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Boat sales uptick occurs in storm-ravaged states

Boat sales uptick occurs in storm-ravaged states


Posted on 30 November 2012


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Giant storms might help new-boat sales, but data show that they don’t deter them, either — in fact, storm-ravaged states have actually seen an uptick in new-boat sales, compared with the rest of the country, during the year following storm destruction.

That’s according to data compiled by Jack Ellis, managing director at Info-Link, a Miami-based firm that tracks market data for the marine industry.

Info-Link took several hurricane landfalls during the last 13 years and looked at the possible effect on new recreational boat sales the following season.

“In order to make this determination we took the states that were impacted by a storm and compared the following season’s change in year-over-year sales with the rest of the country,” Ellis told Soundings Trade Only in an email. “In almost every case states impacted by hurricanes experienced a relative increase in new-boat sales, compared to the rest of the United States.”

Ellis was clear in interpreting the results.

“Our findings do not prove that hurricanes are good for an impacted area, primarily because there are many other factors that could impact sales, but I think anyone who looks at this information would agree that hurricanes are not a bad thing when it comes to new-boat sales,” Ellis said. “Things seem to return to normal as soon as the following season. I guess the winter erases most people’s memories.”

Ellis is the first to admit that there are “a half-dozen ways to shoot holes in this methodology.” For instance, there may have been other factors affecting sales both near the hurricane or storm landfall, as well as nationwide.

Also, one could argue that including the entire state does not make sense since interior regions may have been spared.

“However, one thing is clear: The hurricanes did not have a negative impact on boat sales in these areas,” Ellis said. “Whether we look at sales after one year or five, all of the hurricane-impacted areas have done fine despite being devastated by hurricanes in some cases.”

There’s no way to know how the hurricanes affected businesses such as marinas, boat yards, sail makers, engine companies, fiberglass workers and more, in addition to ancillary businesses.

“We do not have a means to measure this, but it stands to reason that anyone who is in the business of providing boat parts, salvage, services or repairs probably have plenty of business after a hurricane,” Ellis said.

— Reagan Haynes

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Boating Notes: McKee to help lead US Olympic sailing team


Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 11:00 am
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Updated: 7:31 am, Fri Nov 30, 2012.


Boating Notes: McKee to help lead US Olympic sailing team


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Two-time Olympic medalist Charlie McKee has been appointed high-performance director of the U.S. Olympic sailing program.


Thursday’s announcement came three months after the United States’ embarrassing flop at the London Olympics, when it failed to win a medal for the first time since the 1936 Berlin Games.

McKee’s responsibilities will include managing all on-the-water elements of the U.S. sailing team, including the coaching program, technical development and youth development. He will report to Josh Adams, managing director of the U.S. Olympic sailing program.

Adams says McKee “is absolutely the right person to lead all performance aspects” of the team.

McKee won the bronze medal in the 470 class in the 1988 Olympics with John Shadden and the bronze in the 49er in 2000 with his brother, Jonathan. He also coached the U.S. windsurfers in 1992, when Michael Gebhardt won silver.

McKee also has been involved in two America’s Cup campaigns.

LIGHT CRAFT OPEN HOUSE: Chesapeake Light Craft will hold a public Open House on Dec. 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at its shop, located at 1805 George Ave. in Annapolis.

In addition to the chance to take a close-up look at many prototypes of CLC boats, including the new Peeler Skiff, a series of technical seminars will be offered, as follows:

10 a.m. — “Making Your Own Kayak Seat” with Joey Schott

11 a.m. — “Advanced Epoxy Techniques” with Bruce Niederer

1 p.m. — “Fine Tool Sharpening” with David Fawley

2 p.m. — Shop Tour CNC Demonstration with David Fawley

3 p.m. — “Varnish Like a Pro” with John Harris

RSVPs are encouraged but not required. (RSVP on CLC’s website, www.clcboats.com.)

© 2012 CapitalGazette.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Friday, November 30, 2012 11:00 am.

Updated: 7:31 am.


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The boat David Beckham rode in the London Olympics Opening Ceremony up …

You can own a piece of the London Olympics Opening Ceremony. No, the Queen’s handbag is not for sale, but you can buy the boat David Beckham rode up the Thames with the Olympic flame used to light the torch.

