Archive for » June 12th, 2013«

20% surge in rice dumpling sales during Dragon Boat Festival

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Sailing – Brawny Italian brings high

His workspace skims across San Francisco Bay at 50 miles per hour.

The Java developer and Oracle Team USA crew member is using personal electronics like smartphones and tablets to give his side a high-tech edge in the upcoming America’s Cup regatta between the most advanced sailboats ever built.

The tech-savvy 6’3″ Italian is one of Oracle’s muscular grinders. A grinder uses brute strength and athletic conditioning to crank handles furiously on winches that precisely control the tall “wing” sails and other adjustable parts of these complex 72-foot catamarans.

The boats are designed to lift out of the water at high speed and hydrofoil on the dagger boards, which are raised and lowered from each hull.

“We’re still testing stuff, deciding which is the faster board and the faster sail. As sailors, we go by feeling but we also need numbers. The final call about what is fastest comes from the numbers,” said Nobili, who put his engineering studies on hold 13 years ago for a chance to sail professionally.

After Swedish challenger Artemis Racing suffered a fatal accident in May when its catamaran broke apart and flipped, a top priority for Cup participants has been to strike the best balance between speed and stability. Onboard electronics play a key part.

Advances in technology, including computational fluid dynamics and the ability to process growing amounts of data, have given boat designers advantages they could have only dreamed of in past America’s Cups.

Races are set to start in early July to choose which of three teams challenge previous winner Oracle, backed by software billionaire Larry Ellison. Final matches are in September.

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill depends on real-time information from Nobili and others to optimize the performance of the boats, referred to as AC72s, which many experts believe are too hard to maneuvre in San Francisco Bay’s heavy winds and rip currents.

Since the Oracle team won the 2010 Cup in Valencia, Spain, it got to call most of the shots for this year’s regatta, like its location in San Francisco Bay.

Oracle also created the basic specifications for the AC72s being used in the regatta. Teams do have leeway to use their own technology to customize the boats, estimated to cost about $8 million each.

Challengers Artemis Racing, Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge and Emirates Team New Zealand also use more data and electronics than ever, but on Ellison’s team, top technology is a point of pride.

Each AC72 is covered in hundreds of sensors measuring pressure from wind, water and the hydraulics used to control its sails, dagger boards and rudders.

Fibre-optic cables built into the hull and other parts of the boat minutely measure how much different sections flex due to water pressure.

All of that is fed into an onboard computer custom-built with an Intel Atom chip. That computer crunches data and then sends out information to more than 30 Android mobile devices on board, including smartphones strapped to each sailor’s arm and tablets strategically placed near winches and other boat controls.

Working with Java, the widely used programming language owned by Oracle, Nobili has customized the team’s smartphones and tablets to display different sets of data to help each crew member do his specific job. And out on the bay, he hears about it whenever a team-mate’s phone or tablet stops working.

He has disabled touch control on the team’s smartphones and tablets because splashes from the bay kept being misread as finger touches.

After using Microsoft Windows handheld devices in the 2010 Cup, which Nobili said did not stand up well to the elements, he switched to Android.

“The combination of Android and Java gives me a lot of freedom. I can write code but I’m not limited to any one piece of hardware. I can swap phones whenever I find a new one,” said Nobili, one of Oracle’s international crew from Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, Holland, England and the United states.

The team has been using Sony Ericsson smartphones and South Korea’s Pantech tablets, devices Nobili describes as tough, but unsophisticated compared with the latest offerings from Samsung Electronics and Apple. Team sponsor TAG Heuer recently sent over Racer Sub Nano luxury smartphones although crew members have yet to adopt them.

“Water resistance, quality of display in the sun, and battery life,” Nobili said, describing what he looks for in mobile devices.

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Recreational Boating is $121 Billion Economic Driver for US

The National
Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA),
today announced that
recreational boating in the U.S. has an annual economic value of $121
billion. The industry’s rising tide supports 964,000 American jobs and
34,833 businesses, generates $40 billion in annual labor income and
drives $83 billion in annual spending.

