Friday, October 23, 2015

Cape Town Boat Show

We found a special treat while recently on vacation in South Africa. The Cape Town Boat Show coincided with our final day in the city. Did we go? The better question is -- could we possibly resist?
The show featured indoor space in the Civic Center and boats in the water at the V&A Waterfront. Overall, I would say that the show is smaller than the Baltimore Boat Show but the in-water part showcased larger boats than we can see at the Baltimore show. We did find a couple vendors with intriguing products.

We are constantly having to clean build-up out of our grey water tanks. These guys provide a pump that sends it directly overboard avoiding the middleman.
Dirty hull? Clean it with a remote control robot. While I don't thing this handy gadget would work too well on the tough barnacles that attack our hull in the Chesapeake Bay, it is a cool idea.
Catamarans were the main focus of the in-water part of the show. We see some catamarans at the big Annapolis Power Boat Show, and perhaps a few more at TrawlerFest, but they don't seem to be a focus in this part of the States.
While these may seem silly, we made a couple observations about the boats in the show. 1) We wondered, since the driver's side of South African cars is opposite of the driver's side in American cars, would the captain's seat also be placed on the opposite side?

Answer: No. Looks like boats are made the same wherever you go.

2) Would boat length be measured in meters rather than feet.

Answer: Yes and no. In the picture below, the boat is still called a 620 (62 feet) but the length specification first lists meters.
You may be wondering why we would think boats would be any different in South Africa. People in the U.S. buy foreign made boats all the time and they look just like the boats made in the States. Yes, that is true. However, if you buy a Volkswagen in the U.S. the driver's side will be on the left. If you buy the same model Volkswagen in South Africa, the driver's side will be on the right. Same car, different configuration.

One final interesting observation -- Prices are prominently displayed at every boat show we have attended in the U.S. The number is in large, bold font, sometimes on brightly colored paper. Prices were not as obvious for the boats in this show. Some boats had prices, but most did not. Which is better? I don't know.

We did find reference to home (top left corner):
And, wouldn't you love to spend a lazy afternoon here?
Anyone else attended both a U.S. and foreign boat show? What other similarities and differences have you found?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Getting Mail and Packages

When I tell people I live on a boat, "How do you get mail?" always seems to fall in the first ten questions I am asked. It's a valid question, especially since most people don't realize how many amenities are offered by marinas (and by "amenities" I mean basic necessities -- electricity, water, bathrooms, mail AND resort features -- pools, bars, boaters lounge, etc.). I also happen to live at a marina that offers a large number of amenities. Just check out my post from August 2013 to see what Harborview has to offer.

When it comes to mail it's really not that confusing if you think of the marina as a great big apartment complex. We collect our mail from a communal post box.
We also have the added benefit of getting packages delivered to the marina office. No worries about who is home to sign for a package. The fear of packages mysteriously walking off of a rowhouse stoop is seriously diminished. I simply go to the marina office during open hours to collect whatever has arrived for me. It's a great system.

Of course, all of this is in a perfect world and sometimes things don't follow the expected plan.

Recently a package arrived after normal marina business hours. At 8:35pm I checked on an expected package and noticed that it had been delivered at 8:15pm and "Left at glass doors." No problem, the old boater's lounge is outside the main marina gate. That must mean that the package is near those doors since the delivery company couldn't get onto the pier.

I walked up to the gate but no package was in sight. Okay, time to check the laundry room as many of us will put packages in there when we notice they are delivered off hours. Again, no package in sight. At this point there was nothing I could do before the marina office opened in the morning.

Next morning: I checked with the office on the off chance that the package has made its way in there. Nope, no package. I rechecked everything from the night before thinking I must have missed it. Still no package.

I went online prepared to claim the package as lost/stolen and found that I couldn't make any claims for another 48 hours because it "might still be out for delivery." So, why say it was delivered if it might not be? Back to the waiting game.

This is when it's great to have fantastic marina staff. A couple hours later I was returning from yoga. One of the staff members said he had found the package and it was now sitting on my boat. What? Where was it? It had made it's way through the main gate and was sitting at the top of B pier. Why B pier? Well, my address is Slip 6B. The "6B" designates my box in the communal post box, not my actual slip at the marina. The delivery person must have made it through the main gate and then assumed he/she was placing the package somewhere it would be found.
Thanks, Danny, for finding my package. By the way, the box was pretty small -- that's my iPhone 4 sitting next to it.
For those of you who are truly interested in the liveaboard lifestyle, our mail situation only works because Baltimore and Harborview are our permanent slip. People who are continuously cruising use mail forwarding services like St. Brendan's Isle. One day I'll know more about that service. :)

Sorry for the mundane topic but it sure seems that lots of people want to know how the mundane things work in this life.