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Positive vibes flood Auckland On Water Boat Show

The 2012 Auckland On Water Boat Show has seen boating fans mark the start of summer by enthusiastically purchasing everything from shackles, lifejackets, electronic equipment and fishing rods to motor yachts worth several million dollars.

The largest display of the New Zealand marine industry is an annual celebration of all things marine, and has dominated Auckland’s popular Viaduct Harbour for the past four days (27 to 30 September).

Chief executive of the New Zealand Marine Industry Association Peter Busfield says the sheer number of boats and other marine-related products and services sold has been a positive sign.

“Auckland On Water Boat Show exhibitors have also reported genuine interest from many more people. It certainly demonstrates that boating has not gone out of fashion for New Zealanders,” says Busfield.

The show has attracted visitors and exhibitors from all over the country with Bluff-based Foveaux Boats and Bay of Islands’ companies Cater Marine and Great Escape Yacht Charters being joined by large contingents of enthusiasts from Christchurch, Wellington, Whakatane and Whangarei. Numerous Australian exhibitors such as Riviera Boats and Ocean magazine were also joined by their compatriots at the Auckland event.

“Grey cloud didn’t deter visitors on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and good weather today, Sunday, and the change to daylight saving time, helped the keen buyer interest. The strong sales mean a good start to summer for much of the New Zealand marine industry.”

Busfield adds: “Restaurants and cafes around Viaduct Harbour have indicated they’ve had their busiest weekend for some time. I think we can see the show date cemented for this timeframe for future years [Formerly called the Auckland International Boat Show, the event used to run in March.] It marks the start of summer for boaties and marks the start of the summer season for Viaduct Harbour.”

Bob Mirabito from Seacraft / Haines Hunter Auckland says they have witnessed serious inquiry and made a number of sales.

“Events like this allow customers to see all the big brand boats in one area and to compare the different models before making a purchasing decision,” says Mirabito who has been showing a brand-new Haines Hunter model, the Sport Euro 725. “It’s interesting to see so many people looking to buy despite the economic situation; there’s certainly a serious return of interest in marine products. Not the fever of previous years, but it’s nice to see the underlying confidence that people are moving forward financially.”

The Auckland On Water Boat Show is known for the extensive range of vessels on display, both on land and on the water. New Zealand boat building expertise featured in every kind of boat, from inflatable rubber and aluminium dinghies, paddleboards and personal watercraft (jet skis) to fibreglass and aluminium fishing and trailer-boats in all kinds of configurations, right through to the latest Elite 16 mid pilothouse launch, with a retail value of $2.5 million, from Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders. Show visitors also made the most of the opportunity to inspect numerous international boat brands including Australian-made Riviera, French-made Beneteau and Lagoon yachts and other international marques Caribbean Boats and Greenline hybrid-powered vessels..

Several first-time exhibitors, such as Top Catch Bait and Tackle, were delighted with the steady stream of customers they’ve spoken with and are keen to return for the 2013 show with a larger trade site. Others, such as Riviera say it’s the best show they’ve had in four years.

“Gulfland Marine, from Whangaparaoa, told me not only had they sold four boats at the show, they had a book full of customer inquiries to follow up, Nigel Arkell from Rogers Boatshop has contracts on three half million dollar Beneteau motor yachts and the list of sales goes on. Whether New Zealand-made or overseas boats, there seems to have been good inquiry across the board,” says Busfield.

“Our previous shows have resulted in boat and product sales of $25-50 million and we believe this year’s event will also generate direct and follow-up sales within that range.”

Other features of this year’s event included Kiwi Olympic gold medallists Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie visiting the show to sign autographs and talk with sailing enthusiasts and hundreds of people taking the opportunity to go aboard two of Sir Peter Blake’s yachts, Steinlager II and Lion New Zealand.

The Auckland On Water Boat Show is owned and managed by the New Zealand Marine Industry Association and returns any surplus to the industry.


