The Smart Refit
Replacing older equipment and electronics may be just the way to spruce up your proven ride.
The boat show isn't just for boat buyers. Miami, in particular, is an exhibition for all things marine. Here is where the newest and latest gear and electronics all are introduced, in booths staffed with people who want you to know more about their products.
"The beautiful thing about Miami is that each of the rooms have remained consistent for many years," says Karl Anderson, a marine journalist and expert fi shing captain who oversaw the build and fitting out of his latest charge, Brier Patch, a Merritt 72. "Go to those rooms and you can ferret out who's got what."
Buying equipment and electronics is like any shopping excursion. Stay focused and you'll accomplish your goals. "Make a list: this is what I do [with my boat], this is what I want, this what I really need," says Anderson. "Don't go by what you think you're going to do [with your boat] ten years down the road."
This event offers a special advantage for equipment buyers. "If you're doing a refit, Miami gives you the opportunity to go look at different boats," says Anderson. "Don't just go look at the pretty new model of boat, look how they executed it, and how they did installation of hardware. And look at the type of hardware that they're using, because there's some really new, neat hardware that the boatbuilders are using. Pay attention to how other people are doing it. You'll see good ideas."
Karl Anderson Captain Brier Patch
"If you're looking for accessories or doing a refi t on your boat, the Convention Center is the warehouse-it's got it all. You've got to feel your way around, but you'll get a good cross-section of what's out there. The Convention Center is like the supermarket, you want to hit the outer aisle to get all the good stuff."
"Now you know which setups will work [for your needs]. Consider what, 1) I can afford, 2) is the most practical, and 3) which is the easiest retrofit. You want to fi nd the setup that's not going to require major surgery to install or rewire."
"Find the smaller upscale custom builder or limited production builder: He's going to have better hardware and he's going to have better rigging and you're going to see different things in those boats to really help improve your boat."
Hot Tip: "At the Marriott Biscayne Bay on Saturday, February 13, is a seminar with the top 20 to 25 billfish captains. Representatives from custom builders and electronics manufacturers will be there. It's like a show within a show, and a great way to spend a Saturday." www.billfishexpo.com