The 2011 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show ended on Halloween. If you didn’t go, I’m sure you witch you had. I attended the first two days before the rain started. My wife thought it would be too depressing to go, so she stayed home. She’s upset because I won’t buy her a new boat. The good news is I was able to sell my extra tickets which covered parking for two days and one beer.
On Thursday I parked at the War Memorial and took the bus to the Convention Center, as it was the first one that came along. There was a long line at the Convention Center entrance. Apparently a bus load of boaters drove from North Carolina and they couldn’t get in because they had no picture ID. Even with my ID I was held up, as the attendant had to verify my complimentary guest ticket.
I moved through the Convention Center quickly. Since I can’t afford a new boat of any size, there’s no sense at looking at the small ones. A short bus ride took me to Bahia Mar to see the big yachts I can’t afford.
I enjoy seeing all the new boats and yachts, and meeting old friends. I even ran into Dan Marino. I saw him at the Miami-Denver preseason game on Aug. 25, 1990. He said he didn’t remember me. Judging from the crowds and all the new models, you wouldn’t think the economy was in bad shape. There were 165 boat manufactures displaying models from 9' to 245'.
I went with a pack of business cards which I put in every fish bowl I came across. Thanks to LXR Luxury Marinas I spent three days in bed after I through my back out while running around my house taking pictures of Molly the Manatee for their photo contest. Under heavy medication, I waited by the phone for the call to pick up the iPad which I expect to win. The call came a few weeks later as expected.
Aside from my free tickets, the other reason I attended the show was to attend two receptions I was invited to. Thursday I attended a reception aboard the M/V DREAmer, sponsored by Boating Writers International. DREAmer is a 136' Hargrave tri-deck yacht built in Turkey. The hors d’oeuvres were excellent. They were better than the pizza rolls and cocktail wieners I’m used to; even though I couldn’t pronounce the names. As a dreamer, par excellence, I began rethinking my plan to share the “Powerball” with my 21 relatives. I’m sure they would be just as happy visiting me on my yacht as receiving $250,000 a year.
While waiting for the party to begin on DREAmer, I boarded the Empress, a 58' 1947 Consolidated Motor Yacht, a bargain at $495,000 considering the $1,000,000 refit in 2000. I immediately lapsed into one of my daydreams where I was docked at Mystic Seaport, sitting in the cockpit sipping a cold Yuengling. The broker woke me up and asked if I had any questions, as he had some real customers who wanted to look around. Friday’s reception was a press event to announce Broward College’s Marine Center of Excellence. Unfortunately I ran out of energy and missed it. People watching can be very tiring.
I’m always amazed at the number of young ladies, at the show, walking on the floating docks in high heels or pushing a baby stroller. I was also surprised at the number of people who brought their dogs. I know dogs love jazz and art festivals. But, I didn’t know they liked boat shows. The Show Management website clearly states “pets should be left at home” unless they are “licensed working dogs.” None of the dogs I saw were wearing a “Service dog ID vest.” To give Fido the benefit of doubt, he may have been working for Homeland Security looking for explosives or other illegal substances. Fido could have also been a search and rescue dog, which is trained to find its owner who has caught her high heels on the floating dock and fallen overboard.
I returned home Friday night to wait for the calls for my free gifts and the Powerball drawing Saturday. I’ll still have two days to run back to the show and buy a new yacht.