Michigan Boating Industries Association's Detroit Boat Show wrapped up over the weekend and here are some thoughts. Firstly, boats are cool. The absolute highlight of highlights for me was my first real look at a Chris Craft 19 Speedster, my pet project back in yacht-designer days. I had a real hand in that project, making it a boat that I'd be interested in buying, and it really turned out that way. The display model at the show had a navy hull with red boot stripe, tan all-weather leather inserts in the cockpit, and the Volvo 5.0 engine. It looked sharp, cute, and classy all at the same time. Outside of the Chris Craft stand, though, there wasn't much that really stood out. We were impressed by the interior of the wickedly expensive Formula 40 SS, the value and sensibilities of the Rinker cruisers, and little else. Somehow, this was a boat show detuned. I really got the impression wandering COBO on Saturday that we are living in a recessionary Post-9/11 universe where the only people who buy production boats are rich families. Gone was the lime-green and candle-apple red Day-Glo armada of 'toy' boats from the last time I was there. This was epitomized by the lack of a stand featuring Donzi Marine products. Imagine a boat show without that American standby and you get a sense for the depressed state of boat-buying in the Midwest.
Back at home, the big news for the weekend was the arrival of my last Christmas present: a Sensenich 72 CK wooden propeller. Technically it is designated as a non-airworthy souvenir, but it is still pretty amazing. This thing has compound curvature like nothing else, and I was a yacht designer.