From UK with love, big stuff, new: Chicago Boat Show, opening day

SHARE From UK with love, big stuff, new: Chicago Boat Show, opening day

The Katherine Ann at the Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show.
Credit: Dale Bowman

The boat that caught my eye, the Katherine Anne, came with a history. And sat all alone in the Drascombe by Churchouse Boats Ltd. booth (S1147) at the Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show.

“I flew all the way from the U.K for this,’’ Simon Harwood, production director for Drascombe

Several hundred were lined up for the opening of the Boat Show, enough people Wednesday afternoon that show officials opened another entry line at McCormick Place South.

Here are my opening-day notes from the Boat Show, which runs through Sunday.

Harwood is justly proud of the hand-built boat, all custom built.

Drascombe is back at the Boat Show for the first time in what Harwood thought was 20 or 30 years.

As to why now, he said,“Because the chap who owns it lives in Fort Wayne [Ind.].”

Well, that and the time is right. Harwood already had several serious inquiries early in the show.

Good enough reason.

It was the most beautiful boat I saw at the show.

Credit: Dale Bowman

Credit: Dale Bowman

Capt. Gareth Stamm and Capt. Mike Shine collared me as I started through the show.

They had the latest and greatest on TowBoatU.S. (P1630) , including Stamm’s new working space on the Des Plaines River area by Joliet.

There is a bunch of stuff to talk to them about, including a pretty good insurance offer on boats and trailer coverage.

I need to spend a day on the water with those guys. I have never done that.

Credit: Dale Bowman

Credit: Dale Bowman

My favorite stop Wednesday was by the Poor Man’s Yacht Club (S2420).

It strikes me more as a social club than anything and I highly recommend stopping by if you are a sporting-type of boater. Or if you just want some interesting conversation.


There were a couple world debuts at the show.

MasterCraft had three show debuts, the XT (20, 21 and 23), including the world debut of the XT21. Well, it is also debuting this week at Atlanta.

Credit: Dale Bowman

Credit: Dale Bowman

There was also the the 2017 SeaRay SLX-W 230, advertised as the first with a 21-degree deadrise. It is beautiful in a more modern way than the Coaster.

If you are getting into a pontoon, I suggest that you not only look at the plethora of pontoons at the show, but also check out Pontoon Restoration Company, LLC, based in Warsaw, Ind. The boat they have at the show had a third pontoon added and an upper deck for a fraction of what a similar set-up would go for new.

Speaking of pontoons, which are much improved and far more modern than the old-time pontoons, are still a major presence at the show, but they do not dominate the floor like they did in the down years of the economy. I suspect that says something about the state of the economy, though I am not savvy enough to decipher what it means.

Credit: Dale Bowman

Credit: Dale Bowman

And there were plenty of big yachts, dream boats, if you will, to see and tour, too.  The joint will be jumping again.

As usual, there was island style music (think steel guitars) playing by the food and drink area.

And plenty of RVs.

Credit: Dale Bowman

Credit: Dale Bowman

Here are a couple things that made me look twice.

This was on a small RV. The sign I understood, what I wondered about was the spinning thing above the sign. Was that to help you follow asleep? Hypnotize you into slumber? The mind reaches. Or at least mine does.

And I just liked this photo below. Kind of summed up the feeling of the Boat Show.


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The two were outside about 4:20 a.m. in the 1300 block of South Throop Street when someone fired shots.
Officers responding to a shots fired call about 10 p.m. found the two in the 3800 block of West Ohio Street.
Officers responding to a person shot report found the man lying on a porch with multiple gunshot wounds.
One man, 34, was found in the 300 block of East Huron Street and died at a hospital. Another man later showed up at the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg.
The shooting happened about 1 a.m. in the 4800 block of West Iowa Street.