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FLIBS 2018
The 2018 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show as captured from the sky by Captain Todd the day before the show's open

FLIBS 2018

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) is considered by many to be the greatest boat show in the world.  It is certainly the biggest and the largest in-water boat show in existence.  For 2018, its 59th year, the five day show featured over three million square feet of space spread throughout seven sites with over six miles of docks to accommodate the more than 1,500 boats on display and the more than 1,200 exhibitors.  Whew!

Tim and I attended FLIBS once before several years ago after purchasing our last boat.  For that show I was mostly interested in exploring as many boats as possible that I’d only previously seen and liked in magazines.  It was a bit overwhelming and you really have to go with a well sketched plan and perhaps a dose of Adderall.  This year was different as it was our first show since purchasing OLOH last year and we were primarily eager to further pursue our tender hunt, eyeball accessories and hopefully engage some local services we’re in need of.  Unfortunately we couldn’t work it out for both Tim and me to go due to obligations back home so I headed down solo to do what I could do and see what I could see.  It was my first time back aboard OLOH in nearly five months and was also an opportunity to tackle some projects in preparation for our upcoming cruising season.

So rather than wander the show to document as much of it as possible, the pictures below represent my experience.  Of course I would occasionally pass a boat that begged a picture so you do get a bit of that eye candy.  Despite my relatively focused time there, my Health app tells me that between the two days I attended I registered around 12,000 steps and covered around 11 miles.  I don’t think that’s possible but who knows?!

So please enjoy your walkthrough with me and click on any picture for a larger image.

With the tender hunt top-of-mind, my first stop was the inflatable zone…

This is the Walker Bay Generation 360. The balance of its layout, features, quality and price still make it the one to beat as of the time of this entry. But I probably left the show a bit more confused than when I arrived about what to do.

May not fit on the current OLOH but down the road…???

Pretty Pair. A 48′ Hinckley Talaria just behind a sporty 33′ Aquariva in matching flag blue hulls.

Many manufacturers spend small fortunes on their floating pavilions where customers are hosted, deals are done and parties are thrown. Although not well-captured here, Azimut’s enormous setup is particularly impressive.  Even the outfits they designed for the models accompanying each boat display were impeccably stylish and decidedly Italian.  At night it turns into a party with drinks flowing and a DJ spinning.

Stunning Hacker-Craft Runabout for your lake house.

Another beautiful Aquariva. This one had a “sold” sign next to the beach bag the following day.

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know that our best friend, Captain Pauly, is the world’s biggest Beatles fan. He and his Admiral, Jo-Ann, own a fleet of boats including 8 Days A Week and Strawberry Fields. When I saw this new Fleming I thought they made a little purchase without telling us!

Making its worldwide debut at FLIBS 2018, the Ocean Alexander 90R.

I had the pleasure of attending a party thrown by Ocean Alexander over the weekend.  The food and drink and social time were all well and good but my favorite part was stealing away with our dear friend Collin (GM of MarineMax Clearwater) to finally tour the OA 70e – one of my favorite boats since its debut (it also graced the cover of the Yachting Magazine featuring an article on yours truly).  A few shots of the 70e’s gorgeous interior…

Galeon Yachts also threw a very nice after-hours shindig showcasing this longtime Polish boatbuilder’s incredibly innovative offerings.  They are relatively new to the U.S., represented exclusively by MarineMax.  Separate from being well-built with excellent performance, so I’ve been told, they are real crowd pleasers with features often found only on much larger boats and some innovations you’ll see nowhere else.  For now.

The massive swim platform and crew quarters entry of the 650 Skydeck. You can’t appreciate it from the photo, but off the port side is one of two side balconies that hydraulically fold down from the sides. The yacht is a literal transformer.

The 650 has an incredible amount of interior volume for its size. One especially cool feature is the revolutionary electric front window that allows you to walk straight through to the foredeck.