According to the Huffington Post, the Bladerunner that Beckham used is highly customized. If you’re in the market for a power boat with four dummy rockets with smoke canisters, a high-pressure waterjet bar and dozens of LED lights, you’re in luck. The boat will be for sale in the next Bonhams Auction in England.

Olympic fans will remember the boat being a part of the ceremony where Beckham raced down the river with pyrotechnics blowing up as he passed by.

“After a fantastic summer of British sporting success, Bonhams is proud to offer for sale the ultimate souvenir from the Olympic opening ceremony — what has been dubbed ‘the greatest show on earth’,” said Tim Schofield, Director of Bonhams UK Motor Car department.

Note: it is not clear who dubbed the London Olympics Opening Ceremony ‘the greatest show on Earth,’ or if it’s possible those people were momentarily blind during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. Still, it was a cool scene and an even cooler boat. As Ferris Bueller would say, if you have the means, I highly recommend it.


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Get Out: Lighted Boat Parade, Risqué Plays, and Artisan Holiday Sales Galore

It is going to pour this weekend, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time curled up on the couch watching TV and cooking soup.

There’s tons going on this weekend, including two rain-or-shine parades on Saturday. So get up and get out! Here’s a look at this weekend’s highlights:

 

**FRIDAY, NOV. 30:

THE HEDONISTS

WHAT: A play by Manuel Montez, the Chicano Theatreworks presents this four-character drama which explores the indulgence and hibernation of pleasure, incest, narcissism, the power dynamic between men and women, and the art making process.

IS THERE NUDITY? “Close to it!” says actress Angie Espinosa.

WHERE: The Broadway Playhouse, 526 Broadway in Santa Cruz

WHEN: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m. This is the last weekend to catch the show!

TICKETS: Available at the door. $ amount TBA.

 

MAPLE STREET FIVE and FAROUCHE!

WHAT: Maple Street Five is traditional bluegrass, gypsy jazz, folk and blues! Farouche is a hot jazz ensemble out of UC Santa Cruz. Local heartthrob and talented musician Kendra McKinley will join them on Friday.

DON’T KNOW THEM? Check out the band websites for some preview tracks! THE MAPLE STREET FIVE /  FAROUCHE

WHERE: The Crepe Place in Santa Cruz.

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 30 at 9 p.m.

TICKETS: $8

 

**SATURDAY, DEC 1:

DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ HOLIDAY PARADE!

WHAT: Santa Claus, marching bands and tons of fun floats will parade down Pacific Avenue, rain or shine! 

WHERE: Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m.

 

27th ANNUAL LIGHTED BOAT PARADE!

WHAT: Rain or shine, come watch dozens of boats draped in holiday lights, it’s a sight to behold! This year’s theme is “Twas the Lights Before Christmas.”

Check out photos from two year’s ago when the theme was “Starry Nights.” It rained that year, and it was awesome!

WHERE: Santa Cruz Harbor

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 1 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

COST: Absolutely FREE!

 

ARTISAN HOLIDAY HANDMADE GIFT SALE

WHAT: All items are $25 or less at the 5th Annual Art Gift Sale. Support local artists and find wonderful handmade treasures at reasonable prices. Roberta Lee Woods will be there, along with several other talented artisans!

CHECK OUT: THE FACEBOOK EVENT INVITATION!

WHERE: Center Street Grill, 1001 Center St, Ste 1, in downtown Santa Cruz.

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 1 starting at 10 a.m. 

 

ART IN THE CELLARS

WHAT: It’s Bargetto Winery’s annual Holiday art sale featuring 27 local fine artists, food for purchase, and of course: wine tasting!

TIP: Try the hot Mead!

WHEN: Sat. Dec 1. AND Sun., Dec 2, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WHERE: In the historic wine cellar at Bargetto Winery, 3535 North Main Street, Soquel.

 

Watsky! SLOPPY SECONDS TOUR with A-1 and ELIQUATE!

WHAT: Rising San Francisco hip hop artist, George Watsky plays with local favorite Eliquate, described by local folk singer and fan Cate Havstad as “mind blowing, face-melting, baby making” music. What’s not to love?

WHERE: At the Catalyst Club in downtown Santa Cruz.

WHEN: Sat, Dec 1. Eliquate opens at 8 p.m. 

TIX: $12/door, $15/adv.

