Two weeks ago, Rich and I attended the Seattle Boat Show. Actually "show" is an understatement. It was more of a colossal collection of every type of vessel that floats. Held at the 67,000-seat Qwest Field (Safeco Field’s less attractive twin) and on South Lake Union, the 10-day event featured more than 380 exhibitors with 1,200 recreational watercraft, including multi-million dollar yachts, house and pontoon boats, aluminum and fiberglass fishing boats, sailboats, trawlers, ski boats, jet skis, rowboats, kayaks, and inflatable dinghies.
In "Rich style," we got to the show an hour (or two) before it opened so we walked around on the quiet streets. It was kinda’ fun peaking into an art gallery, its front doors flung wide open in spite of it being in the low 30’s. Inside, we could see a group of men in short-sleeves gathered around a fiery furnace, shaping and blowing glass.
At Pioneer Square, a cat-sized seagull pecked at a loaf of sour dough bread that it either stole or was given. A flock of pigeons nearby waited patiently. Across the street was a sculpture dedicated to fallen Seattle firefighters. It featured life-sized figures in full gear, ready to extinguish a fire.
A block away was a non-descript brick building. On the outside was a plaque, proclaiming it Waterfall Park. Curious, I rounded the corner and was taken aback by the site. Inside the alcove was a majestic waterfall, wisteria covered walkways with several tables and benches, raised planter boxes… an oasis in a grand and crowded city. The small park is maintained by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to mark the birthplace of the United Parcel Service.
Walking back to the convention center, we passed the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, operated by the National Park Service to commemorate how the gold rush helped shape Seattle. According to their website, various miners on their way up to Alaska decided to stay in Seattle to make their fortune in a warmer climate. An early miner who "stayed behind" was John W. Nordstrom, the founder of Nordstrom department stores.
After getting our hand stamped at the convention center, we boarded a bus to Lake Union to check out the boats in their native habitat, the water. We were most interested in the sailboats, which may be long, but not overly high below deck. Poor Rich clunked his head after going below on the second or third sailboat we visited. He still has a scab on this head.
At 5’2", I have no problem with every hitting my head and had fun climbing into the smallest sailboats. Rich promptly decided that if we invest in a sailboat or charter another sailboat, it would be over 30 feet and hence, tall enough for him to stand up inside.
At the far end of the dock were the luxury yachts. They don’t look overly impressive from dockside. In fact, they’re clunky compared to sleek sailboats with tall masts and stiff white sails. We chose to go on a seemingly plain, but large yacht. We stepped onto the swim deck, which was level with the dock. We were required to take off our shoes then entered through a sliding glass door.
I could barely get my feet to move once I got inside. At the far end of the galley was a upscale kitchen with a huge refrigerator and matching freezer, full-sized Wolf stove and oven, granite counter tops, elegant cupboards, exquisite flooring… plush upholstered sofa and chairs, in-laid wood tables, recessed flat-screen TV, stereo system, cushy carpeting, shelves, and ornate curtains. A circular staircase led down to the master suite, which featured a king-sized bed, large flat-screen TV, marble-floored bathroom, double vanity, glass shower and tub. The next room could comfortably accommodate two people. It may have been the crew quarters.
Circling to the left, we came to a cluster of four built-in washers and dryers (maybe one set is for the crew). Down a short hallway, the door to the engine room was open so we could wander inside! It was huge with banks of batteries, compressors, electrical panels… tons of equipment… and a little step down to an area with tool boxes and a small sink for washing up once you’ve worked on the equipment.
Just past the engine rooms were two more bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Above the main galley was the pilot house with another bathroom and two small beds. There were also several decks outside. And of course, a small boat on the main deck that could be lowered to the water using an on-board crane.
For a mere $4.5 million this slightly used boat could be yours! The owner wants a bigger one!
Just for fun, I went onto the Nordhaven site and looked up what constitutes a 72-foot yacht. First, it holds 800 gallons of water (a necessity with five bathrooms) and 4,100 gallons of diesel (at $5 a gallons, a fill-up is $20,500 without tax). Yes, you can buy a new car for the price of a fill-up.
Standard features are products from Bose, Sony, Sub Zero (side-by-side refrigerator/freezer), Thermadore (stove/electric oven), GE (microwave, trash compactor), Bosch (dishwasher) along with granite counter tops, stone and ceramic flooring, handcrafted teak cabinets and tables, and high-quality carpeting.
Having a multi-million dollar yacht would be very surreal when much of the world has inadequate housing!
After touring the boats on the water, we headed back to the convention center. On the way, we stopped at FX McRory for cups of clam chowder and a bowl of steamed clams with tangy sour dough bread. The restaurant was made famous by LeRoy Neiman’s painting of F.X. McRory’s Whiskey Bar.
We spent a couple of hours looking at various boats at the convention center. It’s very overwhelming with hundreds of watercraft, accessories, and associated "stuff" in every nook and cranny of the center, including the football field, where there was a little trout pond and some service group was conducting a contest, whereby kids and adults who successfully kicked field goals could enter to win something wonderful.
I was in awe, standing on the same field where the Seahawks play. It must be very intimidating to be a player on the field and look up and see all the seats filled with screaming and hopefully not angry fans.
A few days after the boat show, Rich investigated classes through San Juan Sailing in Bellingham, Washington. Anxious to improve my sailing skills, and frustrated with trying to teach me, he signed me up for a week-long class on a woman’s only cruise in the Puget Sound in mid-July. Between sailing, I’ll be taking tests. By the time I’m done, I will have earned three American Sailing Association’s certifications… he hopes.
In the meantime, I’ll be reading sailing books and dealing with the idea of having to actually sail and not just take orders and mispronounce sailing terms. Drats. I prefer leaving the sailing to Rich.
In late September, Rich and I will be chartering a 34-foot boat from the same company and sailing through the Puget Sound and possibly into Canadian waters. I’m looking forward to this trip and having Rich do most of the work!!! It’s much easier to do what I’m told then to figure out which direction the wind is coming and adjusting the sails accordingly.

Protecting Seattle from aliens in fuschia jackets Waterfall Park Boat show II Boat show