Archive for » February 24th, 2012«

Boat Show opens today at the Orr Building on the state fairgrounds – The State Journal

From modest fishing boats to the latest high-tech marvels, 100 boats will be on display starting at 5 p.m. when the Boat Show in Springfield opens today.

The show continues through Sunday in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be room to squeeze in one more boat, a feat that took planning and maneuvering to get all the boats inside and still leave room for customers to browse.

“It is tight,” said Jeff Smith, who is in his third year as promoter of the Boat Show. “We had some equipment to help maneuver things and it takes a lot of hands to put this together.”

In addition to 100 boats inside, an additional 50 boats have been parked outside including a handful of used boats.

Staff from participating dealers were doing last minute touch-ups and detailing Friday before the opening.

Smith said nine dealers from Springfield and surrounding communities including Belleville, Clinton, Dupo and Farmer City are on hand. He said dealers are optimistic about the potential for sales.

“The feedback from the dealers has been positive,” he said. “They are hoping the trends they have seen so far this year continue.

“The shows have been good, and the sales have been good so far.”

Smith said there are all types of boats will be on display from fishing boats to high-tech ski boats that make their own waves for surfing.

Gary Isaacs was helping set up a display for Liquid Edge, a boat dealer out of Farmer City near Champaign.

He points to a boat by Mastercraft that creates its own wave suitable for surfing by shifting ballast to one side and using special plates or tabs that push down into the water.

“The ballast helps the boat lean to one side,” he said. “And behind it about eight to 10 feet back, that wave is coming up and curling like an ocean wave.”

The surfer can drop the towrope and ride the wave.

Smith said dealers are hoping to ride an early wave of business caused in part because a mild winter has people thinking about getting outdoors a little earlier than usual.

“That may play into it by helping these dealers get a little bit of an early start,” he said. “We just hope to have a good show.”

Chris Young can be reached at 788-1528.


Want to Go?

The Boat Show in Springfield

Friday – Sunday

Admission is $4. Children under 12 are free.

Parking is free.

Show hours:

Friday: 5 – 9 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 


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Boat Show opens today at the Orr Building on the state fairgrounds – State Journal

From modest fishing boats to the latest high-tech marvels, 100 boats will be on display starting at 5 p.m. when the Boat Show in Springfield opens today.

The show continues through Sunday in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be room to squeeze in one more boat, a feat that took planning and maneuvering to get all the boats inside and still leave room for customers to browse.

“It is tight,” said Jeff Smith, who is in his third year as promoter of the Boat Show. “We had some equipment to help maneuver things and it takes a lot of hands to put this together.”

In addition to 100 boats inside, an additional 50 boats have been parked outside including a handful of used boats.

Staff from participating dealers were doing last minute touch-ups and detailing Friday before the opening.

Smith said nine dealers from Springfield and surrounding communities including Belleville, Clinton, Dupo and Farmer City are on hand. He said dealers are optimistic about the potential for sales.

“The feedback from the dealers has been positive,” he said. “They are hoping the trends they have seen so far this year continue.

“The shows have been good, and the sales have been good so far.”

Smith said there are all types of boats will be on display from fishing boats to high-tech ski boats that make their own waves for surfing.

Gary Isaacs was helping set up a display for Liquid Edge, a boat dealer out of Farmer City near Champaign.

He points to a boat by Mastercraft that creates its own wave suitable for surfing by shifting ballast to one side and using special plates or tabs that push down into the water.

“The ballast helps the boat lean to one side,” he said. “And behind it about eight to 10 feet back, that wave is coming up and curling like an ocean wave.”

The surfer can drop the towrope and ride the wave.

Smith said dealers are hoping to ride an early wave of business caused in part because a mild winter has people thinking about getting outdoors a little earlier than usual.

“That may play into it by helping these dealers get a little bit of an early start,” he said. “We just hope to have a good show.”

Chris Young can be reached at 788-1528.


Want to Go?

The Boat Show in Springfield

Friday – Sunday

Admission is $4. Children under 12 are free.

Parking is free.

Show hours:

Friday: 5 – 9 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 


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Sailing is in her blood

By VALERIE MACDONALD Northumberland Today

Posted 11 hours ago

PORT HOPE COBOURG — A woman who was infected with her love of sailing as a small child on her parent’s boat in Port Hope’s harbour, and who taught sailing as a teen in Cobourg, is taking to the world sailing stage.

