This year they moved the show from Navy Pier to the McCormick Center. They also combined the show with power boats and RV's to make it a mega-show. The facilities are top notch and massive which made it much easier to navigate the aisles between all the exhibitors. We stayed in the attached Hyatt, so we were really spoiled being able to just walk a few hundred steps indoors to go from our room to the show floor.
We love being at the show all day Friday as the crowds don't really show up until Saturday. We got to walk right onto any boat without waiting in a long line. The boats ranging from dinghies to 45 footers were interesting to check out, but our checkbooks stayed firmly in our pockets. We see the price tags on these brand new dock queens and shudder at the thought of spending that much on a boat. It is amazing to see the sold signs getting placed on these hulls during the show. Spending $250,000 on a boat that you haven't even sailed yet seems crazy to us.
We missed having the Navy Pier restaurants just steps away for lunch, but we found a pretty good substitute. One of the vendor carts was serving really tasty (all those calories and fat may have helped the flavor) polled pork or chicken nachos. A couple of ice cold Modelo beers along with Frankendread playing steel drums and a mean guitar to reggae music made for a couple of awesome lunches. Having two days at the show makes it much more enjoyable for us. We can tour the boats on Friday and catch a few seminars. Then on Saturday we check out all the vendor's booths in between the seminars we want to attend.
We attended several free seminars which are the main reason we attend this show each year. All but one seminar proved to be informative and interesting. There was one on Coastal Navigation which was a real waste of time. We unfortunately sat up front to get a good view of the slide show. Several people simply got up and walked out during the presentation. Brenda counted five people sound asleep. (I wonder if she was counting me?).
I did find a new motor for our next dinghy. That should get us on plane!