Normally when couples rent a beach house in Florida for the month of February, it’s to escape to the sunshine and relaxation on the beaches. This didn’t seem to materialize for husband this year. No, he had a nefarious scheme planned, ahead of time, that would ensure he had a full-on day at the MIAMI BOAT SHOW. How, you might ask, did he manage to make that happen?

Well, for starters, the happy little vacationers had set up for a 33 day stay in a Beach House in the St. Petersburg area. Husband had already scoped out the MIAMI BOAT SHOW, knowing that the last day of the event would be Feb. 18th. So, what a clever idea he had when he spotted a BLACK FRIDAY CRUISE DEAL, departing Miami on the 18th for a 7-day Caribbean adventure. Was Prairie Girl going to pass up the opportunity to be pampered while visiting Island beaches in the sunny Caribbean? Not likely! They could drive down to Miami in their rental car, ditch it in a parking garage for 9 days, and stay in a South Beach Hotel for a couple of nights prior to boarding their cruise ship. What would that mean? It would give husband an entire day to seek out the knowledge and expertise of the various vendors for upgrading their NEW BENETEAU back home. Remember, dear readers, that when Prairie Girl refers to their NEW BENETEAU, she’s actually referring to a boat built in 2006! You’re already anticipating where this story is leading, aren’t you?

Yep, they were up at dawn two days before boarding their cruise. Their plan was to find the South Beach hotel and drop off their luggage, knowing they would not gain access to their hotel room until later that afternoon. Their trusty GPS managed to get them to the hotel, just in time to overhear the couple registering ahead of them complaining to the manager. When Prairie Girl inquired what was the problem with their room, the husband told her it was completely dark- not even a window and simply unacceptable. The woman kept showing the manager the photos advertised on the website and how their room didn’t resemble these in any way. Seriously, this tourist trap hotel, really didn’t live up to the price of its 4 STAR RATING! (Prairie Girl lamented that she hadn’t booked her trusty Marriott!)Nevertheless, they left their luggage and drove to downtown Miami in search of their parkade to drop off their rental car.

Finally, they were in downtown Miami and anxious to explore. With a GPS blunder earlier, they had already cruised through the Cruise Ship terminals area, so husband was occupied getting his bearings for making their way to the location of the MIAMI BOAT SHOW’S SHUTTLE the next morning. This was fine, except for being out in the open, away from any coffee shops, etc. The sky became darker and darker as they wandered along the parks and ocean, until the clouds disbursed a drenching. Soaking wet with only a theatre nearby, they dashed over there to find the theatre doors locked until a set showtime. Eventually, after huddling and shivering outside their doors, an usher took pity on them and escorted the ‘drowned rats’ through to a bookstore/café/ restaurant off the lobby. They sat there drinking cappuccinos, dripping all over the floor, table and chairs, trying to dry off. The rains continued while the restaurant attempted to set up their tables for the pre-show diners.

So, their next move was to try out their newly downloaded UBER app for the first time. Although, they had to sprint to the car in the downpour, the UBER app thankfully worked like a charm. Once, they returned to their hotel, changed and Prairie Girl disinfected the room, they set out for South Beach’s famous Collins Ave. for a sidewalk dinner where they could eat while watching the diverse crowd milling this touristy icon.   

Finally, the BOAT SHOW DAY arrived and husband awoke keen and energized to be on the first shuttle over. Were they any smarter that day? Not really, these seasoned sailors and cruisers had left the beach house without a single umbrella or raincoat. Fortunately for them, it just drizzled on the way over to the show and then became sunny in time to tour the boats.
Husband was well-prepared and had his route through the tents pre-arranged according to the location of the experts of whom he sought answers to his burning questions. Upon entering the first tent, they were offered two stylish straw hats to don while later viewing the boats. Prairie Girl thought that was a good start to the day!

There was no time for washroom breaks or snacks, until Prairie Girl insisted. Husband knew whose brains he was keen to pick. He also had made plans to purchase an AIS (AUTOMATIC IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM), if the reps could convince him that it was doable to install on their NEW (dated) boat. The pictures tell the story of husband being somewhat intense as he problem solved with the experts. Apparently, a couple of husband’s buds had installed this system on their newer boats and he was convinced the TwoCanXL MUST have this to ensure safety on the water for their upcoming planned sailing trip to Seattle. (Prairie Girl personally thought the RADAR was supposed to do the trick….) He also had to find out if their Raymarine Chart Plotter was compatible with a new AIS system. Can you imagine how riveted she was by their animated conversation about installation of this somewhat EXPENSIVE piece of equipment? (You understand – she knows you do… Does this mean she snuck out to view the Tommy Bahama and clothing booths?) Of course, but not until she had some fun pics of husband’s animated negotiations.

Unfortunately, those weren’t the only technical conversations of the day. Oh no, apparently their NEW (dated) BOAT doesn’t have an oil pressure gauge or water temp gauge on its Yanmar Engine’s Instrument Panel. Oh no! You know what that meant. Husband was determined to find out if it was possible to install those, as well. This is no short conversation. Fortunately, Prairie Girl found a comfy couch to relax on while the intricacies of such an installment were hammered out.

Did husband have an awesome day at the MIAMI BOAT SHOW? (You realize that it was the highlight of his Florida trip.) After all the technical conversations were done, purchasing decisions were made, and every aisle of every exhibitor’s tents had been walked, the best was yet to come. They toured some beautiful boats and had a couple of pleasant surprises. As they boarded the Catalina 54, who was sitting below decks but Jeff and Jean Grossman (authors of Two Can Sail). Husband recognized her right away, as he had contacted them to ask permission to use their TwoCan logo. They were delighted and that is how we came about changing logos for the TwoCanXL. And ten minutes later, husband spotted Gerry Douglas– the designer of the Catalinas. It just so happened that when husband approached Gerry, a photographer asked to take photos of the two of them for Cruising World Magazine. (Now wasn’t that the ‘icing on the cake’?)

As they boarded the shuttle boat, husband and Prairie Girl enjoyed the Miami scenery from the water, reminiscing about the quality MIAMI BOAT SHOW and all the interesting boat reps that husband had encountered in his quest to find answers for the TwoCan XL. Husband went to sleep that night with a smile on his face, anticipating the many projects he had ahead of him upon their return to Schooner Cove. And wouldn’t you know it, when they returned to Canada in early March, he ended up with tons of time to install his new instrumentation- what else does a sailor do during social distancing in a pandemic?

Thanks for visiting FUN HAPPENS. Switching back to a PC platform from a MAC has been a learning curve. But having the luxury of time during this social distancing period, has motivated Prairie Girl to work at it. And since none of their usual Yacht Club socials or regattas are feasible during this time, Prairie Girl hasn’t had humorous Yacht Club articles to write. Look for more installations, as she continues to try to manoeuvre through new photo editing apps.

Remember, comments are ALWAYS welcome (the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY). If you know friends, sailors, boaters, who would enjoy Prairie Girl posts, please direct them to subscribe to FUN HAPPENS at www.marylaudien.com


4 Responses »

    • Thanks Sheila. I’ve been thinking about you and hoping all is well. These are such strange times.I hope you are getting some opportunities to get out and drive that new car of yours. Take good care of yourselves, my friend.

    • Thanks Irma for the feedback. I thought you might enjoy my side of the BOAT SHOW part of the trip. Ha!

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