Archive for » February 18th, 2012«

Boat sales expected to hit highest level in 5 years

Recreational boating sales are expected to rise to their highest level since 2007 as consumer confidence improves. The increased optimism is reflected in the expanded Progressive Insurance New England Boat Show, which occupies 360,000 square feet at the Boston Convention Exhibition Center in South Boston through Sunday.

This year’s exhibit space is 40 percent larger than last year’s, and the turnout from dealers and manufacturers is the strongest since 2008, said Joe O’Neal, the show’s manager.

Entry-level models, such as pocket cruiser sailboats and mini-trailers, are considered two of the strongest categories, O’Neal said. So are pontoon boats, which are primarily designed for freshwater use.

“In general, almost everybody is seeing an uptick,” O’Neal said.

Dealers are displaying 750 vessels from 150 manufacturers, with power boats accounting for about 80 percent of the inventory.

Area boat dealers say they expect a rebound in sales in 2012, part of a gradual recovery that picked up speed last year.

Sales rose 23 percent in 2011 from 2010 at Russo Marine in Medford, CEO Larry Russo said, with most of the growth coming from sales of boats 35 feet and up. Business accelerated in the last three months with nine new boat sales, triple the amount of activity the previous year.

“Those buyers are high-end, high-net-worth individuals and they’re not dependent on conventional financing,” Russo said. “They’ve been sitting on the sidelines during the downturn and they can afford their luxuries.”

Russo has 52 boats from five manufacturers on display, after obtaining rights to sell Bayliner boats last year when dealers in central Massachusetts and Rhode Island went out of business.

In 2008 and 2009, many dealers survived on used-boat sales, which accounted for up to two-thirds of sales, Russo said, and many repossessed boats flooded the marketplace.

“Those have flushed themselves through the system and we’re seeing the migration back to new-boat sales,” Russo said, estimating new boats now account for 55 percent of business.

Boat dealers also are seeing more business in so-called re-powering jobs – installing new engines whose energy efficiency is up to 50 percent greater than older models. 3A Marine in Hingham has done more than a dozen installations since the start of the year. A 150-horsepower engine costs about $14,000 to install.

“It’s a big part of revitalizing the older boats and bringing them up to the current emission standards,” said Jack White, sales manager at 3A Marine Service in Hingham. “They’re also a lot quieter.”

3A Marine has seen an increase in fishing and pleasure boats this year as well.

“Even though everybody has been negatively affected with the economy, I think a lot of people have just decided we’re going to live and continue on with their recreation,” White said.

Boat sales plummeted 55 percent between 2006 and 2010, according to the Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association. During the same period, used-boat sales declined 7 percent.

The industry’s fortunes are closely tied to consumer confidence, which has been improving nationwide and locally.

“When they’re feeling good about their job today, they’re more likely to make an investment,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the manufacturers association.

The group predicts nationwide 2012 sales of new boats and engines at $7.5 billion, up 6 percent from 2011.

Financing options have improved for consumers, said Tom Smith, president of Sterling Associates, a Northbridge financial services company. More local credit unions are offering boat loans, prompting national lenders to lower their rates to compete, Smith said. Average interest rates are just under 5 percent.

“The consumer is in a lot better shape,” Smith said. “He has more choices. There are more lenders that have come into the market.”

Steve Adams may be reached at sadams@ledger.com.

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KCS International Inc. Acquires Sport Boat Line

OCONTO, Wis., Feb. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — KCS International Inc., (KCS) parent company of Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts, announced during a media event at the Miami International Boat Show, the group acquired all of the assets of Azure, a world class line of sport boats. The acquisition means KCS now carries a full product line with vessels from 18′-56′ that includes bow riders, sport decks, sport cuddies and complemented by the high quality Cruisers Yachts line up.

“This is an exciting time for our company. We are sending a message to our dedicated employees that KCS intends to be in the boat business for a long time,” said Mark Pedersen, president of KCS International Inc. “It is paramount that our reputation of quality product continues to be carried over to the new sport boat line, and we look forward to showcasing our superior workmanship and unique product development as the line matures under the first-class manufacturing team in Wisconsin.”

In early February, production tooling from the Azure plant in South Carolina began making its way to the KCS base in Oconto Wis. and will continue over the next few weeks. The first boat under the Cruisers Sports Series is expected to roll off the production line in May/June 2012.

