Friday 1 February 2013

Toronto Boat Show, Part 2: More Boats and Gear and Pricey Brew

   "... it's a gas, gas, gas..."
            - the Rolling Stones

     Wandering past, this well executed classic speedboat caught my eye.

   Upon closer inspection, it got even more interesting.

   She's a Bruce 22, built by Montreal Boatworks, a clever concept that gives you all of the benefits of a classic mahogany boat with much less maintenance, as the hull is all fiberglass.She is also available with a conventional gas-powered inboard. She's plenty quick, as she should be, given the history of her designer, Ian Bruce.


   Y'know all those quick flat little sailboats you see scooting across the water, Lasers, Tasars, and Bytes?
Yeah.  Those are his.  He knows a little something about creating quick designs.

   Rossiter  displayed an assortment of their fine craft.  Originally (and still) a swift rowing boat builder,  George Rossiter  ventured into powerboats, creating a stable, dry "semi-traditional" big water runabout with plenty of storage.  It's interesting to see the outcome when an oarsman decides to design a powerboat.

   Ranger Tugs  showed their line of impressive pocket trawlers, from 21 to 31 feet.

 Nice fit and finish, packing a lot of accomodation into a small space.

   Not bargain priced, but it's all there.  Bow and stern thrusters are standard on the larger Rangers in the range, for example.

   Something to think about:  For less than the cost of the Onan generator option on the Ranger,  you
could have this:

  The Bras d'Or 11 is a multi-purpose catboat handmade in Quebec by Richelieu Boatworks .  Row, sail or motor, she combines the traditional catboat rig with a modern hull form.  Looks like a lot of fun, and probably quieter than an Onan generator.

   Having had our fill of 6 digit boats, we started  looking at gear.  I needed a new handheld radio, (more on that later,)  and Hilary was looking for some coated anchor chain and other odds and ends, but first...

   I didn't know Sperry  made so many different styles of shoes. The place was hopping- talking to one of the sales kids, the booth was selling almost 1000 pairs a day.

   Found a cool solar panel idea at the Goal Zero  booth:

  It's a compact, lightweight, modular panel system.  Each panel is rated at 30 watts, weighs only 6.5 lbs. and     multiple panels can be connected to increase output without a mess of wires.

Another cool new item is The Fix .

   The Fix is a cupholder... but it is a nice cupholder.  Chromed and gimballed, it has a 1" clamp to fasten it to stern rails, stanchions, etc.  It has a big advantage over the cheapo swinging cupholders installed on Whiskeyjack:  It will carry a wineglass, as seen above.  Designed and made in Canada, it is an elegant compliment to an elegant boat.

    Every year, it seems like some of the friendliest staffers are the folks who man the booths representing Caribbean travel destinations.  This year was no exception.  British Virgin Islands, Barbados, St. Maarten, and all the other warmer sunnier places along the Thorny Path were ably represented, The best swag award has to go to the folks from Grenada, who handed out small spice bags.  Very cool!

    There were the usual outboard motor suspects on display:  Honda, Yamaha, Evinrude, Mercury, etc., showing everything from 2.5 hp dinghy outboards to 8 cylinder 350 hp monsters:

  Just to give you an idea how big this motor is, I am 6' 11" tall.

( I'm also witty and intelligent.  And handsome.)

(edit  ...And delusional.
         -SWMBO  )

  What was new was a whole new take on internal combustion outboards:
 Lehr  had a booth demonstrating their PROPANE powered outboards.

 Lehr outboards have been on the market for a couple of years, but this is the first time I have had a chance to see one in action.  Powered by either a 1 lb. canister or a larger barbecue tank, the Lehr propane motors offer a lot of advantages over a traditional gas powered outboard motor.  Easy to start, no carb to gum up, no choke to fuss with, and no gas tank to lug around or stow or smell.  Available in 2.5, 5, and 9.9 hp flavours, Lehr offers a comprehensive small boat range.

  SWMBO hates the ritual of starting the outboard on Quack  as much as I enjoy it.  She loved that she was able to start the Lehr demo motor on the first pull.

  Price-wise, it's about 25-40% higher than a comparable new gas powered motor.  But, with propane being cheaper than gas, and lower winterization costs, the difference can be made up pretty quickly.

Personally, I think this is an ideal dinghy motor for many sailors.  If you have a diesel auxiliary the only reason to keep gasoline onboard is for the dink outboard.  With a propane outboard, you no longer have to find a place to stow a gas can.