A family enjoys the warm summer weather aboard their boat. (Photo: Business Wire)

A family enjoys the warm summer weather aboard their boat. (Photo: Business Wire)

The NMMA, on behalf of the U.S. boating industry, released these
findings today as part of its annual U.S. Recreational Boating
Statistical Abstract, a collection of data and analysis on the state of
the U.S. recreational boating industry. Additional data highlights

New Boat Sales

  • Retail sales of new power and sailboats increased 10.7 percent in 2012
    to 163,245, demonstrating a post-recession recovery for the industry.

    • New powerboat sales increased 10 percent to 157,300 in 2012.
    • New sailboat sales increased 29.2 percent to 5,945 in 2012.


  • Small fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats 26 feet or less in size,
    continued their upward climb with an 11.3 percent increase in the
    number of new boats sold. Outboard boats are the most popular type of
    new powerboat sold, making up approximately 82 percent of the market.
  • Ski and wakeboard boats are seeing healthy growth with an increase of
    13.4 percent new boats sold in 2012.
  • Jet boats, which are small fiberglass boats less than 26 feet in
    length, are a growing category. Of the 157,300 new powerboats sold in
    2012, 4,500 were jet boats. New jet boat sales increased 36.4% in 2012.

What’s Ahead

Sales of new powerboats have remained steady during the first half of
2013 and continued growth is expected with the summer boating season.
NMMA anticipates sales of new powerboats to grow five percent in 2013.

“Summer is a peak selling season for recreational boats, accessories and
services throughout the U.S. as people look for ways to disconnect from
the daily grind and enjoy fun times on the water, “ said Thom Dammrich,
NMMA president. “New boat sales have historically been a barometer for
the U.S. economy and the steady sales increases we’re seeing is being
reinforced by the slow uptick in consumer confidence, housing and
spending. As economic growth continues, we anticipate sustained steady
growth through the remainder of 2013.”

Boating Participation

Of the estimated 232.3 million adults in the U.S. in 2012, 37.8 percent,
or 88 million, participated in recreational boating at least once during
the year. This is a six percent increase from 2011 and the largest
number of U.S. adults participating in boating since NMMA began
collecting the data in 1990. Recreational boating participation has
steadily increased since 2006.

Helping People Discover Boating

Growing participation is a priority for the recreational boating
industry as it drives new boat sales. Boat manufacturers, dealers,
marinas, and other marine organizations joined together to form Discover
, a consumer program to grow participation and create a
positive boating experience. The North American effort provides
resources to help those interested in boating get started and promotes
the fun of the boating lifestyle through a national marketing campaign.

Source: The NMMA’s economic
value report on the U.S. and by state, and congressional districts
within each state
, can be found within the Statistics section’s
Research Library on For excerpts and additional data from the
NMMA’s Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract please contact Ellen
Hopkins at

Join the conversation on Twitter using #boatnews

About NMMA: National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is
the leading association representing the recreational boating industry
in North America. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of
the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and
anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The association is dedicated to
industry growth through programs in public policy advocacy, market
statistics and research, product quality assurance and promotion of the
boating lifestyle. For more information, visit

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Chance to try sailing at Grafham Water

A sailing club is offering newcomers a chance to take to the water free of charge on Saturday.

Grafham Water Sailing Club is inviting members of the public to try their hand at sailing and windsurfing during the open day to show what the hobby has to offer.

Peter Saxton, commodore of the Grafham Water club, said: “We are really keen for people to come and give us a look. The club has a variety of boats to try and it is a great place to hang out.

“We have almost 1,000 members and room for more. Sailing offers everything from high-adrenalin, high-performance competitive sport to a cool and sociable relaxing leisure experience which can be enjoyed by the whole family.”

Those attending the open day from 11am to 4pm can also enjoy the club’s cafe, picnic area and panoramic views. The day is open to adults and children aged 8 and above. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Visitors can enjoy short sessions on a dinghy, keel boat, power boat, catamaran or windsurfer – or a full 1-hour taster session at no cost if booked in advance.

Peter added: “The club is an RYA Training Centre and so if you enjoy the taster session you can follow up with your choice from a range of sailing courses.

“These include 10-week RYA Start Sailing sessions and, for those who want to return to the sport, the club participates in the RYA’s Go Sailing programme of instruction, coaching sessions, supported sailing and social sailing sessions.”

Visitors to the open day are advised to bring warm clothes, waterproofs and soft shoes. The club will provide wetsuits for windsurfing and buoyancy aids. To book a one-hour taster session, call (01480) 810478.

