Are you familiar with Defender?

A familiar phrase now, after repeating it probably thousands of times during the Miami Boat Show, where we served as “greeters”, if you will, for Defender Industries at their booth at the Miami International Boat Show. An e-mail some months ago regarding a warranty/return issue with product we purchased through Defender led to some “undercover” followup on service response for someone at Defender who was interested in how our warranty situation was handled. That correspondence led to an informal inquiry into how they man the show, and ultimately we were put in touch with the person who does that, and ended up with a job working the Miami Show for our long-time marine supplier.

Our responsibilities included distributing as many Defender catalogs as we were able, with success defined as returning to Connecticut without any catalogs, or better yet, running out. We were not entirely successful, having a stock of about 7 cases left of the 52 that were sent. Still we handed out about 2100 catalogs, and probably repeated the greeting some 3000 times given that not every greeting was accompanied with a catalog! As our leader Leah reminded us, “guys, you can’t hand out catalogs to people who aren’t here!” So we were as successful as traffic allowed. The experience was interesting; we gained some insight into the marine retail market, and the marine industry from the other side of the aisle as well. Our 5-day stretch did afford some opportunity to wander the Convention Center portion of the show (which incidentally covers three separate venues) and we were able to pick up some things we had on our list. There are always good deals on lots of accessories, and the real value is being able to speak with the manufacturers and have all your questions answered in one location. Still, the sheer vastness of the show can be distracting if you’re on a short timetable. It is truly an international show, we met visitors from all over the world who came to Miami primarily for the show. The experience was memorable, if exhausting. But we were able to meet the expectations of our hosts, and still manage to maintain a semblance of our daily routine while putting in some 10-hour days. We have a great respect for the folks who regularly work the shows, the routine can be grueling, but it’s all in the attitude. It’s also enjoyable to spend time with so many folks who share the passion for boating, in whatever form they may enjoy.

Photo of the Miami skyline from Maerin anchored off Miami Beach



After the show, we spent some time strolling around South Beach, heading for the beach and the sights and sounds of the areas in between. Taxes are prepared and on the way to the accountant, bills are paid and provisions are re-stocked. The fuel polishing system I installed in Lauderdale has been working, and our full tanks are being polished a bit every day. The Bahamas calls! The Splendide washing machine worked great for 2 weeks after the repair in Lauderdale, but quit again at anchor in Miami. So another repair, more parts next day air, and it’s back in service. This problem was a repeat of the latest one, with a part finally failing. The RF filter for the power inlet overheated and burned off a main wire, shutting the machine down. Looks worse than it really was, but better for a demonstrable failure than the intermittent problems that led up to the part finally failing. We’re getting to be quite accomplished at removing and reinstalling the machine, we finally found the right combination so we are able to complete that onerous task with just the two of us. Still, the Splendide, which provides one of the greatest conveniences to life aboard, remains the #1 most unreliable piece of gear on the boat. Repairs to date nearly eclipse the cost of the machine that was new less than 5 years ago!

Sunday after the rain stopped we strolled to the farmer’s market on Lincoln Rd, a Sunday SoBe tradition. Although more of a flea market than farmer’s, it’s still an interesting stroll. We stopped for a cafe lunch, then continued to Ocean Drive and the promenade to complete a large circle returning to the boat- with some pooped pups! At 13, Sammy still springs to his feet at the mention of “you wanna go along?” He trucks right along, although he begins to lag a bit after an hour or so! We stop periodically to let him recharge, and he’s back trotting right along, tail and nose in the air. He loves the smells of the walk!

With most of our chores and pre-crossing preparation well in hand, we now await a suitable weather window. We plan to cross again with friends Chris & Joyce on Celebrate. We’ll meet up at No Name Harbor at the south end of Key Biscayne a day ahead of the projected good weather and hope that the forecast holds! A suitable window can be described as: winds < 15 kts with NO northern component, seas < 4-6 ft. with a dominant period of longer than the highest wave height. The further apart the wave height and the period values, the smoother the ride. That forecast should hold the day prior and day after the projected crossing. The decision to shove off is then tempered by how much adventure one desires, and how soon you want to arrive! Even starting out with benign conditions, there’s no guarantee that the predictions will hold, and no telling that conditions in the Gulf Stream will match the forecast! Even though it’s only 50 miles or so, a full day on a sloppy Gulf Stream can afford more adventure than what was planned or desired, so we pick our conditions carefully! It IS pleasure boating, after all!

Next stop, Bimini!

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