The Annapolis Boat Show

Posted:  November 12, 2021
👁 242   9

I clutched my carry on bag as I scooted into my window seat, not quite big enough to call comfortable, but not small enough to deem unfit for safe transport. Chris settled next to me after tossing our bag overhead, his camera placed gently beneath the seat in front of him as instructed. He was a seasoned traveler having been on more out-of-state video shoots this year than ever before while I hadn’t boarded a plane since our last trip to Annapolis in 2019. It seemed fitting in a way that my debut back to air travel was on a similar trip to Annapolis where we would be reunited with Chris’s brother Jon and his Partner Shannon while also attending the Annapolis Sail Boat Show that had, much like myself, returned from a covid-induced hiatus. 

12 hours and dicey Texas layover we arrived safely in Baltimore, Maryland where Jon was waiting with his friends’ truck to retrieve us. Chris grabbed the tanbark sail we had checked and passed it off to his brother, a gift from fellow Hans Christian owner Baron of S/V Remedy, so Prism will now have a full set of “tannies.” With the rest of our bags packed in, we were on our way to the boat where Mama Neely and Shannon were awaiting our arrival. Although tired from travel, we had the time change to our advantage and were able to convince the crew to stay up just a bit longer with us, catching up from our time apart – before we knew it, the clock struck 2:00 am and it was definitely time for bed. 

Prism may only be 33’ but she can sure fit a lot of people! Mama Neely and Shannon shared the pullman berth, Chris and I cuddled in the aft cabin (which is essentially a modified twin bed) and Jon slept on the settee. In my opinion, Hans Christian 33 is one of the best pocket cruisers due to their carefully thought out blueprint and consideration for vertically gifted people such as Chris and his brother (Jon ringing in at 6’5”) – not to mention their classic look and stout design gives off major pirate vibes, and who wouldn’t want to live out their Jack Sparrow fantasy?

Our first morning in Annapolis was slow as we took a while to “hatch” out of our berth. Once awake we gathered on the foredeck where we enjoyed breakfast from Prism’s Galley (5 stars) and chatted about our plans for the day. Deja Vu hit me as I looked around the anchorage in the sunlight; this was the same place we had said our goodbyes on our last trip. Of course, the boat had moved from that spot (in fact, they sailed well over 5000 nm since our trip in 2019) but to be back with nearly the same anchor set was a bit eerie, like time never moved on. 

Before we got too far into our day, Chris and I wanted to make sure Jon had the opportunity to open his birthday gift from us. To be honest, I think it’s some of my best gift-giving work. Jon is not afraid to speak his mind and be brutally honest, even with gifts, and seldom gives his stamp of approval to anything making it a highly sought-after mark, especially in the eyes of his little brother. With that said, I gave him a gift that was worthy of his stamp but ironically will never receive it because it was a literal “Jon Neely Approved” stamp, complete with a well-written birthday card. We all had a good laugh about it, and continued to laugh about it throughout the week – mission accomplished. 

Around 11, Jon and Shannon’s friend Clark dinghied over to shuttle us back to his boat for a day on the Chesapeake. Truthfully Chris and I have never really been interested in powerboats or even entertained the idea of owning one… until we stepped aboard Roam. Clark and his wife Michelle are the owners and crew of M/V Roam, a beautiful Nordhavn 55’ that checked all of the comfort boxes – they even have a bathtub! After departing from the marina we gathered up on the flybridge (which felt like a skyscraper) and motored our way to Cantlers – an absolute must if you are in Annapolis, or so I am told. 

