GLCC Boat Show Season in Full Swing

Cindy - January 14, 2016

This is the time when it feels almost like Christmas to boaters around the Great Lakes — there are three boat shows within one month! (Namely: 2016 Toronto International Boat Show, Cleveland Progressive Insurance Boat Show, and the 2016 Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show.) All the preparations and route planning make for a build-up of excitement that would make any cruiser jump for joy! Boaters are taking classes, purchasing equipment, and routing trips. Many are considering a larger purchase and have been awaiting the boat show season. With all the fishing gear, gadgets, upgrades, and new rigs, it’s sure to be a buying frenzy in the huge arenas geared for such a wide-eyed sailor. The Great Lakes Cruising Club is happy to be a part of it all; our volunteers and their generous time contributions within our events and promotions enhance the GLCC member experience.

While you’re out shopping or browsing at these enticing venues, GLCC and its Boat Show chairs will appreciate your stopping by a booth to say “hello,” wherever your travels and desires land you.

JensenNR's picture

The lack of new and “suitable” cruising boats at the boat shows may be a matter of economics. The market is depressed and flooded with vintage/classic boats. You can buy a solid, well-found used fiberglass mid-30’ cruising sailboat from the ’70s and ‘80s for less than $50,000, and even if you spend another $50,000+ on updating it, it comes nowhere near the price of a new boat — which could easily be in the $350-450,000 range. So, in my opinion, the builders have a very hard time selling new sailboats in the cruising boat market. However, they can sell boats to the racers who want the latest technology to be competitive, and the larger non-cruising crowd who are mainly interested in light-air sailing and modern dockside conveniences — and these boats are therefore the ones that are most likely to be exhibited at the boats shows.

Hart Harding's picture

I also agree with the previous comments. As a power boater I am also appalled at the "plastic inverted bathtubs" with wall to wall TV sets that are being marketed as cruising boats. This brings about a boating mentality as expressed by an associate of mine who took three whole days "cruising" from one end to the other of the North Channel at 25 knots and wondered why anyone could spend weeks in that part of the world!

Bill Rohde's picture

I largely agree with you. I, too, am dismayed by the lack storage and generally poor cruising layouts of many of today's more "modern" boats. When I think of the tankage, storage space, galley space, and sheer comfort we have with our Tayana 42 compared with today's lighter displacement fin and spade "cruiser-racers" with almost no bilge, I truly wonder how one could realistically do any significant cruising with them. For example, we can pack our freezer with frozen meats that will support us cruising for up to three months, and have more than enough dry storage to match. In the Bahamas and Caribbean about all we really need to purchase when "out there" for up to 3 months are some fresh veggies and bread, which we can also bake ourselves if need be.

That said, I think there are still some higher end new boats designed to more modern lines that do work very well for serious cruising. The problem is that they are high end, meaning well out of my price range. To see those boats you almost have to go to the Annapolis Boat Show each October ... you won't see them in the other boat shows ... even Toronto.

But the good news is that so many of the older, well-found, cruisers were built to last. Our 1990 Tayana Vancouver 42 remains in outstanding condition notwithstanding its years. Like you, I'd put our older design up against any of these new boats any day.

Bill Matley's picture

I completely agree with you Bruce.
I look at the new boats but I only see, cheap, cost cutting, show and blow, never a real solid, well thought out boat that would make me sell mine.
It's all about "look" never a boat I want to live aboard for several months.

Actually, I feel bad for our sport and for the industry as a whole. Manufacturers are under such pressure to keep costs down, it's left them making trash and I think they know it.
Maybe we'll see boat "re-tread" companies who will buy junk hulls and strip them down to re build them back into a solid boat again.
If I were a young boat builder, I'd look to rebuild.

Bill Matley

Bruce Arthur's picture

As I worked the Toronto show, I took the time to visit a few new sailboats on display, and I mean a very few. It seemed only the Beneteau/jenneau line was there. I found the new design a little showy, more of the party boat style than a real cruiser. With a wide cockpit and two cabins underneath there was no real cockpit storage. Actually, unless you use one of these stern cabins, there was very little storage anywhere. The wide cockpit means a central helm is out of the question because it would be impossible to see properly, so they all seem to have double helms and rudders. Spade rudders, of course, which doubles the grounding risk. All said and done, I am confirmed in my old boat with lots of storage and great visibility. Bruce