A World Turned Upside Down
The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 turned the world upside down, literally speaking. The COVID-19 pandemic was an uncertain and sorrowful time for many. Not only did the worldwide pandemic negatively affect our health it also negatively impacted economies, safety, and many other "normal" day-to-day activities we once performed. It's hard to imagine a trip to the grocery store without a mask, or going to a restaurant and being seated inside. Thankfully, the light at the end of the tunnel seems a bit closer and hope seems to be more on our side.
For Leopard Catamarans, one of the biggest changes we faced as a company was the cancellation of 2020 boat shows. The Annapolis Boat Show and Miami International Boat Show were once huge events for Leopard, and their cancellations left many disappointed. Fortunately, at the start of 2021, Palm Beach International Boat Show was scheduled to go on. This was a big shock to many, and after a year of no boat shows, the opportunity to attend made the year seem a bit more "normal" again. Leopard was able to attend from March 25th - 28th, 2021.
As the Palm Beach Boat Show was quickly approaching, it was hard to tell what was to come. For me, this was only my second boat show since working with Leopard Catamarans after being on the team for over a year. I had a hint of boat show experience attending the Miami International Boat Show in 2020, but that was right before the whole world seemed to shut down. Did I know how to "boat show?" Would it be like Miami? Do I even remember Miami? These were all questions I asked myself as I doubted my abilities to put on a smooth show for Leopard. If you haven't been to a boat show before, I highly recommend it. As an attendee, you can see that everything looks proper and in its place, but much more goes on behind the scenes in preparation for the grand finale. This includes late nights of set up, endless emails and phone calls, top-notch coordination, heavy lifting, organizing, cleaning, hours on your feet (this can be a good thing for folks who like to track their steps - aka me), and the worst of all, NO parking. Anywhere. It may seem like sunshine and rainbows when you're at the show, but a lot of work goes into preparation even weeks before the actual event. I was reminded very quickly of how much hard work truly goes into these shows.
A New Normal
Every boat show is different, depending on how many boats are displayed to what kind of booth you desire. However, this show brought back memories from my early days at Miami International Boat Show. After all, most of the show is held outside. Entrance and exit procedures were pretty strict, probably in aid to keep count of the participants inside the show. Mask regulations were highly enforced, especially when boarding boats to see the inside of yachts. But, we're all used to the mask regulation by now, it didn't come as a complete surprise. There were a few differences regarding COVID safety, but I didn't expect anything less. I was just happy to finally be a part of another boat show.
After the Palm Beach Boat Show came to an end, I felt a sense of fulfillment, accomplishment, and relief. I was happy that our first show in over a year had been a success, I was happy about the turnout of guests and I was happy I could experience "boat showing" again after a while. Although things weren't perfect and there were some differences between now and 2019, we still had the same goals and the same work ethic. Our lives may change, the rules may change but one thing is for certain - my Leopard family never will! I'm glad I could experience Palm Beach International Boat Show 2021.