 

**SUNDAY, DEC 2:

KENDRA MCKINLEY PLAYS THE KUUMBWA

WHAT: It’s a CD release concert for this young and talented singer and songwriter out of Santa Cruz. Her album Chesnut Street was recorded independently in collaboration with the North Pacific Company, and features all original work. McKinley’s vocals are arresting, and she’s become a master of using a loop pedal to sing off layers of her own melodies. She’s also a talented guitarist—don’t miss this one-of-a-kind talent! 

Check out KENDRA MCKINLEY’S WEBSITE for a preview.

WHERE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center

WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

TICKETS: $10/general, $8/student. Get them HERE.

Don’t see your event? Post it in the comments! 


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Britain's Ainslie retiring from Olympic sailing

His spot in Olympic sailing history secure, Ben Ainslie now will try to become the first Englishman to hoist the America’s Cup in victory.

That would be one silver trophy he’d be eager to accept.

The four-time gold medalist announced his retirement from Olympic sailing early Tuesday, saying it was time to move on to the challenge of trying to end Britain’s long drought in the competition for the oldest trophy in international sports, the America’s Cup.

Ainslie’s decision wasn’t a surprise. While he said he wanted to take some time after winning the gold medal in the Finn class at the London Olympics, he’s already sailed in two America’s Cup World Series regattas with his Ben Ainslie Racing team, finishing second in one of them.

Ainslie, 35, became the most successful Olympic sailor ever when he won his fourth straight gold medal at Weymouth in August. He also won a silver medal at Atlanta in 1996 in his first Olympics.

“When I look back there are so many special memories; from that first medal in Atlanta 16 years ago to carrying the flag at the closing ceremony in London 2012,” Ainslie said in a statement. “London was an incredibly special Olympics, competing on home waters and in front of a home crowd, I don’t think anything will be able to top that experience. But you have to move forward and it is time to move onto the next challenge in my career.”

Ainslie was so successful as an Olympian that he was called Britain’s greatest sailor since Admiral Lord Nelson, who was killed while leading his fleet to victory over the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar. A statue of Nelson rises high above London’s Trafalgar Square.

Ainslie, known for an intense focus and work ethic, felt that comparison was hype.

“I didn’t rescue the nation from the depths of Napoleon Bonaparte,” Ainslie said after winning his final Olympic gold. “You do the best you can do in your style of racing.”

Ainslie was 19 when he took silver in the 1996 Olympics in a bitter loss to Brazil’s Robert Scheidt in the Laser class. Scheidt induced Ainslie into a penalty at the start of the final race and then sailed to gold.

It was the last time Ainslie didn’t stand atop the medals podium.

Four years later, Ainslie expertly exacted his revenge on Sydney Harbor to beat Scheidt for the gold.

After moving up to the heavyweight Finn class, Ainslie had another remarkable performance at Athens in 2004. Disqualified from his second-place finish in the second race due to a protest by a French sailor, the British star fought back from 19th overall to win the gold.

Now his racing shifts to bigger, faster boats.

He’ll skipper his 45-foot wing-sailed catamaran in the remaining regattas in the America’s Cup World Series and then will sail with defending America’s Cup champion Oracle Racing in the 34th America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay in 2013. It’s expected that he’ll helm one of Oracle’s two 72-foot catamarans in the buildup to the America’s Cup match. Oracle suffered a setback when its first 72-foot catamaran capsized on San Francisco Bay in mid-October, destroying its giant wing sail. Oracle’s second 72-foot cat is under construction.

Ainslie’s goal is to then launch a British challenge for the 35th America’s Cup.

Great Britain has never won the America’s Cup, which began in 1851 when the schooner America beat a fleet of British ships around the Isle of Wight.

Ainslie lives in Lymington, across the Solent from the Isle of Wight.

“The America’s Cup has always been a goal for me,” Ainslie said. “With the new format of the America’s Cup World Series and the increased commercialization of the event, I feel confident that we can continue to build toward creating a commercially viable team, with the ultimate goal of challenging for the 35th America’s Cup.”

John Derbyshire, performance director of the Royal Yachting Association, said Ainslie “has nothing left to prove in Olympic terms and there can be no question that he’s more than achieved his first goal. It’s therefore entirely understandable that he should now want to turn his attentions to the second, and hopefully lead a British team to win the oldest trophy in sport for the very first time.”