Cantlers is one of those iconic places that people tell stories about for years, no matter how long it has been or how far away they are. In fact, the first time we had learned about it was when our friend Alan from S/V ValHowell was telling us stories about sailing on the east coast, making sure that we would not forget the name “Cantlers” if we ever found ourselves in Annapolis. A bucket of blue crab was dumped on the table as our party went wild – well… all except myself who had a big veggie burger placed in front of me. I know what you are thinking, but trust me, I have lived my entire life by the ocean (born and raised in Santa Cruz, CA) and have just never enjoyed seafood. I have tried it all and yes, I have tried it cooked “that way”, but at this point, I think it must be a mental block because I can’t seem to stomach anything that lives under the water, which is very unfortunate as a seafarer. Despite my distaste for the crusty critters, it was a lot of fun watching our table try to snap open the shells and hunt for the meat, I even played along and helped crack a few of them open. It was great fun all around and the food was wonderful. I sent a photo to Alan sharing our location, and to his excitement, he applauded the crab eaters and poked fun at my “dedication” to a vegetarian diet, “in a place like Cantlers that is surely sacrilegious.”

To be honest, I thought October on the east coast was supposed to be quintessential fall weather. You know: warm sweaters, bone-chilling breezes, orange leaves, and of course the occasional drizzle – but noooo. Mother Nature decided that fall would be delayed a few days, and instead gave us beautiful and humid weather for our second day. Normally I am all for the warmth but I had left California packed with all my fall favorites, not a pair of shorts or a sundress to be seen. Fortunately, Shannon had a closet full of cute clothes and let me borrow a dress – what are sisters for, right? Once dressed we shuttled to shore aboard Penta (Jon and Shannon’s Fatty Knees 8’) and headed to the consignment shop we had heard so much about. 

Bacon Sails and Marine Supply has been around since ‘59 and has provided the sailing community with new and used sails as well as boat parts – very similar to our Mikes Consignment in Ventura. Chris was on a mission for winches and lo and behold he found exactly what he was after! On Avocet we have two primary self-tailing winches in the cockpit, which is great, but when we need to reef the genoa or tighten the preventer we often have to either change our tack to free up the winch needed or tie-off lines and sheets in inconvenient ways which could be solved by adding another set of winches to the mix. At Bacon, we bought not one, but TWO sets of self-tailing winches in great condition for a grand total of $800 – brand new the total would be around $4000! Smitten with our purchase, and not yet questioning how we would get the winches home, we left the consignment shop with sh!t eating grins. 

After a long day in the sun we lounged about Prism’s deck, enjoying the fleeting light. We were joined by Dragon Quest (“DQ”), the Hans Christian 33 that Jon and Shannon had spent all of 2020 refitting. Seeing the boat’s rafted up side by side was incredible as they dominated the anchorage with their beauty and attracted numerous adoring stares. Bill, DQ’s owner, grabbed his guitar and started playing which naturally inspired the Neely’s to partake. The travel guitar and ukulele came out of hiding and soon we were all singing along to family favorites. Speaking of family, my Uncle John and Aunt Alana were visiting Alana’s family in Annapolis and made time to come see us. Jon and Shannon’s friends Dave and Lauren that have a Baba 30 (and a cat named Cupcake that looks like our Cleo) also joined us as we filled Prism’s deck space and added a range of voices in our subpar symphony that serenaded the anchorage. We laughed and drank under the red deck lights, making memories until 1:00 am when we all parted ways to get some much-needed rest. 

The following morning we spent cleaning up the evidence of debauchery; empty prosecco bottles, beer cans, hard ciders, and more littered Prism’s deck. We filled a 5-gallon bucket with empties and then some, flooding our bodies with water to bury the feelings of nausea. Shannon and Chris left to pick up our friend Clarke from the airport while I (wo)manned the galley, finishing what Shannon had started. It was another beautiful day and soon our party of 5 turned into 6 when Clarke joined us with Gatorade in hand – he had heard about our night and knew that electrolytes would most definitely be needed. Once settled, we pulled the anchor out of the sludge and made our way to the AirBNB that was rented for our stay during the Boat Show. 