Diane Reid (nee Zeller) is mounting her $400,000, One Girl’s Ocean Challenge, next year and has finished half of her qualifying sailing expeditions. The next qualifying leg is in April when she sails in one of three levels of classes, which will include the well-known 650 nautical mile Fastnet from Plymouth, England.

This 39-year-old Toronto woman’s level of enthusiasm is contagious. That’s a good thing, since she is still seeking corporate and private sponsorships for a little less than half her racing budget.

Reid is sharing her amazing goal of sailing her 21-foot mini Transat on the double-legged sea Odyssey (from the Bay of Bisque to the Canary Island and then to Guadeloupe, France in September, 2013) with members of Port Hope’s #116 Skeena. Reid was a cadet for seven years there. She will tell her story at 2 p.m. this Sunday at the Port Hope Yacht Club – but here is a wee preview.

“This is something I’ve been working on for three years…and planning for five years,” Reid said in an interview this week.

For about the past month, or about 200 hours, Reid and her sailing-and-training partner, Nick Sellars, have been refitting her sail boat at Briston Marine in Port Credit. Everything’s been done from stripping all the hardware from the deck, servicing and reinstalling it, to removing the keel, resurfacing the vessel’s bottom, plus putting on an all new, non-skid gel coat on the deck and cockpit.

“So I don’t go sliding all around when I’m walking around,” Reid explained.

New sails will be tried out soon with a few hours of sailing from her home club, the Ashbridge’s Bay Club in Toronto, she continued.

The first of the remaining trio of 1,000 miles of qualifying class races from France will be 150 nautical miles around the Bay of Biscay, she said. The next is a 300-mile sail and the final, the 650-mile Fastnet already referred to.

The first half of her qualifying races was a non-stop trip from Miami and back, circumventing the Bahamas. It took 11 days and was “straight forward” until the last day when she was about 100 miles from returning to Miami.

The Gulf Stream current, coupled with hard, 30-knot winds, created square waves with deep troughs. She was on a busy, commercial sea route and those big ships couldn’t see her sailboat when she went down into the troughs. It was dark, so Reid said she had to stay on the radio all night letting the ships know where she was (she’d heaved to, or stopped, at this point). She took this action to avoid being mowed down.

The wind showed no sign of letting up and eventually she had to be towed into port. Without an engine, Reid described her time as “fourteen hours of madness” working to avoid being hit by another ship.

Besides the qualifying trips, Reid has sailed 10,000 miles in salt water in the past two years as part of her preparations. Buying, packing and transporting her provisions abroad are another huge task to get ready for the September, 2013 trip from France to the Canary Islands and back again, she said.

When she undertakes that challenge she will be only one of five or six females taking part in the 84-competitor race, she said. She will only be allowed to carry eight sails aboard, deploying various combinations as sea conditions dictate.

Reid is married to her husband, Paul ,who she describes as a “sailor by marriage” and when he isn’t taking part in one of her racing teams, works as a HVAC technician. Reid says she works in the marine industry herself – and she and Sellars have done all of the hands-on-work in refitting her 16.5 mini for the open class in which she will compete with people of all ages.

There are those 16 or 17 years of age to others in their 70s, she says of next year’s major world-sailing event.

“This is where all the big ocean racers start,” she said.

During the race it will be “a month of freeze-dried food, only sleeping 20 minutes at a time and no communication with anyone but fellow competitors….unless there is an emergency,” Reid said.

While there are “chase boats” (one for every 12 competitors), if you get into trouble, you rely on the competition to help you because they are the closest, she said.

Let’s hope that help won’t be needed when Reid takes to the seas where her work and passion collide.

vmacdonald@northumberlandtoday.com

twitter.com/NT_vmacdonald

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Luxury boat sales top $15m at show

THE Gold Coast’s luxury boat builders have come away from one of the world’s biggest boat shows with $15 million in sales between them and confidence about a US market recovery.

Riviera is claiming sales of $10.4 million at the Miami International Boat Show, while Maritimo has estimated its sales at $5 million.

 
Riviera spokesman Stephen Milne was upbeat about the US market after the event, which drew 100,000 people.