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press


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73-year-old to sail world in 'bathtub'


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Sven Yrvind with his half-constructed vessel, Yrvind Ten. The 73-year-old plans to sail the three meter boat around the world.

The swedish boat builder says bigger vessels are more dangerous than smaller ones, adding: “My boat is like a little capsule –it will capsize, it will pitchpole, but it will always come back up.”

In a career spanning more than 50 years, Yrvind is showing no signs of slowing down. Last year he sailed 4.5 meter boat “Yrvind.com” (pictured) from Ireland to the Caribbean.

Yrvind (pictured as 13-year-old), quickly learned to sail after growing up on the small Swedish island of Branno in the North Sea.
Yrvind (pictured as 13-year-old), quickly learned to sail after growing up on the small Swedish island of Branno in the North Sea.

He first lived on a boat as a 23-year-old studying mathematics in Copenhagen, during the 1960s.
He first lived on a boat as a 23-year-old studying mathematics in Copenhagen, during the 1960s.

Yrvind in the six meter yacht he built in his mother’s basement and sailed from Sweden to Newport in 1983. The boat is now on display at the Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island.

The boat was named Bris, meaning breeze in Swedish. I built her in 1972 and sailed her until 1982, criss-crossing the Atlantic many times, Yrvind said.
The boat was named Bris, meaning “breeze” in Swedish. “I built her in 1972 and sailed her until 1982, criss-crossing the Atlantic many times,” Yrvind said.

Yrvind was inducted into the Museum of Yachting’s Hall of Fame in 1988, for his many solo expeditions. In 1968 he sailed four meter boat “Anna” (pictured) from Sweden to England.

“Out at sea it’s a cleaner environment — mentally and physically. When I come back from this voyage I will be a healthier, younger person,” Yrvind said.

The world-renowned boat builder wrote articles about his adventures for yachting magazine Cruising World for more than 20 years, appearing on its cover in December 1975.
The world-renowned boat builder wrote articles about his adventures for yachting magazine “Cruising World” for more than 20 years, appearing on its cover in December 1975.

Yrvind gave a talk on his expeditions to the Swedish King and Queen around four years ago. Despite stern words from organizers, he refused to wear a suit at the function.

Italian Alessandro Di Benedetto currently holds the record for sailing around the world in the smallest boat, completing the voyage in a 6.5 meter vessel in 2010.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to single-handedly sail around the world in a 9.8 meter yacht, in 1969.

The 73-year-old said Yrvind could complete the voyage, adding that many people had thought his own bid to circumnavigate the globe was impossible at the time.
The 73-year-old said Yrvind could complete the voyage, adding that many people had thought his own bid to circumnavigate the globe was impossible at the time.

Yrvind’s one-and-a-half-ton boat is a drop in the ocean compared to the 15-ton yacht sailed around the world by Australian teenager Jessica Watson in 2010


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Editor’s note: MainSail is CNN’s monthly sailing show, exploring the sport of sailing, luxury travel and the latest in design and technology.

(CNN) — When faced with the most ferocious waves on the planet, most people would seek protection in the largest, sturdiest vessel they could find.

But when Swedish pensioner Sven Yrvind sets out on his ambitious mission to circumnavigate the globe, it won’t be in a hefty ship piled high with food, creature comforts and telecommunications equipment. Instead, the 73-year-old plans to traverse the high seas cocooned in a sailboat only slightly bigger than a bathtub.

For many, the proposition of sailing non-stop around the world for a year-and-a-half in a vessel just three meters-long will sound rather ambitious, and coming from a man well past the retirement age, downright far-fetched.

Indeed, few would likely take the idea seriously were Yrvind not one of the world’s most respected boat-builders.


The sailing world’s hardest race


Designing super yachts

During his accomplished life he has given lectures to the Swedish king and queen and received awards from the prestigious Royal Cruising Club in Britain, among others.

“People have said it’s a suicide mission,” said Yrvind. “But a big boat is actually more dangerous than a small one. You’ve got bigger forces throwing you around — a bigger engine, a bigger beam, a bigger deck.

“My small boat is like a little capsule — nothing can happen to you. It’s like throwing a bottle in the water — it will capsize, it will pitchpole (somersault), but it will always come back up,” he added.

Read: Are traditional sailboats the future of trade?

If successful, Yrvind will make history for sailing the smallest boat around the world without docking on land.

