Archive for » August 2nd, 2013«

Marine banker quarterly survey confirms slow new boat sales

Yet loan volume improved over 2Q2012

Chicago: The NMBA quarterly survey for the period ending 6/30/2013 reports 100% of all lender respondents (both service companies and banks/finance companies) indicate dollar volume was the same or up over the same period in 2012, surprising some lenders who had projected volume may be down. 92% of all lender respondents expect next quarter dollar volume to be greater than or equal to the same period last year, and this is the highest level of optimism shown by this group since 1Q2012.

Only 16% of lender respondents say new boat financing represents greater than 50% of their dollar volume, while 75% of the respondents indicate new boats make up less than 26% of their lending. This suggests that at least 50% of the finance volume is coming from pre-owned transactions, following historical patterns.

For the first time since 1Q2012 lenders reported less stringent credit requirements, and dramatically so. Throughout 2012 and into the 1st quarter of 2013 a steadily increasing number of lenders reported credit tightening. This past quarter only 8% reported credit tightening, down from 20% in the 1st quarter, and 8% also reported less stringent credit criteria. Those reporting stricter standards mentioned liquidity and net worth requirements as the areas they felt had become more demanding. 33% of lenders reported consumer credit quality improved in the 2nd quarter, and that is the largest increase since 4Q2011.

The NMBA introduced the brief quarterly members’ survey in 1Q 2011 to gauge changes in the lending environment and identify trends that could be used for business planning. This survey has gained significant traction and is now delivering valuable results to the marine industry. Twenty-six percent of the NMBA lender members (loan originators/brokers/ financial service firms, banks, credit unions, and finance companies) responded to the 2nd quarter 2013 survey, with the majority having a national presence.

The list of survey questions follows.


How does dollar volume of loans booked 2Q2013 compare to 2Q2012?

92% responded: volume was up
8% responded: volume was the same

What percentage of dollar volume of loans booked 2Q2013 is on new boats?

75% responded: 26%
8% responded: 26-50%
8% responded: 51-75%
8% responded: 75%

What percentage of dollar volume of loans booked 2Q2013 is refinance business?

92% responded: 26%
8% responded: 26-50%

What is your outlook for 3Q2013 compared to 3Q2012?

59% expect loan business to be up
8% expect loan business to be down
33% expect loan business to be about the same

How does lending criteria 1Q2013 compare to 4Q2012?

8% more stringent
8% less stringent
84% feel criteria is about the same

How does credit quality 1Q2013 compare to 4Q2012?

19% responded credit quality is better
6% responded credit quality is worse
75% responded credit quality is about the same

How has your average boat loan amount changed in 2013 from 2012?

45% responded: increased
19% responded: decreased
36% responded: same

How has your average margin on boat loans changed in 2013 from 2012?

50% responded: increased
25% responded: decreased
25% responded: same

Do you feel a higher percentage of boat purchases are being financed in your market in 2013 compared to 2012?

50% responded: yes
50% responded: no

If you feel credit criteria are more stringent, indicate which areas have tightened:

0% responded: down payments
0% responded: credit history
100% responded: liquidity requirements
67% responded: net worth requirements
0% responded: debt-to-income ratio

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Spies target unbeatable Aust sailor

They’ve tried and tried to knock Mat Belcher off his perch.

Now the Olympic sailing champion’s rivals are resorting to espionage and rule bending in a desperate bid to halt his runaway winning streak.

In scenes worthy of a John le Carre novel, competitors have turned up at Belcher’s boatshed in the dead of the night, vainly seeking clues to why he’s been unbeatable for nearly two years.

Rival coaches have infringed the rules, swerving motor boats about the 470 class sailor and his crewmate Will Ryan in a bid to study their techniques at closer range.

And the Aussie pair expect more mischief this weekend as the 470 world championships begin off La Rochelle, western France.

“We’ve always got a lot of motorboats following us around the course – boats actually coming onto the racecourse – infringing the rules, just to watch what we’re doing,” Belcher told AAP.

“There’s a lot of spying that goes on.