The small brick home was quaint, nestled on the waters edge with a dock perfect for Prism. Together we docked the boat then set off to explore the house and claim our beds. There was a master bedroom with a window looking out towards the water and two bunk rooms, one of which had a set of two bunk beds. We claimed a stake in the latter room with Clarke, leaving the other open for Chris’s sister Tess and oldest nephew Troy who would be joining us later on.

Every year the 8th graders at Troy’s school go on a field trip to Washington DC for a week of exploration and learning. This is a trip that Chris and his siblings all did at Troy’s age, and have wonderful memories from. Unfortunately due to C19 the school trip was canceled, but that didn’t stop Tess from stepping in to give her son the experience of a lifetime. The mother-son-duo arrived a few hours after we had gotten comfortable and gave us all the details of their travels thus far. It was so surreal to hear Troy talk about what excited him and convey himself in an adult manner – wasn’t he just 5 years old? I thought as he continued to feed us facts he had learned along the way. 

Even though we had more friends come to visit for the AirbnB warming party, we still went to bed at a reasonable hour after dinner, games, and blowing out the candles on Jon’s birthday cake. The next day was our first day of the boat show, and we needed all the rest we could get! Prior to boarding our flight to Annapolis, Lin Pardey called me with some very sound advice in regards to the show: “Wear comfortable shoes, drink water, and take it slow – you will be overwhelmed, but will have so much fun!” and boy was she right on all accounts. Not even the legend herself could have prepared me for what we walked into that Saturday. 

Boat Show Day 1

Chris and I were invited as participants of the Sailing Youtube Creator booth as well as L&L Publications booth, representing Lin in her absence. We were thrilled to finally get the opportunity to meet our fellow creator friends whom we had forged relationships with online from many nautical miles apart. Since we had been preoccupied with family, we didn’t have a chance to make our appearance at any of the pre-show parties where others had picked up their show credentials. Luckily, Brett and Jade Evans (Expedition Evans) came to our rescue and snagged our credential passes for us; Jade met us at the front entrance of the show after a very interesting scavenger hunt to find each other. Once inside we met up with Duca and Roberta from Odd Life Crafting as well as Brett who was patiently waiting for his other half to retrieve us. I was immediately overwhelmed with the talking, the people, the movement, all of the shiny objects, and the temperature inside the large tent we had met in… it was sensory overload and Chris could tell I was on the verge of an ADHD/Anxiety meltdown. Since our friends had been stopped by eager fans Chris saw it as a perfect time to escape. He grabbed my hand and navigated through the crowded tent until we made it outside, my blue eyes wide as I tried to take in everything around me. I had never seen so many boat parts in one place – not even at Minnies. 

Avocet x Odd Life

After a quick walk around we had reconnected with our family and had the opportunity to check out some of the “latest and greatest” boats on the market. That is when I learned that slip-on-shoes are crucial on show days if you are planning on touring any of the show boats – seriously, don’t bother with laces! After two tours our obligation caught up with us and Chris and I were off to the YouTuber booth where we got to chat with fans old and new. I did not expect to see my distant cousin Kyrie there waiting for us! It was such a surprise, and definitely made my day. Chris and I were incredibly humbled by the amount of people who came to meet us at the booth as well as say hello to us while walking around the show. We started our channel as a way to document our progress and share details about life afloat with our family and friends… It is so wild to think that we (“Sailing Avocet”) now have a reach of over 200,000/month! As always, our intent is not to be famous, but rather helpful and we hope to continue to provide you all with quality content for years to come. 

The Delos gang was scheduled to take over the booth right after us, a large line formed minutes prior in anticipation of their arrival. I pulled a power aunt move and bought a Delos Flag for Troy who is a big fan then gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. Right as Brian, Kazza and crew arrived and began moving into the booth, we exchanged some brief hellos then I introduced them to Troy who I pushed through to get their signatures before the massive mob. He was star struck and smitten, hugging his flag and then me. Being an aunt is so freaking cool. After we watched the mob of fans flock to see the Delos crew in the flesh Tess, Troy and Mama Neely left to get lunch while the rest of us made our way to Pussers for another Pain Killer. 