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SAILING: Navy team 3 wins Patriot Regatta

LONG BEACH – U.S. Navy team 3 won the inaugural Patriot Regatta Saturday in racing so close first and second place were decided by a tiebreaker. The regatta was hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, the Long Beach Sailing Association and supported by the USO.

The Navy had three teams represented here with seven of the other 10 boats represented by the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Coast Guard, Long Beach Police Department, Long Beach Fire Department and Long Beach Veterans.

Onboard Navy team 3 was Captain Lanny Boswell, USN, who is currently assigned to the Department of Defense Deployment Medical Research Center in San Diego, Calif.

“The generosity of the club was overwhelming,” Boswell said. “The number of coaches and support people that turned out … We felt very welcome here.”

The lead coach for their team was veteran sailor Chris Raab of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. He was the 2010 winner of US Sailing’s Championship of Champions.

“Chris is a great guy,” Boswell said. “He knows what he’s doing and we did whatever he told us to do.

“Some of our team members have done some leisure sailing before but a couple have never been on a sailboat. Today we learned attention to detail and valuable sailing skills.”

The Long Beach Veterans team took second place in a close finish in the last race where they actually beat the Navy team by a couple of feet, but still fell short after figuring in the tie

breaker.

Third-place honors went to the Army team with the Marines and Long Beach Firefighters in fourth and fifth, respectively.

LBYC Yachting Committee chair and chair for the Patriot Regatta, Bill Durant was excited by the day’s events.

“We are absolutely doing this regatta again. We have to,” Durant said. “The smiles on everyone’s faces and the number of volunteers that wanted to work this regatta was overwhelming. I had to turn people down. But next year we’ll rotate them in so they can help out too.”

Captain Boswell understood.

“Coming across the finish line in each race, regardless of their position, I saw everyone beaming,” he said. “There was good camaraderie all around.”


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Connecticut show reports increase in attendance

Connecticut show reports increase in attendance


Posted on 24 September 2012


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A week after the Newport International Boat Show drew inviting weather and solid attendance to Rhode Island, the Norwalk International Boat Show in neighboring Connecticut continued the trend.

Amid clear skies and crisp early fall weather, the docks were steady after a slow start on Thursday and overall show attendance increased by 12 percent this year, according to show manager Jonathan Pritko.

“Beautiful weekend weather and new family attractions drew crowds, and we received positive reports on sales and leads from dealers throughout the show,” Pritko told Trade Only Today morning. “We also heard many attendees comment on the variety of boats and new products at the show, thanks to a terrific group of exhibitors this year.”

Optimism seemed consistent among the more than 250 exhibitors that displayed hundreds of boats.

“Interest is up and it has expanded across the whole product line. It’s good to see,” said Greg Idol, a sales rep for Grady-White Boats. “We’re starting to see signs that we haven’t seen since ’08.”

From his perspective, and that of several other dealers at the show, the “payment buyer” has yet to return, but professionals and others who have fared well through the recession are the primary buyers in this market.

Overall, dealers say they’re seeing a clear trend among shoppers.

“Realistically, I think people are tired of not giving themselves a present,” said Dick Budka of Petzold’s Marine Center, which carries the Sabre and Back Cove lines, among others.

Sabre Yachts has been one of the beneficiaries of the changing buyer attitude.

“We’ve been doing OK for about two years now,” Sabre Yachts vice president of marketing and sales Bentley Collins said. “We’re building five or six boats a month, with a backlog into June 2013. The worst is over.”

— Rich Armstrong

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Thousands witness Bluenose II returning to the water in Lunenburg, N.S.

One of Canada’s most anticipated ship reconstructions was celebrated Saturday as the famed schooner Bluenose II descended into the harbour in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter called the Bluenose II an ambassador for the province he expects will prove to be a boon to the local economy.

“There was almost a constant stream of people coming to Lunenburg to specifically see what was happening here,” Dexter told CTV Atlantic.

He said the two-year, $15.9 million restoration has generated interest from around the world.

