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Local boat sales rebounding after slow spring

Local boat sales rebounding after slow spring

Written by Ann Richardson

Tuesday, August 06, 2013 09:45 am

File photo / Recreational boating in the Ocean City bay.

SOMERS POINT – A rainy June, the wettest in recorded history, put a big damper on a lot of local merchants, including the boating business. However, a busy July has made up for some of that loss, as boaters look for fun, economical vessels, according to Sean Reilly, a boat salesman for Waterfront Marine in Somers Point.

“June was bad, but July was great. July was the best month we’ve had for a long, long time,” Reilly said. “If the trend continues, we’re looking to have a pretty good summer.”

Reilly said people are shopping for pleasure and entertainment; they want to have a good time with friends and family on the water and they don’t want a boat that would require a lot of maintenance.

“They’re buying open bow boats,” he said. “They’re not buying cabin boats. They want a boat that you can put a whole lot of people on board and go for a ride, go water skiing, go to a restaurant or pull up on the beach.”

The cruising and sport fishing markets are down, he said.

While Reilly said he feels “positive” about the market, he said the Mid-Atlantic region is “softer” than it has been.

“Traditionally it’s a very lucrative area, but it’s not right now,” he said.

It’s more than just selling boats for local marinas, it’s about longevity.

“If you have a good marina and a good product, you can hold on, but if you don’t, you can’t. People are looking for quality and service. They want to know you’ll be there to service their boat,” he said.

Reilly said that Hurricane Sandy did nothing to encourage anyone to go out and buy a new boat. According to the Boat Owners Association of the United States, Sandy destroyed or damaged more than 65,000 recreational boats, a loss of more than $650 million – the worst loss since 1966, when the organization started keeping track of losses.

“We were down a little bit in general, part of that was Sandy, but it was also because of the spring weather,” he said. “The weather was terrible.”

Reilly said some boat owners have yet to replace their lost boats.

“We geared up for a big rush at the boat shows this year, but it never happened,” he said. “We have had some people from North Jersey, but a lot of the boat owners who lost their boats still have no place to keep them, so they’re waiting.”

If a boat owner hadn’t removed their boat from the water before Sandy hit in late October, they scrambled.

“It was crazy,” he said. “We took 300 boats out of the water in a day and-a-half. Most people had enough notice and they got their boats out, and the storm wasn’t as bad down here as it was in northern and Central Jersey. We were very lucky.

“Overall, I don’t think we lost all that many boats in our area. We had no losses at Waterfront Marine. We lost some of our docks and we had a problem with too much sand being washed in where we need to put the boats in.”

Waterfront Marine invested heavily in their building over the past year, but the renovations were not Sandy-related, Reilly said.

“Everything is new, from the air conditioning and the heating, to the carpet and docks,” he said. “We have a new roof, new façade, new doors.”

The United States boating industry, he said, had started to see sales growth last year after a slump. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, power boat sales rose 10 percent in 2012 over 2011. Total new boat sales increased 4 percent and total pre-owned sales increased 6.5 percent in 2012, according to the NMMA.

Reilly attributed a stronger 2012 to improving consumer confidence, but said that boaters were still somewhat frugal.

“We’re directly affected by the real estate market, and when the market takes a dip it directly affects us,” he said. “Sales and rentals are down, and a lot of our customers are Realtors. So they’re being more careful, they’re holding on to what they have.”

Beyond the local Realtors, Reilly said investors are more likely to splurge on a boat when they’re making money on their properties.

“It hurts us all the way around when the real estate market is sluggish,” he said.

When the recession hit the boating industry, about five or six years ago, people began downsizing and the downsizing continues as people trade their boats in, Reilly said.

“They’re not buying the bigger boats,” he said. “The mid-range boats are selling well, 22 feet, 24 feet and 26 feet. People want an easy-to-take-care-of boat, not a lot of maintenance.”

Reilly said the key in not-so-good times is to take care of the customer and hope for the best.

“We’re halfway through the summer, and if we can keep the momentum we’ll do OK,” Reilly said. “We’re hoping that people will realize that the best time of the year to be on the water is September and October. We always encourage people to come down in the fall and take advantage of the nicest time of the year.” 

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Sailing is the icing on the cake for Donna Air

Swapping cocktail parties for the bracing scents of bonny brine, Donna Air cut a dashing jib yesterday on the boats during Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. Air, who is currently dating home-baking businessman James Middleton, recently joked that there was one special benefit to being on the arm of the brother of the Duchess of Cambridge. “He brings something I have always searched for,” said Air. “And will always need in my life… cake!”

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Sailing: Aleh and Powrie take the early lead

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie have the early lead in the Women’s fleet at the 2013 470 World Championships while NZL Sailing Team team-mates Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox have also started strongly to hold 3rd in the Men’s.

Racing started overnight in La Rochelle, France with the day one of the six day regatta sailed under overcast skies with light rain. All fleets sailed three races.