“Should we reef now?” I asked as the wind picked up, and dark clouds filled the sky. The flags on the show boats aggressively flapped backwards. Jon and Clarke decided to make their way back to the house via dinghy, but Shannon, Chris, Dave, Lauren and I decided to tough out the oncoming storm and enjoy another round of drinks. We tempted fate as we walked home under the dark cloud cover, very reminiscent of our last week on Avocet, spent anchored out at Catalina in a lightning storm. Rain began to sprinkle the ground and kiss our skin as I skipped around, happy that I could justify my fall-weather clothing I had packed! The three of us arrived back at the house just in time, because as soon as we shut the door the sky opened the floodgates and rain cascaded down in sheets.

We huddled around the living room which was soon filled with friends including: Clarke; Christina and Derrick; Spencer and Bee; Sarah and Andy; Kaylee and Jen; Bill, Sarah, and Josh; and of course the Neely’s- it was a packed house! That night we played a raging round of “Bag of Dicks” (also known as “Fishbowl” I guess?) which is a new Neely family favorite. Here’s how you play:

  • Divide into even teams
  • Give every player 3 strips of paper
  • Each player writes one noun (person, place, or thing) on each strip of paper, folds it up, and places it in a bowl, hat, or vessel of somesort that can be passed easily. 
  • The game is similar to charades where one person picks the noun out of the bowl and must have their teammates guess the noun – but here’s the catch: there are 3 rounds with different rules. 

Round 1: Descriptions. You can describe the noun without saying it or pointing to something in the room. (EX: verb is dog: it’s an animal that barks, you can be a cat person or a ___ person, Goofy and pluto are what kinds of animals)

Round 2: Acting. You must act out the noun without pointing to anything in the room. (EX: verb is fishing : act out casting a line and reeling in a massive lunker)

Round 3: Sounds. You must act out the noun by way of sound. However, it can only be a singular sound! (EX: verb is halyard : “fwap, fwap, fwap”)

The game heated up as we protested certain descriptions while laughing uncontrollably at some players’ dedication to “acting” it out – specifically Chris whose Italian hands and love of games makes him a hazard to anyone in the phasinity of his “stage.” Despite Chris’s valiant contributions to the boys team, the girls absolutely crushed them. Instead of playing round 2 (which would have undoubtedly led to another absolute domination by the women) the group decided to switch gears and play trivia which was essentially every person for themselves! It was as if we blinked and the clock struck 1:30 am. Instead of turning into pumpkins, we turned into sleepy adults in dire need of rest after a long day. The games were put away, and the guests left, leaving the house as quiet as a church mouse with the occasional pitter patter of rain on the roof. 

Boat Show Day 2

Chris and I were the first ones up and out of the house at 9:30, ready for our second and last day of the show. We walked into the show with ease, our credentials hanging proudly around our necks as we approached the Good Old Boat booth. Lately I have been a creative machine sending articles left and right (or, write 😉) for publication and been having great fun interacting with new people while in the process of exercising my passion for written word. Good Old Boat recently wrote an article on creature comforts and included some of the projects Chris and I have completed aboard Avocet including our head remodel, Quarter berth refit, and projector box build. Additionally, they had agreed to publish our toe rail to bulwark technical piece in an upcoming issue with all the nitty gritty details of the project! Despite my success as a published writer, I still struggle with imposter syndrome, often finding it difficult to accept my accomplishments leaving me to question if I am deserving of the accolades or title of “writer”. 

“Sailing Avocet!” Wendy called from the “GOB” booth. I ran over, smiling ear to ear, excited to put a face to the name I had been emailing back and forth with for months. “This is Marissa, she’s one of our writers” she said, as she introduced me to the other woman handing out publications, subsequently putting my imposter syndrome to bed and reassuring me of my voice in this corner of the sailing realm. We took a photo together, and chatted about the show so far as well as our upcoming plans then said “goodbye for now” as we continued on our way. 

