Sail into spring at Navy Pier

January 28, 2009 3:32:54 PM PST
It may be frigid outside, but it's spring and summer at the boat show on Navy Pier. The Calderon family is docked alongside Navy Pier. The jumbo perch are close to shore- and they're biting. The 15 fish limits are being filled in a hurry.

"Good, good real good," said John Calderon, ice fisherman. "Yeah, I'm catching some ten inchers and a fifteen incher."

But wouldn't Calderon rather be on a sailboat?

"No, I'd rather be right here," said Calderon.

Calderon can stay outside in the cold if he'd like, but those who want a little more warmth should step inside to the 14th Annual Strictly Sail Chicago Show, which opens Thursday at Navy Pier. It runs though Sunday.

Strictly Sail caters to dreamboat dreamers.

"It's the largest of all sailboat shows in the country," said Kevin Murphy, "Strictly Sail Chicago" Show Manager. "Indoor. We have over a hundred boats ... ranging in size from six feet to fifty feet."

They're rolling out the red carpet for almost every type of sailboat. There are even sail-wheels. And, one of the stars this year is a 1928 giant ice boat called "Deuce" that in the 1930's sailed across the ice at 138 miles an hour. No wonder they have a skull on the steering wheel.

Boats are luxuries and in an economy like today's you gotta wonder how the keep making them and selling them.

"This is the Hunter 49. It's 49 feet long. It's one of the largest boats in the show and one of the most expensive boats in the show also," said Murphy. "(It) costs about a half million dollars."

They expect to sell two or three of these during the show and more in the spring.