Strictly Sail and The Miami International Boat Show

Strictly Sail – Getting Here

Making it to the Miami International Boat Show (and Strictly Sail) was something of a feat in itself.  Originally the plan was to only attend the Blue Wild Expo in Fort Lauderdale. But finding out that Strictly Sail (and MIBS) were the weekend before got me thinking… It would be a hell of a week if I could get down to Strictly Sail, bunk up with a friend for the week, work remotely, and then go to the Blue Wild the following weekend.

But I needed a place to stay.  So I put out a blast on social media and tagged a couple of my friends from Florida.  Those particular friends said no, but another spearfisherman said he might be able to help out (thanks Andrew, that was really cool man).  Fast forward a few days:  I was trying to confirm that I had a place to stay, and it was looking promising.  So I booked my flights.  It was a gamble though, as I’d never really met the person whose house I’d be occupying.  Since gambling is fun, I was willing to take a shot.

Strictly Sail Sailing Catamarans

Miami Beach – My View When Attending Strictly Sail

I’m glad I did too – I’m writing this now, and I can see the saltwater (not the ocean, but beggars can’t be choosers).  Just smelling the saltwater was enough to energize me again – I’ve been so busy I haven’t had the time to chase down trips offshore this year yet.  Anyways, I made it, I’m staying in a big, private house, for free.  My only real complaint is that it doesn’t have WiFi and is far enough removed from coffee shops that I’m having to use my phone’s hotspot (which is pretty damn expensive).

Sailboats and (Much) More

Strictly Sail - Sunsail Sailing Catamaran

Strictly Sail – Sunsail Sailing Catamaran

Strictly Sail is a (relatively) small part of the larger Miami International Boat Show.  It is certainly the part I’m most interested in, for obvious reasons – I’m in the sailing/cruising catamaran market.  In fact, while sitting at the airport waiting on a connection, I called my boat broker – and as chance would have it we were both going to be at Strictly Sail at the same time.  That’s nice.

Getting to Strictly Sail was a bit of a challenge as it was at MiaMarina which is tucked into one corner of (the very busy) Bayside shopping/food hub of Miami.  After being pointed in the wrong direction, and hiring another cab to drive me in circles – I made it.  The sailboats were absolutely beautiful.  And way more than I could ever afford to put into a boat.  Check out the 60+ foot Catana:

Strictly Sail Sailing Catamarans

Strictly Sail – Catana Sailing Catamaran

I won’t even show the Gunboat, it was so amazing and outrageous that I can’t justify giving it any attention.  Something between a work of art, a feat of engineering, and a boat.  Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe it. I won’t show it though – it’s too painful to think about the price tag.

Fountaine Pajot Sailing Catamaran

Of interest were the newer Foutaine Pajot, Leopard, and Lagoon sailing catamarans.  The Fountaine Pajot weren’t my favorite, but on the used boat market they’re remarkably affordable so they’re worth considering.

Fountaine Pajot Sailing Catamarans - Strictly Sail

Fountaine Pajot Sailing Catamarans – Strictly Sail

Lagoon 39 Sailing Catamaran

Next up was the Lagoon 39, and I have to say it was my favorite of the smaller sailing catamarans.  It had space, an excellent 3-cabin layout, and ample space in the galley.  The helm position was raised, and I can’t tell whether I’d like it or not.  The view is nice, but climbing up and down wouldn’t be my favorite exercise.

Strictly Sail - Lagoon 39 Sailing Catamaran

Strictly Sail – Lagoon 39 Sailing Catamaran

Strictly Sail - Lagoon 39 Sailing Catamaran

Strictly Sail – Lagoon 39 Sailing Catamaran (a huge cabin)

Leopard 39 Sailing Catamaran

The Leopard 39 is a bit smaller in beam, length, and in interior volume than the Lagoon 39, and though it is more than enough for my purposes – the difference is perceptible.  Don’t get me wrong though – this is a fine sailing catamaran.  And it starts at a remarkably affordable price, the one I looked at being just over $300K.  Yes, this is considered affordable for any brand-new sailing catamaran over 36 feet.

Strictly Sail - Leopard 39 Sailing Catamaran

Strictly Sail – Leopard 39 Sailing Catamaran

Strictly Sail Sailing Catamarans

Strictly Sail – Leopard 39 Sailing Catamaran

Sailing Stuff

Equally interesting was the amount of tangential products being offered – it wasn’t just about sailing catamarans apparently… Everything from motors to fridge/freezers to aloe creams were being sold in the booths scattered about Strictly Sail.  I went through them more than once and even found a booth of old salts selling books on their adventures.  Of course, this prompted the question:  can you actually subsidize sailing with books?  Admittedly, an uneducated question – it always depends on the quality of the product and the marketing tactics.  Some sailing books have been successful, most not.  The overall impression that I got was:  it’s a way to supplement your trip, and you have to be prepared to market your book as well as write/edit it.  There are probably more profitable ways to spend one’s time (which I’m reminded of as I pay ridiculously high prices for wireless access, to write this very post).

Strictly Sail - Engines

Strictly Sail – Engines

Strictly Sail - Refrigeration

Strictly Sail – Refrigeration (and crafty marketing)

All The Pretty Horses

I did visit the other parts of the Miami International Boat Show.  I admittedly still love powerboats and horsepower – so here are some pictures from that end of the spectrum.

Horsepower - Miami Boat Show

Over 1100 Horsepower on Two Outboards – Miami Boat Show

Powerboats - Miami Boat Show

Powerboats- Miami Boat Show

Horsepower - Miami Boat Show

1400 Horsepower – Miami Boat Show

Miami Boat Show - The Hulk

Miami Boat Show – The Hulk

Finally – I spent some time in the Marine Electronics section of the boat show.  I’m a technology nut, that became clear pretty quickly.  The electronics – navigation, communication, lighting, fish-finding, maps, overlays, and solar/wind power actually were more interesting than even the sailing catamarans at Strictly Sail.  After all – I couldn’t afford any of the sailing catamarans at Strictly Sail, but I could afford some of the electronic gizmos in the Marine Electronics room.

In Conclusion

All in all – great experience, top notch show, but one for those looking for new boats, the latest in products, and deep pockets.  I don’t really fall into those categories – but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  I’m definitely looking forward to the main reason for being in South Florida – The Blue Wild Expo. 

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