When asked if boating enthusiasts will see drastic changes to the previous models, Pedersen replied, “Azure designed according to what the industry wanted, so the product we are receiving is current. What we will begin immediately is implementing the level of craftsmanship our lines are known and recognized for.”

The extended line puts KCS in a position as an international player in the boating industry and has added Spencer Ship Monaco to oversee the new export development team for Central and South America, the Far East and Australia. Longtime marine industry veteran, Gene Gooding, has also joined the team and will oversee new dealer development in North America.

About KCS International Inc.

Headquartered in Oconto, Wis., KCS International Inc. is the parent company of both Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts.  Cruisers Yachts is known as one of the world’s premier providers of midsize luxury pleasure yachts and produces 11 models from 30 to 56 feet in its Oconto facility, including the much anticipated 48 Cantius Sports Coupe.  Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts combine comfort and convenience with speed, durability and performance focused engineering.  Built at the Oconto facility, Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts creates highly fishable express and convertible sport fishing yachts, 34 to 45 feet.  For additional information about Cruisers Yachts, visit www.cruisersyachts.com; information on Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts can be found at www.rampageyachts.com.


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Brian Cazeneuve: U.S. sailors Anna Tunnicliffe, Zach Railey look to have repeat Olympic success


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Anna Tunnicliffe

Sailing often tends to get lost in the smorgasbord of Olympic sports, often because the venue is so hard to find. Choosing a suitable sailing venue is so difficult that the competition is often held away from the main host city or sometimes even the host country. Even the sport itself used to be known in Olympic parlance as yachting rather than sailing.

The events this summer will be held not in London, but in Weymouth, which is southwest of London. Four years ago, sailing took place not in Beijing but in Qingdao. In the U.S., Olympic sailing competitions took place in Long Beach and Savannah, instead of Los Angeles and Atlanta. During the 1980 Moscow Games, sailing took place in what is now Estonia’s capital city of Tallinn; if anyone ever asks if an Estonian city ever hosted the Olympics, well, you have your answer.

At the Olympics four years ago, two U.S. sailors brought home medals and their chances are strong to get back on the podium again this summer. Here is a look at both of them:

ANNA TUNNICLIFFE

The accent is unmistakable — Tunnicliffe will fit right in when she returns to her birth country to sail for another Olympic title in a new event. Yet she’ll be quick to tell you it isn’t the country of her heart. “I’m an American,” she says. “These Olympics will be meaningful for me, but that would be true anywhere.”

Tunnicliffe was born in Doncaster, UK, but her family moved to Ohio when she was 12. Unlike what one may think, she was not a born sailor. “I hated sailing when I was in England,” she says. “I was cold. I didn’t like the sport.” But that all changed when she started winning. It was a way for her to stand out, even in a competitive family.

Tunnicliffe took part in some local regattas and slowly gained acclaim. She doesn’t recall the exact age when she told her parents she was going to win an Olympic gold medal, but the bold pronouncement fit right in. “I pictured it,” she says. “I just told my mom and dad, ‘Yeah, that’ll be me some day.'”

In 2008, Tunnicliffe competed in the laser radial class, a solo event in a single-handed dinghy, calculated over a series of ten races in which sailors could drop their worst result. Though she never finished first in any of the races — actually nine of, them since one was canceled because of bad weather — the worst finish that counted was sixth. Every other sailor counted points for at least one finish outside the top ten. On the final day, Tunnicliffe was perilously close to a low finish, when she made a bold decision near the end of the race that secured her victory.

“I took a risk,” she recalls. “All my competitors went to the right. It made sense, but if I followed them, I wasn’t going to catch people. I got lucky. I went left and caught a soft wind.” Tunnicliffe passed enough sailors to secure the points she needed to hold onto first place. “It was a blur,” she says. “I remember walking out there seeing my mom crying. I don’t think she stopped the whole time.”

Teammates will say there is always a twinkle of cleverness in Tunnicliffe’s eyes. When asked about the Chinese characters tattooed on her left forearm, she says “It means soy sauce,” in perfect deadpan, waiting for you to nod or laugh or wonder whether to believe her. “No, no, it means ‘never give up.’ I’m sure of it. I did the research.”

