A fun visit to Newport and the boat show.

After long last Pandora’s back in the water.   We moved her to RI last week and enjoyed a visit to Newport to see the sights and to enjoy a visit to the Boat Show.

Having been to many boat shows over the years, it was fun to include the Newport Show on our list this year.   Actually, we haven’t visited that show in a long time as the one in Annapolis is so much better.  As a point of historical interest, the first time we went to the show in Newport was to tie the knot on our very first boat, a little 20′ cape cod catboat way back in 1979.   Yikes, that’s a long time ago.  I wonder how many “boat dollars” have washed through my fingers since that very first boat.  Better not think about that.  And, double better that Brenda not think about it either.

Compared to the guy that owns this little wonder, no make that a major wonder, all of the dollars that we have spent on boating wouldn’t even pay for the operating expenses for a single season, I’ll bet.  Pretty amazing craft.    If the photo doesn’t make it clear, this boat, er ship, is over 100′ long.   The mast is so high they have to display a red light, like a radio tower, to warn off planes at night.  This sweet little Stone Horse cutter is about the same size as our first boat, larger actually.  You can see how little she is as she passes one of the “big boys”.  And, there are no shortage of massive yachts in Newport. While we were there the New York Yacht Club was hosting races of their NY40s, a class of one-designs, all identical in design and outfitting.   These boats, as they prepared to race, paraded around the harbor in numerical order with flags flying.   Each boat has a number from one to twenty and they lined up in exact numerical order.   I’ll bet that there is a bit of politics in the order of the boats.  It’s probably better to be #1 than #20.   However, there must be a ton of pressure on #1 to perform.   They passed right by Pandora.  Each of the boats had crew lined up on the port rail in matching uniforms.  It was quite a show.  In spite of the fact that these boats are a bit smaller than Pandora, they are considerably more expensive.  I understand that to have one of these takes an investment of $1,000,000 or more.  And that doesn’t even take into account the many suits of sails needed to be competitive, year after year.   Playing this game clearly isn’t for the 99%.

It is often the case that owners of these boats own something else, a boat for a different purpose.   And, for the purposes of a harbor cruise with a G&T, nothing beats a Trumpy.  This is a sister ship, to Sequoia, that was once the presidential yacht.
There’s a boat design for every occasion.  How about this one that I saw at the boat show.  This photo was taken in Wickford, where Pandora is now, after the show closed.  It’s an HBI (hard bottom inflatable) with a twist.  While it has an outboard to use when on the water, it also has a built in generator and hydraulics that power the wheels when it’s coming up the beach and on the roads. I wonder where the license plates go?  Looks pretty complex to me.  I’ll bet that they won’t have a big market.   This baby has to be pretty pricey.  Look at the complex gear that raises and lowers the wheels.  Can you say “lifetime warranty”?  The manufacturer probably can’t either. The show, while not as good as the Annapolis Sailboat show, was fun.  I won’t bore you with the details except this neat new product.  It’s a remote controlled underwater camera by a company Aquabotix.  With 200 feet of cable, you could do a lot of exploring.   This guy, at a nearby booth, was not very impressed with all of the activity.  In spite of my best efforts, I was unable to get him to smile for the camera.  If there was ever a face that says more clearly “I am not impressed with you”, I haven’t seen it. However, I expect that he would have been pleased to join us for our dinner at the lovely White Horse Tavern, billed as the oldest tavern in the US from the 1600s.  The food was quite good and the atmosphere very quaint.   Perhaps he would have come along but I doubt would have been good for much conversation.   “What part of, no, I don’t want to talk to you while I eating, do you not understand?”
One of the oddest things to me about FaceBook is the tendency for folks to photograph their meals before they eat them.   Well, here goes, odd or not.  The salad we had was so nice looking I had to record it.  How about heirloom tomatoes with watermelon radishes?  I never had a watermelon radish.  Have you?I’ll bet that they owners of the estate, the Elms, that we toured while we were in town, had salads as nice, or nicer in this sun room.  We were told that parties for 400 were held in this home.  That’s a lot of lettuce.  Amazing.

I didn’t take a photo of the house itself, but this “out building” is pretty opulent and gives you a good feel for the main house.  I doubt that today’s 1% could come lose to affording this.  We had not taken a tour of one of the mansions in many years and I have to say that the self guided audio tour was very well done.  We could go at our own pace and enjoy the sections that we wished to dwell on .  I recommend it.  The Newport Preservation Society has quite a few mansions under their care and it would take a week to look at all of them. It was fun to be in Newport but it was a bit chilly as it’s so late in the season.  We had better head south soon…

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