The record is currently held by Italian Alessandro di Benedetto, who in 2010 circumnavigated the globe in a 6.5 meter yacht — more than double the size of Yrvind’s creation.

Yrvind, from the small village of Vastervik in south east Sweden, started building the ground-breaking vessel in March. Now half-complete, he is reluctant to put a time on its launch.

Click on the pindrops above to trace Sven Yrvind’s proposed circumnavigation route.

Named Yrvind Ten after its 10 foot length, the miniature vessel will be just 1.8 meters wide with two six meter-tall masts.

Weighing 1.5 tons, it will be made out of a composite foam and fiberglass material which, he says, is “excellent for insulation and floatation.”

Powered by wind, solar panels, gel batteries and a foot crank, Yrvind Ten will set sail from Ireland in a 48,000 kilometer return journey around the globe.

Read: The world’s greatest yachting cartoonist

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail around the world in 1969 in a 9.8 meter yacht, said there was a real possibility Yrvind would complete the voyage.

Briton Knox-Johnston, who also founded the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, added that many people had thought his own bid to circumnavigate the globe was impossible at the time.

“One of the biggest challenges he’ll face is when he’s coming up against these massive 25 meter waves in the Southern Ocean. In a boat that size he’s just going to be rolled around and around like he’s inside a giant washing machine,” Knox-Johnston said.

“He might also find he’s using a lot more energy — and will need a lot more food — being rolled around like that.”

Read: Life of a superyacht chef: Dream job or nautical nightmare?

The Swede will collect rainwater in sails, funneled by a hose to a tank. With no heating equipment on board, he’ll rely on 400 kilograms of muesli and sardines, supplemented with vitamin tablets and fish caught from the sea.

“I need just half-a-kilogram of food a day and this will give me enough food for 800 days,” he said.

“In the beginning I will have fruit but obviously that will run out. I also have a friend in Melbourne with a boat who will come out with supplies.”

The self-described “recluse” plans to spend his days swimming, philosophizing and reading more than 400 books, which weigh around 100 kilograms.

“On land, people are watching TV, driving cars in traffic, smoking, drinking — it’s not healthy,” Yrvind explained.

“Out at sea it’s a cleaner environment — mentally and physically. When I come back I will be a healthier, younger person. This will prolong my life, not the other way around.”

Read: Paralympics sailor: ‘My disability is a gift’

Growing up on the small Swedish island of Branno in the North Sea, Yrvind quickly learned to sail in an area so remote he needed to cross water simply to buy a loaf of bread from the shop.

In his 50-year career building boats, Yrvind has been lavished with awards from around the world. In 1980 he received a Seamanship Medal from the Royal Cruising Club in Britain for single-handedly sailing a six meter boat around the stormy waters of Cape Horn, Chile.

Eight years later he was inducted into the Museum of Yachting’s Hall of Fame, based in Newport, Rhode Island, for his many single-handed expeditions.

The museum also has one of Yrvind’s boats on permanent display — a six meter yacht he built in his mother’s basement and sailed from Sweden to Newport in 1983.

In 1989 Yrvind also built and sailed a 4.5 meter boat from France to Newfoundland, now on display at the Swedish National Maritime Museum in Stockholm.

And the sprightly septuagenarian is no closer to slowing down — last year sailing a tiny 4.5 meter-long boat from Ireland to the Caribbean.

Yrvind, who is also on the look-out for sponsorship, hopes his boat will not simply break the record books, but pave the way for a new environmentally-friendly design for living.

“We are on Earth living beyond our resources — oil is running out, fossil fuels are running out, water is running out,” he said.

“If I can show I can live on a boat 10 foot-long for more than a year, with all the food I need with me, I think it might benefit mankind.”

For a man who “loves all things small,” should he accomplish the feat it would be a huge achievement in the history of sailing.




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Boat sales gain strength in October

Boat sales gain strength in October


Posted on 28 November 2012


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After stalling in September, the recreational boating industry roared back to life in October with double-digit sales increases in several categories during what is traditionally a low-volume month in the industry.

Sales in the main powerboat segments rose 22.1 percent, to 3,490 boats, from October 2011, and they were up 21 percent to 5,181 boats industrywide, according to figures compiled by Ryan Kloppe, national marine sales manager at Statistical Surveys Inc.