Tunnicliffe left nothing to chance in case in case the characters really did represent an evening takeout order. And there is a fresh due diligence these days in a new event, the match race in which she competes with two teammates. “It’s something new, challenging, completely different,” she says. “It’s communication, it’s confidence in your team. But like other events, it’s demanding. You have to have endurance over six days. You have to be able to take control of your boat. The more tired you are, the more mistakes you’re going to make.” That you can believe.

ZACH RAILEY

Railey was a high-energy Florida kid whose parents needed an outlet for his restlessness; his dentist suggested that organized sailing might be a good choice. Railey was hooked. “I just loved being on the water,” he says. “Even today, any activity having to do with water, fishing, water skiing, that’s what I want to do.”

He started out with an eight-foot boat called an optimist, which aptly described Railey at the time. “I was just playing around with 30 eight-year olds and I had no idea what I was doing. I just assumed I’d figure it out.”

Railey discovered the Olympics in 1996 and found a calling. “I was watching Michael Johnson running the 200 meters, and man, that just blew me away,” he says. “People used to criticize his stride because it wasn’t traditional, but he knew exactly what he was doing. I thought that was cool. And he had these gold shoes that would shine when the light hit them. Wow.”

Railey wanted to be an Olympian, but when he did his research and checked an alphabetical list of sports, he couldn’t find the word sailing. Bummer. He hadn’t bothered to keep scanning down to the letter Y to find the alternate name of his childhood passion.

“Two weeks later, I found out it was an Olympic sport called yachting and I was just thrilled,” he says. “I called a team meeting with my parents and told them what I wanted to do. They looked at each other, I remember. Then they just told me if I was serious, I’d have to make some choices that were different from what other kids did.”

Railey’s parents, who both worked in the insurance business, were on board, along with his younger sister, Paige, who was also competing. Railey raced lasers throughout high school, but given his size at the time — 6’3″, 195 pounds — he switched to the Finn, a single-handed boat that better suited his size. The Finn class solo event has stayed in the Games since 1952 as other boat classifications have come and gone.

Aware of the financial requirements of his sport, Railey studied business at the University of Miami just to learn how to better support himself. He has never made money in any one season in the sport and relies heavily on help from family and sponsors. Under superstition, he wears something from the university each time he sails.

Eyeing his Olympic debut in 2008, he lost 30 pounds from his 220-pound frame to prepare for racing in Qingdao, where the conditions were going to favor lighter boats. “I was on caloric deficit and it was awful,” he says. The realization of his goal hit him days before the Games, when he looked at his boat. Typically, when multiple entries from the same country participate at an event, the sailors’ national flags are printed next to their numbers on the sails. At the Olympics, with a single entry permitted per country, there is simply one large flag. “You see that and you know it’s something special, something different,” he says. Though Britain’s Ben Ainslie ran off with a decisive victory over the course of the week to capture his third straight Olympic gold medal, Railey, then 23, took a surprise second. “Nobody expected it from me,” he says. “Now people are more aware of what I can do.”


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Boat Dealers Find Buyers Optimistic

Fans looking forward to the summer boating season are setting sail for the annual WBAY Boat Show and Waterfront Lifestyle Expo this week, but are they buying?

At the boat show, customers have plenty of options looking for big water toys, and so far business in 2012 is better than ever.

“We do feel it’s the best time to buy a boat at this show,” Eric Harthun, who came from Appleton, said.

According to local boat dealers, despite the recession, customers are optimistic about buying this year.

“Sales this year are up quite a bit from last couple years. We did several boat shows so far this year. People are upbeat, positive, people are in a buying mood,” Shipyard Marine sales manager Tim Hogan said.

Some customers credit the economy for driving down boat prices and making the idea of buying a boat appealing.

“I think with the economy being the way it is, I think dealers want to sell, so I think they’re willing to work with you a little bit more maybe than in previous years,” Bonnie Harrison said.

The most popular boat choice for 2012, according to Hogan and others, “Pontoons seem to be the hot market right now.”

“We’re seeing sometimes two families buying a pontoon versus just each family buying their own pontoon,” Ken’s Sports owner Jay Vanderloop said.

As for the best time to buy, customers we talked to agree that buying off-season is best for the lowest prices, but boat dealers expect sales to keep going up through the summer.

“The interest we’ve seen, calls, Internet leads, things like that coming in, it’s definitely an upbeat year,” said Hogan.

