Cheryl and Eureka came for a visit

While Josiah was in the area, we were able to spend a few more days with him up at our place in the Ocala Forest. Here’s a change up…dinner by Josiah, photography by Mom!

Dinner by Josiah

On December 5th we headed out to Indiantown to the DuPuis Wildlife Management Area. This is a free campground, although you need to go on-line and register in advance. There are no hook-ups for water or electric (we brought a generator.) They do have a dump station on site. And speaking of sites, there were no designated spots, just pull into an area and put out the table cloth. But, that also means, that after you are all set up, someone can set up too close, which is what happened to us. It was nice this time of year, no bugs, and we didn’t need any a/c.

DuPuis Wildlife Management Area, Indiantown, FL

My brother, his wife and my sister came to town, and we celebrated an early birthday dinner for my Mom. Mmmm, Captain Jack’s buried treasure. I miss Ale House! Can Mom have another birthday soon?

Early Birthday dinner for Jennifer’s Mom.

Austin and Kiera invited us to their school parties.

Parties at School

We are relaxing, right? We really need to make sure our new camper is working, so, on December 18th, we headed out to the St. Lucie Locks campground, and though it was close to home, we had a great time. We had a few visitors, a couple of hikes, a couple of bicycle rides, and a great time just watching the boats go through the locks. Russ had the whole place lit up with a ton of Christmas lights, too. This was a great campground, difficult to get a reservation, because there are only ten or so sites. We will come again.

St. Lucie Locks, Stuart, FL

St. Lucie Locks

St. Lucie Locks

Before we knew it, it was time for Christmas festivities to begin. Kiera and Chloe, twirled their way through the Stuart Christmas Parade.

Our little Twirlers marched in the Stuart Christmas Parade

Christmas in our world is always spread out over a week or two. First up, another visit from Josiah! I think he just came to see Nyah and Pepe, lol!

Josiah and Nyah. Nyah loved her lion mane, and proudly pranced around.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day with the family.

Christmas Eve, Christmas day, family fun

When Missy comes to visit, that means presents from Miss Nancy for everyone!

Opening our Christmas presents

Russ’ high school buddy, Dan and Pam, came to hang out after Christmas with us.


Dan and Pam, lights at the Mansion on Hutchinson

And just in case you think we couldn’t possibly squeeze any more into the schedule, all my cousins came to Jacksonville, and I had not seen them in many years. So I ran up to visit my Aunt and Uncle, and all the cousins! I was home by New Years Eve!

Hanging out with my cousins!

And that was a wrap on 2016! Do you think we squeezed enough in? It was a great year, and we would do it all again. This adventure is absolutely awesome!

Welcome 2017. What can we find to do this year? Let’s start with a camping trip to Gainseville and Chiefland, Florida. We spent January 4-8 at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, just South of Gainesville. It was a great campground, filled with beautiful oak hammocks, and a short walk to Lake Walburg. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with us. A cold-front moved in, we had rain and a too cold for South-Florida people kinda days. But, we didn’t have a wet tent to deal with!!!

Paynes Prairie Preserve, Gainseville, FL

We moved on January 8th to Manatee Springs State Park. The weather cleared up and we had a fabulous time hiking, kayaking, and eating some really great BBQ at Anderson’s Outfitters located right in the park on the spring.

Russ trying out his Christmas gift from Josiah and Sami. Hiking trails abound. Manatee Springs State Park.

Kayaking at Manatee Springs State Park

Lunch at Anderson’s Outfitters, Manatee Springs State Park

Campground hosts, Manatee Springs State Park

Around Chiefland, Manatee Springs State Park

Love camping in the winter and a great campfire, Manatee Springs State Park

We had a great dinner with Ashton and Nina, on s/v Soul Mate, while they were held up waiting for a weather window to head out for the Bahamas. Have I mentioned how much fun we have been having with all these boating people we have made friends with. Wish we could have gone to the Bahamas with you!

Ashton and Nina, just one pic with the peacock!

And our sad day, the one we were dreading, where Nyah walked over the rainbow bridge to the special place that our fur-babies go. She was the best pup ever and our hearts are broken! Miss you girl, you are the best!

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

We tried to stay home…but… So we spent a few days at our place in the Ocala National forest. More hiking and fires and a few more tears!