“We have people come down in the middle of the night to check what we’re doing – they’re trying to find some sort of secret as to why we’re a lot faster.”

But there’s no secret, Belcher insists.

No James Bond-style jet packs or magnetic watches.

Just hard work.

And great coaching.

Yet still the spies persist.

“The more you’re doing well, the more people want to know,” the sailor added.

“Doing well” is an understatement for what Belcher has achieved over the past 20 months, both with former crew Malcolm Page and now Ryan.

The 30-year-old from the Gold Coast has won all 16 regattas he’s contested since November 2011.

The streak includes two world titles (La Rochelle would be his fourth straight), seven World Cup rounds, the recent European championships and the 2012 Olympic 470 gold medal with Page.

That such a long run has come in sailing makes it all the more impressive, because the sport’s combatants fight nature as much as each other.

Belcher admits his rivals are now “sick” of his streak.

But their hopes of ending it in the Bay of Biscay may end in dismay.

Because the 62kg, 173cm skipper loves La Rochelle – the little rock.

It was there in 2000 that Belcher, aged just 17 and still at school, won his first world title in the 420 youth class.

It was his breakthrough performance.

Within days he was ushered into the senior national set-up and later handed the honour of carrying the Olympic flag at the Sydney Games closing ceremony.

It was a whiff of Games greasepaint.

Belcher was hooked. Addicted to winning.

Now we’ll see if the sailing spies can break his habit.

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Boat sales on the rise in U.S., Erie

Buying a new sailboat made sense to Eric Hayes.

It also made the Fairview Township resident part of a growing trend in rising sales in the boating industry.

The 45-year-old physicist, his wife and their three children had outgrown a smaller boat they used for swimming and sailing in Lake Erie. Last summer, the family purchased a new vessel.

Retail sales of new powerboats and sailboats are up more than 10 percent, according to a new report by the leading group that represents the recreational boating industry in the United States and Canada.

Sales of nearly every type of boat are on the upswing, which the National Marine Manufacturers Association says demonstrates a post-recession recovery for the industry.

“I really like seeing it do well,” Hayes, who bought his new sailboat at RCR Yachts in Erie, said of the financial boost the industry is seeing. “We love boating.”

Two of the primary boat dealers in Erie, RCR Yachts and Aleks Powersports, said their businesses have experienced sales upticks of between 7 and 10 percent for new and used boats.

“We were pretty busy in May, June and July,” said Tracy Buczak, general manager and broker at RCR, 960 W. Bayfront Parkway. “We have two proposals right now on the table from folks in Pittsburgh and Ohio that want to buy new boats from us.”

In 2008, at the start of the nation’s recession, Buczak said business “didn’t just slow, it plain stopped.”

Sales started to pick up again, slowly, in 2010 for RCR, and gained steam the past two years, he added.

“People gained a little more of a confident attitude to not give up on a favorite recreation,” Buczak said.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission saw a recent spike in boat registrations statewide and across Erie County.

Press Secretary Eric Levis said about 330,000 boats were registered in Pennsylvania in 2011, down from more than 350,000 in 2004. In 2012, about 335,000 boats were registered statewide.

Erie County ranks seventh among Pennsylvania’s 67 counties for number of boats registered. The 11,059 boats registered in 2012 was the highest tally since 2007, Levis said.

RCR and Aleks Powersports, 1501 Peninsula Drive, Millcreek Township, face tough competition from boat dealers in parts of New York and Ohio along Lake Erie.

Powersports owner Mark Aleks said the Erie area had about 10 or so boat dealers a dozen years ago. Today, only a few are left.

“We’re seeing an aging demographic, empty nesters and baby boomers, that are the majority of our boat buyers,” Aleks said. “The older set is shifting away from motorcycles and other areas of recreation and into boats.”

Lydia and Edward Haynor, of Fairview Township, have been married for 38 years. In early July, they purchased their first boat, a 1996 18-foot powerboat they bought from a friend.

“We’ve always been around friends with boats, and we really enjoy it,” Lydia Haynor said. “We put four kids through college, and the last one graduated in December. We then said, ‘OK, it’s our time.'”

