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Star Struck in Annapolis

In 2019 we got started on this sailing obsession for real when we went to the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis. So much to see, learn, ask, and experience. It was there that we met the guru we are working with on our all electric setup, David DiQuinzio from Annapolis Hybrid Marine (AHM). When we stopped to talk with him about the potential for all electric, we loved his expertise and his calm way of explaining it all to us.

We also saw a lot of mind-blowingly beautiful and EXPENSIVE new boats. It was super fun. I even got to go on a tour of and sit inside the famous (in the sailing/cruising liveaboards world any way) La Vagabonde, making a new forever friend in Thomas Chambers from Just Catamarans in the process!

It was right after that show we bought our boat and so I excitedly purchased tickets to the 2020 Spring Sailboat Show since I knew we would have lots of questions and more things to learn. Well we all know what happened to the spring of 2020, don't we. Same story second verse for the US Sailboat Show in the fall of 2020.

So I 'happened' to arrange my latest trip out here so that it covers the time that the sailboat show was scheduled for, and emailed the organizers to ask if our tickets for last spring would work. They said yes! Then I hinted, coaxed, and maybe begged a little to talk John into at least a day at the show. He wasn't too keen since he worked in the AHM booth at the spring Bay Bridge show, and helped them out again for a day at the Motor Boat Show in Annapolis that happend the week before the Sailboat show. But he loves me a lot and likes when I'm happy, so we worked super hard to get enough done that we could take Friday and go to the show.

We drove down to Annapolis (a bit more than an hour), parked at the Navy Football Stadium, and caught the shuttle bus - a school bus to be precise - to head to the show.
Note, this is a pic from the 2019 shuttle ride. This year everyone is masked! When John was working to get his long legs bent far enough to fit in the little school bus seat, the tall gentleman across the aisle from us commented on how hard that is to do when tall. We ended up standing in line behind him and his wife since we were about 45 minutes early to the gate. So we started chatting with them. Turns out they are from Utah and live in Bluffdale, which is about 1/2 hour from where we live in Salt Lake! This is their first show and they are just considering the idea of doing what we're doing. Isn't life grand sometimes when it throws different people together?

Once we got in the show, we had lots of things to check into; boat insurance, dinghies, solar power, water makers and cleaners, navigation, marinas, and on and on. Right off the bat we headed to the AHM booth to see if they needed any help, and as we turned the corner while exiting one tent, we almost ran straight into Paul and Cheryl Shard from Distant Shores. They are a sailing couple from Canada who pioneered videos of sailing, teaching lots of things plus showing lots of places. They had a TV show for many seasons on Canadian TV and now are on YouTube like everyone else. Their French Canals series has me drooling and dreaming of the day. Of course we couldn't do that in our catamaran, but we sure can rent a boat there! Check them out on You Tube Channel - Distant Shores.

They were kind and open, giving us advice about how to find a boat to charter there and letting us know they might be doing that while their next boat is built and will be taking passengers with them. They were also the beginning of a day full of meeting several of the sailing channel stars that we watch regularly.

After we went by our friends at the AHM booth - stopping to help get their flowers watered and tent secured, we wandered around the different docks and tents, gathering about five pounds of brochures, cards, and catalogs along the way. Right after we left AHM and were walking through a tent, who do we see across the way from us but Matt and Jessica from MJ Sailing. They are BUILDING THEIR OWN CATAMARN! They are on Kent Island just about 40 minutes south of where we are at. It's pretty incredible what they are doing. They were busy talking with a vendor about boat control systems, so I just went up and whispered really quickly to Jessica how much we enjoy watching their journey.

She was sweet and we moved on quickly. You can see them on their You Tube Channel - MJ Sailing.

We went by the Just Catamarans booth and found Thomas to say hi to. We stopped in at the Green Yachts booth when we saw the OcaeanVolt rep there and talked with him about some installation details. While we were wandering through one of the bigger tents, we suddenly realized we were in front of the Sailing Channels booth. Three channels were there right then, Parlay Revival, Sailing Project Atticus, and one of my favorites, Expedition Evans,

I got in line to meet Jade and Brett Evans. I really love watching their journey as they bought a wrecked Beneteau yacht and completely repaired it to back to better than new. Seriously, better than new their work was so good. They amaze me with their energy and drive. Especially Jade since she suffers from some of the same auto-immune issues that I struggle with. Things that make you hit the wall pretty hard on some days, while others you're able to work on and on. I gave her a hug and told her how much she inspired me with how she is so upbeat and able to soldier on even when overcoming a down day. She is truly amazing. We also chatted about how they are from Arizona and we are from Utah - both of us chasing our dreams on the big ocean blue.

They were friendly and down to earth. Smiling all through the madness and heat. It was HOT in that tent. Not all tents had the same ventilation! We also talked about their boat puppies and I said I would have loved to meet their two fur buddies. Here's their You Tube Channel - Expedition Evans.

Later, we were at the SailRite booth, looking through fabric swatches to figure out what to use for our window sun blockers, when John said, "Look, there is Megan and Nick!" Megan and Nick O'Kelly have a fun channel where they show a lot of practical tips and tricks about living on a boat, from doing a lot of your own maintenance to sewing your own covers and things - one of the reasons we bought a SailRite, altough I have yet to break it out and sew anything. Check out how heavy duty it is!

Best of all, is that even though they had people swarming them like crazy, Megan and Nick were generous and warm when we introduced ourselves. We had a wonderful conversaation with Nick about our electric boat conversion and gave him one of our boat cards. He said he had an LDS friend who is also doing a conversion to electric and promised to give us his info. Truly gracious people.

I also told Megan that I was scared to try the sewing machine. She laughed sweetly and then encouraged me to give it a go! Their You Tube Channel - The O'Kellys.

Later, suddenly we saw Barefoot Doctors Sailing right in front of us. I've only just learned about them when I heard the tragic news of their beautiful Leopard Catamaran burning in a Ft Lauderdale area cannal.

I can't even fathom how devastating that would feel and yet, they talk in their recap of it about not only how hard it is, and their frustration at the situation, but also about the importance of centering oneslef and taking care of your own needs physical, emotional, and mental. Amazing. I told them how much I appreciated how balanced and composed they were and how much I admired it. They were sweet and gracious.

More about their story You Tube Channel - Barefoot Drs Sailing.

Long and sweaty, but super fun day. Interestingly, we didn't take one single tour of one single boat. Way too much more to do and see, and important people to meet!


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