Hiking a section of the Florida Trail in the Ocala National Forest

Fire! Ocala National Forest

Birding, Ocala National Forest

Our place in the Forest, is just a nice ride to St. Augustine…and no trip to St. Augustine would be complete without O’Steen’s and visiting friends who happen to be in town.


We found Mike and Lori working. What’s wrong with these people! It was great to make them stop and have a drink and catch up since we last saw them back at Boot Key Harbor.

Mike an Lori, from Cheshire

And just when we think we can take a break…the bottom needs a little attention. We headed out to the inlet with Ike and John, to give the boats a little TLC.

Hey look! We still have a boat.

Now that the sailboat bottom is all cleaned up, we decided to…wait for it…take a camping trip to the Keys! Fun, fun, fun hanging out and catching up with everyone, and the weather was perfect!

Was this site, one, two or three? Camping in the Keys, Long Key State Park

We had to move two times during our stay to make it work, but it was worth it!

Kayaking in Boot Key Harbor with Cyndi and Molly, from Island Finz

Scrapple for breakfast at the Wooden Spoon. Oh, yea…he don’t like scrapple, he got pancakes!

Crane Point and Russ’ birthday with Steve and Cyndi…and Molly too.

Burdidne’s for dinner and Music of Cory and Ty. Roland and Lita, Tommy and Alecia and gang, and Steve and Cyndi.

Pepe misses being on the boat!

We slowed down for March. We have another adventure for April and May, so we need to pack and get it all together. But not until we celebrated my Dad’s birthday with a weekend trip to the Ocala National Forest, with my sister and her girl, Roxie!

Birthday Weekend for my Dad

Around the house while we were packing, our bird of paradise bloomed and Missy came to visit for a few days.

Bird of paradise, Missy and Pepe Le Pew

We did a looong day up to Daytona Bike Week…I think there’s a reason they call it a bike week and not a bike day! It’s a lot to squeeze into one day, but we did it! It was much easier with the Krispy Creme donuts on the ride home, Thanks Jennifer for the great snack idea!!!

2017 Daytona Bike Week, with Rick and Jennifer

A Couple of family birthday dinners, and we are ready to gas up the truck and head out of here.

Early birthday dinners with the family

Hey, thanks for hanging in there for my catch-up blog. You know we love you and are glad you can follow along with our crazy adventures! Stay tuned…more to come!

Farewell to Boot Key Harbor: Our last weeks with Family and Friends


Oh my, it’s so hard to keep up a blog when you are too busy having fun. And fun is just what we were having the past few weeks.

Many have been making their exodus’ from Boot Key Harbor, some have return home, others have taken their only home to its next destination, so we were blessed to have several farewell get togethers with many new friends.

We all said goodbye to Dockside on this night, as they closed the doors for good a few days later. Fiddle Rock was great and all had fun, especially Rolland and Leta.image


This cute birdie stopped to give up some kisses to me.image

Then it was time with these cuties! Just for my Birthday and Easter, our daughter and son-in-law, Ashley and Ron and two of our grandchildren, Austin and Kiera, came to stay a few days.image



After we went snorkeling at Sombrero Reef, they made steak, baked potatoes and broccoli for my birthday dinner, all my favorites! BB from S/V Island Fever baked a loaf of lemon cake too, mmmm, so good! And the day ended with a little Birthday celebration at our boat.image

We went to Key West, and stopped on Big Pine to see the Key Deer.image

Havana Jacks to hear Ty and Cory and relax on the comfy couches and chairs.image

We think our son-in-law could be Cory’s brother. What do you think?image

We also did some fishing and the kids took the catch home to enjoy. Yea! They like it.image

On our last morning the kids participated in the Easter egg hunt the Marina staff out together. Thank you everyone, it was great fun.image

Our friends Gary and Debbie from S/V Aldeberon sold their boat, so we helped taxi things to shore before the new owners arrived to take possession. We are sad to see you go, but pray for safety in your next adventure. We had a a great evening at Lu Lu’s, we even got to hear Rolland sing and get his autograph!image

Kayaking in Boot Key is cool. We went with BB from S/V Island Fever and her son Justin, who was visiting from the cold north. The “trails” are amazing. And so was the company.image