And boat owners are already thinking about getting their new toys out on the water.

“I’m ready. We’re very excited,” Harrison said.


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Telefonica claim Sanya Volvo sailing triumph

Spain’s Team Telefonica inflicted another hammer blow on the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet Saturday as they claimed victory in the Sanya in-port race despite a last-minute rigging refit and a bungled sail change.

The win leaves Iker Martinez‘s team a commanding 18 points clear of their nearest rivals Camper/ETNZ at the top of the overall standings, after three wins out of three in offshore legs and two out of four in the in-port series.

Martinez, the 2011 world sailor of the year, said tactics had been enough to make the difference over second-placed Puma on Saturday in the 10.8 nautical-mile race after a poorly executed sail change had briefly cut their lead to just three seconds.

“It was not perfect, we had some issues with one of the sails, but the weather guys, the coach and our tactician Jordi Calafat put us in great shape,” Martinez told AFP. “After that it was a little bit easier for us.

“We have a very good boat too and it’s made winning a simpler job.”

The boat did not look in such good shape on Thursday and Friday as the shore crew struggled to find out why the rigging did not have the correct tension.

They made the 11th hour decision to change it in a gamble that paid off in style on Saturday.

Puma’s skipper Ken Read paid tribute to Martinez and his men.

“They didn’t make any mistakes, they never do,” he said. “But we were in the A division today, the two of us had a good little race and a good little battle.”

Abu Dhabi took third, with Camper/ETNZ, Groupama and Sanya never in serious contention.

The fleet next face potentially boat-breaking conditions in the fourth leg to Auckland in New Zealand with gale force winds and towering seas forecast early on. The boats are scheduled to leave Sanya in China’s southern island province of Hainan on Sunday.

Overall standings: Team Telefonica (ESP) 101, Camper/ETNZ (ESP/NZL) 83, Groupama (FRA) 73, Puma (USA) 53, Abu Dhabi (UAE) 43, Team Sanya (CHN) 17


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Retail sales helping Tampa Shrimp Docks wholesalers

TAMPA

Gulls glide in the gray sky above as the crew of Southern Grace works, hoisting bags of shrimp from the boat’s freezer and handing them off to dock workers, stacking them on pallets.

John Donini maneuvers a forklift to scoop up pallets and load them into a truck that will distribute them nationwide. Some bags are set aside for Superior Seafoods Inc., the wholesale business his family owns. It’s one of two shrimp companies still operating at Tampa Shrimp Docks.

Here, jumbos sell for $8.60 a pound to faithful customers who stop throughout the day.

“Freshest shrimp you can get,” says Phil Sorensen, 52, who appears at Superior just as workers are about to finish unloading.

The Clearwater resident works nearby and makes periodic trips to stock up. He and his wife pop them in the freezer and cook a handful at a time whenever the mood strikes.

“We do buffalo shrimp; we do shrimp cocktail; we do bacon-wrapped with barbecue sauce; we do blackened skewers on the grill.”

Not much else is happening on this sleepy spit of land along Causeway Boulevard, south of Ybor City. Idle shrimp boats line the docks behind Superior and its next door neighbor, Versaggi Shrimp Corp. Tugboats and barges occupy the docks to the north, the Tampa skyline beyond. A massive phosphate loading plant looms on Hooker’s Point, directly west across the dark green water.

The walk-in retail trade here has improved steadily since late last spring when Port of Tampa security, which tightened in the wake of Sept. 11, eased up at the shrimp docks.

Before, the place was less than welcoming, with a guard stationed at the entrance gate. “People who came and bought shrimp had to show IDs, and if you didn’t have your ID, you couldn’t get in,” says Ernie Donini, John’s cousin. People felt “it was more of a hassle than it was worth.”

Port authorities re-evaluated security in light of budget constraints and decided to transfer the guard elsewhere. “We’re not really a security risk, we’re shrimp boats,” Ernie Donini says. “I mean, I tried to explain that from the beginning: We’re shrimp boats.”

Donini, whose father and uncle started Superior, put out flags at the easy-to-miss entrance, advertising shrimp sales to passing motorists. Though the entrance gate remains closed, and a sign still warns: “RESTRICTED AREA, KEEP OUT,” regulars know they can drive in through the open exit gate.

Otis Monteiro, 48, of Brandon, started coming by as soon as he realized the shrimp docks were open for retail business.

