Archive for » October 18th, 2012«

Smooth sailing at Port Fairy Yacht Club


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  • Commodore Hugh Parker is ready for the Port Fairy Yacht Club’s season launch tomorrow.

PORT Fairy Yacht Club hopes to usher a new generation of sailors through its ranks when its season starts this weekend.

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The club will kick off its summer on the water with a non-aggregate race off the coastal town tomorrow.

Commodore Hugh Parker said the yacht club had between 60 and 70 members, but was always on the look out for new, particularly young, sailors to sign up.

Parker said the season would include 10 aggregate handicap races, as well as longer “blue water races” to Warrnambool, Portland and Lady Julia Percy Island.

A social twilight series will also begin in January. 

As many as 10 boats leave the Port Fairy marina each weekend.

“When you’re limited with the number of boats, there is a limit on how many (new members) you can take,” Parker said.

“But if we get some on a Saturday, we’ll do everything to find a spot for them.

“There are a number of members who have been sailing for 30 or 40 years or more.

“If we can get some younger members, it’s good for the club and good for the sport.”

Parker said sailing off the coast was an ideal way to spend weekends in summer. 

He encouraged new and experienced sailors to join the club.

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He said club veterans would compete in the Melbourne to Hobart yacht race in December, as well as races off the South Australian coast.

Parker said the sailors were hoping for clear weather to start their season in style. 

“Hopefully the weather will be good for us. It’s often a lottery at this time of year,” he said.


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Boat sales are flat in September

Boat sales are flat in September


Posted on 18 October 2012


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The recreational boating industry’s year-long rebound cooled in September, but the annual end to warm summer weather in much of the nation could be more of a coincidence than a cause.

Sales in the industry’s main powerboat segments were virtually flat, rising just 0.3 percent to 3,776 boats from September 2011 and industrywide sales fell, though only 1.7 percent, to 5,954 boats.

With sales of aluminum fishing boats falling 2 percent to 1,025 boats — the first monthly drop all year in that category — and sales of 11- to 40-foot outboard fiberglass boats, an industry leader for months, rising a slim 1.2 percent to 1,470, the question was whether September’s numbers represent flagging seasonal interest from consumers or a weakening of the market.

“I think the market is slowing, not because of seasonality but because of the economy,” Statistical Surveys president Tom Walworth said.

“It’s a soft market out there,” Walworth added. With unemployment at about 8 percent and a national economy that is growing only about 1.6 percent, “I think it’s fantastic that [the marine industry is] performing as well as it is,” he said.

Categories that have struggled in recent months continued to do so. Sales of 14- to 30-foot inboard and sterndrive fiberglass boats fell 8.7 percent in September to 428, and sales in three categories of cruisers and yachts dropped by margins ranging from 15 to 46 percent.

The September data were based on information from 22 early-reporting states that comprise about 60 percent of the U.S. boat market. Ryan Kloppe, national marine sales manager at Statistical Surveys, said September sales represented 5.4 percent of the total annual market last year.

Reported sales of documented vessels were complete only through June 30 because of data entry delays at the Coast Guard, Kloppe said, creating an incomplete report for boats larger than 31 feet and understating the cruiser and yacht markets.

Walworth said that once the Coast Guard catches up, the gap between September 2012 and 2011 sales in the big-boat categories will narrow.

“Last year’s [report for] September is complete, but this year’s is not,” he said.

Although sales of aluminum fishing boats fell in September, sales of aluminum pontoon boats posted a double-digit gain — the only one in any industry category — climbing 11.8 percent to 794. The two aluminum groups had been rising in tandem throughout the year.

Walworth said the increase in pontoon sales might be attributable to manufacturers offering incentives to customers who live in states that are now having better weather as they recover from drought conditions earlier in the summer.

Sales of jetboats continued to rise in September, gaining 3.4 percent to 123, but sales of personal watercraft dropped 5.1 percent to 1,086 and sales of ski boats tumbled 11.8 percent to 172.

Sailboat sales fell 20.2 percent to 75. They are down a slight 0.4 percent for the year.

Despite the lackluster September numbers, sales through the third quarter are up 11.7 percent in the main powerboat segments to 102,628 and 9.6 percent industrywide to 166,753. Walworth said fiberglass and aluminum boat sales in upper Midwest and North-Central states such as North and South Dakota, Michigan and Montana have been above the national average.

Kloppe said the recreational vehicle industry, a sister segment of the economy, is seeing growth similar to that of the marine industry. He said Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey Research Center, who forecasts the RV industry for its trade association, considers that industry a leading economic indicator.

“The combined growth of the marine and recreational vehicle [industries] is a very positive sign for the near-term marine market,” Kloppe said.

Click here for September sales figures.

— Jack Atzinger

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America's Top Sailing Team Capsizes, Destroys Their $10 Million Boat [Video]


Erik Malinowski

America's Top Sailing Team Capsizes, Destroys Their $10 Million Boat Oracle Team USA, America’s premier sailing team and one that’s bankrolled by billionaire Larry Ellison, is the odds-on favorite to win the America’s Cup title next September, but the crew hit a little snag Tuesday when their souped-up, super-expensive AC72 boat capsized in San Francisco Bay during a practice run. After that, it took all the crew’s efforts, along with an assist from the US Coast Guard, to keep the remains from floating out to sea.

In addition to the video above taken in the immediate aftermath, here’s some footage taken (presumably) from the SF shoreline that shows the boat going over on its side. Wired.com has further details:

The boat slammed into the water on its side, destroying the carbon fiber wing sail and scattering very, very expensive bits of carbon fiber over the bay. No one was injured, but the current pulled the boat through the Golden Gate and out to sea even as the team, joined by a crew dispatched from shore, tried to rein in the wreckage.

“It was amazing – we watched it tip right over, and it looked like the top of the wing came right off,” one witness told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Then the big ebb tide just took it right out under the bridge, and it was obvious there was nothing they could do.”

The team managed to return the boat, or what’s left of it, to shore Wednesday morning. The wing was destroyed and the boat, which costs $8-10 million, needs extensive repairs. The rules allow each team to build two AC72 boats; this was the first of the two launched by Oracle. The second hits the water early next year.

“There’s no question this is a setback. This will be a big test for our team,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “But I’ve seen these guys in a similar situation in the past campaign before we won the America’s Cup. A strong team will bounce back from it.”

No word yet on Michael Johnson’s involvement, if any.

Oracle Team USA Capsizes Its Biggest, Baddest Boat [Wired Playbook]


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