Sailing away with a 2nd and two wins Aleh and Powrie top the leader-board with two points (the wins count for zero) while the French pair of Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron, who recently took out the 2013 470 European Championship title, lying 2nd on five points.

“In typical regatta style we had conditions we hadn’t seen for the two weeks we have been here getting ready, complete with thunder storms early on today. It was a great breeze of 12-16 knots, and some rather large waves at times as it is very shallow out there,” reports Jo Aleh. “We started off well with a second in the first race, and then followed that up with two race wins.”

“The breeze was anything but consistent, with massive shifts and pressure lines coming across the race track… We didn’t exactly get everything right, we just didn’t stuff anything up too badly which seemed to be more important! We were always in the mix at the first top mark and then managed to get a few things right on the next few legs including some flying reaches which were great fun.”

“One more day of qualifying tomorrow, with two races and then we split into Gold and Silver, so all we need is another good race tomorrow and we will be through and ready for finals. The qualification series will end up only counting for one ‘race’ so it’s a bit like the regatta really starts on day three.”

Over in the Men’s division racing is in three fleets for the qualifying rounds and the young kiwi pair of Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox has made an excellent start to the series. Placing 5th, then 4th, then winning race three they are in 3rd on the leader-board with nine points.

It’s no surprise to see Men’s Olympic champion Matt Belcher of Australia topping the men’s fleet, which features 114 boats in total; he and Will Ryan had two wins and a 2nd giving them two points. Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre of France are in 2nd place on seven points.

Racing resumes tomorrow for the second day of qualifying with the medals set to be decided on Saturday in La Rochelle, France.

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Used-boat sales on the rise for Detroit dealer

Used-boat sales on the rise for Detroit dealer

Posted on 05 August 2013


Used-boat sales are picking up in the Detroit area, according to a family that has been in the boat business for more than 100 years.

Four generations of the Velger family have owned and operated boat dealerships around Detroit, and they’ve seen their share of ups and downs, according to CG Publishing.

Rick Velger, who owns and manages Hideaway Harbor and Yacht Sales in Harrison Township along with his brother Bob Velger, said his great grandfather William Velger started selling bait and renting boats in Detroit in the late 1800s.

“Our biggest year for sales was in the mid-1980s,” said Rick Velger, 47. “There were many years, in the ’80s and ’90s, when the economy was good and people had money to spend on yachts or cruisers. Then it began to sink, but sales are coming back.”

Hideaway Yacht Sales calls itself the world’s largest Rinker dealer, but the business also carries Sea Hunt, Polar Kraft, Hurricane and Xcursion pontoon boats, which Velger said are a very popular and inexpensive way to get into boating.

Click here for the full report.

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KSL Outdoors: Sailing on the Great Salt Lake

(Adam) the beauty, the serenity of our inland sea. I’m Adam Eakle and KSL Outdoors starts right now.

(Intro) Thanks for tuning into KSL Outdoors and welcome to the Great Salt Lake Marina, I’m Adam Eakle. Did you know that the Great Salt Lake is one of the most asked about tourist destinations in Utah. But, if you ask most Utahans, many have never put a foot in the lake or been in a boat on the lake. Tonight we are going to introduce you to the pleasure the solitude of sailing the Great Salt Lake.

(Captains meeting) “Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to race.”

(Doug Jackson, Rear Commodore GSL Yacht Club) “Tonight we are going to to our Wednesday night race, our Wednesday night series.”

(Captain Meeting) “It is scored as an off shore. There will be one start for all the boats.”

(Doug Jackson, Rear Commodore GSL Yacht Club) “It’s a big thing these guys really love getting out here and showing up and winning this series.”

Established on May 10th, 1877, the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club is the third oldest yacht club in the country. Captain David Davis was the first Commodore and tonights race is in his honor.

(Byant Pratt, Murray Sailor) “I used to say it was probably the best sailing in Utah. Now I believe it’s the best sailing outside of the great lakes anywhere in the country.”

Many of the sixty members in the yacht club are transplant sailors who have navigated waters all over the world. They say Utahans have long ignored this gem in the desert. They say people need to get out and discover what is right in their own back yards.

(Tim Adams, Salty Sailor) “I think what makes it most spectacular is the contrast of an inland ocean basically and desert all mixed together and ten thousand foot mountains. It’s a rare combination and beautiful sky.”

(Tim Adams) I’ve been fortunate to see sunsets all over the world and I haven’t seen one better than what I see here. There’s just spectacular colors, the reflections off the lake they are incredible. The background of the desert, it’s just an amazing place.

Many believe that the lake smells bad. Actually, the lake doesn’t smell at all. However, the shoreline does. This is because there is a lot of decaying brine shrimp and brine flies that wash up on the shore. On a boat, you don’t smell a thing, but the salty air.