  Bridge Yachts  is our local Lehr dealer, and Ed tells me they have sold a bunch of them.  When the water softens up enough to float a boat, I'm going to try to wrangle a 2.5 hp for a day to review whether it lives up to the hype.

Speaking of big engines,  you gotta like this eyecandy:

  As mentioned earlier, I was searching for a new handheld VHF to replace my Uniden Atlantis that crapped out shortly after it's third anniversary.
    It turns on, it lights up, it scans through the channels, but no volume and no squelch.  I opened it up, poked prodded and looked thoughtful and then closed it up. The verdict from the dealer I bought it from was that it would be cheaper to buy a new one than to fix mine.
    And it gives me a new piece of gear to review.

    For review purposes, and keeping with my "low-buck" ethos, I decided to buy the lowest price 5 watt handheld I could find.  I budgeted $80 for this purchase.

That meant Radioworld .

    If you are looking for bargain priced electronic gear, the Radioworld booth is the place to go.  I bought a Midland Navico 1 radio package, (including rechargeable battery, ac adapter, 12 v adapter, boom mic headset and waterproof pouch,) for $60 plus tax.

Boom.  Mission accomplished, with enough left over (barely) for a can of Muskoka Pilsener with lunch.

Look for a "First Impression" review of the new radio in an upcoming post.

  Speaking of lunch, we decided to adjourn to the Henry's Fish  booth for perch.  At this point, a quick rant about food pricing at the Boat Show.

  It is CRAZY!!!!!

   Two pieces of fish and warmish french fries, a thimble of cole slaw, and tartar sauce in packets served on a sagging paper plate:  $15.

   Not a typo.  FIFTEEN DOLLARS.

  A can of beer was $9.

  Again, not a typo.  NINE DOLLARS.  A CAN.

After lunch we visited the Nautical Mind booth and picked up a couple of books, then SWMBO headed off to see Duma, the Wakeboarding Dog perform.


Is this a game face, or what?

  While SWMBO hung out with Duma, I checked in with Wally at his seminar on cruising Cuba, and got a kiss from Aduana.

       Along the way I caught a candid snap of Derek Hatfield re-enacting a big wave sneaking up on him...

     and a better shot of the model of his ride, the Open 60  Spirit of Canada.  Check out the canting keel.

    Having seen all the dogs, people, boats and bits we needed to see, we decided it was time to head back to the shed.

    Passing back through the Marketplace again on our way out the door, we stopped at the Triton Marine Products booth.  I had a quick chat with the likeable owners, and got some free samples of their cleaner to test and review.

    Later, we adjourned to the Chartroom at the Westin,

and were joined by Bruce, who clearly and easily wins the Ironman award this year.

   As every good tale starts, y'all ain't gonna believe this...

    we first met Bruce and his lovely wife June in person at last year's show.  They are currently spending a few years circumnavigating on their Bristol sailboat.  Last I heard, they were in South Africa, and Bruce had a spot of trouble when he attempted to prevent their 45' 14000 lb. sailboat from rubbing against a concrete pier...
    ... with his hand.
      His hand lost.

     Bruce posted on Sailnet that, for obvious reasons, he would not be attending the Show this year.

    As I am enjoying my second beer at the Chartroom, I hear a quiet voice behind me.  I turn and see a vaguely familiar scruffy looking figure with his arm in a sling.


    Not expecting to see him, I am embarrassed to admit I didn't immediately recognize him.  D'oh!

   He had literally just flown  in from South Africa and was having his hand reconstructed in Toronto.  Staying with his son in the family's dirt home in Mississauga, he had to come to the hospital for a dressing change... and decided to stop in for a beer first.

   This is what the toughest guy in the room looks like.

   Get well soon, Bruce.  Thanks for the great company and the great stories.  We hope to see you, and June as well, next year.

    You can follow their adventures on their blog, onainia.blogspot. .

     What I found interesting this year is that a badge pinned to my shirt seemed to earn me more, and better, swag.  Beyond floaty keychains,  we got product samples, watertight packs, dog treats, even an issue of Good Old Boat. Hey, that's worth $8 right there!

     It almost makes up for the $9 beer.

    "Talk the Dock!"


  1. Awesome reports, bl!! Thanks for the update on Killarney Sailor too!

    Ron (Faster)

  2. 6'11" really? You don't look that tall!

    Steve Z.

  3. Those Rangers are, dare I say it? Cute. Ridiculously cute. Might be fun to putt around the ICW in one!

  4. Arrive drunk, I say. Much cheaper.