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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Annapolis Landmark Burned

The Annapolis Yacht Club, which traces its roots to 1886, was destroyed in a massive fire December 12th. The club lost many historic artefacts and trophies.

The fire forced the cancellation of the annual Annapolis Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade, an important tourist attraction which draws 20,000 spectators. What started 33 years ago with people on a few boats singing Christmas carols had become one of the biggest events in Annapolis, and hotel rooms facing the water were booked years in advance.

As yacht club leaders went through the burnt ruins of the club focus shifted to rebuilding and relocating. “It’s a tragedy, but the wonderful news this holiday season is that … the public wasn’t in there, the members weren’t there and the staff got out. Everybody was safe,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who surveyed the clubs destruction. Governor Hogan and Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides have vowed to clear red tape to help the club rebuild quickly. The club is considering moving the location and promises to rebuilt the facility bigger and better than ever.

Annapolis is a gathering point for cruisers heading south including hundreds of Canadian boaters who generally show up around Boat Show Time. Many members, cruisers and Boat Show attendees hold the club near and dear to their hearts. Our first visit to the club was back in the late 1970 ’s. It was always interesting to have a drink at the bar and view all of the historic trophies and boat models. We hope they get back on their feet soon.

Posted by at 8:58 AM
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GOOD PRODUCTS SELL LIKE CRAZY

With all this Xmas shopping going on I’ve been thinking a lot about the quality or disposability of the products we buy. Maybe the word “products” is too kind. “Crap” would be a more honest description of most of the stuff for sale these days. I bought eleven strings of outdoor Xmas lights and already five of the eleven strings don’t work three weeks later. I tried replacing bulbs and the little plug end fuses to no avail. After two trips to the store and a talk with the Manager I got my money back. I went shopping at other big box stores and found their Xmas lights were also the same sort of crap. It seems no one makes strings of Xmas lights anymore that last for decades ... like the ones we had when I was a kid. It’s not just about Xmas lights – it is the same problem with the majority of products. I bought some Walmart - George brand T Shirts a month ago in XL and and already they are un-wearable because they shrunk to M after just a few washes.

I see it in boats and boat products too. Is it that consumers simply won’t pay for quality or is it manufactures just trying to increase profits by cutting corners or planning in pre-planned obsolescence? Where did we go wrong in society and how did we get to point where a very high percentage of goods are made offshore in countries that are essentially deploying child and slave labour to crank out inferior crap. I know there are some quality products manufactured offshore but they are in the minority. Where has the demand for quality gone? Don’t tell me there’s no “value” in quality. “Value” is not price driven by itself. Value is a balance of good quality to fair price.

Someone told me consumers wanted cheap things that cost as little as possible and will break or wear out very quickly ... but if they will do the job temporarily, it’s good enough because technology will make the product obsolete in a hurry anyways. I beg to disagree. Our dumps are overloaded with cheap crap and packaging that makes a round trip from the stores shelves to the dump in under a year. It simply isn’t sustainable and cheap products don’t do a good job anyways. When did humanity decide to compromise on everything?

Well I’m here to tell you that there are some people who look for real quality and there are some products that sell like hotcakes at fairly high prices because they are quality made and built to last. One example is Yeti coolers. They have long been an industry high standard and come on some of the best built boats like Boston Whaler. Now they are making high quality 18/8 stainless steel drinking glasses like the Yeti Lowball To Go that deliver what they promise (at a price) and they will last decades. And they are sold out almost everywhere. Le Creuset a French company that makes pots and pans makes some good quality stuff and it costs a lot (like $300 a pan) but it should last a lifetime. Pelican is another example of a company that makes durable tough case products that last almost forever. You know some of the boat examples – Viking, Bertram, Intrepid, Whaler etc. They cost more sure, but if you look at the construction and durability ... you get WAY more for the 50% premium on price – like maybe 300% more value.

And look at some of the crap the automotive industry is pumping out. Designed to last only 60 k with out getting into major service issues and safety ratings that are terrible. Apparently some are willing to sacrifice safety and perhaps their life rather than pay a fair price for quality.

This holiday season think about this. If it’s something you or someone you love needs ... isn’t it worth buying something that will last. Products that have pedigree and manufacturers who stand behind them. Products that may make the difference between life and death or something that will last twenty years instead of two years. Pay the premium and go for the quality – it is worth while. And by the way try and support Canadian manufacturers employing hard working Canadians when you can.

Posted by at 8:35 AM
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