“They’re bigger, they’re better, and they come from the United States,” he says, picking up a box at Versaggi. “You go to a grocery store and you have no idea where the shrimp you bought came from.”

The two old family companies —Versaggi is celebrating its 100th year, Superior its 60th — send out their own fleets of shrimp boats. Superior also buys from independents, like Charles Parrish of the Southern Grace.

Owners of the wholesale companies say they’ve seen most of Tampa’s once-thriving shrimp boat fleet vanish as cheaper, farm-raised shrimp from Asia decimated the business.

“We survived by tightening our belts and running a tight ship,” says Sal Versaggi, whose grandfather started the company.

Parrish complains that the situation is made worse by restaurants whose menus falsely list the foreign, farm-raised product as shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico. Parrish, who always double-checks with the server, can easily tell the difference.

“When you eat fresh gulf shrimp, there’s a crispness to them, a flavor to them — it’s no comparison. It saddens me as a shrimper and also as an American that so much of the public is misled on what they’re eating.”

The 54-year-old Parrish started working on a shrimp boat in 1976, right after graduating from Plant City High School. He bought the 73-foot Southern Grace 29 years ago.

“I like the freedom of it. Of course, being my own boss is a good thing.”

Shrimping has made a good life for his family, he says, enabling him to raise three daughters. But the last 15 years have been tough, and the future looks bleak. Fuel and maintenance costs have risen while domestic shrimp prices hover at 1976 levels, he says.

Parrish and his two crew members — one of them his 21-year-old son-in-law, William Hammock — go out for three weeks at a time. They sleep during the day and work at night when the shrimp, which hide in the sandy sea bottom during daylight, are on the move. The boat drags four 45-foot nets, and its hold can accommodate up to 40,000 pounds of shrimp. The crew hauled in 10,000 pounds during a recent outing.

Workers separate them by size, pack them in net bags, and toss them into brine water that’s kept at 10 degrees below zero, which freezes the shrimp rock hard in minutes. The bags are stacked according to size in the frigid hold.

The full moon over the sea, a sight most love to behold, just costs Parrish money. It gave him fits this last trip, causing the older, larger shrimp to react as they would in daylight and bury themselves under the sand. “I literally had to pick up in the middle of the night and quit.”

He says he’ll time it better next trip.

At the docks, once the unloading is done, Superior’s workers rinse a portion of the shrimp, pack them in 5-pound boxes and stack them in freezers for people like David Barnhill, 48, of Albany, Ga. On his way north, the tanker driver saw the signs and developed a sudden appetite for seafood.

“I’ll be home in five hours,” says Barnhill. “They’ll be ready to cook when I get home.”

Philip Morgan can be reached at pmorgan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3435.


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Luxury NOAA undercover boat got more use as pleasure cruiser

Federal fish cops in Seattle bought a $300,000 luxury boat to spy on whale-watching tours — but didn’t go through an appropriate bidding process, held barbecues onboard, ferried friends and family across Puget Sound to restaurants and resorts, and used the boat for what one visitor called “a pleasure cruise.”

When confronted, one federal employee in Seattle misled inspectors about how the vessel was used, and one interfered with federal investigators, according to an internal investigation by the Commerce Department. Those documents were released Friday by U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass.

At issue is a 35-foot, 14-passenger boat purchased by federal agents with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) using money seized from fishermen who violated the law.

The 2008 purchase wasn’t illegal, according to the Commerce Department, but federal agents manipulated the acquisition process and misrepresented the urgency and need for the vessel.

The fisheries service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has a law-enforcement branch employing special agents with the same powers as the FBI. They police the Endangered Species Act and other crimes against marine creatures, from poaching to fishing commercially in closed waters or out of season.

The boat ultimately was used for just 119 hours, according to the documents, and remains moored in Western Washington.

“The sad truth is that it was a fishermen-funded party boat for bureaucrats,” Brown said on the Senate floor Friday.

Blistering reviews

Brown, a harsh critic of NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco’s environmental policies, has repeatedly called for her resignation after a series of scathing inspector general (IG) reports in 2010 that criticized heavy-handed fisheries enforcement and mismanagement of an asset-seizure fund.

The blistering reviews focused almost exclusively on fisheries agents in New England and managers in D.C., one of whom was reassigned after shredding documents.