Other fun things in the past few weeks was the Southern most Key West air show. Great talent and the Blue Angels made for a spectacular show. The company was great too, Mike and Lori from S/V Cheshire as was our pizza and salad at the no name Pub.image

This was an interesting demonstration of clean energy, I failed to get the back story, but thought the boat looked pretty interesting. If anyone knows about this, I’d love to know too!image

The Budweiser Clydesdale horses made a local appearance on their way south to the air show.image

Our friend Dan and his girl, Pam came a started a few days. We made another trip to Sombrero reef. I don’t s have a pic, but Dan found the best eggs and potatoes, with a slice of the best scrapple I’ve had in a very long.image

Dan’s service dog, Gracie, and Nyah had a great time doing doggie things, like watching the Dolphins swim by and giving Ms. Katrina a small face massageimage


We finally made the boat ride out the Pigeon Key and had a great afternoon exploring the water off the dock. Unfortunately, that’s all we were able to do because they closed at 4. But we still had a great time hanging out the Dan and Pam and Ashton and Nina.image

We had another get together/dinner at Havanna Jack’s. With Ashton and Nina and Greg and Judy before they all left for points beyond.image

One last night out with the locals! Always good to hear Ty and Cory. We will miss their music and all the great friends we have made. And Burdine’s French fries.image

Ashton let us use his bike when he was gone and Nina challenged be to try the foot pegs. I did it and here’s proof.image

They do these things here, it’s called dinghy rafts and they just float through the water picking up those left behind or stranded. We caught one in progress. It turned out to be a lot of fun.image

Pepe is on a mission to prove curiosity killed the cat. We can not open anything up he wants to get inside.image

Well these are pics of our real last minutes to do stuff. No I didn’t go tofloating around, it’s freezer defrost time. The Captain changes out the power trim motor on the whaler and we had dinner with our friends Lori and Mike, this is Lori and I. Nyah said goodbye to Nina. Nyah wants to be her little dog (her dog at home is a mastiff!)


And just like that, four and a half months at Boot Key Harbor came to an end. We loved the people and all the activities, we hope to come back again soon.

We had one last show from the dolphins as we left the harbor!!!image

We are heading to the Bahamas, stay tuned for all the new adventures to come. Thanks for following along with us.image

My Five: March


My five this month have to do with storage and making things weigh less. We hope to head to the Bahamas in the next few weeks and we will have to leave the mobile storage unit behind. Everything I think we need must live on the boat or we will do without it.Mobile Storage Unit

#1 Taking more stuff off the boat. We have managed to reduce and thin out yet again. All this stuff in the back of the mobile storage unit is going home, but it isn’t enough, No Ka Oi has a sinking water line and as much as I think I am a minimalist, I fail miserably!

image image

#2 Vacuum bags. I have taken vacuum bags beyond collapsing clothes and bedding. I have bags of coffee in one, making it flat enough to slide behind the water tank and keeping them together so they don’t fall into any cracks. And how about this idea for toilet paper? Its working for me. That’s 24 rolls in that red bag and 18 in the blue one, waterproof and heading to the bilge.image

#3 Powdered milk. I tested out making my own yogurt from powdered milk and a thermos. This idea from The Boat Galley turned out quite well. And if I hadn’t read Carolyn’s blog, I would have never known about this brand of powdered milk. It is good. I will be throwing away the last package of the Carnation stuff I have, it tastes awful. Yogurt from powdered milkimage

#4 I took my jeans off the boat because they are bulky and hard to wash by hand. But, I think I need at least a pair of long pants for the summer. These light-weight 100% cotton ones should do the trick. They dried on my makeshift cloths line in an hour and need no iron!image

#5 Primula Coffee Brew Buddy. I’m in love with this little guy and my coffee maker is going home. I am the only one who drinks joe on our yacht, so this is perfect for my one to two cup morning habit. $5.99 and a small pot of boiling water and it gains me more space. Here’s a link, Coffee Brew Buddy. I just purchased the basket and set it right on my Yeti cup and it works perfect.image

I’d still like to raise the water line, let me know your best ideas for lessening the weight.

Bike Week and Work Week: What Happens if You Leave Boot Key Harbor


Well we left the Harbor to meet family and friends at Daytona’s 75th Annual Bike Week. We had a great time at the bike week part, unfortunately, anytime we head home there are problems to deal with!image

Let’s me share the problems first, so we can finish this blog up on a happy note!

