Boat, RV & Sail Show        

Chicago Welcomes the 88th Annual Boat Show

January 22, 2018

The 88th annual Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show took place earlier this month and our team set out to McCormick Place to check out all it had to offer. From bigger boats, tougher life vests, and faster jet skis we saw all the gear and technology for a great 2018 outdoor sports season. Please enjoy our highlights below!

Yamaha Waverunners Make a Splash
Yamaha is a staple at the boat show for their fast and fun waverunners. The powerhouse brought their FX Series that are a family favorite. The hull and deck stretch 11 feet but it maintains a lightweight feel complete with the standard RiDE dual handlebar throttle controls. With easy maneuvering between forward, reverse, and neutral, the FX makes for a smooth ride.

Spinlock’s Durable Life Vest
The ocean can be an angry and dangerous beast for those brave enough to face her. Spinlock designed a life vest to help those sailors stay safe and stand up to her prowess. They are the official supplier for the massive 2017/2018 Volvo Ocean Drive race, currently happening in real time. The race is 45,000 nautical miles and pushes sailors to their limits. Spinlock and Volvo’s partnership has created an opportunity for both parties to collaborate with the brightest minds in marine and sailing industries. The life vest is just the start of more innovative designs to come.

Spinlock has pushed the boundaries with their life vests as the technology and stakes of boat racing has accelerated over the years. They designed a vest that is safe, yet comfortable, creating a positive user experience. Myles Uren, Product Manager at Spinlock, believes, “it’s our job to take our products and innovate in order to try and help them (the crew)out as much as possible.”

Topaz and Toppers
Topaz Sailing brought their fleet of ships to the boat show including their Topaz Argo (seen on the right). Argo is a club training sailboat that is versatile enough for competition or family outings. It comfortably fits 4 with the high freeboard, a roomy cockpit and high boom. The boat is almost maintenance free and includes top notch security features such as mast head float, righting lines and standard fitted grab rails. Other notable members in the family are Vibe, Cats, Omega, and Taz.

Big Hulls, Bigger Engines and Bigger Lifts
From 2,000 to 12,000 pounds, Tornado Lifts can handle your speed boat or jet ski. The non adjustable components are welded which deters any loosening and there is no contact of dissimilar metals in a salt water environment, keeping your boat safe and secure.

EZ Dock and Launch
EZ Dock has made recreational kayaking a universal water sport for anyone in any condition. Their Accessible Transfer System provides individuals with disabilities exceptional accessibility to their kayak and the water. “The easy-to-use transfer bench and transfer slide boards allow users to simply sit, slide over and drop down into a kayak or canoe then use the side rails to pull off or back on.”

Boat Captain Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts
Similar to being a good designer, there is an etiquette to being a good boat captain. We may be shipless at the moment, but when we do get our own vessel we’ll take these tips we learned to heart:
Keep the music down. Sound travels better over water and can be a distraction for the captain and other riders.
Slow Down. Minimal wake speed is the safest. Enables a quick reaction time and a flawless docking.
Proper Distance. When whipping around wake boarders or tubers stay 150 feet from the shores, other docks, and marinas.

Sonar Below the Ice
Garmin’s Panoptix ice bundle is designed to use 3 types of sonar (narrow beam Garmin CHIRP traditional, Panoptix LiveVü Forward and LiveVü Down) to find fish under thick slabs of ice in real time. Fishermen can track their lure and the reaction the bait causes. It also comes with 17,000 preloaded maps of U.S. lakes, rivers and reservoirs. The easy to use interface makes ice fishing a breeze with the option to create a custom screen with maps, flasher, and Panoptix views. The bundle starts at $1,800.

Rev Those Rv’s!
RV’s aren’t what they used to be. As luxury camping has become trendy over the past several years so has the equipment. Mercedes has a high end conversion van that’s perfect for camping, tailgating, or other leisure adventures. With customizing options for everything from seating configuration and materials (leather, wood), to microwave and fridge options, Mercedes has an RV just for you.

The Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show was a much needed peek at summer and the outdoor and marine industry. For a look at our relatable projects, please visit our website or drop us a note at

Up Down