It was that time of year again. A time filled with magic and mysterious polishes that will supposedly make old aluminum look like new stainless. A time when “For Sale” signs appear on vessels in local marinas like buds on the trees. A time to re-stock your supply of free key floaters and drink coozies.
It’s time for the Southwest International Boat Show!
South Shore Harbor hosts the annual Southwest Boat Show in Kemah, Texas. I have to admit, having now been on many different types of vessels, the show isn’t as exciting as it was a few years ago. However, there were two big reasons to stop by this year.
The first reason was the Lagoon 450.
Our upcoming summer charter will be on a Lagoon, but we’d never actually been on a large cat, so we were very excited to get a tour and see what they were really like.
The 450 would definitely be a comfortable live-aboard with plenty of amenities and space for guests.
There was no shortage of cabinets, closets, drawers, and other storage throughout the vessel.
Call me selfish, but I much prefer the “owner’s” version over the “charter” version of these boats with a big cabin and head on one side — not that we’ll ever be able to afford ownership of either version. But maybe someday we’ll at least have a vessel with a stand-alone shower.
Unlike some of the older, smaller cats we’ve toured like the Prouts and the PDQs, Mary had no trouble seeing over the helm of the Lagoon 450.
Once we were finished there, we headed over to the next pier to check out the pre-owned Fountaine Pajot Lipari 41.
The FP was also a cool boat with a very similar layout. Though smaller, it still had plenty of storage and space to entertain.
Mary’s only complaint was that she did not like the design of the shower stall in the owner’s head. She prefers clear glass walls. I don’t know if that’s a deal breaker.
However, she had no problem with the kitchen.
The FP also had an elevated “flybridge” helm.
Although on both boats, once the sails are set, it’s easy to keep watch and adjust the autopilot from inside at the nav station.
However, the very visible escape hatches in the FP remind you of the one underlying danger of cat sailing — ending up upside down.
Once we’d had our fill of touring boats we can’t afford, we walked through the vendor area and spent almost $40 on two burgers, fries and drinks while taking in some live music.
And while nobody escapes the boat show for free, at least we didn’t end up with a radio-controlled boat.
Or one of these three-wheeled slingshot cars.
Or $99 for 20 minutes of being tethered to a jetski on a hydro-rocket.
But there’s always next year …