You might remember the tree that was struck by lightning last summer? Well it wasted no time dying and had to be taken down. This was not in the budget, but the dropping part was out of our skill set. We settled for having it dropped and cut into big pieces and we supplied the labor to cut it up the rest of the way and stack up for fire wood. For the record, our retirement hourly rate is $88.23. We aren’t discussing what the split on this rate is.imageimageThen there was the swimming pool. Not a good day when you come home and the pool is only half full! Fortunately, the pool guy had turned off the pump when he thought there might be a problem, so the Captain donned the only mask living at the house and put down a patch. We will get a bill later this month letting us know how this impacted the budget.image

I’m not sure how mixing up the vet appointment for the wrong day, turned into pressure washing the decks and driveways. We could have rested on that extra day, but not when you live with Captain Bligh!image

We ended our “week” home (actually ten days) by waiting for the vet to fill prescriptions for Nyah and Pepe, who apparently picked up a little something along the way. Meds all ingested, they are good to go. And so are we!

Bike week was beautiful.image

We couldn’t have asked for nicer riding weather. BB and Howard came over and we took a nice ride to Lake Weir and then back to Daytona for dinner and a cruise down Main Street.image

We met up with Pete at Rossmeyers on Friday and enjoyed looking at the “big wheel” bag bikes competition.imageimage

Damien and Julie came up and and we had a perfect ride on Saturday morning and Saturday night. We spent the day at Rossmeyers, the Daytona Speedway and Main Street. Fortunately, Julie was able to find a nice leather jacket and could throw this one I loaned her away, before the world was full of black flakes.image

Rick and Jennifer made a last minute trip up on Saturday and it was great hanging out and seeing them before they had to head back home.image

We are back at the boat making final preparations for heading to the Bahamas soon. It’s always nice when the locals come out to greet us.image

We are glad to be back in Boot Key, but what’s up with this temperature in the middle of March???image

But we will take it as long as we keep getting these views.image

Working Hard in Boot Key Harbor: SSB Installation

No Ka Oi has an additional radio aboard. After months of research and weighing of options, we took the plunge and invested in a single side band marine radio (SSB).

Our main reasons for even considering adding more weight to our already sinking water line was to receive accurate and timely weather, as well as safety and personal communications abilities, when we are out of the country and do not have accessible wifi or oh one service.

The Captain started the research by polling other cruisers and killing our cellular data plan. Our friend Addison on S/V Three Penny Opera, started out his recommendations with this insight.

“The answer to what is the best way to get weather info in areas of weak or no cell coverage is a little tricky because it all depends on your budget, where you are cruising and how long you plan to cruise.”
Taking his advice and the ideas from other cruisers, the options we considered included:

SSB receiver only: Grundig Yacht Boy or a Sony World Traveller
SSB HF/MF radio with a Pactor modem
Satellite phone
Satellite appliances: Iridium Go, Delorme Inreach or Globalstar Spot Messenger
Doing nothing at all and relying on cell phone reception, VHF, word of mouth or wifi connections, because we did not have this item in our budget.

We finally decided an SSB was the best option for us. One comment from Addision kept coming back into our conversations, “There is a lot to be said for dead reliable technology, even if it is over 100 years old.” We highly considered just getting the receiver, but we didn’t feel it was a good investment in the long run because we knew eventually we would need to communicate out and also add email capabilities in the future.

We purchased:
Icom M802, transceiver, and an AT-140 automatic antenna tuner
GAM split lead back stay antenna
KISS counterpoise
DSC antenna emergency receiving antenna
2 – 35 foot LMR 400 coax antenna cables
Misc screws, brackets and wire ties

We didn’t get the Pactor modem at this time for budget reasons and our adventure for the remainder of this year will regularly have is in places we can get wifi. We also heard there might be some options to hook our PC directly to the SSB if we purchase certain software, so we will be checking into that option.

The parts trickled in. The SSB remote and the transceiver were on back order, but rather than wait for everything and have one big install, the Captain worked in stages.

The GAM antenna arrived first and the Captain had it in place on the back stay in 30 to 40 minutes. He snapped it onto the stay and slid it up into place. The wifi antenna had to be removed and ended up just a bit lower after the GAM was in place, but seems to be working fine. This was an easy install and we didn’t have to cut the stay to add ? like some antenna options require.