One of the best parts about boat shows is the special pricing on a majority of the products available. While walking through the booths a masthead light caught Chris’s eye and he stopped to investigate further and chat with the sales rep who was very helpful in answering all of our off-the-wall and in depth questions about the product. It was a Signal Mate masthead light which is a major upgrade from our Aqua Signal masthead light. The Signal Mate is a sealed unit with all LED lights and an SOS function – everything we need and a bit more! With our upcoming rig project, we knew now would be the perfect time to buy the light, especially considering the discount. Normally the light would cost $400 but at the show it was just under $250! After an exchange we walked away with a little less money but a sweet new light, tucked away safely in my Avocet Tote bag for safe keeping. 

With our first show purchase made we set our course for The Boat Galley/L&L Publications booth which is where we hosted a meet and greet, in addition to helping promote Lin Pardey’s books and The Real Deal documentary, a Larry Pardey tribute. There we met Paul and Sheryl from Distant Shores TV series, the original sailing video content creators. They were a lovely couple, and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and chatting about sailing plans, projects and everything that follows. We also met some of our Patreon supporters including Dustino and his lovely wife who we have chatted with online for a few months, finally able to snap a photo and thank him for his support in person. 

Shannon often claims that The Boat Galley Cookbook is their onboard “bible” and it shows since her copy has been dog eared, delaminated, unbound, with notes all on the inside. It really is a wonderful book, which is why I was so excited to buy my very own from none other than the author herself. I was introduced to Carolyn through Lin online when she first learned that we would be attending the show. She had been nothing but kind and helpful via email and in person – there is no surprise why Lin nicknamed their booth the “Smile and Hugs” booth! Carolyn signed my copy of her book that will surely get plenty of use as we sail far and wide. It has already made a wonderful addition to Avocet’s onboard Library.

Good to see you Christy!

The “Smile and Hugs” booth neighbored the “Women Who Sail” group which (as the name implies) is a Facebook group for women sailors, and our friend Christy “CJ” Braun from Berkeley California was one of the many women crewing the booth. Ironically, Christy and her partner River (who is an incredible writer) moved into Prism’s slip when she sailed south back in 2014. Unfortunately, River was under the weather and unable to attend the show that day, which was a shame because I wanted to tell him how much I adored his coming of age book, in person. Christy joined our party of 7 for lunch at McGarvey’s, one of our family favorites on the Annapolis waterfront. 

We returned to the show fueled and ready to tour more boats. Tess had put our party down to tour Lickety, a gorgeous HH catamaran that is essentially Gunboats competition, and with good reason. We had a guide all to ourselves as we perused the 55’ yacht, exploring the comfortable berths, well designed heads and pretended “what if” while out on the tramp. We may never become “cat” people in the sailing sense, but man was this boat incredible! Troy gave it a 10/10, and I don’t think a single one of us disagreed. “For a few million, this could be yours” I said, giving our nephew a half-smile. His eyes widened in shock. 

Sailing Avocet, David Shih Sails, Sailing Zephyr, ZIngaro

The bitter breeze picked up, biting at our exposed skin as Chris and I walked over to the YouTuber booth to meet up with James from Zingaro. “What’s up girl!” He said, pulling me in for a hug. I had worked with James in the past as one of my digital marketing clients, helping him keep his social media pages active and growing despite being many nautical miles apart. Let me tell you, his personality is just as big in person as it is on screen and he is one of the most down to earth, authentic human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. While catching up I was ambushed with a hug from Natalie of Sailing Zephyr. “AVOCET!” she exclaimed, smiling ear to ear. Her partner James followed closely behind, shaking hands with Chris. Just like nearly everyone else at the show, we had been online friends watching each other’s lives afloat through platforms like instagram. Although our time was short, it was so wonderful meeting them in real life, and they (just like James) are full of life and radiated kindness. 