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NMMA reports new-boat sales gains in 2012

NMMA reports new-boat sales gains in 2012

Posted on 11 June 2013


The National Marine Manufacturers Association announced today that recreational boating has an annual economic value of $121 billion, a number that includes new and used product sales, craft and trip sales and labor income.

“Everything that touches boating is a part of this study,” NMMA spokeswoman Sarah Ryser told Trade Only Today. “It’s the first time the NMMA has done something of this magnitude.”

The data showed that Americans spent more money on annual boat trips than in any other category, potentially reflecting the 6 percent increase in boating participation. They also spent more on maintenance, upkeep and parts in 2012 than on new boats, motors and trailers.

“Craft and trip” spending in the United States measured $83.8 billion, which includes new boats, motorsand trailers, accounting for $20.7 billion; used boats, motors and trailers, making up $11.74 billion; “annual craft spending,” or upkeep, parts and maintenance at $23.64 billion; and boat trip spending at $27.72 billion, Ryser said.

The industry supports 964,000 American jobs and 34,833 businesses, contributing $39.9 billion in annual labor income.

The findings were part of data collected for the annual U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, which will be released later in June.

Though they’re a small percentage of overall sales, new sailboat purchases were up 29.2 percent in 2012, giving new-boat sales a little push overall.

The NMMA had estimated that sales overall rose 10 percent in 2012 — the biggest gain seen since the recession’s onset — launching a media blitz covering the industry’s rebound. New-boat sales were actually up 10.7 percent, to 163,245, with powerboat sales rising 10 percent, to 157,300 units, and new sailboat sales jumping 29.2 percent, to 5,945.

Outboard boats are the most popular type of new powerboat sold, making up about 82 percent of the market. Small fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats 26 feet or less continued their upward climb, with an 11.3 percent increase in the number of new boats sold.

Ski and wakeboard boats also saw healthy growth, with a 13.4 percent increase in new boats sold in 2012.

Jetboats, which are small fiberglass boats of less than 26 feet, were a growing category. Of the 157,300 new powerboats sold in 2012, 4,500 were jetboats, accounting for a 36.4 percent increase.

Boating participation posted the largest increase since the NMMA began measuring it in the early 1990s, with an estimated 88 million adults boating last year. That’s up 6 percent from 83 million in 2011, Ryser said.

The NMMA is forecasting that new powerboat sales will increase an additional 5 percent in 2013.

“Summer is a peak selling season for recreational boats, accessories and services throughout the U.S. as people look for ways to disconnect from the daily grind and enjoy fun times on the water,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “New-boat sales have historically been a barometer for the U.S. economy, and the steady sales increases we’re seeing are being reinforced by the slow uptick in consumer confidence, housing and spending. As economic growth continues we anticipate sustained steady growth through the remainder of 2013.”

Click here for the full release.

— Reagan Haynes

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Sailing: Meech leads in Weymouth

After three days at the 2013Sail for Gold Regatta, the third of five EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup Regattas, 22 year old Sam Meech leads the 33 strong Laser fleet.

Opening the series with two wins on the first day the Tauranga sailor’s hot form has continued and nine races down he is 12 points clear of his closest rival. Racing at Weymouth, the scene of last year’s Olympic sailing Regatta, Meech hasn’t finished outside the top six.

Team-mate Andy Maloney had a strong day on the water today, including a race win, and has lifted his overall position to 6th place.

Over in Formia, Italy the 2013 470 European Championships, are two days into the six day schedule and our golden girls Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie are, once again on the pace. Day one saw them clock two wins and go into day two out in front on the leader-board.

After day two they are lying second behind the French pairing of Lecointre and Geron who stole the day with two wins.

“Not such a good day for us out there today, we struggled a little for pace at times, with a not so great start in the first race we were back in the pack but managed to get back to 3rd,” says Jo Aleh.

“Then missed the rather large right shift on the first leg of the last race… So we were very deep at the top mark, and with a pretty spread out fleet managed to pick off a few boats but ended up with a 6th.”

“Still, it was a beautiful day for racing, with 15-20 knots of wind, and sunshine, can’t complain too much! Another two races tomorrow, with some different wind forecast, so we just need to get back out there and give it heaps.”

Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox are in 15th in the Men’s fleet.

Racing continues tomorrow.

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