“With the US market showing encouraging signs of bouncing back, 2012 is shaping up to be the best Miami show result for Riviera in more than four years,” he said. “We are certainly excited with the level of attention our boats continue to attract there.”

Another $6 million in sales out of Miami could be achieved by the Riviera sales team.

Maritimo USA president Dave Northrop said the company’s biggest seller in Miami was the C50 IPS Sports Cruiser, with several orders taken for the boat.

“We are confident more sales will flow,” he said.


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Another week of uncertainty

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In addition, vendors, including Bath Fitter, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Crum’s Mini-Mall, Demont Insurance Agency, Mike’s Marine Ways, Rock the Dock Fishing Tournament, Sea Tow, Tow Boat US and the Verity Help Center will be set up in Building Two at the fairgrounds.

Show hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information call Laurie or Mike Faulk at 984-5637.

Free hunter safety Internet course

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is offering a free hunter safety Internet-completion course in Gadsden County.

The course will be at the Florida Public Safety Institute, Academy Drive, off U.S. 90 W., 7.8 miles north of the Interstate 10 exit. The institute is between Midway and Quincy, across the highway from Gadsden High School. Instruction is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, in Classroom 120.

Students must complete the Internet course before coming to class and bring a copy of the final report from the online portion of the course. The final report form does not have to be notarized.

An adult must accompany children under the age of 16 at all times. Students should bring a pencil and paper with them to take notes.

Successful completion of an approved hunter safety course is required for people born on or after June 1, 1975, before they can purchase a Florida hunting license. The FWC course satisfies hunter-safety training requirements for all other states and Canadian provinces. This course also satisfies the firearms proficiency requirement to obtain a Florida Concealed Weapons permit.

People interested in attending this course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s regional office in Panama City at 265-3676.

Kevin’s SpringFishing Kickoff

Kevin’s Sporting Goods on Capital Circle NE is having a super fishing tackle sale now through Sunday. If you’re looking for rods, reels, lines or lures, this is the place. Also on sale will be kayaks and fishing related equipment.

Gag grouper update

For those of you waiting with baited breath for FWC chairman Kathy Barco and executive director Nick Wiley to issue the executive order authorizing gag grouper fishing during the months of April, May and June in state waters, change your diet, and don’t give up hope just yet. I’ve been pinging the agency every couple of days to make sure the order hasn’t been forgotten. They’re working on it, but first the agency has to finalize the gag rules for the rest of the state. If it gets right down to the wire I will let you know so we can all make signs and protest (with bated breath) in front of the Old Capitol with the rest of the “occupy” folks.


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Martini Sailing At Etchells Worlds

The sun shone, the swell and current were negligible, but the breeze returned to delivering massive shifts both left and right.

There were two races and three different teams on the podium in each race. But it is Australian teams in the first three places overall, for the moment.

The Iron Lotus team of Tom King, Owen McMahon, Ivan Wheen and David Edwards regained their overall lead with 33 points after eight races and one drop. It was a difficult day for the team as they delivered their worst regatta result to date with a 16th in the first race, then finished fourth in a tight group in the second race.

Into second overall came the relieved team on Magpie. Graeme Taylor, Grant Simmer and Steve Jarvin sailed well today to secure an 11th and a third giving them 46 points. Taylor attributed some of the success of the day to the team’s coach, Rob Brown. Tonight they will spend with Brown as he debriefs them. Taylor said after racing today that is the first time he has worked with a coach. “We bought him (Brown) in because we were struggling on the start lines and he has helped us a lot with that.”

Tomorrow expect them to come out fighting. They need a hole-in-one to knock off King’s hold on first overall.

The Triad team of John Bertrand, David Giles and Tom Slingsby became the new third place holder after an interesting day of one first and then one 31st. These results gave them a total of 48 points.

Fourth place must be mentioned here as the international team on Roulette – Jud Smith, Mark Johnson and Nik Burfoot -just couldn’t find their previous winning magic as they sailed into a 17th and then a 33rd to finish overall with 49 points.

John Bertrand aptly described the racing today as being one where you could easily get a bullet in one race and a feather duster in another. And he should know.

Before the start of the first race, the Triad team were heads down and missed seeing the New Zealand Bobby’s Girl boat skippered by John Melville. The boats collided and Bobby’s Girl came off badly with a bent mast and a sad end to their World Championship campaign. Luckily Phil Smidmore was on the course and with a radio call of “I have a spare mast back at the hardstand” jumped in to assist Melville’s team to get back safely into the harbour.