“The ship building alliance that came together to make this a reality is now getting orders from around the world,” said Dexter. “We’re starting to bring more business to Nova Scotia as a result of that, which is a very happy consequence.” 

The federal government covered $4.9 million of the ship’s costs with the province covering the rest.

Dexter was among the crowd gathered along the Lunenburg harbour under grey skies to watch the 43-metre vessel slowly descend into the waters

He said the Bluenose II will allow the province’s younger generation have pride in Nova Scotia’s ship-building history.

“We don’t just build ships,” said Dexter. “We build icons. We have become part of the Canadian consciousness as well as the Nova Scotian consciousness.”

The schooner’s entire hull and much of its Douglas fir deck were replaced in the reconstruction.

The Bluenose II, launched in 1963, is a replica of the original Bluenose, a Grand Banks fishing schooner that won worldwide acclaim for its graceful lines and flat-out speed.

The schooner is featured on the Canadian dime.

Bill Greenlaw of Nova Scotia’s department of Communities, Culture and Heritage said the Bluenose is a true Canadian symbol that has brought much pride to the country.

“We took on the Americans as the underdogs and we were able to defeat them time and time again,” Greenlaw told CTV New Channel on Saturday. “Canadians, whether it be in our hockey or sailing history, do enjoy when we overcome and beat the Americans and become the best in the world.”

Greenlaw expects the Bluenose to attract 100,000 visitors yearly.

With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Todd Battis and files from The Canadian Press


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Hydra-Sports will shift to factory-direct sales

Hydra-Sports will shift to factory-direct sales


Posted on 27 September 2012


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Hydra-Sports Custom Boats will continue to be built by MasterCraft in Vonore, Tenn., for at least the next five years, Hydra-Sports Custom Boats president Alex Leva said today.

The company announced Wednesday that the majority interest of the brand was bought by Florida-based Plantation Boat Mart Marina from MasterCraft Boat Co. and the builder will have more flexibility for some customization.

“The boats come out of the factory turnkey, water-tested and ready to go,” Leva told Soundings Trade Only. “The major change is in distribution. Where we normally had a traditional dealer network, we’re now selling directly out of our two factory test centers.”

A selection of nearly all Hydra-Sports models will be available at Plantation’s waterfront factory test centers in Palm Beach and Islamorada, Fla.

“We have taken that [factory-direct model] to the next step, most importantly by having full-service factories and having boats in the water ready to test,” Leva said.

The previous dealer network, meaning Hydra-Sports dealers in 2012 and prior, will be Hydra-Sports service centers, Leva said. The company will continue to honor warranties, pay retail shop rates and sell parts to dealers so they can continue to service the thousands of boats in the field.

Additionally, the company has a working agreement with Yamaha. If someone who buys a boat lives in an area without a dealer, Yamaha will tell Hydra-Sports where the closest service center is.

“Any new-boat sale whatsoever has to go through those two locations,” Leva said. “It’s the only place you can buy them.”

MasterCraft will be manufacturing the boats for at least the next five years, Leva said.

“So we have a pretty unique agreement with them,” he said. “The engineering and sales will all report to me, and the manufacturing is run by Shane Chittum, the COO for MasterCraft. He will remain in charge of the day-to-day plant operations.”

Read more in the November issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— Reagan Haynes

Sorry guys,I would have to disagree. This model works quite well for many manufacturers. Bluewater and Intrepid come to mind. My understanding is that the small H-S models are gone. With their big boats they are dealing with an investment level where buyers traveling to purchase, and being factory directed through a local for service is common.

Both Alex Leva and Elias DeLaTore are professionals not expected to make a move without a proven plan. Its all good.

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Boaties reaching for wallets at Auckland On Water Boat Show


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Maryland boat sales drop while national market improves

The maritime economy hasn’t been shipshape in the city that calls itself “America’s Sailing Capital.”

The doldrums that becalmed the national powerboat and sailboat industry four years ago did not spare Annapolis — or the two boat shows that have tied up in the harbor every October since the 1970s.

