If the world needs a better mousetrap, it would seem to need even more a better anchor, given the number of anchor inventors that show up each year at the Boat Show.
This year’s edition of the show, which opened Thursday at the Minneapolis Convention Center, proves the point, courtesy of Ryan Dvorak, a onetime southern California “paint and body guy’’ who now lives in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Judging by photographs in Dvorak’s booth, he believes sales increase exponentially the more often a product is pictured with a bikini-clad young woman. Perhaps this is true, perhaps not. (Full disclosure: It really works.) Regardless, Dvorak, owner of Slide Anchor (www.slideanchor.com), on Thursday had no difficulty gathering a crowd while addressing a common boating problem: anchors that slip.
“In 1995 I was in a monsoon on Lake Havasu,’’ he said. “My boat broke loose and was wrecked. So I went looking for a better anchor.’’
The result is a product Dvorak calls the Box Anchor, which he says is a “state-of-the-art anchoring system for all boats of all sizes and in any water.’’
Which is a mouthful, but you get the point. Dvorak is proud of his anchor.
Except it doesn’t look like an anchor. Instead it carries the appearance of a metal box with teeth. Available in polished stainless or galvanized steel, the Box Anchor is collapsible and can be stored flat when a boat is running (a carrying case is provided).
“When you need it, you just fold it open and drop it overboard,’’ Dvorak said.
The anchor can be set with less line (rope) than traditional anchors require, Dvorak said. Prices generally range from $30 to $130.
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The first boat my dad bought was a 14-foot Crestliner with a 7½-horsepower Johnson swinging from the transom. He towed it behind a Chevy station wagon, oftentimes to Garden Lake in the U.P. of Michigan, where we camped and fished.
As a kid, I remember the thrill of taking that boat out by myself, or with my brother, to run from spot to spot, trying to catch anything that would bite.
Years later, after I finished college, and after spending a few years driving truck coast-to-coast, I quit the road to return to school. When I did, I made three purchases in three days, exhibiting in the process what economists sometimes refer to as pent-up demand: a 1969 Toyota Landcruiser, 40 acres of hunting land and a 16-foot Alumacraft boat with a 10-horsepower Johnson — a rig that, like the old Crestliner, was good for a thrill a minute.
Nowadays, those thrills apparently require more horsepower. Case in point: One of the first watercraft I saw Thursday was a fiberglass Lund powered by a 200-horse tiller outboard.
“Seems like a lot of motor for a tiller,’’ I said to Perry Good, a Lund fishing pro.
Said Good, “You can get a 250 tiller if you want.’’
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Dogs, not bikinis, help Jim Perkins sell his WAG boarding steps (www.getwag.com) at the Boat Show.
“Some years ago my wife bought me a golden retriever for my birthday,’’ said Perkins, who lives near Milwaukee. “At the time, we had a personal watercraft. But when we got the dog, we sold it and bought a bigger boat.’’
But problems arose when the new canine went swimming. “It wasn’t easy getting the dog back into the boat,’’ Perkins said.
So he developed seven different models of lightweight steps that mount over a boat’s gunwale or transom lip. (The steps can also help load dogs into vehicles.) Some steps are bright yellow, while those used on duck boats are green.
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Anything that floats is available at the show for purchase, from standup paddleboards to wakeboard boats to pontoons to pleasure and fishing boats.
But if you’d rather “rent’’ a boat, you can do that also by checking out Your Boat Club (www.yourboatclub.com). This year, owner Michael Jellish has boats on eight metro lakes, up from one (Prior Lake) when he launched the idea five years ago.
Thursday afternoon, second-year customers Henry and Susan Morimoto of Mound were at the show and offered the club concept an enthusiastic endorsement.
“The service is great, we like the convenience, the boats are clean and we like to boat on Waconia as well as Minnetonka, and Michael has boats on each,’’ Henry said.
The Boat Show continues through Sunday at the Convention Center.
Dennis Anderson • firstname.lastname@example.org