In October 2011, sales in the main powerboat segments and across the industry declined by double digits in early-reporting states. Kloppe believes the new figures show that consumers are gaining confidence as the economy and the job and housing markets gradually improve.

“People are starting to feel a little more comfortable in their situation,” he said.

Kloppe said the October sales information is based on registration data from 27 early-reporting states that comprise about 62 percent of the national market. October typically produces only about 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent of the industry’s sales for the year, but he said the month’s numbers were nonetheless impressive.

“It’s pretty significant,” Kloppe said of the gains. “I don’t want to overhype it, but it is nice to see these improvements.”

Sales of aluminum pontoon boats, an industry leader throughout 2012, rose 44.6 percent to 522 in October and sales of aluminum fishing boats climbed 16.8 percent to 1,062. Sales of small aluminum boats are “relatively soft, but the 16-foot-plus section is doing well,” Kloppe said.

Sales in the high-volume 11- to 40-foot outboard fiberglass segment rose 24.7 percent to 1,540 boats and sales in that category are up 13.1 percent for the year to 31.257 boats. Kloppe said New York, Florida and Texas are leading the way in sales of deckboats and bass boats in the 11- to-40-foot segment, and also in jetboats.

Even sales of 14- to 30-foot inboard and sterndrive fiberglass boats, which have struggled for months, rose 18 percent in October to 301 boats. They remain 2.2 percent lower for the year.

Sales in three categories of cruisers and yachts continued to struggle, dropping by margins ranging from 22.9 percent to 46.3 percent. Among those segments, only the 63- to 99-foot semi-custom and custom yacht category is showing growth for the year.

Reported sales of documented vessels are about 90 days behind 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.

Through October, main-segment sales are up 11.9 percent to 109,351 boats and industrywide sales are up 9.6 percent to 177,053 boats.

“We’re optimistic as the numbers tick upward, but are aware that the numbers aren’t what they used to be five years ago,” Kloppe said.

Sales of jetboats, ski boats and personal watercraft were sharply higher during the month, although the sales totals reflect October’s typically diminished market. PWC sales rose 50.7 percent, or 239 units, to 710, ski boat sales were up 41.2 percent, or 40, to 137, and jetboat sales rose by 35, or 67.3 percent, to 87.

Sales of sailboats fell 9.8 percent, or nine boats, to 83.

Click here for October boat sales information.

— Jack Atzinger

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Riding the wave and the wind

The Sailing Club House near Panangad gears up to host the National Inland Championship in December. The Club House is also an ideal getaway

Read the wind, change the course and sail into the world of boats. The sport of sailing seems to be gathering wind in the city with the one-year-old Sailing Club House in Panangad witnessing growing activity. A small but die-hard community of lovers of the sport has more than kept the boats afloat. And now the tide is turning.

The picturesque Sailing Club House, eight kilometres off the National Highway from Panangad, on the pastoral island of Chathamma, is swathed by the vast Vembanad. It is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful spots close to the city. It is the venue for the upcoming National Inland Optimist Championship scheduled to be held from December 27-31.

O.C. Thomas, proprietor of the property, says that the club house has been spruced up. It also functions as the premises of the Ernakulam Sailing Association (ESA). “It is a good partnership. We park our boats and use the facilities provided,” says Commodore of ESA, Joe Nejedly, a former World Championship sailor.

The sailing club has all the facilities of a resort. By the water’s side is a stylishly done two-room villa, a thatched roof restaurant, an open kitchen that serves Kerala and continental food, a traditional ayurveda and yoga centre.

But that’s for the holidayers. The sailing buffs can go the whole hog with their sport. “We have our boats parked there and trainers to help amateur sailors enjoy the sport. We are encouraging sailing at all levels,” says Francis Mukkanikal, president, ESA.

Roel Vlemmings, a city-based Dutch national and a regular at the club, says that on Sundays the waters turn lively. “We have five to six boats out on the water. Actually we have a good group.” 

Last season his group undertook an overnight expedition to Vaikom, which, he says, was an “exhilarating experience”. They have plans for many more such outings.

The ESA has been imparting training to young children for the past many years. Dennis Luiz, senior trainer, stresses on the goodness of the sport that builds individual character. He says that the Vembanad waters are one of the finest expanses for sailing. The facilities and the boats provided at the venue are top class.