Jon and Shannon had previously arranged picking up one of the Ultra anchors from the show which would replace their spade. ” The Chesapeake mud is a challenging bottom for all anchors and our spade was rusting apart” Jon said when we asked him about their decision to upgrade. “It’s also 3x the cost of the spade which is already a very expensive anchor but if you want stainless it’s actually a good deal as they use duplex stainless and everyone else uses 316 or 304. It can’t rust, but if it does for some reason the company will replace it.” But will the Ultra get the Jon Neely Stamp of Approval? Only time will tell. 

It was around 4:00 pm when the show started to wind down. Through the dissipating crowd Jon wove his way to the Ultra Anchors booth where his new anchor was on display. Off the rack and into Jon’s arms the shiny anchor went, like a delivery nurse handing off a new baby to excited parents- except this baby was 60 pounds and very awkward to carry. He carefully placed the anchor over his shoulder and we made our way to Penta that was tied up at the city dock right next to the show. Jon, Shannon, Chris and I carefully climbed into the 8’ tender, placing the heavy anchor in the center. The Fatty Knees never ceases to amaze me as it absorbed the weight gracefully with a decent amount of freeboard to work with when we were all aboard. 

We slowly motored back to the house where we unloaded our show goodies inside. I started sorting through the many business cards we had collected, drafting partnership emails and collaboration pitches while the boys tried to figure out how the heck the Ultra Anchor Swivel was created. There was no visable welding marks and the tolerences were so perfect that it seemed nearly impossible that it was hydrolicly pressed together, which is no easy feat. After sending photos of the swivel out to all of our metal friends, Ryan (who builds a lot of our metal pieces on Avocet) agreed that the pice was impressive and confirmed that it was probably swaeged together which is very strong and unique. Want a fun party trick? Bring a questionable boat piece into a room of sailors and you will get a bunch of different theories on its structural makeup. 

It was our final night in the waterside home and just the Neely’s left, so we ate the fridge clean then settled down for a game of Ghost Train (or Mexican Train/Cuban Train depending on where you are from). It was Clarke’s first time playing but by the end of the 5th round he had it down and was almost as competitive as the rest of us – as we say, there are no friends in dominoes. While playing we chatted about which boats at the show were our favorite and it was a tie between the Blue Water Yacht (my favorite) and the Outbound 46′. Although the Outbound was more in “our caliber” of boat, the Blue Water Yacht was classy and comfortable with ample space and a well thoughtout interior. I was a fan of the aft stateroom and chart table location while Chris was impressed by the cockpit and the construction of the boat in general. Although we would never consider selling our Avocet, if Blue Water wanted to maybe… you know… build us a boat that would be neat 😉

Homeward Bound

The morning light shone through the white drapes that hung delicately across the window. We spent the morning soaking in the final moments in the little brick home, drinking our coffee on the porch that overlooked Prism below. Tess and Troy said their goodbyes as they were Pennsylvania bound to continue their educational adventure. Troy thanked me again for his Delos flag in addition to a big hug before helping his mom get their bags out the door.

Chris and Jon decided to give the boat a washdown while the freshwater and hose were still available, then knocked out a couple small projects. Shannon, Mama Neely, Clarke and I picked up the home erasing our existence but not the memories that were made. With the house and boat both clean we carefully pushed off and headed out to anchor in Spa Creek,  which would be the first test for the Ultra. The anchor bit into the silt, hard, and we were right back where we started this whole adventure. Once we confirmed that the anchor was truly secure and had lightly stowed our belongings in place, Jon hailed the water taxi to come retrieve him, Mama Neely and Clarke while Shannon, Chris and I boarded Penta. The Water Taxi passed us, leaving a wake that the small dinghy laughed at as it plowed through the lumps, keeping us stable and on course. Just as we had finished tying up at the public dock, Chris realized he had left his shoes behind and went on a solo mission to retrieve them. “Your phone is on?” I said, knowing my husband has a tendency to get himself into some peculiar situations. He nodded yes then took off while Shannon and I recombined with the rest of our party. 