(Valerie Custer, Commodore Great Salt Lake Yacht Club) “And I think a lot of the hang up people say out here oh it smells, but you get out on the lake and there is nothing. It’s peaceful, and it’s quiet, there’s not bugs, nothing and you just, it’s you with nature. To me not being from Utah it kind of seems like what a lot of people are into when they are out doing stuff. They like to be one with nature and being out on this lake, you really are.

One of the easiest ways to experience the lake is visit one of the marinas on the lake, like the Great Salt Lake State Park, located just off of Interstate 80.

(Dave Shearer, Harbor Master) It’s been here in one form or another since the 1920’s. So it’s almost 100 years now. State parks took it over back in the late 70’s and refurbished it and it is what it is now. We have about 320 slips in here and we cater to motor boaters, sail boaters, kayakers, people playing on the beach we have nice running water here, restrooms, showers.

The race today, well turned out to be more of a social, the wind just didn’t show. But to these sailors, it didn’t matter.

(Tim Adams) “It’s big, beautiful, no noise from power boats, it’s peaceful here. I think that’s the biggest, magical thing out here is just the peace and beauty of the place.”

Coming up on next on KSL Outdoors..

(nats handle) (adam) “Oh now he shows me the handle!” (captain Jim Anderson) “Well yeah I wanted you to get the real experience.” (laughs)

I get a lesson and we show you how to get your family out sailing the lake. We’ll also discover another Utah sailing destination, often referred to as the Caribbean of the Rockies. Those stories just ahead, but first some more information on the Great Salt lake in tonights Burt Brothers quiz question.


(Dave Jackson, Rear Commodore GSL Yacht Club) “Everybody will be overwhelmed at first and if not, you should be scared by a great big boat.”

(Dave Jackson) “There are so many things to do at the same time. Once you know why you have to do them, it all falls into place. It’s a fun sport that everyone should learn.”

I’ve always been a powerboat guy. I’ve actually only ever been on a sailboat once, but today was the perfect chance to wet my feet in the sport of sailing.

(Jim Anderson, Sailing Solutions) “and your first job. Go to the bow that’s the pointy end.” (adam) “Get that front one. (Jim) “The one on the right side. That’s passenger.”

and our skipper is Captain Jim Anderson. Owner of the sailboat Impulse and Sailing Solutions. A charter company, designed to allow people to learn, love and discover sailing.

(Jim Anderson) “Anything that goes for height, think of H. Is a halyard. Halyards lift things up on any boat,especially sailboat. A sheet is an S, it controls sideways motion. If it moves sideways it’s a sheet, everything else is a line. Even as a boater you know you don’t have dock ropes right? You have dock lines. So that one ought to be easy. If I don’t know what it is, it’s not a rope, it’s at least a line and it has a job.

(Adam) “So I’m raising the main sail with the main halyard. is that what you called it?” (Jim) “Yeah, you need to take one wrap off of that winch that big spooly looking thing.” (adam) “Ok, just raise away huh?” (Jim) “Yeah pull.” (nats pulling)

(Adam) “One more?” (Jim) “Sure give it all you’ve got.” “If you break it we’ve got bigger problems.” (adam) “Yeah I didn’t break it, ok.” (jim) “No, no, no, it’s not tight yet.” (adam) “Holy crud.” (adam grunting) “ok”.

(nats handle) (adam) “Oh now he shows me the handle!” (Jim) “Well yeah, I wanted you to get the real experience.” (laughs) (adam) “So it needs to be tighter than that?” (Jim) “Yes.”

Jim takes customers out who want to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or just want a relaxing day doing something they might not otherwise experience. He also teaches a sailing course and is a certified instructor with the American Sailing Association.

(Jim) “Either you are tacking or you are jibing. tacking is into the wind, jibing is with the wind behind you.” (adam) “But you want to make abrupt moves like that.” (jim) “No you jibe slow, you tack fast.” (adam) “Jib is to the” ….(jim) “Jibe is when you are turning and the wind passes the back of your boat.” (adam) ok.

I’ll admit, I felt like a duck out of water trying to guide the boat, but everyone here was so nice, so willing to share their knowledge, their love of sailing.

(Valerie Custer, Commodore GSL Yacht Club) “It’s kind of a community out here and we are always encouraging people to come out and start learning how to sail. From way little I mean I’ve got a daughter that is almost five and she’s learning how to sail to people to we are teaching to sail that are in their 30’s if not older. So it’s not a hard thing to take up in any point in your life.”

(Tim Adams, Sailed for 35 years) “With sailing everyday is different. the water, the wind, the conditions are different. It’s a game that the rules change every day. It’s challenging to figure out what has changed that day and the conditions you have that day.”

So the next time you get the urge to feel the salty air in your hair, no need to head to the ocean, just head out to the Great Salt Lake marina, introduce yourself and who knows, you could one day, learn the love of our inland sea. You might even be known as these sailors refer to themselves, as the “Saltiest sailors in the World” Time now to check in with the guys at Fish Tech for tonights less salty fishing report.

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