Monday, January 28, 2013

Strictly Sail Chicago 2013

B and I were invited to join the local sailing club (Hoofers) on their Saturday trip to the Strictly Sail show in Chicago. The show is great, but driving 2 1/2 to 3 hours and then trying to find parking in downtown Chicago is a big deterrent. It was really great to just hop on a big bus and talk sailing with like minded people. The ride went quickly and we soon arrived right at the door to the show.

We were looking forward to seeing the newest Gemini 105 catamaran, attending a couple of seminars, shopping the vendors' stalls and eating something really good at Navy Pier. Although the day just flew by we accomplished all these things and had an awesome "date" day.

The Gemini 105 series has intrigued us since it is a reasonably priced (used) catamaran that isn't ridiculously big. We'll give you our take on it in our next post.

We attended a seminar on "Sail Trim For Control" sponsored by Quantum Sails. Along with about 150 other sailors we learned or relearned sail controls from basic to light theory. We always pick up a few pointers whenever we read or listen to accomplished tacticians. We were particularly interested in the discussion on properly reefing the mainsail. A couple of good pointers were noted for our future use.

One small area of the show

We toured a few of the 27 to 35 foot models and came away thinking that we still prefer the classic sheer lines and rubbed teak of the 80’s and early 90’s offerings. Give us a nice Pacific Seacraft, Cape Dory, Shannon or Baba any day. The fake looking wood in these new models just feels, well, cheap. Too many mirrors, wimpy railings, loose trim and plastic everything else to justify $250,000. We hoped to get on the new Blue Jacket cruiser by Island Packet, but the line was long and it never seemed to move.

We checked out a few vendors' stalls and purchased a couple Christmas presents for next year. Mike signed up for a years subscription to the new Cruising Outpost magazine. This is the magazine and website that Bob Bitchin has started to replace Lats and Atts. As some of you know Bob sold L & A to a gentleman who ran it immediately into the ground. The guy just closed the doors and hung everyone out to dry. We are wishing Bob and his wife Jody the best of luck in this new venture.

Lunch! We're starving. We wandered down the enclosed walkways of Navy Pier with the intention of eating at Margaritaville. Unfortunately there was a long wait there and we were too hungry to wait. So, we decided to try a restaurant called Rivas which we hadn't been in before. We scored a waterside view table and had two awesome sandwiches. B had the Crab Cake Sandwich and I went for the Grouper Sandwich. A little pricey at Rivas, but nice views, good staff and great food.


Lake Michigan


We hustled back to the show because we wanted to attend a seminar called, "Perspectives From A Cruising Couple". Marc and Jane Adams just got back from a four year circumnavigation and did an excellent job of telling both sides of cruising highlights and drudgery. Brenda listened intently and at the end she looked at me and said, "We're really doing this aren't we!" Check out their blog
As we jabbered about the entertaining seminar we toured the rest of the vendors' stalls. We purchased a copy of Kathy Parsons' "Spanish for Cruisers" which is a great little reference book. It gives Spanish translations in sections such as, "Get Parts and Repairs", "Plumbing, Refrg., AC" and "Navigation".


It's always fun to chat with Rich Hutchins, one of the owners of the Com-Pac line. He once again confirmed that current Com-Pac owners are his worst competition. They just make them too well.

We love our Com-Pac boats

As the day was nearly over, we wandered through Navy Pier until we reached the exit for our bus. We came up just early enough to give us 10 minutes to wander the park full of snow sculptures. Over the weekend they host a snow sculpting competition and the results can be amazing. We loved the lion with the tiny mouse pulling an icicle out of its paw.

We brought along a DVD of "Morning Light" for everyone to watch on the bus. If you haven't seen this movie, check it out. The movie was a big hit and made the ride home disappear quickly.


Thank you Hoofers and especially George for inviting us. We had a great day.



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