We decided to eat at Middleton Tavern, the restaurant next to MacGarveys. They had a pretty decent menu, however, if you are a vegetarian (like me) the menu is pretty limited just like the “east coast cuisine” in general, leaving your only real options to be salads or some sort of lacking appetizer. Chris joined us just in time to order a drink and his food, after nearly giving me a full blown anxiety attack since his phone went straight to voicemail the 3 times I tried calling. “I said it was on, not that it worked” he said facetiously. He is really lucky that he is cute. 

From the restaurant we could see the boat show vendors breaking down the booths, rolling up flags and loading up trucks – a clear sign that the 2021 Annapolis Boat Show had wrapped. We walked along the street carefully to avoid the huffy vendors who were physically exhausted and mentally drained from a busy week, while also enjoying our fleeting moments in the town of Annapolis. It truly has a special place in my heart as its charm lies in every corner and history flows deep, which can be seen in the state flag. Up the street we found Rams Head bar which distills their own whiskey – of course we had to stop. To our surprise they also had an entire section on their menu for vegetarians! It was a great spot to sit and reflect on the past week over a round of drinks and veggie tacos.

Back on Prism we finished our game of dominoes and I am pleased to announce that I was dubbed the champion. With 6 grown adults occupying Prism it brought me back to our time in Costa Rica in 2016 when Chris asked me to be his wife. Back then we slept out on the deck until it rained on us, moving inside to the blow up mattress precariously placed on the dinette, but as grown adults we graduated to earning an actual stateroom. That night Mama Neely and Shannon shared the pullman berth, Clarke took the settee, and Jon sprawled out on the cabin sole while Chris and I tucked away in the aft cabin.

Around 4:00 am we heard quiet shuffling about as Jon and Clarke got ready to drive to the airport where Clarke would be homeward bound. Later that day Chris and I would be following in his tracks and making our way back to Avocet, but first breakfast. It was 7:00 am when we officially woke up, carefully getting dressed trying not to disturb a very sleepy Jon who had returned from the airport and upgraded from the floor to the settee in Clarkes absence. Right as we were about to make our escape aboard Penta, the family awoke in near-horror that we were about to leave without them. “You were all fast asleep!” Chris said, in our defense. 

Together the Neely clan made our way to the Annapolis waterfront where we had our hearts set on the Iron Rooster for breakfast. We would be meeting up with Brett, Jade, Duca, Roberta and David to finally get some time with each other before we all went our separate ways. Shannon had been talking about the Iron Rooster the whole week, saying it had excellent reviews and after scanning their websites menu I was sold and eager to add my own review to the mix. Although the website said “open” when we arrived there was a sign on the door that said “closed for the day,” which was disappointing but totally understandable… I’m sure their staff was burnt out after the boat show and definitely deserved a rest. Thinking on our uncaffeinated toes I scoured the local area for a reputable breakfast spot that was within easy walking distance (for Mama Neely) and was pleased to discover that Pusser’s also served breakfast in addition to their deliciously potent signature rum drinks.

Hugs all around as our YouTube friends joined us at the table. With the commotion of the show we hadn’t had a moment to converse and get to know each other IRL (“in real life,” for the non-internet savvy). We chatted about projects, plans, and creation as they were somewhat shocked to learn that YouTube is on a very far backburner for us while we focus on our respective jobs (CTN Visual and Fair Winds Media).

 I was impressed by Brett and Jades dedication to their channel, especially after learning that Jade had stayed up until 2:00 am to upload their latest video for their viewers – they are content creation powerhouses and I applaud their tenacity! If I could describe the Expedition Evans crew in one word it would be: energy, because they bleed it. The two light up when you get them on a topic they are interested in but also reciprocate the attention when the roles are reversed. 