Ever the professional, Bertrand and his team quickly refocused as they headed to the line for the first start. The course was set for 040 in eight knots and the first beat was 1.8 miles.

The pattern of first starts ending in a general recall continued as the fleet then lined up for the second start under a Black Flag. But it was another general recall as the port pin boats, which included some of the boats at the top of the overall point score, pushed themselves and their competition on the line. Then the start was reset to 035 and finally at 1325 hours the fleet was out of the gate and their way up the beat.

Bertrand grabbed the lead early as they sped up the work in the flat seas and under brilliant sunshine. At the top mark he led by just half a boat length from Fifteen (David Clark), followed by Boat X (Noel Drennan) and Animal House (Dirk Van Der Struyf).

Back in the fleet King was struggling with the shifts. “We had a good start and we were in the middle of the course in the leading group of boats and with John Bertrand coming back from the left side of the course. We then decided to go back left partly because Jud was over there and partly because we thought there was more wind over there. Then the wind shifted right all the way up to the top mark and that’s where Bertrand and Dave Clark got that big jump,” King said.

On the run Clark stayed on Bertrand’s transom until Bertrand gybed to port. At the bottom mark Bertrand had extended his lead over Clark and Van Der Struyf. This pattern continued so that by the finish Bertrand was more than two minutes ahead of Clark across the line. Finishing in third was Hong Kong’s Swedish Blue (Ante Razmilovic) who had slipped inside of Van Der Struyf on the last work.

“We nailed it in that race. But I don’t think that anyone out there today could lay claim to knowing exactly what was happening… even in race one,” Bertrand said.

It was a quick turn-around from the race committee for the set-up of race two. The breeze was up 10 knots and the course set for 035. The decision was made to lengthen the first beat to 2.2 miles and again run Course 2.

It was another false start as the fleet returned under a general recall and then were advised the next start would be with the Black Flag. There was only one BFD call – Bushfire (Jervis Tilly).

The port pin end was favoured as Smith, Velsheda (Alastair Gair), The Whole Way (Cameron Miles) and more crossed cleanly and headed left on the work.

At the top mark Taylor led, just, to Perfect Balance (Mark Bulka), Gelert (James Howells) and Ticket of Leave (Brett Ellis). The pressure was consistent down the course and the fleet split at the bottom mark gates.

Back in the early 30s Smith and Bertrand couldn’t seem to pick and play the shifts. “Not a good result. The first race wasn’t that bad. Then we went into the second race in the (point score) lead. We then switched jibs which was probably a mistake. We thought the left was going to be better. We then went the wrong way twice,” Smith said.

There were massive shifts on the course. “The right was pretty strong the whole race. We did well on the right on the first beat and then invested heavily in the left on the second beat. We got a very poor return for our investment,” Taylor said.

The separation in the fleet was obvious by the last work as Howells took the lead from Bulka, Taylor, Ellis and King.

On the run, it was heart-stopping tension watching the lead boats battle for top places. Howells stayed right with King on his transom. Taylor was out on the left.

But Bulka kept his cool and crossed cleanly leaving Howells, Taylor and King to finish with a millimetres between them across the line.

King had been hoping for another wave; just one more and he might have got ahead of Taylor and Howells. It was just that close.

Howells was introspective about his loss in the second race. “There seemed to be more pressure on the left hand side on the first run. We did well out of it, but due to where the boats were we had to gybe a bit later. We kept going and going and the other guys behind, 1387, gybed first and pretty well out of it. GT gybed as well and we got back on top of him before the finish.

“It has been a super hard week. It has been nice to get one decent result in it. What we are all struggling with is the chop. Downwind we are okay, but upwind we can not get the boat to go well,” Howells said.

The final and ninth race of the World Championship will be held tomorrow with the warning signal scheduled for 1200 hours.

Check out highlights from the Etchells Worlds on the ISAF TV Player.


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The boats are back in Edison for sale, expo

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The boats have cruised back into the New Jersey Convention Exposition Center in Edison for the New Jersey Boat Sale and Expo going on this weekend. Organizers say the show promises to focus on affordability and convenience both for the consumer and exhibitors. It is organized by the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey and presented by Interlux Yacht Paint and Travelers Ocean Marine Insurance.