Next, he installed the DSC antenna he picked up for $15 from a friend who had never installed it on his boat. Finding a place on our already full transom and a trip to Home Depot for a couple of SS screws and nuts, was the hardest part of this install. This is the one component we hope is never actually used.

The automatic antenna tuner was not on back order, so the GPS store shipped that ahead of the other pieces. This was installed in the inside of the transom in our rear locker.

A few days later, we received notification that the antenna coax arrived. While I went ashore to retrieve them, the Captain emptied lockers so he could crawl into the bilge to run them from the tuner box to the navigation station. When we opened the box, we had one white wire and one black. They should have been the same. Upon inspection, the white wire’s package was labeled LMR 400, but the imprint on the cable was SI 400. So much for Amazon orders! We contacted the manufacture, MDI Digital, and they shipped us two new cables, with a discount. They were on a truck within an hour. We returned our Amazon order, and put the boat back together until the correct cables arrived. Installation of cables was finally completed, with the Captain being a Houdini.image

Finally the SSB and transceiver arrived and the final connections were made. Nice job Captain.

Pepe is a true ships cat, maybe a former plant operator in one of his nine lives. He performed all necessary walk downs and hung all the clearances.image

Now to test it out!

Success! We tested our reception early the next morning by listening to a Chris Parker broadcast. We could hear anyone he was talking to who was Northeast of the radio towers to the East of us in the harbor, those towers cause all kinds of issues.

The Captain applied for the necessary FCC licenses online and we received them in a few days. After programming our MMI numbers into the radio, we were good to transmit. We had clear conversations with two different vessels in the harbor, and we feel comfortable that we have added a layer of safety to our adventure.

If you have information on the SSB email options without using a Pactor modem, I’d love to hear about it.

Better Weather: News from Boot Key Harbor

IMG_4720 Boot Key Dinghy dock

Better weather has finally settled in and we are taking advantage and getting out and about to enjoy Marathon and Boot Key Harbor. Everyone else seems to be doing the same, the dinghy dock has been filled to capacity.

We had a fun evening at Burdines enjoying the music of Ty and Cory. Our front row seats at the groupie table were perfect and the company was great too. Thanks so much Marsha for letting us crash your table after we were too late to get a seat with Lori and Mike!jenniferbaringer

Georgette and Gary had to leave to go work at Turkey Point for a couple of months, before they begin their Great Loop adventure. We have had a great time getting to know these two better, we met last summer in Marineland and clicked immediately when we learned they are nuke workers like us. A great part of our adventure is all the great new people we have met and the wonderful friendships we are making.jenniferbaringer

If you find a small trail in the mangroves, on the west side of Sister’s Creek, near a rope swing, you should definitely spend a few hours hiking the old roads on Boot Key. We had a lot of fun exploring and the harbor view from the bridge is awesome. The Captain was car shopping, I didn’t let him get one though.jenniferbaringer

Full moon over the harbor. No wind + no rain = a great view.jenniferbaringer

Nyah was not impressed by talking tug boat at the nautical flea market, she certainly felt the need to protect us from it.jenniferbaringer

Our SSB radio arrived in bits and pieces and the Captain was a real trooper to run wires up the stay, down the bilge and everywhere in between! Next up licensing and learning to use it. Blog post to follow.jenniferbaringer

After all that contorting, I convinced the Captain that he could do yoga…doesn’t he look so relaxed!jenniferbaringer

Lunch at La Meditarrenee Restaurant. This gyro was excellent as was the service. We also had dinner here before Georgette and Gary departed, they make an awesome shrimp parm!!!jenniferbaringer

It’s all fun and games when someone leaves a line hanging around. Pepe thinks a sailboat is cat’s heaven.jenniferbaringer

Well, that’s the news from Boot Key. We hope you are doing well and would love for you to come visit us here in paradise. Sunsets for free.jenniferbaringer



My Five February: Reasons I Go to Boat Shows


3954149325e945f280c81bc6356bb14bI have lost count of the amount of times in the past 15 years the Captain and I have gone to boat shows. Our main shows have been the St. Petersburg and Miami Boat Shows, because of their sailboat emphasis and proximity to home. My bucket list includes going to the Annapolis Boat Show some day, just because I think every boater should attend it at least once in a life-time. We have never been able to go because of work schedules and distance, but at least one of those is no longer a problem.image