Dave Runser, 67, a retired Erie engineer, purchased a 40-foot boat in February.

The 1986 powerboat is in pristine condition, logging only 850 hours on the engine — fewer than the thousands of hours typically clocked on a boat engine nearly 30 years old.

Runser, who last bought a boat 15 years ago, said he loves the social aspect of the boating life, especially when he and his fellow members of the Commodore Perry Yacht Club get together.

He said he’s happy to see boat sales rising in Erie and across the country.

“It’s good that a lot of people are getting into a family-oriented sport and activity,” Runser added. “You also have those who are retiring, and want to invest their nest egg wisely. Buying a boat is a wise investment, just like buying a cottage.”

GERRY WEISS can be reached at 870-1884 or by e-mail. Follow him on Twitter at

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Aleh and Powrie prepare for 470 World Champs in La Rochelle

New Zealand sailing’s Olympic gold medal girls Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie are one of four kiwi crews getting set to contest the 470 World Championships where racing kicks off at La Rochelle, France next Monday – August 5th.

Head-lining the New Zealand men’s’ crews are NZL Sailing Team pair Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox.

The International 470 Class is marking its 50th anniversary and as a consequence the regatta, being sailed in La Rochelle, France, has attracted a huge entry list and a celebratory atmosphere.

206 boats (412 sailors) will go into battle for the Men’s World title; 70 boats (140 sailors) are entered in the Women’s division, and the regatta also features the Junior and Masters World Championships (underway already) and the Legends’ Trophy.

2013 Men’s and Women’s World Championships

New Zealand entries…

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Women’s 470 World Championship)

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (Men’s 470 World Championship)

Francisco Lardies and Luke Stevenson (Men’s 470 World Championship)

Richard Power and John Power (Men’s 470 World Championship)

Coaches: Nathan Handley and Hamish Willcox

For Aleh and Powrie, Willcox and Snow-Hansen and the other New Zealand sailors the celebrations will be put aside once racing gets underway and for six days they will turn their focus to sailing well and returning the best result possible at this pinnacle World Championship event on the Olympic class calendar.

Coming together to campaign in the double-handed 470 class in 2009 Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie stepped into the spotlight when they won Olympic Gold at the London 2012 Games. While the pair has amassed plenty of World Championship and ISAF World Cup medals prior and since, they haven’t yet been crowned Women’s 470 World Champions despite coming close with silver in 2010 and bronze in 2011.

27 year-old Aleh and 25 year-old Powrie (Takapuna Boating Club/Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron) announced their campaign towards Rio 2016 in December last year and since getting back in the boat early in 2013 have taken out Oceanbridge Sail Auckland, EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup in Garda and Delta Lloyd Regatta.

Most recently they won silver at the 2013 470 European Championships missing out on the gold to French pair Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron who will be among their rivals again in La Rochelle next week. London Olympic silver medalists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are also in La Rochelle, as is Beijing gold medalist Elise Rechichi of Australia now campaigning with Sarah Cook.

22 year-old Paul Snow-Hansen (Wakatere Boating Club) and 23 year-old Dan Willcox (Murrays Bay Sailing Club) joined forces in the Men’s 470 for a tilt at the Rio Olympics subsequent to the 2012 London Olympics where helm Snow-Hansen represented New Zealand with distinction placing 5th overall sailing with Jason Saunders.

This year Snow-Hansen and Willcox have produced encouraging results including 8th at the recent 470 European Championships, a silver medal at Delta Lloyd Regatta and bronze at International 470 Spring Cup.

The two other kiwi crews in the men’s line up are Francisco Lardies (Glendowie Boating Club) and Luke Stevenson (Tauranga Yacht Powerboat Club) and Manly Sailing Club’s Richard and John Power.

In the massive 206 strong Men’s fleet the crews to watch include the formidable Matt Belcher (2012 Olympic gold medalist) and Will Ryan of Australia, GBR’s Luke Patience (2012 Olympic silver medalist) and Adam Wagner as well as Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG) (2012 Olympic bronze medalists).

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