The show will feature something for every age and interest with boats on sale from the top dealers in the state as well as an expansive boater’s marketplace full of accessories and services, free seminars, activities for the little boaters and more. Show attendees will be able to board and shop a great lineup of boating’s most popular brands.

“The show is centrally located for easy access from anywhere in the tri-state area, parking is free and the cost of admission is only $6,” stated MTA/NJ Executive Director, Melissa Danko. “New Jersey’s boating opportunities are endless and with the boating season just around the corner, there is no better place than the New Jersey Boat Sale Expo to find just what you need to get out on the water and have fun.”

There are a number of great activities and events planned throughout the show including free fishing seminars presented by On the Water Magazine, The Kids Cove, Marine Safety Presentations and Children’s Boating Safety Classes.

The New Jersey Convention Exposition Center at Raritan Center located at 97 Sunfield Ave in Edison. Show times are Friday noon to 8:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is only $6 person, 16 and younger are free when accompanied by an adult. There is ample free parking onsite.

Additional show details can be found online at JerseyBoatExpo.com. Advance tickets can also be purchased online. For more show contact information call 732-292-1051.


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Ristori: Council to decide on rules for fluke, sea bass seasons

The Marine Fisheries Council will make decisions on regulations for the upcoming fluke and sea bass seasons at their meeting on Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Toms River Township Municipal Building at 33 Washington St.

Five alternatives for fluke have been provided, most of which provide a longer season than last year’s May 7 to Sept. 25. By staying at 18 inches and eight fluke, we could have a spring to fall season lasting as long as to Oct. 28. Opting for a 17.5-inch minimum would drop the season to just May 5 to Sept. 28 with five fish — and with a 17-inch minimum the season would be only from May 29 to Sept. 1 with three fish.

Rich Johnson, of the Fishing Line, reports the New York Department of Environmental Conservation is favoring four fluke at a 19½-inch monimum for their waters in order to get a season from May 3 to Sept. 30. Dropping back to 19 inches would considerably shorten that season.

Check my blog entry at nj.com/shore/blogs/fishing for all the New Jersey summer flounder and sea bass alternatives, as well as Mid-Atlantic Council quotas on bluefish that must be commented upon by Thursday. The Council doesn’t appear to be aware of how poor last year’s bluefishing was in New York/New Jersey Bight, and supports a transfer of recreational quota to commercial interests.

In the case of sea bass, we have only two options, with B providing a few more days (210) of a split season running May 19 to Oct. 14 and resuming from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 with the same 25 sea bass at a 12.5-inch minimum as last year. The winter season would also remain open from Jan.1 to Feb. 28, 2013, with a 15-fish bag, under proposed federal waters regulations.

Only a few $99 tickets remain for Saturday’s Canyon Runner Seminar at the Huntington Hilton in nearby Long Island. Call Adam La Rosa at (732) 842-6825 for reservations, or e-mail info@canyonrunner.com.

The New Jersey Boat Sale Expo, sponsored by the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, opened Thursday at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Raritan Center Edison, and runs through Sunday. Today’s hours are from noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday’s from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday’s from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, those under 16 are admitted free with an accompanying adult. Seminars will be provided by On the Water magazine. For information e-mail info@mtanj.org or call (732) 292-1041.

TOP CATCHES

The World Fishing Outdoor Expo is coming up Thursday to March 4 at SUNY Rockland Community College Field House in Suffern, N.Y. — and the Somerset Saltwater Expo from March 16 to 18. Underwater photographer Mike Laptew, captain Pete Meyers, and Rich Johnson will be speaking at Suffern, and I’ll be among those doing seminars at Somerset. A free ticket for either show may be obtained courtesy of Rich Johnson by sending a self-addressed business (10) envelope to Suffern (or Somerset) Free Tix Giveaway, The Fishing Line, 24 Troy Ave., E. Atlantic Beach, NY 11561. Only one ticket for either show may be requested, and duplicates will be rejected.

The Miami International Boat Show was its usual big success. I ran into many N.J. anglers at that massive show, including Paul Regula of Bounty Hunter from Point Pleasant. The most innovative product I spotted was AFTCO’s Reel Drag Technology (ARDT) — a rod handle incorporating sensors and an LCD digital scale that provides a readout of reel drag as you’re fighting a fish. It will work on any trolling or spinning rod, and with roller or ring guides.

