Every year Swiftsure manages to place a boat in the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis and punch well above our weight. This year we showed Pete and Tracey Goss’s Garcia 45 Pearl of Penzance. The Swiftsure team included Pete McGonagle, Ryan Helling, Cyrille Corlay from Grand Large Yachts (makers of the Garcia) , Pete and Tracey Goss and me. Six people on one boat? Yep, and we were all busy.
Pearl of Penzance already had two years and about 15,000 miles under her keel, a testament to her quality. But like Pete and Tracey, she looks fresh, solid and enjoying life. She’s been to the Canary Islands, the Bahamas twice, Maine, Turks and Caicos, many other places and of course was picked up at the factory in Cherbourg, France. Pearl’s layout includes the “technical room,” (aka workshop), a dedicated freezer and a few other options Pete and Tracey selected. While they have occasional guests, mainly one of their adult children and their partners, it’s basically a boat for the two of them.
As the only metal boat in the show, and the only “expedition” boat, we stood out at the show in a very good way.
This boat show isn’t measured by boats sold at the show (though several may come from it). It’s basically a great chance to put Garcia Yachts in front of people. And the gathered masses loved it. There was a line nearly the entire five days of the show. And many (about half) of those who stopped by were serious cruisers ranging from dreamers to those with a timeline who were seriously looking at making their cruising dream come through — which aligns with the Swiftsure ethos. Many attended the show primarily for seeing the Garcia. Just about everybody realized immediately how special the Exploration 45 is.
We had a great time as a team. Pete and Tracey already had the boat in Annapolis and unloaded the extra sails, windsurfer masts etc. to make Pearl presentable. Ryan and I arrived on Tuesday night. The four of us spent Wednesday spiffing up the boat and moving her into the show. It’s absolutely incredible how quickly the show takes place, organized with a strict move-in schedule that allows docks to be built around the boats virtually as soon as they’re tied up.
The 2019 show, Annapolis’ 50th, will be best remembered for its huge floods on three of the days. King tides plus a wind-blown seiche flooded the main streets next to the show and in fact intruded on many of the tents. Show-goers were turned away at a certain point. It didn’t affect us way out on the docks where we were moored on floating docks, but it certainly made for some interesting treks to get lunch.
Pete and Tracey were absolute stars. Pete’s exploits in the Southern Ocean and elsewhere are well known, and his humor and quiet expertise are just fun to be around. Tracey calls herself a beginner, but that may have made her just as great an attraction. Sailors, especially female sailors, connected with her on a very personal level as she described her experience as a sailor and a cruiser, especially meeting interesting people along the way.
Pete Goss was there as much more than an ambassador for Garcia. One morning he had to turn up early to do a video interview with TP2TV. Another morning he was on a cruiser’s panel with Brian Trautman of S/V Delos fame. The Delos crew were known by nearly everybody I spoke to during the show, and it was fun to say, “Yeah, they bought the boat from us…”
We also had a lot of help from friends of Pete and Tracey, Ian and Michelle Torrie whose Perry designed Saga 43 Mahina was hanging on a hook a couple hundred yards from our spot in the show.
Pete Goss had to fly back to the U.K. for speaking and teaching engagements on Sunday, but by then the show was winding down. Ryan also made an early exit to get back to Seattle where a lot of brokerage work was lined up. While we were gone, PJ Baker and Shawn Motley had their hands full back at the office.
On Monday night and Tuesday morning Pete McGonagle and I helped reload Pearl with cruising gear and move it to a mooring buoy where Tracey was going to enjoy a little down time before her husband’s return from the UK. After Pete gave me a driving tour of the yards around Annapolis, we hit BWI Airport and headed home. All in all, Annapolis was once again a success.