2014 highlights

Meet Rome Kirby, America’s Cup Winner!


Rome Kirby, a Newport native in his mid-20s, has already won the America’s Cup with Oracle Team USA and circled the globe in the grueling Volvo Ocean Race. But really, he’s just getting started.


If you are lucky enough to be at the show on Friday, please come to the Show Pavilion at 5 pm to help us honor Rome with the RIMTA Boater of the Year Award. Rhode Island dignitaries and industry leaders will be joining the ceremony, along with America’s Cup commentator Andy Green, who will emcee. We hope Green will have a chance to ask Rome what it was like to be a part of the most amazing turnaround in sporting history, when Oracle Team USA came back from what seemed to be insurmountable odds to win the America’s Cup. And we hope he’ll ask Rome, what’s next? Because really, we all want to know.


Rome Kirby is from a sailing family—and not just the kind that wins weekend races. His father Jerry is a veteran of six America’s Cup campaigns. Rome saw what it was like to sail at a grand-prix level most of his life, and he decided early on that being a sailor was the life for him. As reported in a recent New York Times article by Christopher Clary, Jerry Kirby used to tell his son: “Make sure you get your education; have a Plan B.” And his son would tell him, “Dad, I have a Plan B. It’s Plan A.” And we all know how that turned out.


Come to the show on Friday to meet a Rhode Islander who has brought a bit of the America’s Cup’s shimmer back to Newport. Rome will also be at the show on Saturday, from 12 noon to 2 pm, at the H20 Zone and the “Boats Work for Rhode Island” activity areas. And if you have young sailors in tow, make sure you bring them along. For after meeting Rome, how could they not be inspired to reach for their dreams too?


Friday Night Kick-Off Starts At 6pm

Boat shows are all about comparison shopping for boats and gear, gathering information on products, talking to experts, and making a gameplan for the season ahead. Right? Well, we all know that’s only part of the story. A good boat show is all that, but it’s also about getting some downtime by catching up with friends and making new ones. This year we’ve built that social hour (or two) right into the show schedule.


At 6 pm on Friday night, several exhibitors will start the celebration by hosting some tailgating at their booths. Then at 7 pm, the First Annual Providence Boat Show Kick-Off Party will begin.


The Kick-Off Party runs until 9 pm and it will be a Who’s Who event. America’s Cup racer Rome Kirby will join us. And if you enjoyed the commentary at the America’s Cup by match-racing guru Andy Green, then you’ll have a chance to meet him in person. Matt Light of New England Patriots fame will also send a video message to help kick off a successful show and a great Super Bowl weekend. You might ask, what’s the connection between an NFL star and boating? Well, it all has to do with vodka…


KEEL Vodka is a sponsor of the Kick-Off Party. The company was founded by native Rhode Islanders Bill Dessel and Tom McGowan, who grew up around boats. When they founded KEEL Vodka, they teamed up with good friend and three-time Super Bowl winner Light to establish a company that is a tried-and-true Ocean State brand and not something cooked up by a marketing team sitting on the 52nd floor of a Manhattan office building. Ciders of Spain and owner James Asbel will also join us. Asbel became fascinated by Spain’s culture and its cider region when he first visited as a student, and he is bringing a Spanish taste sensation to the show. Learn more about the history and technique of making sidra and sample pours of three types. Boston Cigars and live acoustic music of Mark Purcell are also featured at the event. There is limited availability; inquire at the ticket booth about getting a ticket to the party.


Captain Jack Is Back With New Seminars and Sea-To-Table Chef Demonstrations



The Providence Boat Show is new and improved this year, with attractions that have never been seen before at this three-day winter show. But one ultra-popular feature that has remained a core attraction are the fishing seminars organized by Captain Jack Sprengel of East Coast Charters and his crew of experts. Captain Jack is indeed back, but this time he has outdone himself with a new series of seminars and some special sea-to-table chef demonstrations that you won’t want to miss.


From how to catch more fish, to a new perspective on tautog fishing, to light tackle kayak fishing, it’s all here—and then some. Captain Jack has brought back some of last year’s favorite speakers who are presenting on new popular subjects. But he has also reached out to very specialized and less commercialized guest speakers. “If you don’t recognize some names on the line up, it’s because they spend more time avoiding the spotlight rather than calling attention to what they are doing,” says Captain Jack. “These guys are some of the best at what they do—and they come with my personal seal of approval.”


Captain Jack was also able to enlist New England fishing Icon Dave Pickering with a brand-new presentation for this year’s show. “With over 50 years of New England sport fishing under his belt, I have never personally had a conversation with Dave where I haven’t learned something new,” says Captain Jack.