But this week Brown received a heavily redacted follow-up report about misuse of a Boston Whaler bought by the Seattle law-enforcement branch.

In a statement, NOAA officials said the agency has since “conducted a top-to-bottom overhaul of its enforcement program. We hired new leadership, implemented new policies to ensure consistent enforcement practices nationwide, and put in place better accounting and oversight” of its asset-forfeiture program.

The Seattle office in 2006 sought to buy a $146,000 boat to police halibut fishermen and to clandestinely keep tabs on San Juan Island whale-watching tours. Agents wanted to make sure the tours weren’t harassing endangered orcas, but feared tour operators were well-behaved when agents approached in marked boats.

But after shopping online and at boat shows and talking to other cops, one agent instead submitted a request for the Whaler. The 345 Conquest comes standard with a 20-inch flat-screen TV, hardwood cabin floors and vanity countertops, which cost more than twice as much as the original request: $300,787.

Questions were quickly raised.

“I don’t understand from the document exactly what NOAA is purchasing the boat for,” one agency-procurement official wrote in 2008. “Why is this exact model the only one that meets the minimum requirements?”

That official didn’t even know it had been purchased until approached by investigators two years later. He said the whole process was “wired from the start to get that one boat.”

Cruising Puget Sound

The first time a fisheries-service agent boarded the boat in June 2008, he brought his wife and a friend. They ran out of gas, called Seattle Harbor Patrol and had to be towed back to the Ship Canal.

They refueled and motored the boat through the Ballard Locks to the dockside Boat Shed Restaurant in Bremerton, had dinner and then returned to Seattle.

A month later the same agent took the boat to Poulsbo for lunch and went back to Seattle. He picked up some friends who brought aboard a six-pack of beer and sped down to Gig Harbor for dinner at Tides Tavern. One passenger told investigators the trip was “every bit a pleasure cruise.”

A few days later, the same employee briefly got stranded in the boat in a shipping lane while taking his wife to a restaurant in Everett.

Twice that summer, while the boat was moored at Elliott Bay Marina, a fisheries-service employee grilled burgers and hot dogs with a small group that included at least two other special agents. A supervisor told an employee his wife could come aboard any time and “kick back and watch TV.” One agent later told investigators the gatherings kept up the vessel’s appearance as a recreational boat and not an unmarked-police vessel.

Once in August 2008, the boat ferried around a special agent’s visiting parents, eventually dropping them off at the Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, Whatcom County. The boat that day blew out a $10,000 engine as a result of what investigators called “operator error.” The boat’s first use in an actual undercover capacity didn’t take place until the next summer.

When internal investigators learned about the boat in 2010, one employee gave such contradictory answers, investigators called the statement “disingenuous and not credible.”

NOAA officials, in a statement, said, “NOAA cannot discuss the nature or results of specific personnel actions. Appropriate action has been or will be taken.”

The agency has since banned use of the boat and is in the process of surplusing it, agency spokesman Connie Barclay said in an email.

Craig Welch: 206-464-2093 or cwelch@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @craigawelch.


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Sailing-Telefonica back on top after major boat scare

Iker Martinez’s
Telefonica spent two days in sailing’s version of the
emergency care ward before the Sanya in-port race but still left
their rivals trailing as the Volvo Ocean Race resumed on
Saturday.

The shore crew of Martinez’s apparently indestructible boat
replaced the entire rigging after finding a mystery fault and
the gamble paid off in style as the Spanish team beat U.S.
outfit Puma to extend their overall lead by three points.

The still unexplained problem discovered by Telefonica
forced them to miss all the practice races on Thursday and
Friday.

The decision to replace the entire system at the last minute
was understandable given that faulty rigging can cause a mast to
break and the boats are heading out into 10 metre waves when
they start Leg 4 on Sunday.

If their rivals thought the Spanish crew, which has won the
first three of the nine-month race’s nine legs, would suffer in
Saturday’s 10.8-nautical mile race they were in for a rude shock
as Martinez cruised home to a 41-second win over U.S.-led Puma.

“Today the tactics were what made the difference. We were
really in the right place for the upwind legs and the first
downwind too,” Martinez told reporters.

“Even if we weren’t great at manoeuvres, we were in the
right place and that’s what mattered.”