But this year feels different, local boating experts say. Consumer confidence is returning, and more boaters want to buy a new vessel or trade up to a bigger one.

“The challenges have been severe,” said Paul Jacobs, general manager of the U.S. Sailboat Show and U.S. Powerboat Show. “We’ve been just talking the talk for the last few years, but we’re ready to walk the walk. The industry is coming back. People are responding.”

Gary Reich, editor of Annapolis-based Prop Talk magazine, agreed — up to a point.

“It’s so much better than it was two years ago. There are many signs that things are getting better, but I don’t think we’re there yet,” he said. “There’s a lot of optimism, but it’s cautious optimism.”

There’s reason to be cautious: While the national industry enjoyed an increase last year in sales of powerboats and accessories — the first since 2006 — Maryland experienced a double-digit drop, according to the Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Maryland was one of just six states to see a decline in retail powerboat and accessory sales in 2011, according to the association. Total expenditures fell 11.6 percent, to $162 million from $183 million in 2010. About 4,600 fewer boats were registered in the state in 2011 than in 2010, the eighth consecutive annual decline.

Some blame Maryland’s excise tax on boats, which is higher than surrounding states. Others say the drop could reflect poor environmental conditions in the Chesapeake Bay or the decline in recent years of fishing license sales.

Maritime business people hope the two Annapolis boat shows, coupled with this weekend’s Trawler Fest in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, get things moving again. Sailboat aficionados will fill City Dock from Oct. 4 to 8, while the powerboat crowd will take over from Oct. 11 to 14.

The two events, billed as the oldest and largest in-water boat shows in the country, will begin taking shape Monday. Workers will install a mini-city consisting of 1.5 miles of floating docks, 250 tents, six miles of electrical wiring and 15 miles of hoses.

“We’re like high-tech carnival workers,” Jacobs said.

Annapolis officials estimate the boat shows will attract as many as 100,000 visitors, with an economic impact of well over $50 million. That’s music to the ears of the city’s $155 million-a-year maritime industry, which does everything from designing and building pleasure boats and elite racing craft to repairing and housing them.

The bad economy forced boating businesses to diversify and offer other marine-based services, local business operators said.

“The [companies] that survived were the ones that concentrated on giving good service,” said Geoff McCord, general manager of Annapolis-based Bavaria Yachts USA.

The industry also did a lot of soul-searching.

“There’s been a lot of shakeup. Companies were buying each other out and boat molds were changing hands,” Jacobs said. “Now they’re saying, ‘Let’s get back and build some boats.'”

Last year, U.S. retail sales for recreational boats, accessories and marine services rose 6 percent to $32.3 billion, according to the manufacturers association. New boat sales increased 0.8 percent to 214,405 vessels, and a survey indicated that participation was up.

“That was our first glimmer of a rebound,” said Ellen Hopkins, the association’s spokeswoman.


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Setting sail among fall foliage

Click photo to enlargePark City Sailing held its annual Fall Regatta on Sept. 22-23 at the Jordanelle State Park. This year, the event was expanded to include six different classes of one design sailboats including Lasers, Ultimate 20s, Club 420′, Swift Solos, open Catamaran’s and Optimists.

Forty-five boats contested in two days of racing. Saturday brought 80-degree weather with 6 to 8 knots of steady wind. Sunday brought in clouds and a light wind, but as the day wore on, it grew to 12 to15 knots which resulted in more challenging conditions and a number of exciting capsizes. Contestants traveled from as far as Bozeman, Mont., and Steamboat Springs, Colo., along with a group from the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club.

On the junior race course, all 18 sailors earned their sailing skills as members of PCSA’s summer program. The juniors ranged in ages from 8 to 16, and the majority of them sailed in boats provided by PCSA. All of these young sailors have honed their skills over that past three summers and displayed a level of competency that will let them begin to compete at events at the regional level.

At the awards barbeque Sunday afternoon, the resounding comment was that everyone will be back next year and that they will bring more out of state sailors. Park City Sailing and the beauty of the Jordanelle is no longer a secret.

