Das Boot

Through some quirk of history, the Auckland Water Ski Club where Lee works part time owns the annual Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show. It’s the Club’s major source of income, eclipsing the money they make from dues and ski fees many times over.

Club members (and a few of their friends and partners) help out at the event, stamping entry tickets to get people entered into a drawing for the $250,000 boat above. (Which by the way is pretty much the same boat I went fishing in a few weeks ago. I found it pretty uncomfortable and can’t imagine paying that kind of money for it.) (The young guy who won the boat was sooooo happy when he got the call on Sunday night.)

I’ve been to more than my fair share of conferences and exhibitions, but I’d never been to a boat show before.

It was fun! Thousands of people, several dozen exhibitors spread over multiple halls and marquees (which is what you call a large tent in New Zealand).

There were mostly fishing boats represented, and around here that mostly means aluminum hulls with big engines and relatively few comforts. I’m much more attracted to the idea of a cushy cabin cruiser, or even a sleek luxury sailboat, so a lot of these rugged fishing boats left me cold. But there were some other cool specimens like the Sealegs-equipped rigid inflatable boat above (just over $300K) or the fully-equipped fishing kayak below… $6,500. We see some of these kayak fishermen when we’re swimming, and it looks like a peaceful way to spend the morning.

These seminar topics below were all apparently real, but at first I had to wonder if somebody had a really mean sense of humor. … those topics are a parody of themselves. When I think of the young bait vendor earnestly prepping his slides for “Latest squid fishing tips” it somehow puts my own forays into academic and quasi-academic presentation in a lighter perspective… ain’t much difference between him and me, I reckon.

Lee worked four very long days; I was there for two. We were both tired at the end. I ate a lot of junk food and stamped a lot of tickets. I thought briefly of how it could have turned into a super-spreader event… but it didn’t.

All in all a fun event to be involved with, glad I could tag along.

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