  1. Comparing boats. Back in the day, before we purchased No Ka Oi, we went to boat shows to look at boats. So we could dream, drool and dillydally. Of course for those of you who do not yet have a boat, this is reason number one to go to a boat show. Even if you cannot afford a new boat, or aren’t quite ready to take the plunge, boat shows are the place to see many different boats in one location. You can compare what each brand offers, what you like and don’t like in lay-outs, hull designs, size and amenities. You can also begin to narrow down your choices, and come to terms with what you may have to do without, unless you have an unlimited budget! There is nothing more magical than going back and forth between your favorites and visualizing sailing away.
  2. Hands on comparison of gear and equipment, and boat show pricing. Pictures of the water maker and seeing the actual size of the components can be eye opening. how items actually work can also help you narrow down your selection. We purchased a set of life-line fender holders after seeing how smoothly they worked, after taking them home and putting them to the test, we purchased another set. Allow time to see new widgets and paraphernalia, get ideas for things to budget for in the future or to go back and improvise your own similar solution. Always ask how long their show prices are good for, some only offer specials for the actual show dates, others will offer them for a month or more out.image
  3. Returns, exchanges, and talking to the manufacturer in person. Last year we were focused on resolving our electronic navigation chart needs. Our Ray Marine system came with Navionics chart cards, but we found out that we could trade in our current cards for another brand. After going back and forth between vendors with our various questions and concerns, and by being able to view and compare the actual workings of the charts, we decided to stay with what we had. This year we wanted to talk with the manufacturer of the SSB system we were looking at before we met with the vendor to finalize the purchase and get the best show price. These tasks were made much simpler by having everyone and everything at one convenient location. We have exchanged items that were defective, been handed brand new replacements (thank you Magna Grills,) and determined that we should shop for a new dinghy, when it became clear that the manufacturer of our slightly out of warranty one, that was literally falling apart at the seams, wasn’t going to be help us.imageimage
  4. Clearance items and show specials. We have purchased line, cushions, fabric, clothing and a variety of miscellaneous items on clearance. Vendors usually have an item or two they have brought to the show that they would rather not pack up and take home or last years model on clearance to make way for the new. Last year we purchased off shore life vests with tethers for a great price because they were the previous year’s model. This year the Captain got a great jacket because they didn’t have the clearance one in his size, but offered him a similar style at the clearance price.image
  5. Seminars and experts. Look at the seminar offerings and pick ones that are helpful to you and attend. Also, go to the book tables and talk with authors who have expertise in what you are planning on doing. Buy their books if you have the budget and space, but even if you don’t we have found them to be helpful resources. We were able to attend a seminar by Chris Parker this year on weather and speak with him about some of our questions on the best way to receive his broadcasts. In previous years we have attended cooking, provisioning, and gear seminars. One year, I had several great conversations with a gentlemen who wrote a book about re-using jars of all kinds for canning foods aboard.imageI won’t break my rule of five by making this an item, but, yes we have purchased things we thought were a great idea in the moment, but in the end were just trappings of impracticality…think Ginza knives and Fuller brush salesmen. The best way to avoid these purchases is to have a list before you go to the show, make a wish list of items for the future, and budget for an unexpected purchase. Walking away and coming back if you still think it is a good idea in a couple of hours can also keep unnecessary items off your boat. There is probably nothing wrong with the mooring ball grabber that we purchased, but now that we are actually out here, we aren’t grabbing mooring balls all that often. The money spent on this item may have been better re-allocated to something we needed more or at least a bottle of rum.

    "I don't have opposable thumbs, I can't use it!"

    “I don’t have opposable thumbs, Mom, I can’t use it!”


For Sale, unused boat show purchase…

Finally, dress comfy. Unless your boat shoes are as good to walk miles in as your sneakers, leave them at home, most brokers won’t let you wear shoes on their boats anyway. I also suggest planning more than one day if your list is long. We have actually drove to Miami two times in one weekend, because our one day wasn’t enough time to do everything we needed to accomplish. And don’t forget pre-sale tickets are cheaper.

What’s your best boat show how too or your worst impulse purchase??? We would love to know.