Once again it was the time of the year to travel across the big water to the big city of Seattle to see what is new in boats and equipment. The show is at two locations in Seattle: the in the water show is at the South End of Lake Union and the rest of the boats and the other exhibits are at the Qwest Field Exhibition Center.
Even though the show did not open until 1100, I caught the 0845 ferry and arrived at Qwest Field a little before 1000 and caught the first shuttle bus to Lake Union. I intended to see the boats in the water when the show opened at 1100. But what I could see of the boats that were there, I determined that there really wasn't much that I wanted to see, so I caught the 1030 bus back to Qwest Field. I should have done my homework!
I arrived back at Qwest Field in plenty of time to be one of the first in the door. I walked around the boats and looked at one new 26 foot trailable performance boat, talked to a couple vendors who I know and viewed the new equipment that is available. So much is the same year after year and there seemed to be less participation from many of the companies this year.
One important item I wanted to do at the show, was to meet one of the vendors. He is someone that lives with his wife and two children on a sailboat that is currently in Mexico. They adopted the cruising lifestyle several years ago and have spent their time cruising the Mexican waters. I found them through their blog http://www.sailblogs.com/member/svthirdday/ He started a business with a partner building and marketing reverse osmosis desalination units. I don't see how he has the time to develop his equipment and travel to all the shows. He was a fun person to talk with!
One store had an exhibit and had a killer price on a VHF marine radiotelephone that I had been planning on buying this year. The price was about $100 off retail which was about $60 less then the price I can get through my account at another store. I wandered around some more and talked to the manufacturers rep. He ask what the store was selling the radio for. When I told him, he said "You need to buy it NOW, that is near cost". So before I left the show, I went back and bought the radio.
I was on the 1330 ferry home.
The sailboat section of the in the water boat show.
The small section of sailboats in the exhibition center.
And the power boats.
And the power boats.
This is the radio that I bought. It is a Standard Horizon, Matrix AIS, GX2100. It has the standard VHF transceiver functions of marine radios. In addition it has two other functions: DSC(digital selective calling) and AIS(automatic identification system). The DSC is a system for more automated calling of another boat if you have their identification number(like a phone number) and one button automated distress calling. I am still learning these functions. AIS is a system that identifies vessels that may be around you and can help determine their course, speed and closest point of approach. A vessel with a AIS transceiver broadcasts on their VHF marine radio and until now, a boat receiving the signal had to have additional equipment to receive and process the signal. This radio I bought has the AIS receiver built in. This is a great benefit for boats like mine that have limited areas to install navigation equipment. And it is a lot cheaper to buy this radio than the specialized AIS components. This is the type of equipment that was worth waiting for. Lots of people installed AIS equipment when it started being available a few years ago and spent a lot of money.
I took the radio down to the boat to check the fit of where I was planning on installing it. The old VHF radio is smaller than the new one and I thought I was going to have to move some other instruments to make room for it. Fortunately it fit in the same area as the old radio. I connected the antenna cable and the power and turned it on. It has a lot more features than the old radio and already it seems to receive better. I still need to hook up the connections to the GPS(global positioning system). I also need to obtain a nine digit identification number and program it into the radio.