Rajesh D., the in-house trainer, says that approximately 40 to 50 children come for training. “It is one of the safest activities and encourages concentration and team spirit.” Francis adds that many IT companies from the city send across their staff for sailing in a bid to encourage team spirit. When you are in the water you need support and hence team work builds up naturally.

Despite these facets, sailing remains confined to a few lovers of the sport.

Joe, whose company builds boats and has been keenly following the sailing scene in Kerala, rues the fact that kids are completely bound by the school curriculum in which sailing plays no part. “There is a clear increase in awareness but we have to go a long way. Schools should encourage the sport as it helps build mental and physical stamina and is noiseless, pollution free and ecologically friendly.”

Bibin Baby, manager of the club-resort, says that they offer life membership, temporary membership as well as hiring of boats on an hourly basis. The club stocks a variety of boats ranging from leisure boats like pedal boats, kayaks to the Olympic class sailing boats.

In the children’s category the Optimist is the most popular. The twin hull catamaran, GO-cat, is for adults and one of the easiest to steer. The two-man international class sailing boat, Enterprise and the Olympic class Laser are also available for sailing. There are motor boats and a few rescue boats too.

The club plans to introduce the Topper shortly, which is a popular class worldwide and the Radial, which is used by women in the Olympics.

The sailing scenario in the State has been riddled with problems and has not received government encouragement. It has been kept afloat solely by a few interested individuals. It now seems to be moving out of choppy waters on to a good sail. “I am an optimist like the Optimist,” says Joe happy at the turning tide.


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Boat sales show strength in October

Boat sales gain strength in October


Posted on 28 November 2012


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After stalling in September, the recreational boating industry roared back to life in October with double-digit sales increases in several categories during what is traditionally a low-volume month in the industry.

Sales in the main powerboat segments rose 22.1 percent, to 3,490 boats, from October 2011, and they were up 21 percent to 5,181 boats industrywide, according to figures compiled by Ryan Kloppe, national marine sales manager at Statistical Surveys Inc.

In October 2011, sales in the main powerboat segments and across the industry declined by double digits in early-reporting states. Kloppe believes the new figures show that consumers are gaining confidence as the economy and the job and housing markets gradually improve.

“People are starting to feel a little more comfortable in their situation,” he said.

Kloppe said the October sales information is based on registration data from 27 early-reporting states that comprise about 62 percent of the national market. October typically produces only about 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent of the industry’s sales for the year, but he said the month’s numbers were nonetheless impressive.

“It’s pretty significant,” Kloppe said of the gains. “I don’t want to overhype it, but it is nice to see these improvements.”

Sales of aluminum pontoon boats, an industry leader throughout 2012, rose 44.6 percent to 522 in October and sales of aluminum fishing boats climbed 16.8 percent to 1,062. Sales of small aluminum boats are “relatively soft, but the 16-foot-plus section is doing well,” Kloppe said.

Sales in the high-volume 11- to 40-foot outboard fiberglass segment rose 24.7 percent to 1,540 boats and sales in that category are up 13.1 percent for the year to 31.257 boats. Kloppe said New York, Florida and Texas are leading the way in sales of deckboats and bass boats in the 11- to-40-foot segment, and also in jetboats.

Even sales of 14- to 30-foot inboard and sterndrive fiberglass boats, which have struggled for months, rose 18 percent in October to 301 boats. They remain 2.2 percent lower for the year.

Sales in three categories of cruisers and yachts continued to struggle, dropping by margins ranging from 22.9 percent to 46.3 percent. Among those segments, only the 63- to 99-foot semi-custom and custom yacht category is showing growth for the year.

Reported sales of documented vessels are about 90 days behind 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.

Through October, main-segment sales are up 11.9 percent to 109,351 boats and industrywide sales are up 9.6 percent to 177,053 boats.

“We’re optimistic as the numbers tick upward, but are aware that the numbers aren’t what they used to be five years ago,” Kloppe said.

Sales of jetboats, ski boats and personal watercraft were sharply higher during the month, although the sales totals reflect October’s typically diminished market. PWC sales rose 50.7 percent, or 239 units, to 710, ski boat sales were up 41.2 percent, or 40, to 137, and jetboat sales rose by 35, or 67.3 percent, to 87.

Sales of sailboats fell 9.8 percent, or nine boats, to 83.

Click here for October boat sales information.

— Jack Atzinger

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