To “ice the whole proverbial cake,” as Captain Jack says, one of the boat show’s culinary presentations has been elevated to a new level. On Saturday and Sunday, Captain Louis J. Defusco and Chef Phyllis Affra of Blaze Restaurant in Providence will do a special two-part demonstration. Using two fresh, wild-caught tuna, Captain Lou will demonstrate the proper way to cut and process a whole fresh tuna, and Chef Affra will prepare this fish using the latest in American Fusion culinary technique. This demo joins more sea-to-table chef demonstrations that take place throughout the boat show at the Show Pavilion.


As an added bonus, free giveaways for seminar goers will be even better than before—with items from Stormr (an elite fishing outfitter here at the show and what Captain Jack considers some of the best outerwear available on the planet today), The Salt Water Edge, Carlson Offshore Lures, Ronz Lures, Point Jude Lures, Gibbs Lures, Jay Jigs Gaffs, and more! For more specifics on topics and times, check out the Seminars & Special Events Calendar.


Get Inspired at the H20 Zone

Maybe you’ve watched small sailboats in your harbor, zipping around and having a blast. And maybe you’ve thought, I’d like to try that. Or, I’d like to give my kids a chance to have fun like that. The boat show’s first-ever H20 Zone is designed for you. It’s where the small-boat sailors hang—whether they are 11-year-old kings of the pram-racing circuit or racers with All-American titles—and there is an open-door policy for anyone and everyone with an interest in small boats to stop by and meet the experts and find out what small boat is tailor-made for you.


The Zone is the brainchild of Rhode Island’s leading small-boat manufacturers Zim Sailing and LaserPerformance, community-boating organizations Sail Newport and the Community Boating Center of Providence, and The Boat Locker. It is the go-to area of the show for those who want to get out on the water and have fun in small boats—whatever your age, your boating style, or your ability level is. Head to the Zone to see boats, meet experts, learn, and watch video of watercraft in action. You’ll see a wide range of boats—from a simple sailing pram called the Blue Dragon; to a Sunfish; to a Laser, the type of singlehanded dinghy Olympians have medaled in; to the blazing-fast Moth, the single-handed hydrofoil considered by many to be the quickest dinghy on the planet.


The Zone is a great place to help young boaters get their start in the sport; it’s also a great place where adults can plan their first steps into a small boat, or rev up their game by talking to experts. The greatest thing about the H20 Zone is that you can discover a path to boating for any pocketbook—whether you are ready to write out a check for a new dinghy, or you want to invest in some quality time at a local community boating center for no more than what it costs for a good dinner out for two. Plan to be inspired!


Navigation & Seamanship Series - Learn More, Enjoy More



s This year, the Providence Boat Show has launched a new seminar series on Navigation & Seamanship. Captain John Martino of the Annapolis School of Seamanship has coordinated sessions on topics for a wide cross-section of boaters, and he has worked with Rhode Island outfits Confident Captain, Safe/Sea, and Captain Frank “Skip” Litterer of Boatwise Marine Training to develop the series. The ultimate goal of the series is to help you net more enjoyment from your time on the water.

“Boating instruction helps you enjoy your boat more,” says Confident Captain President Kent Dresser. “There are great lessons to be learned from professional instructors: they help take the worry out of a boater’s day, they instill confidence, and they ultimately help boaters have more fun out on the water.” Dresser will lead a session on handling your boat like a pro, which will focus on maneuvering in close-quarters situations.


If you’re one of those boaters who tends to stick close to your homeport, but you have a desire to venture out into new waters, you won’t want to miss a session led by Captain Frank “Skip” Litterer on Cruising Rhode Island on Saturday afternoon. Not only will you get excellent advice on how to plan a cruise; you’ll also pick up a lot of local knowledge from Captain Skip, who is one of the captains on the Jamestown-Newport Ferry and also does on-the-water training and boat deliveries in Rhode Island waters.


All Navigation & Seamanship Seminars are included in the price of your boat show ticket, except for two Premium Seminars being held on Friday and Saturday mornings, including a session on Electronic Navigation & RADAR and a session on Troubleshooting Your Diesel Engine: Strategy, not Guesswork. Check out our Seminars & Special Events Calendar [link] for more on these valuable learning opportunities and to purchase tickets.


Great Giveaways Every Day at the Show



The Providence Boat Show has some great giveaways. For starters, how about three days in the Caribbean sun of Antigua at Sugar Ridge, a luxury boutique resort nestled into a hillside of lush foliage overlooking Jolly Bay? Sugar Ridge has stunning vistas of palm-lined beaches and the Caribbean Sea and was the winner of TripAdvisor’s 2013 Excellence Award and TripAdvisor’s 2012 Traveler's Choice Award. This package has a value of more than $1300, so head over to the Sugar Ridge booth, located in the Show Pavilion area, and sign up for a chance to win.


