My top 10 from the 2013 Seattle Boat Show

(1) Women’s Day. Women got in free with the on-line coupon. You must have this printed out and give it to the door, but the Show does very little to promote this. So every year I take extra copies and pass ‘em out to a few gals heading to the ticket booth. They always seem delighted.

(2) FrontPanel Express Download their free design software to your PC, and customize a panel design. Great variety of materials, colors, fonts and engravings. This design tool gives you price updates throughout your process, so you can get an economical result. I am going to make some personalized panels to place on top of my electronics project boxes. You can have a haiku and graphics on a custom wall plague or panel. Replace a cracked yellowed instrument panel on your sloop.

(3) The United States Power Squadron gave out eye-glass cleaning cloths featuring the 100th anniversary logo. “Happy 100th” to the organization that is devoted to boater education. They are adding “on the water” training to complement the courses.

(4) Sea Grant Washington and Puget Soundkeepers are promoting “Pump, Don’t Dump”. They give out a free Hands-free Pumpout Adapter to make it easier to pump-out. Thread this black adaptor temporarily into your deck fitting. The pumping equipment nozzle clamps on to this adapter so you don’t need stand there holding onto it. Whatever makes you reluctant to pump-out, find some solution. Maybe this adaptor will help. You can request a whole batch sent over to your club (Washington State) by contacting  Web:

(5) I enjoy talking to the folks at GetStorganized and playing with all the stuff in the booth. They care about finding and providing useful products for boaters. For many years they have distributed the wonderful FenderStep, my #1 favorite boat item. They are looking for the best LED products too. Don’t you want waterproof LED ribbons on your topsides? Also they also have website.

(6) Best seminar was “Using the iPad Onboard”  Mark Bunzel ( compared some of the many navigation Apps, revealed his tests on the internal GPS of i-devices, and answered technical questions. Waggoner’s can now be loaded into your iPad.

Best sailing seminar was (Port Townsend Rigging) Lisa Vizinni’s talk about Downwind Sailing. Good practical advice, about using a pole on the genoa sheets and remembering to turn and look back at weather and wind.

(7) You know, right, that your boat can email you “Bilge level okay at 7 pm” or call your cell to say “I’m still where you left me”? This year’s hot products were the many monitoring and security devices, nmea translators, data loggers, onboard wifi, etc., so I did a survey of these. The protocols and standards used in the marine electronics devices are beginning to stabilize. When this happens, open source and hobbyist projects kick in and drive creativity and quality. I recognize this “movement”, having lived it earlier in the world of computer graphics/user interface.

(8) Refreshments in support of the show: El Camion food truck across the street from the Boat Show and lattes from the Zeitgeist coffeehouse two blocks to the north.

(9) I stayed at the Edgewater Hotel right out on the waterfront (near the new Seattle Great Wheel) for less than $100. I picked it because the Beatles stayed there. Great happy hour food in an elegant space that is built over the water.

(10) I especially enjoyed meeting blue-water sailor and author Wendy Hinman. She (like me) goes without refrigeration on her boat and keeps to a tight budget. She is charming, relaxed, and articulate when she speaks. Look for her book, Tightwads on the Loose: A Seven-Year Pacific Odyssey, detailing her seven year adventure afloat. (


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mike
    Mar 19, 2013 @ 06:41:11

    great info…


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