Five “boat show types” you (unfortunately for you) have already met


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Cannes, Genoa, Monte Carlo, Dusseldorf, Annapolis, Fort Lauderdale, Paris, Amsterdam, London. Going around boat shows is not only an opportunity to see boats and accessories. Sometimes, the funniest thing to watch are the type characters who wander around the fairgrounds. We have “cataloged” five of them. Read their profiles and you will see that you have met them at least once: and if you can think of others, write their profiles at the bottom of the article with a nice comment.

Of one thing you can be sure. This gentleman will leave the salon without having purchased a shred of an accessory (let alone a boat). In return he will have pockets full of floating key chains, pens, USB sticks; on his head one to five caps with visors, at his glasses one or more floating lanyards. All the result of “raking” through the booths, in which they pretend to be interested potential buyers and have all the documentation and brochures left behind until the long-awaited gadget is won. Upon leaving the booth, he will leave all paper materials at the first trash can. Even the appetizers organized by the exhibitors are like honey for the fly-huntinggadget. There seems to be an under-the-table market for boat show gadgets, try searching the deep web!

This individual shows up as early as an hour before the opening of the boat show in question, armed with an earpiece and phone always within reach. As the gates open, he enters, begins to be mysteriously beckoned by hundreds of people, dispenses business cards as if they were dollars thrown into the crowd by a Pan American dictator, greets everyone with a quick handshake “Hi! What’s up? Sorry they are calling me! See you at Stand S41 later? Yeah ok, sorry eh! Hioooo, how are you?” In fact, everyone greets him, but no one knows who this person is, what he does for a living, or whether he actually has a job. Because outside of boat shows, the “committed fake” loses its tracks. If you try to contact the number listed on the business card, a voice in Sinhalese will start.

A category that has definitely been on the rise in recent years, salon “suckers” show up at the fair thinking they are dressed in the most original way and instead tend awkwardly to look all alike. Moccasins of dubious morality made of Tonga Island dwarf crocodile skin (an animal that does not exist, but to them the salesman said so so therefore it does exist), Hogan, “stretch” pants with turn-ups that would perhaps be better contextualized in a 1980s Berlin rave party, striped shirts strictly with ultra-tight starched double collars, and jackets and blazers that could “plaster” even Usain Bolt. Sometimes suede can merge with busy faux: such a frenzy of plastered movements that we think the character in question is actually an android out of a Philip K. Dick novel.

Usually this character is advanced in years. He usually has a long beard. He is usually dressed in Hemingway-style turtleneck wool sweater and salt-roasted long pants, even on August 15. Don’t be fooled by the charm of this fairground seducer! If you try to address him it will be the end of you! He will tell you about the time he was a deckhand for Eric Tabarly’s cousin, about having sailed in the “Atlantic Adventure” (a regatta whose existence no one ever knew about) together with Bernard Moitessier’s accountant, about having crossed the Atlantic solo at least a hundred and fifty times, about having rescued Agnelli who had gone overboard, about having snubbed Gardini’s invitation to go on the Moro di Venezia because at the time he felt he was a real seaman and not a “fop.” And then he goes on to commend the “boats of yesteryear” compared to these “caissons with sails” or these “flying catafalques of now.” Escape.

It is now a standard figure at international trade shows, it even seems to be an extra paid by the organization because it “looks cool.” He wanders (aimlessly, it would seem) around the salon on an ultratechnological electric scooter, or in its more advanced sense with a sedgway or those strange contraptions that look like skateboards and ride alone. Don’t tell us you’ve never seen it. NEVER LACKS.

Eugene Ruocco



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