Archive for » June 14th, 2013«

Recreational Boating: a $121-billion Economic

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), 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.

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 include:

New Boat Sales
-Retail sales of new power and sailboats increased 10.7% in 2012 to 163,245, demonstrating a post-recession recovery for the industry.
-New powerboat sales increased 10% to 157,300 in 2012.
-New sailboat sales increased 29.2% 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% increase in the number of new boats sold. Outboard boats are the most popular type of new powerboat sold, making up approximately 82% of the market.
-Ski and wakeboard boats are seeing healthy growth with an increase of 13.4% 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 5% 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%, or 88 million, participated in recreational boating at least once during the year. This is a 6% 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 Boating, 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.

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Michigan House OKs bill giving sales tax break for vehicle, boat purchases … – Michigan Business Review


LANSING – A proposal moving through the Michigan Legislature would allow residents to pay a lower sales tax amount when they trade in vehicles or boats as part of a deal to buy new or used ones.

The Michigan House approved House Bill 4234 by a 100-7 vote on Thursday. That sends the bill to the Senate, which has passed a similar measure.

It remains to be seen if a final version of the plan will be adopted by the Legislature.

Similar bills were approved in the House and Senate last year but were never sent to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk. That’s in part because of the Snyder administration’s concerns about the plan, and partly because differences between competing versions of the proposal were not resolved.

In general, the House-approved plan calls for charging sales tax only on the difference between the price of a new or used vehicle or watercraft and the agreed-upon value of a trade-in. That would lower the amount that would be subject to sales tax by the trade-in’s value, although that change would be phased in over several years for vehicles through the House plan.

The plan would save taxpayers some money, but it would cost the state revenue on vehicle sales – an estimated $125 million to $150 million a year once fully phased-in, according to an analysis from the House Fiscal Agency.

Supporters of the bills say Michigan auto dealers are losing business to neighboring states that have better sales tax arrangements for buyers.

“Michigan should mirror the policies of other states” so it is “not at a competitive disadvantage,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township.

The bill would apply to sales of motor vehicles, recreational vehicles and watercraft.

Email Tim Martin at Follow him on Twitter: @TimMartinMI

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America’s Cup sailing suspended for review of boats and dangers

By Ronnie Cohen and Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Clouds hung over the America’s Cup sailing regatta on Friday after investigators asked the teams to temporarily halt practicing on blustery San Francisco bay following a deadly accident last week.

Organizers have said races will go ahead in July, despite growing public concerns over safety after a British champion sailor was killed when one of the sleek, ultra-fast AC72 catamarans built for the competition capsized and broke apart last Thursday.

They have left open the possibility of changes to the rules Of the race, brought to San Francisco by Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, whose team won the trophy in the 2010 event in Valencia, Spain.

After its first meeting on Thursday, a committee formed by organizers to review Swedish challenger Artemis Racing’s fatal accident asked the teams to suspend sailing both the 72-foot America’s Cup catamarans and the smaller AC45s until the middle of next week. The committee was due to meet with the teams on Friday.

Organizers have said they hoped to have recommendations from the committee within about two weeks. Among other factors, investigators will look at the structure of Artemis’ “Big Red” yacht, which Regatta Director Iain Murray has said differed significantly from the catamarans of other competitors.

Teams in the America’s Cup are required to stay within rules governing the design of their yachts but they also have leeway to customize their vessels with hydrofoils and other technology.

The death of Artemis’ Andrew Simpson, a two-time Olympic medalist, marked the second time that an expert crew on one of the high-tech yachts, estimated to cost around $8 million each, lost control and flipped their boat in the heavy winds and rip currents of San Francisco Bay.

Simpson was trapped underwater after the Artemis catamaran turned upside down and broke apart while training. Winds had been blowing on the water at 18 to 20 knots, or about 23 to 25 miles per hour, which race organizers described as typical for the bay.

On Thursday, crew mates from Artemis and the three other teams slated to vie for the trophy threw wreaths into the bay where he was killed.


The America’s Cup rules allow the winner of the most recent event – in this case Ellison’s team – to choose the venue and regulations for the next challenge, a series of races that begin in July and go into September.