Capt. Harry’s Fishing Supply is a must for anglers visiting Miami, and it’s now a lot easier to find in the new location at 8501 NW 7th Ave. — with a sign alongside Interstate 95.

During every trip to Miami I’m amazed by how beautiful and productive the waters of Biscayne Bay are just a few miles from downtown. During a few hours fishing Sunday evening with Adrian Gray of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) in his 16-foot IPB skiff at Key Biscayne, we had hits from a variety of small fish on Gulp Minnows under a popping cork on 5-foot grass flats in the harbor (spotted sea trout were the target, but Gray even jumped a 50-pound tarpon), before trolling four short gag groupers at dusk on small Bomber diving plugs. Tarpon weren’t showing at the bridge on the ebb tide after dark, but a blind hit on a live shrimp drifted under the bridge provided me with a 40-pound release on a Shimano Sustain 8000 one-handed spinning rig when the silver king responded to the pressure and swam into the current instead of cutting me off in the pilings.

The targeted species didn’t cooperate Wednesday morning during the couple of hours I had to fish with friend and former Montauk skipper Steve Horowitz on his skiff. Clouds on an otherwise beautiful morning prevented us from spotting bonefish on the flats, though I hooked a barracuda casting a tube — and had a shot at a reluctant lemon shark. There’s never any worry about getting skunked with Horowitz (561) 271-6006 as casting a jig tipped with shrimp in the channels produces hits almost every cast from a variety of small fish ranging from jacks to snappers and groupers. I even upheld my trash fish reputation by jigging a puffer among our nine species. There’s always something to catch at any time of day in crystal clear waters virtually under Miami’s skyscrapers. Upon our return to the Key Biscayne ramp we saw a huge manatee that looked like a misplaced whale as it cruised slowly around the skiff.

Ling fishing has remained excellent in local waters, though there’s only been a pick of cod in mild winter waters. Some blackfish are still being caught fairly close to shore, but that season closes in March. Anglers plugging the tips of northern jetties at night continue to catch stripers. There have been no bass reports from the beach, but Betty Nick’s in Seaside Park heard of a winter flounder being released in the surf– and a party boat mate mentioned stripers being spotted on the way in from the Mud Hole. Betty Nick’s will try to have salted clams ready for those seeking a striper this weekend. Though the ocean is open year-round, bay fishing for stripers remains closed until March 1.

Windy weather has held back the mackerel boats this week, but mackerel were still within range last Saturday.

The Jamaica from Brielle sails at 11 p.m. for cod and pollock on offshore wrecks. Call (732) 528-5014 for reservations. Wrecks closer to shore will be fished at 4 a.m. Sunday plus the upcoming Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday’s trip produced catches of from 20 ling up to 51 by Dave Thomas of Paterson, who also had the pool winner at 3 pounds. Robert Rushnak of Point Pleasant Beach boated 65 ling on Gulp strips.

Russ Binns has Coast Boating School safety courses set for Monday and Tuesday, 6 to 9:30 p.m. at West Marine on Route 37 in Toms River; on March 5 and 6 at Brick Elks Club on Old Hooper Avenue in Brick, 7 to 10:30 p.m.; and on March 10 and 11 at West Marine at Route 35 in Eatontown, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call (732) 279-0562.


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Watsonville’s West Marine sales improve; CEO reports optimism in the boating …

WATSONVILLE — Mild weather, strong wholesale sales and a new holiday strategy pushed winter sales for West Marine during what is typically the slowest quarter of the year. Pretax profits for the company were up more than 49 percent for the year.

“I have to say that this is an earnings call that I’ve been looking very forward to,” said Geoff Eisenberg, chief executive officer and president of the largest boat supply company in the U.S.

Eisenberg, who discussed the company’s fourth quarter financials with analysts and investors Thursday, said there were improvements on most key financial and operational measures and West Marine is building momentum.

“Our results from 2011 reflect continued progress in executing both the strategies to drive higher sales and profits at West Marine despite what was generally a nonrobust market environment,” Eisenberg said.

In addition to building wholesale sales through storefronts, the company’s effort to replace smaller and underperforming stores with larger format stores is paying off, Eisenberg said. Last year, the company closed 14 stores which averaged about 9,600 square feet and opened seven stores that averaged more than 23,000 square feet in size.

