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 6pmBoat 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