While you are at the Show Pavilion, you can also enter to win one of three footballs signed by Matt Light of New England Patriots fame. One football will be given away each day of the show. And if you come to our Friday night Kick-Off Party, you may be one of the lucky winners of a gift package from Ciders of Spain.


Attend one of our Sport Fishing Seminars and you’ll be eligible for giveaways of great gear personally selected by Captain Jack Sprengel. On Sunday afternoon, head to the Show Pavilion to learn about the building of Rhode Island’s Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry; a one-day trainee position aboard this historic vessel will be awarded to a lucky attendee (see more below). And don’t forget to keep your eyes out for the Wild Things…that is, representatives of Wild Things high-end, technical apparel, who will be roving the show on Saturday and Sunday and giving away $1,500 worth of their products that mountain climbers, sailors and outdoorsmen and –women rave about.


Shop Boats, Shop Careers at the “Boats Work for Rhode Island” Career Activity Areas



One of the key elements that makes Rhode Island a global leader in the marine trades is its well-trained workforce. The Ocean State is fortunate to have many individuals with both the skills and the passion to work around boats. At the Providence Boat Show you’ll get to a better idea of just how these individuals are trained and what opportunities exist if you too are someone with a desire to make a career out of boating.


Stop by the and see the “Boats Work for Rhode Island” career activity areas to meet High School boat-builders and talk to the trade schools that train many of Rhode Island’s finest craftsmen. The “Boats Work for Rhode Island” areas are sponsored by Jamestown Distributors.


Watch students from marine-trades programs at Chariho Career & Technical Center and Warwick Area Career & Technical Center do a canoe-building project during the show. Students from Tiverton High School will also be at the show to run a regatta with some new “pipe boats” that students have designed and built.


The New England Institute of Technology and marine trades and technology school IYRS will also be at the Career Center for those who are interested in learning more about their programs. IYRS and Tiverton High School will both bring their 3D printers, and they will use their participation at the show together to have some fun with the show’s first-ever 3D Printoff! Stop by and learn more about marine careers and training.


An Incredible Sea Tale – Author John Fulweiler on A Swim: The Rhode Islander Who Refused to Drown; Sunday, February 2nd, 1:15pm, Show Pavilion



When admiralty lawyer John Fulweiler heard a radio report about the incredible survival of Joe Gross—a 51-year-old who fell overboard while returning from Block Island and swam alone in the Atlantic Ocean for 11 hours without floatation before being rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard—he was more than intrigued. What were the circumstances surrounding this event? How could one person hang on for such a long time, not knowing if rescue was coming?


When Fulweiler heard nothing more reported about Gross’s story, he called him up and asked to meet. Fulweiler went to that meeting with the idea of writing an article, but he soon realized there was a book-length tale to tell. “I think I suffer from what a lot of lawyers suffer from,” laughs Fulweiler. “I am a novelist at heart … I am always interested in a good story—and that is part of my career: taking facts and turning them into a story.”


Fulweiler published the sea story of Joe Gross in his recent book, A Swim: The Rhode Islander Who Refused to Drown, and he will be at the Providence Boat Show to talk about this amazing sea story.


The book looks first at this happening from the perspective of Joe Gross, who fell overboard when he was out alone on his boat. The book also looks at the story from the perspective of the Coastguardsmen, the professionals who eventually rescued Gross and achieved the amazing feat of finding something half the size of a coconut in a rocky sea.


A Rhode Island native, Fulweiler tells a good sea story because he has a lifetime of experience around boats. He worked in the marine industry, in places such as Conanicut Marine Services and Safe/Sea, before heading to the University of Rhode Island’s Marine Affairs program and law school. Come meet Fulweiler, learn about this incredible story, get a copy of A Swim, and hear his take on the important lessons learned.


Building R.I.’S Tall Ship – The Story of the Building of the Oliver Hazard Perry; Sunday, February 2nd at 12:30pm



Come to the Show Pavilion on Sunday afternoon to hear a Cinderella story about a boat. Not just any boat: the historic Rhode Island Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry that, once launched, will become the first ocean-going, fully-rigged ship built in the United States in 110 years. That’s a glorious ending for a vessel that was once an unfinished steel hull, abandoned on Ontario. The entire project started as the seed of an idea, when a group of Rhode Islanders decided that the Ocean State should have its own Tall Ship to give students of all ages an opportunity to expand their educational horizons.


