Archive for » October 20th, 2012«

Mini continues relentless expansion into… boating?


Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 19, 2012… This weekend, attendees at the Head of the Charles Regatta® (HOCR) in Cambridge, Massachusetts will be in for a sight that they weren’t expecting… A Chili Red MINI Convertible boat motoring along on the Charles River during the races. The vessel was built as part of the MINI USA’s annual Motor-Tober activities, where MINI takes over the month of October to celebrate all that is fun about the brand. This year’s program is called the Not Normal Sales Event, and this one-of-a-kind boat was the MINI USA Eastern Region’s interpretation of Not Normal.

“We challenged our regional staff and the dealers in their respective areas to identify ‘Not Normal’ ways to celebrate this Motor-Tober by engaging the MINI community and demonstrate why it’s an exciting brand family to be part of,” said Tom Salkowsky, Marketing Manager – MINI USA. “The MINI USA Eastern Region has created the perfect example of what the Motor-Tober Not Normal Sales Event is all about with the MINI Convertible boat.”

Aside from the rowing competitors, the MINI Convertible boat will be the only vessel on the race course, which is three miles long between the Boston University Boathouse to Christian Herter Park. It is powered by a 6 hp outboard motor, and will be operated by a member of the HOCR River Control Committee to monitor the safety of the rowers. After the HOCR this weekend, the boat will be used at other events, and MINI fans may see it motoring along on the Potomac or Hudson rivers.

“We are pleased and excited to support MINI in this creative activation strategy and look forward working with them this weekend. We have never before allowed a company to float a car on the Charles during racing,” said Fred Schoch, executive director of the event.

HOCR racing will take place on Saturday and Sunday (October 20 and 21) from 8 AM to 5 PM. This is the first year that MINI USA is an official sponsor of the HOCR. Since its origin in 1965, the HOCR has welcomed the world’s best crew teams to the banks of the Charles River for the ultimate two-day rowing competition. The event attracts over 9,000 athletes from around the world and 300,000 spectators. For additional race information, please visit:

ACI Composites Inc, based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, built the MINI Convertible boat. To construct the one-of-a-kind vessel, ACI Composites made a mould of a 2004 MINI Hardtop, and then created a fiberglass version of the car. It was mounted to a boat hull, and then accessorized with authentic MINI parts, including headlights, taillights, grille, steering wheel, badges, wheels and tires.

The MINI Convertible boat can be seen all weekend on the race course.

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Boat sales pick up on Ft. Myers Beach – WZVN


There’s a mystery on Fort Myers Beach – one that business owners are in no hurry to solve. Boat and rental sales are up according to them. Families could be p[art of the reason.

Andy, Jamie and Sam Schiefelbein and their family were excited to head out onto the Back Bay waters Friday in a rented pontoon boat.

In town for a family wedding, the family was looking forward to four hours on the water. It’s the second time the family rented a boat this week.

“We might swim. We might beach it and swim,” says Jamie Schiefelbein, anticipating her infant son Sam would need a cool break during the mid-day heat.

As the young family set out, Snook Bight Yacht Club and Marina owner Joe Yerkes notes they are part of a larger trend.

“Our rental boat business is up about 24 percent this year against last year,” says Yerkes.

He says the marina’s business is up across the board, and it’s the strongest year since it opened in 2008.

With new docks opening next month, Yerkes expects a good season ahead.

“You can let the politicians tell you what you want, but there isn’t any doubt that the economy’s on the mend and that it’s a good solid slow growth,” explains Yerkes.

At Salty Sam’s Marina, marketing manager Glee Ann Agius says their boat rentals were up 68-percent in September, which is particularly noteworthy given the month is one of the slowest for tourism in the area.

“In this economy, you just never know what to expect,” says Agius. “But this year and at the end of last season as well, our boat rentals have just soared.”

Boat dealers have also noticed a pick up in business.

Kevin Giles of Sport Boats Marine says more families are coming in to buy boats, and they are most interested in pontoon boats.

Giles can’t explain why business is expanding, but he’s pleased. “I wish I could put my finger on it, but I can’t. But it’s been good for us.”

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Chinese ships spotted off disputed islands

TOKYO (AFP) – Five Chinese government ships were seen sailing close to Tokyo-controlled islands in the East China Sea Saturday, prodding Japanese patrol boats to chase them away from the disputed chain.

It was the first time in 10 days that state-owned Chinese ships were spotted near the islands as bad weather had prevailed due to a powerful typhoon passing through.

Japan’s coastguard said its patrol boats were warning the Chinese vessels “not to violate territorial waters” and keeping them under surveillance off the island chain, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Despite the warnings, one of the surveillance ships responded by radio in Chinese, “This ocean area is integral part of China and we are carrying out legitimate operations,” according to a coastguard official.

Such vessels have been spotted loitering in waters off the islands as the dispute has escalated over the last two months, with boats at times entering a 12-nautical mile territorial zone.

Tensions peaked in mid-September after Tokyo nationalised a number of the islands.

The coastguard said it had spotted four Chinese maritime surveillance vessels sailing 24 to 35 kilometres off Uotsurijima — the largest island in the chain — in the morning.

It added that a Chinese fisheries patrol boat was also spotted about 42 kilometres off another island, Kubajima.

The five ships were located within the so-called 44-kilometre “contiguous zone” where the coastal state may exercise the controls necessary to prevent and punish infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea.

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