Hoping to attract wider interest in the sport, Ellison’s Oracle Team USA created specifications that led to ultra-lightweight, two-hulled vessels with hard “wing” sails and hydrofoils that can lift most of the boat out of the water to reach speeds close to 50 mph.

But following the Artemis accident and an incident in October when Oracle’s catamaran capsized and was swept out to sea, criticism has grown that the boats may be too hard to maneuver in San Francisco’s Bay’s heavy winds and rip currents.

An Oracle team spokeswoman had no immediate comment on Friday, and a spokesman for the Artemis team could not be reached for comment. Artemis Racing has said it was in the process of conducting a review of the accident.

Prada fashion house cofounder Patrizio Bertelli, who heads the Luna Rossa Challenge team, has arrived in San Francisco to meet with officials and was expected to hold a news conference later on Friday. Bertelli has complained that the 2013 America’s Cup regulations have transformed it into an extreme sport.

C.W. Nevius, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, urged race officials to switch to the AC45s, which were used last year in early competitor eliminations, instead of the AC72s.

“The 72-foot catamarans are too much, too big, too powerful. Most of all, they are too dangerous,” Nevius wrote. “Someone needs to make a hard choice and say the race will go back to the 45-foot catamarans that raced last summer.”

Andy Turpin, managing editor of Latitude 38, a Bay area sailing magazine that had asked readers to share their thoughts about the accident, said about 80 percent of his readers also want the regatta to be sailed in the smaller boats.

“One of our readers made the analogy to the early days of Formula One racing. The biggest criticism is that they haven’t been on the water long enough,” Turpin told Reuters.

While Oracle has two AC72s, and Artemis has a second yacht that it has yet to launch in San Francisco Bay, Luna Rossa has only one. The fourth team, Emirates Team New Zealand, has only one fully commissioned AC72.

(Reporting by Ronnie Cohen and Noel Randewich; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Alden Bentley)

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Sailing: Meech wins gold at Sail for Gold

Sam Meech on the water in Weymouth.

Sam Meech has secured his first Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup victory, winning gold in the Laser class at the Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth, England.

Andy Maloney also finished fourth, representing a good regatta for the Kiwi sailors.

Meech led from the first of five days when he notched two wins and went into the medal race overnight (NZT) with a mammoth 19-point margin. The 22-year-old needed only to keep out of trouble to secure gold and managed that with a seventh in the 10-boat medal race.

“I’m really happy,” said Maloney, who is a two-time medallist at the youth world championships. “It’s been a really long trip over here, and it’s awesome to end on a high. I just had really good form, and I really like Weymouth. I’ve had good results here in the past so I’ve really enjoyed the week.

“I was pretty confident [going into the medal race]. I had a really good lead so all I had to do was finish the race so I just made sure I wasn’t over the start line and got on with it.”

There is considerable depth being established in the Laser class and Maloney continued his good form. He won gold at the World Cup Palma, gold at the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup Garda and bronze at Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup Holland (Delta Lloyd Regatta).

Olympic champions Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie retained third at the 470 European Championships after securing an eighth and second in their two races overnight. They are just two points behind the joint leaders from France and Austria heading into the penultimate day of racing.

“Day four was at least a little better than yesterday,” Aleh said. “We had a mixed day, with a terrible first leg to the first race where we rounded the top mark in the 20s but we got back up to finish in eighth.

“The next race was finally a better-sailed effort. We had a great start and just did the simple things right to round the top mark in second. We had a great battle with the Austrians, passing them on the next leg, but then they got us back on the final downwind leg to the finish.”

Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox sailed their best race of the series so far with a fourth and are ninth overall.

Final results from the 2013 Sail for Gold Regatta, Weymouth, England,
Laser: Sam Meech, 1; Andy Maloney, 4.
New Zealand Standings at the 470 European Championship in, Formia, Italy:
Women (41 boats): 3rd – Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (0, 0, 3, 6, 12, 7)
Men (69 boats): 9th – Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (15, 13, 9), 54th _ James Turner and Carl Evans


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