As the season comes to a close, PCSA would like to thank the Park City Foundation and the Park City Rotary Club for their grants and to the entire community for their continued support. Learn more about Park City Sailing at www.parkcitysailing.org .

For results of the 2012 Park City Sailing Fall Regatta, please see the scoreboard page.


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Cobalt recognizes top dealers during 2013 dealer meeting

Cobalt Boats, LLC
September 28, 2012
Filed under News

Press Release

(NEODESHA, KS – September 26, 2012) Cobalt Boat Company recently completed a very successful Worldwide Dealer meeting at Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho. Over 400 Cobalt Dealer participants from across the US, Canada, and other International locations traveled to Coeur d’Alene. “We are fortunate to have almost 100% attendance from our dealer partners who take a few days out of their schedules to attend our meeting” says Paxson St. Clair, CEO of Cobalt Boats. “Our host, the Hagadone Corporation, is not only a Cobalt dealer, but they own the resort at Couer d’Alene, which provided a world class customer experience for all of our guests. This year we welcomed not only a huge percentage of our domestic dealers but were pleased to have nine dealers from Europe, South Africa, Australia and Latin America. The meeting was the world premiere of four new models. Our dealer partners are enthusiastic about the prospects of the upcoming selling season.”

In addition to the business at hand, the top dealers were also commended for their year’s accomplishments. Cobalt Boats is proud to announce the recipients of the 2012 model year dealer awards. This prestigious recognition of the outstanding service and total dedication to customer satisfaction by the Cobalt dealers remains a key highlight to the company’s annual dealer event. This year’s awards for excellent Customer Satisfaction Index ratings, Top Ten Dealers, Rookie of the Year and World’s Largest Cobalt Dealer were presented during the meeting.

Cobalt’s customer survey program, implemented in 1975, has proven to be a great tool in tracking product as well as dealer performance. In 1995, further developing the use of customer survey information, Cobalt initiated a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) for every Cobalt model as well as every Cobalt dealership.

The Top Ten awards are based on a combination of the CSI score and hard-fought sales volume. The World’s Largest Cobalt Dealer and the number one spot in the Top Ten Dealer awards went to Singleton Marine Group, Buford, Georgia.  Singleton Marine Group is a family owned business and has been a Cobalt dealer since the 1996 model year.  Philip, Linda, Austin and Michelle Singleton and their entire sales and customer care team have taken the Cobalt brand and the Singleton customer experience to a very impressive level.

The remaining Top Ten Dealer awards, presented respectively:

  • Arrowhead Yacht Club Boats Sales
  • Walker’s Point Marina
  • Parks Marina
  • Slalom Shop
  • Premier Marine LLC
  • Seattle Boat Company
  • Gordy’s Lakefront Marine
  • Strong’s Marine LLC
  • Boat Town, Inc.

Also honored were the Customer Satisfaction Award recipients. Independent of sales volume and based solely on CSI scores, dealers must achieve 97 or above, out of a possible 100, in the last quarter of the model year. Cobalt recognized more than 50% of the dealer organiza­tion in the 2012 model year for their excellent CSI scores, their utilization of the information gleaned from the survey process and striving for continuous improvement in the services they offer.

Every year a single dealership receives an award which represents a special effort to ensure customer satisfaction and as a result increases their CSI score. The 2012 Most Improved CSI Award was presented to Nautiser-Centro Nautico, Palmela, Portugal.

The top CSI honors for the Central sales region was also the Worldwide CSI Award winner. This award was presented to Marine Sales of Pickwick, Counce, TN.

TheWestern Region CSI honors went to Legendary Marine, Destin, FL.

The Eastern Region CSI Award was presented to Rambo Marine, Hazel Green, AL.

The Regional CSI Award for International went to Brunnert Grimm, Gottlieben, Switzerland.

Rookie of the Year Award is given to the first year dealer with top ranking sales.  The 2012 award was awarded to Boat Sul, Itajai, Brazil.

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