Economy reshapes Chicago's sailboat show

January 28, 2010 4:49:38 AM PST
The dead of winter is upon us, but spring is in the air at Strictly Sail Chicago.The four-day event at Navy Pier starts Thursday. Power boats are not included; it's all about blowing in the wind.

"We have over a hundred boats ranging in size from six foot dinghies up the fifty foot cruisers," said Kevin Murphy, Strictly Sail Chicago show manager.

The boat industry has been hit hard by the economy. That's why this show, which opens Thursday, isn't quite as big as usual. But that just means it's aimed at a different audience.

"We're setting up an affordability pavilion. It's a new feature with boats from three to ten thousand dollars. It permits people to get into it for less than a car payment," said Murphy.

So little is suddenly bigger in the boating business. It's not that we can't still have big dreamboat dreams. It's just that the wind is luffing in the industry's sails.

"Not as badly as the powerboat industry where the boat purchase is more spontaneous. The sailboat purchase is more thought out, more drawn out and a longer process," said Murphy.

ABC7's Frank Mathie admits he's not much of sailor because, he said, 'it's just too darn much work." And, the terms are confusing. I am going to be honest with you. I've never been much of a sailor. First of all it's just too darn much work. Besides that, some of the terms are so confusing. For instance, when you put the sail up are you furling or unfurling? Or unfurling the furl.

"You're unfurling the sail when you unroll it and when you're stowing it or rolling it up you're furling it," said Dave Fulbright, Sail Place sailboats. "You furl it in and unfurl it. Furl is stored."

This weekend unfurl yourself from home and furl yourself in at Navy Pier.

Strictly Sail Chicago
January 28?31, 2010
Navy Pier
Festival Hall A&B
600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago IL 60611
11am?8pm Thursday & Friday
9am?7pm Saturday, 9am?4pm Sunday