Real estate activity connected with the “real estate optimization strategy” drove a net $8.9 million increase in net revenues. The company, which opened a 25,500-square-foot store in Honolulu last week, plans to open four more flagship stores larger than 20,000 square feet and seven large format stores this year.

The company reported early success in new lines of boating lifestyle apparel line and will be focusing on high-end private label commodities and higher level merchandise.

As the economy recovers, the boating market will only improve and that will be good for West Marine, Eisenberg said. “At the same time, we are competent that the core competencies we’ve developed during the past few challenging years will allow us to continue our progress even if that recovery takes a while longer.”

Next week, the company is launching West Marine University, which will draw 500 associates together for a four-day training and development session to improve the customer experience.

Despite indications the boating industry is picking up after a long slump, the company forecast a relatively flat market and said it was remaining cautious about its guidance. Eisenberg said the company anticipates total sales of $660 million to $677 million and earnings per share of 59 cents to 67 cents.

“Even though we’re assuming a flat market, I will point out that for the first time in a long time we are seeing signs that the boating market is strengthening,” he said. “From some of our experiences at boat shows and some of our early 2012 sales experiences, there’s a level of optimism that seems greater than what we’ve witnessed in recent years. Whether this early optimism translates to an improved market remains to be seen. Thus we are remaining cautious.”

 

AT A GLANCE

West Marine Inc.

WHAT: West Marine is a retailer and wholesaler of boating supplies with 317 company-owned stores in 38 states, Puerto Rico and Canada and three franchised stores in Turkey.

HEADQUARTERS: 500 Westridge Drive, Watsonville.

INFORMATION: 728-2700; www.westmarine.com

HISTORY: Founded by Randy Repass in 1968 as a mail order business. First store opened in 1975 and the company went public in 1993.

LEADERSHIP: Geoff Eisenberg, president and chief executive officer.

EMPLOYEES: The company employs about 4,000, about 380 of whom are local.

STOCK: West Marine shares closed unchanged Thursday at $12.15 on the Nasdaq stock market. The 52-week range is $6.97-$13.49.

FINANCIALS: Revenues for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, were $113.4 million compared to net revenues of $107.3 million a year ago. Net loss for the quarter was $13.95 million or a loss of 61 cents per share compared to a loss of $19.8 million or a loss of 88 cents per share.


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Sinking sparks calls for port marina


JO MOIR

tdn ship

The heavy seas that contributed to a rescue drama off Pihama on Wednesday night caused a disaster in the usually sheltered waters of Port Taranaki.

The fishing boat Minerva broke its mooring in rough seas and crashed into rocks near the reclamation land at Ngamotu Beach before sinking early yesterday.

The boat is owned by commercial fisherman Andrew Fairhurst and supplies fish merchants Ocean Pearl Fishers, owned by Rob Ansley.

Both men were “gutted” by what had happened and wouldn’t know much until the vessel was salvaged. Mr Ansley said.

“We’ll wait until low tide and assess the situation then and get a better idea of what happened,” he said.

Only nine months ago large northerly swells, similar to yesterday’s conditions, grounded the fishing boat Gleaner in Port Taranaki.

New Plymouth Sport Fishing and Underwater Club president Lee Drummond said there had been calls for a safe marina at the port for years.

“The mooring system operating down there is out of the 1950s,” he said.

“If they built a marina and enclosed it we wouldn’t have these problems.”

Mr Drummond said the Minerva had been connected to a swing mooring, basically just a chain anchored on a concrete block.

“The worst place to try and insure a boat is when it’s on a swing mooring.

“They’ve been talking about putting in a marina for 10 years but nothing has happened,” he said.

“There’s big expensive boats that won’t even come into our port because we don’t have the facilities to support or protect them.”

Port Taranaki offshore manager Neil Armitage said the boat moorings were safety checked about every six months.

“From what I can gather the last survey done on this boat came back saying all was up to scratch.”

Mr Armitage said the mooring belonged to the boat owner, not the port and it was for them to work out what went wrong.

The high seas yesterday prompted a temporary closure of the Coastal Walkway in front of the Woolcombe Tce cliffs.

The pedestrian underpass between Puke Ariki landing and the walkway was also closed until just before 2pm yesterday.

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