One of the biggest highlights of my time at the show was attending the christening of the just-built Outer Reef 610 Motoryacht Equiessence.  While staying at Stock Island Marina last season, Tim and I met Susan and David while we were walking Jasper and they were walking Merlin.  We instantly bonded over our mutual love of animals and then, of course, the conversation turned to boats.  They were visiting the marina on their Azimut Hullabaloo but told us that they had the Outer Reef “in the build.”  That instantly caught our attention as OR is one of our favorite brands.  The company’s owner, Jeff Druek, spent a lot of time with Tim and me last time we were at the Fort Lauderdale show, walking us through his boats and educating us on his company.  Jeff is a class act and his good energy and the  excellent quality of Outer Reef made a lasting impression.  As this year’s show was approaching, Susan and David were kind enough to reach out to invite us to their special event which I attended with our dear friend Abbey.  Susan and David’s new yacht is extraordinary and we are so excited for the untold adventures that lie ahead of them.  It was truly special to be a part of this wonderful event.

The band pauses while Outer Reef’s President and CEO, Jeff Druek, proudly welcomes Susan and David to the Outer Reef family.

Equiessence is christened. Susan and David came up with the name which these equestrians define as “the acceptance that life is much richer by the love of fine horses and beautiful vessels.”  Perfect.

Fine craftsmanship is evident everywhere you look as are certain similarities to OLOH which, like Equiessence, was built by skilled craftspeople in Taiwan.

With the proud new owners and requisite champagne.

With Outer Reef’s Jeff Druek.

The lovely Abbey on Equiessence’s Portuguese bridge (on her birthday!) only makes a brand new yacht look better.

In addition to the boats-a-plenty, the show for me was also about the good people I met and reconnected with along the way…

With Joao and Captain Sandy from Below Deck Mediterranean. Now Captain Joao, he seems to have come a long way since his bumpy first season on the Bravo TV show and Sandy is simply one of my favorite people.

The friendly crew from WESMAR, makers of OLOH’s stabilizers and thrusters. To my left is the great Jim Monroe of Yacht Equipment and Parts in Fort Lauderdale who is seeing to our stabilizer upgrade. Such nice, helpful guys – great meeting you all!

With all around Dandy guy Collin Heimensen, GM of MarineMax Clearwater and his wife with the Pearlie whites, Abbey, Director of Marketing for MarineMax (and Mr. Smart-Guy photo-bombing us).

Such a treat to hang with Stock Island Marina Village’s Brittany and Jordan (and Erin, not seen here) in advance of our stay with them this winter!

A special thanks to Patrick Sciacca and the fine folks at Yachting Magazine who treated me to a terrific lunch and great company aboard their host yacht, the beautiful 106′ Broward, Altitude Adjustment II.

It was a whirlwind of a great time.  And when not at the show I actually got quite a bit done on OLOH throughout the weekend to ensure that she’ll be ready for the exciting season ahead.  But it’s always tough being away from family.  Sometimes the best part of going away is coming home.

Jasper has barely left my side since I returned from my FLIBS adventure.

Please be sure to subscribe to our blog on the top right of this page to get notified when updates are posted.  And please leave any comments or questions below – we love to hear from you & know that you’re along for the ride!  You can also follow us on Twitter at @MYOLOH and for plenty more pictures and video find us on Instagram and YouTube.  Please like us & follow us on the M/Y OLOH Facebook Page as well.

And that concludes your OLOH instructions. 

This Post Has 10 Comments
    1. No deal struck as of this reply but I believe we are zeroing in. You always end up making compromises in a boat purchase and it appears the tender is no exception. But we'll make sure there's a comfy seat for you!
  1. So glad you could make the show and share your experience here. Sorry Admiral Tim could not join you this time. My fleet is winterized but I am helping move my friends 56 Sea Ray south. But still.....looking for a Ticket to Ride!!!
  2. Thanks for sharing all the "eye candy". Just what I needed to see after spending 6 months aboard "Endless Summer" -- bigger boats! Looking foward to seeing you and Tim back on the water soon.
  3. Looks like it was a beautiful show . Glad you enjoyed. Lady and I enjoyed hanging out with Tim and Jasper . Thanks for sharing the terrific pictures.
  4. Looks so fabulous! Besides the Fleming being my favorite boat of all, the OA is pretty sweet as I just had the privilege of fueling and hanging with the the fabulous MM1 Capt Joe. G on the OA80 right before Hurricane Florence. Now, I do think you should have picked me up to help on the TT/OLOH quest. I am a practical voice in a sea of dinghys p, or maybe I could have just woody waxed OLOH while you boat-showed:-)
    1. After thinking about it, I think the Ocean Alexander was 85 or 90' because is was bigger than the Lazzara, so maybe that was the boat. It was brand new headed from Wilmington to Ft. Lauderdale before Hurricane Florence🤔

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