Roberta and Duca shared their troubles getting certain parts in Brazil where their vessel currently resides. “‘Sounds like you need to sail out of Brazil!” Jon said from across the table. Duca was very honest with his plans for their boat, and the “grand scheme” of things, speaking with pure passion and intent while Roberta smiled in agreement. We really enjoyed listening to their experience with tiny home building and how it transferred to boat life as they carefully work on their 44’ steel sailboat, in preparation to sail the world. 

Getting to know David (of David Shih Sails) was a real treat. Although newer to the sailing scene his videos are eye catching with new-age editing techniques that are more attune to the younger generation. He was full of stories from sailing to crypto and we sincerely look forward to following his journey! 

I was impressed with Pussers breakfast and left with a full belly. Our time in Annapolis was coming to an end as we hugged our friends “goodbye for now”, promising to come together again in an anchorage, hopefully somewhere tropical. Mama Neely and Shanon took the water taxi back to Prism while Jon, Chris and I opted for the “long” walk, enjoying the east coast scenery.

“I don’t know if this is going to work” Chris said as he carefully packed our new-to-us winches into our checked baggage. We arrived in Annapolis with 2 carry ons and left with 2 carry ons and 3 checked bags after inheriting some of Jon’s old camera gear (the pelican case was key for transporting winches) and some clothes. I joked it was the cruiser’s version of Goodwill, Jon adding the slogan to support my comedic excellence: Prism’s Closet, where you know it’s been used.

We snapped one last photo aboard Prism with the Chesapeake backdrop; according to her crew it will be the last time she will be anchored in Annapolis as they head south to warm waters then eventually back into the Sea of Cortez. We shared lots of hugs before Jon dinghied us to shore and helped us load up our Uber. The driver was a nice guy who did years of boat work as a profession, then casually mentioned he lost a kidney and now has bad knees. Is that from the boatwork? I texted Chris, very glad we invest in good safety gear and implement safe working environments… but perhaps we could be safer?

The woman at the bag check looked at us suspiciously while her supervisor observed the situation. “They are winches, for a sailboat” Chris said as our treasures were weighed on the scale. She looked a little more understanding, assuming there were dozens of other sailors coming through during the show, tagged our bags and waved us on our way. On our first flight I listened to The Honeydew podcast (thanks for the recommendation, Kris) which was just long enough to get us to Houston for our short layover. Chris switched between trying to sleep and watch movies, too uncomfortable apparently to do either for an extended period of time. It was 10:30 when we touched down in Burbank, California. Chris retrieved our first bag from the carousel, after joking it would obliterate any bag beneath it from the weight alone. Luckily, that didn’t happen nor did it with the other 2 that appeared shortly after.  

Cleo nearly mauled us as we came through the companion way. She was well cared for by the crew of Esprit and ValHowell in our absence, but it’s still nice to know she loves us… or relies heavily on us for survival, which I suppose could be her version of “love.” The following days aboard Avocet were spent unpacking and installing our boat show goodies while we decompressed from it all. Soon enough Chris jumped back into boat projects while preparing to pull our mast in the coming weeks. It has been almost a month since the show, and as I finish writing I am still so incredibly thankful for the friends we met and the opportunities presented during our time in Annapolis. Thank you all for the part you play in our lives, even making it this far to read this very sentence means the world to us.

Thank you for reading our adventure, I know this one was a doozy! Stay safe, stay adventurous and stay kind.

Fair winds,

Marissa and Chris




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1 Comment

  1. Peter Corrigan

    Thoroughly enjoyable read, thank you for taking us along. This might actuallly be better than being there. No blisters, dehydration or headspinning overstim 🙂
    Great to get your insiders POV meeting those dynamic youtube creators. That’s a lovely boat family you have there.
    New bucket-list entry: Attend Annapolis Boat Show

    Reply

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