A bungled sail change from Telefonica saw Puma briefly close
to within three seconds at the second turning mark but a wind
shift in the Spanish team’s favour saw them restore their
advantage.

Abu Dhabi finished third, four minutes and twenty seconds
adrift of the winners, with Camper/ETNZ (Spain/New Zealand),
Groupama (France) and Team Sanya (China) even further adrift.

The result leaves Telefonica comfortably placed with an
18-point advantage over Camper/Team New Zealand.

The 39,000-nautical mile race, the toughest off-shore race
in sailing, finishes in Galway, Ireland in July.

The boats are scheduled to set sail for Auckland on Sunday
in weather forecast to test the vessels and the crews to the
limit.

Overall standings:

Team Telefonica (Spain) 101

Camper (Spain/New Zealand) 83

Groupama (France) 73

Puma (U.S.) 53

Abu Dhabi (UAE) 43

Team Sanya (China) 17

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CNY Boat Show at the state fairgrounds has much to offer boating enthusiasts

CNY Boat Show at the New York State Fairgrounds 2012

The Central New York Boat Show kicked off Wednesday afternoon at the state fairgrounds in Geddes.

This year’s show will be in three buildings and features 80 different exhibitors — more than 50 of them boat dealers from Central New York and across the state.

“Fifty boat dealers at one place, just try to go out and visit all these dealers apart from this show. Here, you can see them all in one day,” said Drew Wickham, the boat show’s manager. The show is sponsored by the Central New York Boating Industry Association.

The following are good reasons, he said, to check out this year’s event which continues until Sunday afternoon.

Deals and more deals: Before the economic downturn hit, Wickham said, boat manufacturers took a hit and cut back on manufacturing. Nowadays, he said, the supply of boats is not what it used to be.

“Look at the manufacturer’s view. It takes so many days to build a boat. If they know you’re going to buy one in February, it gives them more time to build, to plan how many they’re going to build. It’s advantageous to them,” he said. “As a result, the dealers get incentives from manufacturers to sell boats at shows like this.”

Wickham noted there will be a number manufacturer representatives working in the dealer booths “and they usually can offer a wealth of information.”

He said waiting until summer to buy a boat in a dealer’s lot has its drawbacks.

“It’s a good idea to buy early,” he said. “Otherwise, the dealer will only have what’s left.”

A chance to check out some “big” boats:“ This year’s show offers a good offering of large cruiser boats in the 30- to 40-foot range,” Wickham said.

“These are boats you can sleep in, dine in, stay out in the water for a week in,” he said. “Some of these boats cost over $250,000.”

One tip for checking them out. Wear good socks. The dealers generally make you take your shoes off when stepping aboard.

A wide variety of craft: Wickham said the show will offer a wide variety of runabouts, personal water craft, kayaks and canoes — including one dealer who offers “build your own” Adirondack guide boats kits.

A wide assortment of pontoon boats:“The baby boomer generation in particular is looking for boats that they can kick back and relax in,” he said. “We have some magnificent pontoon boats out there. They even have one up on turntable (in the Exhibit Center) that’s actually spinning.”

The latest in sailboats and sailing equipment: Among this year’s offerings at the show is a Com-pac 23 Pilothouse sailboat, which Sail Magazine chose as the best in 2012 in regard to interior accommodations, Wickham said.

“This is not a day boat,” he added. “It’ll be in the Center of Progress Building. Anyone into sailing should stop by and check it out.”

An opportunity to bone up boating safety, equipment regulations and boating-related laws: Representatives from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Power Squadron, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the N.Y.S. Canal Corporation will offer advice and handouts concerning all aspects of boater safety and navigation law. In-water, life jacket demonstrations are scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Horticulture Building.

The latest in docks, boating equipment and nautical supplies:“ There’s at least a dozen dealers with dock exhibits. You’ll be able to see absolutely everything in regard to docks and hoists,” Wickham said. “As for other nautical supplies, if you need it, it’s here. Even if you didn’t need it, it’s here, too.”

If you go
Central New York Boat Show
When: 1 to 9 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Cost: Admission is $10 and children 13 and under free. Coupons that take $2 off admission are available at Dunkin’ Donuts.
Where: The show is being held in three separate buildings (Horticulture, Exhibit and Center of Progress).

See you there: Outdoors Editor David Figura will be at the show to meet with readers from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the Exhibit Center (formerly the Toyota Building).


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