In­side An­gle

Years of at­tend­ing the Ft. Laud­erdale boat show can make you an ex­pert peo­ple-watcher—and a ca­sual zo­ol­o­gist.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Bill Prince has clas­si­fied the col­or­ful char­ac­ters that make up the age-old boat show. Are you on the list?

T his Laud­erdale boat show will be my 22nd, and all indi­ca­tors point to a spec­ta­cle that’s big­ger than ever. Along with many of you at a Big Time Boat Show like Laud­erdale, I hop from one venue to another us­ing the shut­tle bus. With meet­ings all over the place, I end up on the bus a lot. And over the years, I have clas­si­fied a num­ber of col­or­ful species of boat show at­ten­dees on the bus. Are you among them?

Guy Harvus “Bud” Max­imus: Friendly and gre­gar­i­ous, this Brob­d­ing­na­gian species uses his over­sized belly as a sta­tus sym­bol, mak­ing no at­tempt what­so­ever at fit­ness or good taste. One el­bow is per­ma­nently cocked in the Bud­weiser po­si­tion. Dressed in an un­tucked Guy Har­vey, Tommy Ba­hama or Columbia fish­ing shirt, belted khaki shorts, worn boat shoes and a scorch­ing sun­burn, he will drop $20,000 on a new radar and chart­plot­ter for his 65-foot con­vert­ible with­out hes­i­ta­tion. He misses no op­por­tu­nity to con­fi­dently spew mis­in­for­ma­tion about ev­ery boat the bus passes dur­ing its painstak­ing two-mile, 45-minute jour­ney from one mas­sive show venue to another.

Polo Hor­sus Enor­mous: This is a younger, thin­ner species first dis­cov­ered in the mid ‘90s, adorned in tight-fit­ting pants and car­toon­ish shoes. Their most read­ily iden­ti­fi­able mark­ings in­clude a tight solid-color shirt hold­ing up a gi­gan­tic Ralph Lau­ren horse, which looks like it could de­vour its wearer at any mo­ment. Of­ten speak­ing in thick ac­cents, they stop to have their photo taken be­side ev­ery Lam­borgh­ini on dis­play along the docks. They have lit­tle money of their own, although some have fam­ily for­tunes which they may some­day in­herit. (This might end the ridicu­lous Lam­borgh­ini poses.) Flock­ing to the most gar­ishly styled Ital­ian and wannabe-Ital­ian sport yachts, the male is of­ten ac­com­pa­nied by a fe­male with no dis­cernible fa­cial ex­pres­sion and a ca­boose that could push a coal train up a moun­tain in a bl­iz­zard.

Man­gusta Della Sca­pula: This species has a shorter life ex­pectancy than most and boards the bus wear­ing a white cot­ton t-shirt with a draw­ing of a large, flashy yacht across their shoul­ders. They cop­u­late on board the yacht splayed across their backs; they are crew. De­spite hav­ing a salaried job and un­bur­dered by hous­ing or au­to­mo­bile ex­penses, this species seems to have less money than Polo Hor­sus. Thanks to “Cap­tain Lee,” the ca­ble TV-view­ing pub­lic now thinks they know much more than any­one re­ally wants to about their sor­did lives. But most of the spec­i­mens I have ob­served in the wild are much less in­ter­est­ing than those dis­played on the TV broad­cast on Bravo. Novem­ber is a busy breed­ing time for this species, as they gather by the thou­sands in south Florida. They do much of the hard work be­hind the scenes at the boat show and richly de­serve a free, air-con­di­tioned bus ride.

Nameta­gus Blue­blazerus: Portly and pale by na­ture, they can be seen per­spir­ing with one thick an­kle stick­ing into the aisle on the bus as peo­ple file past in search of a seat with no gum on it. Their dogs are bark­ing, and the cat’s in the cra­dle back home in Ten­nessee. They are sales­men. They ped­dle LED lights, fake teak or fam­ily cruis­ers. They dread the show and drown their sor­rows on the dis­trib­u­tor’s dime each night. But this species is adapt­able, as their col­ors al­low them to aban­don the show en­vi­ron­ment and fit right in at any car deal­er­ship or phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal con­ven­tion if sur­vival in­stincts take over. Un­re­mark­able-Look­ing Guy Wear­ing $30 Khakis: Un­wor­thy of a fancy Latin moniker, he shares 5 per­cent of his DNA with each of the above species. Some­times ob­served with a ketchup stain on said pants after de­vour­ing a boat show lunch. (That’s me.)

These species rarely meet in the nat­u­ral world but come to­gether on the boat show bus once or twice per year. They mix with less-dom­i­nant species in­clud­ing the tan, mod­i­fied fe­male In­fla­tus Bo­so­mus and the eas­ily star­tled Pusha Babystroller In­tous. All play im­por­tant roles in the ar­ti­fi­cial ecosys­tem that is the Big Time Boat Show.

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