The group started negotiations with owners of the HMS Rose, the replica 18th-century Royal Navy frigate. But Hollywood beckoned, and the Rose sailed west to play a starring role in the film Master and Commander: Far Side of the World. Disappointment turned to serendipity when the group’s attentions then turned inland, to a fledgling group in Ontario that had started to build a replica of the Royal Navy gun sloop HMS Detroit from the War of 1812. The steel hull was towed down the Erie Canal, and 892 miles later it had reached its new home in Rhode Island.


Learn about a fascinating six years, from the vessel’s arrival in Rhode Island to its pending completion, from Captain Richard Bailey and Jessica Wurzbacher, director of operations and education for the vessel’s owners, the nonprofit group Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island.


Attendees to this talk will get an added bonus: a chance to win a one-day trainee position aboard the vessel in May 2014. This position is a chance to experience sailing aboard the new Tall Ship. According to the vessel’s owners, the Sailing School Vessel Oliver Hazard Perry will be a U.S.–documented vessel, inspected and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. Safety standards for Sailing School Vessels differ from those of passenger vessels on a comparable route, because persons aboard training ships are not passengers but participants who fully share in the ship’s operation. SSV Oliver Hazard Perry will meet or exceed all safety requirements for a vessel of her size and class, according to the vessel’s owners.


Vote Now For Your Favorite Shot


All of us go boating to enjoy our time on the water—but it’s not just what we do once we are out there that is so satisfying: it’s also the incredible views we see, whether those are scenes of fast-paced sailboat racing, sport-fishing action, or the tranquility of a beautiful sunset. This year, the Providence Boat Show is honoring those scenes with its first-ever photo contest.


Show organizers teamed up with Hunt’s Photo & Video—the largest specialty retailer of photo, video, and digital imaging products in New England—to host what we hope will be a perennial feature of the show. Contenders were asked to submit images that express a unique view of a boat or water sport in relationship to its surroundings, and there will be three category winners.


A Voters’ Choice award has already been determined through online voting, and the lucky winner was awarded with an Olympus Tough TG-620 waterproof camera. Hunt’s experts will determine the Judges’ Choice, and the top 14 images will be displayed at Hunt’s gallery in Massachusetts. The third category is the Best in Show award. Help us select this category winner by voting at the Show Pavilion the winner will be announced at show’s end and awarded with a Pentax WG-3 waterproof camera. Hopefully the accompanying coastal scene by the world-renowned Rhode Island photographer Billy Black will inspire you to like our Facebook page and join us next year!


VISIT CENTER STAGE This year the Providence Boat Show has produced a center stage—and it’s located at our new Show Pavilion. It’s the hub of the show and the place to catch star personalities and special events. See how the region’s leading chefs prepare their catch; meet the Rhode Island author who captured a harrowing tale of survival at sea; listen to the story of how a famous Tall Ship was built. The Show Pavilion is also the place to find fun, interactive events for all ages. Try your hand at a bridge simulator and test your boat-handling skills in a variety of challenging circumstances and weather conditions. How about surfing on dry land? Come to the Pavilion to take a lesson on a SURFSET board, a total-body surf trainer designed to simulate the physical demands of surfing, with instructors from FloorTime Studios. You can also hone your seamanship skills in a seminar on line handling; impress your crew by mastering the art of lassoing a piling from 20 feet away. Check the Seminars & Special Events Calendar (turn to page 14) to find out what’s taking place at the Pavilion, and read on for more details about individual events.





In May 2015, Newport will catch Volvo Ocean Race fever when a fleet of 65-foot ocean racers make their way to Newport as their only U.S. stopover on this intense, round-the-world marathon. Once the fleet arrives, the city will be teeming with the world’s top offshore racers, their shore crews, race fans, and a fleet of ocean greyhounds that are built to a knifepoint balance—strong enough to take the extreme and punishing conditions of the most desolate patches of the ocean, yet light enough to speed around the globe at a record-setting pace. Providence Boat Show attendees will have a rare opportunity to get close to this event, to meet the team managing the U.S. stopover, see incredible footage, and even find out ways to become involved with what is destined to be an amazing happening in Newport. After the great success of the America’s Cup World Series in 2012 under the direction of Sail Newport, it’s clear that this Rhode Island City by the Sea knows how to roll out a red carpet!


The 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race will compete in a fleet of brand-new Volvo Ocean 65s, and Race CEO Knut Frostad—a Norwegian yachtsman who has done the race four times—knows this run around the world will be “an immense challenge" for competitors. The race will start in October 2014 in Alicante, Spain, and finish in June 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo. During the race, the fleet will sail a route that threads from Spain to Cape Town, South Africa; to Abu Dhabi; to Sanya, China; then on to Auckland, New Zealand, and Itajai, Brazil. From Brazil, the fleet heads for its only U.S. stopover in Newport before doing their last trans-oceanic passage across the Atlantic to Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France) before a final run around the British Isles to the finish line in Sweden.