Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - Daniel Hard­ing Jr. dhard­ing@aim­me­dia.com

The essence of boat­ing tran­scends cul­tural bar­ri­ers—and lan­guage it­self.

Thou­sands poured through the turn­stiles, trad­ing the cold, gray Ger­man win­ter for 17 halls of the sprawl­ing Boot Düs­sel­dorf show. The largest in­door show in the world, it has be­come a pop­u­lar pil­grim­age for boat­ing en­thu­si­asts the world over. Whether you were look­ing for a su­pery­acht from Italy or a bilge cleaner from Texas, if you had enough time, and you were wear­ing com­fort­able shoes, you were bound to find it here.

Once the shock of the vast num­ber of boats on dis­play wore off (it’s not every day you see 100-plus-foot yachts in­side a con­ven­tion cen­ter), I be­gan to pick up on the great va­ri­ety of na­tion­al­i­ties present and the many dif­fer­ent lan­guages spo­ken. Düs­sel­dorf had be­come a melt­ing pot of epic pro­por­tions.

One sec­ond I would be sip­ping espresso at the Az­imut booth with our Euro­pean Sales Rep Elena Pa­tri­arca and Pub­lisher Bob Bauer, and the next we were—thanks to the un­nec­es­sary caf­feine boost—sprint­ing off to drink French cham­pagne with the team at Foun­taine Pa­jot, only to con­clude the day drink­ing Ger­man beer in the base­ment of a Le­banese restau­rant with the Slove­nia-based builders at Green­line yachts, or eating Ital­ian with the Fair­line team from Eng­land. It was like Ep­cot, but for boat­builders.

At times dur­ing the show, com­mu­ni­cat­ing could be a chal­lenge. Thank­fully, Elena speaks five lan­guages, and thus was able to pick up the slack for Bob and me, who are very Amer­i­can in our poor for­eign lan­guage skills. ( Bier, Ja, tall was about the ex­tent of our Ger­man.)

Once we stum­bled through in­tro­duc­tions a funny thing hap­pened. After a few beers, everyone would re­lax, gripe about politics for a while, and then talk about what we had in com­mon: a love for boats and be­ing on the water. Sto­ries of a re­mark­able cruise to Croa­tia on a Sun­seeker, or an­chor­ing up in an aque­duct in the mid­dle of Eng­land aboard a small fish­ing boat, or a mem­o­rable first trip to Block Is­land passed across the ta­ble like an ap­pe­tizer. There is some­thing about shar­ing ad­ven­tures on the water that is uni­ver­sally en­ter­tain­ing.

We’d also spend a lot of time dis­cussing the new boats, the prod­ucts, and in­no­va­tions we’d seen. A num­ber of trends be­came ev­i­dent. The first is that hull win­dows are be­com­ing more and more com­mon, even in smaller boats. I saw wrap­around glass tran­soms, hulls polka-dot­ted with cir­cu­lar win­dows, and other boats with win­dows so large they seemed to take up more real es­tate than the fiber­glass. Then there were the floor-to-ceil­ing in­te­rior win­dows on mid­size boats such as the Sealine fleet, and enor­mous sun­roofs on models through­out the range.

There’s also a grow­ing ac­cep­tance for mul­ti­hull boats. Once the black sheep of ma­jor shows, se­ri­ous boaters seem to be ac­knowl­edg­ing the ef­fi­ciency and vol­ume ben­e­fits they pos­sess, and builders are re­spond­ing.

An­other ob­vi­ous trend I saw is the de­sire to bring all the comforts of home aboard. That means stan­dard Sea­keep­ers, full-size ap­pli­ances, and an em­pha­sis on sin­gle-level (or as close to it as pos­si­ble) liv­ing. It also means an in­creased de­sire for mul­ti­ple so­cial spa­ces. Fold-down tran­som seat­ing and com­fort­able bow lounges are two evo­lu­tions that have burst onto the scene and are likely to con­tinue im­prov­ing in the fore­see­able fu­ture.

There’s a les­son in all this, I re­mem­ber think­ing after a long night of beers and laugh­ing. All of these peo­ple, with so many dif­fer­ent back­grounds, speaking God knows how many lan­guages, and it was a sin­gle, shared in­ter­est that bound us to­gether. In what other sport would some­thing like this be pos­si­ble? Soc­cer? Golf ? Maybe, but for some rea­son I don’t think it would be the same.

If my time in Düs­sel­dorf proved any­thing, it was that there are some ex­cit­ing trends and boats bound for our shores in the com­ing year. But per­haps more im­por­tantly, I learned that boat­ing has the abil­ity to tran­scend lan­guage and cul­tural bar­ri­ers and al­lows you to form friend­ships with any­one who feels most at home on the sea.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.