Archive for » September 28th, 2013«

Boats a 'passing irritant' to Indonesia ties, Australia PM

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Friday described asylum-seekers arriving by boat from Indonesia as a “passing irritant” to the relationship, days before visiting the archipelago in his first foreign trip as premier.

Abbott, who took power this month after winning national polls, has ordered a military-led border protection plan to deter boatpeople which will see vessels turned back when it is safe to do so.

The Australian leader denied the plan would jeopardise relations with northern neighbour Indonesia, which has been cool towards the scheme it has suggested infringes its sovereignty.

“The last thing I would ever want to do is anything that doesn’t show the fullest possible respect for Indonesia’s sovereignty,” Abbott told Fairfax Radio.

“This is a broad and deep relationship which is going to get broader and deeper over time.

“The last thing anyone should want is to have Australia’s relationship with Indonesia defined by this boats issue, which I am sure will be but a passing irritant.”

Abbott’s comments come after former foreign minister Alexander Downer called on Indonesia, which many asylum-seekers use as a staging post as they journey to Australia by sea, to stop the “pious rhetoric”.

At a meeting in New York on Monday with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa warned his country would not accept violations of its borders.

“Let me make this point for Mr. Natalegawa’s benefit: Indonesian-flagged boats with Indonesian crews are breaking our laws bringing people into our territorial waters,” Downer told national broadcaster ABC.

“This is a breach of our sovereignty and the Indonesians need to understand that, instead of a lot of pious rhetoric about the Australian government breaching their sovereignty.”

Abbott, who visits Indonesia next week in the first foreign trip of his prime ministership, said he did not see the issue as jeopardising ties with Jakarta.

“If Australia did something foolish obviously it could be (in jeopardy), but the incoming government will not do foolish things,” Abbott said.

“We will do strong and sensible things which build on the good relationship that we already have with Indonesia.”

Interim opposition Labor leader Chris Bowen said it was clear that Indonesia saw Abbott’s military-led Operation Sovereign Borders as “an affront”.

“This is not an irritant to the Indonesian government; this is a clear matter of principle for them,” Bowen said.

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Ainslie, sailing’s most decorated Olympian, led an incredible comeback by Oracle Team USA, who came from 8-1 down to retain the America’s Cup 9-8.

The Briton, who boasts four Olympic golds and a silver from single-handed racing, came into the struggling team as they were losing 4-1 and, after getting to grips with the boat and crew, oversaw one of sport’s great fightbacks.

But the 36-year-old’s dream is to skipper a British yacht to victory in team sailing’s premium competition for the first time since 1851. And that, he explained, is a complicated and manic process.

“We’ll have to see what happens,” Ainslie told Eurosport-Yahoo! the day after his incredible triumph. “The goal was to build up a British team to compete in the America’s Cup – not just the World Series.

“We’ve got to work very hard over the next couple of weeks to see if we can raise the funds.

“It’s a bit like the transfer window in football – top designers and sailors are looking for their next projects and we have to act very quickly to get the right people involved.

“We’ve been working on it for a while but it’s hard to get sponsors and individuals to commit until the format is confirmed. Now that’s in process we can gauge the level of genuine support to get the team together.

“Being part of a wining Americas Cup team was a goal since childhood, so I’m very proud of that. But I would love to see British team, which is a worthy challenge, so that’s what we’re working on.”

That triumph is still settling in for Ainslie, who was in the process of being whisked across the United States from San Francisco to New York when he spoke to me.

“It’s an amazing comeback to be part of a team that did something so special in the sport of sailing,” the Macclesfield-born Ainslie added.

“The other thing was the loss of Andrew Simpson (the British Olympic champion who died in a training accident with the Swedish team earlier this year).

“It was quite a poignant moment, particular for us and his family at conclusion of the event. He lived for sailing so for a lot of us it was quite a moving time.

“There have been changes made to the boats and format of racing to improve safety. We have been seen through the teams that we are getting better at racing this type of boat and it’s getting safer and safer. And I’m very confident about the future.”

Ainslie is best known in Britain for his Olympic exploits as a single-handed sailor, winning a record four consecutive golds for Team GB.

But, after a dramatic victory at London 2012, he committed himself to America’s Cup sailing, which is an entirely different format that comes with different challenges but shared rewards.

“It’s much more about working with a team,” he explained. “From single-handed Olympic sailing to working with 11 on the boats, and there’s also the wider team of around 130 people.

“You have to work with designers, builders, a shore team, fitness trainers… It’s a massive difference to be part of that. It requires a different approach both on and off the water.

“But it’s rewarding to be successful with a team – to be part of that celebration is more powerful than individual glory.”

That may come as a surprise from a man so renowned for his solo achievements. But the camaraderie of a team sport has its benefits – and, on this occasion, the relative lack of pressure allowed Ainslie to enjoy his racing.

“It was a different situation to when I compete in single-handed racing. I wasn’t expected to race until very late, initially taking a support role before coming into the racing with one day preparation,” he continued.

“There was some pressure to do a good job but on other hand there was nothing for me to lose – we were 4-1 down. I just had to do the best I could and get people believing we could be successful again.

“I really enjoyed that. Everyone expected us to lose so it was the perfect situation in a way. Being able to prove people wrong after getting that momentum going – it was amazing to be part of it.”

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Pontoon boats popular at Atlantic City marina show

ATLANTIC CITY — Some of the most popular boats in the industry today are on pontoons, the wide-open carriers that look built more for comfort than for speed.

But these pontoon boats, which have helped buoy the industry the past two years, can provide both at once, according to several dealers at the Atlantic City In-Water Power Boat Show, which runs through Sunday at the Farley State Marina.

The 29th edition of the show offers 350 boats of all kinds at the marina’s extensive docks or on land, with 2014 models of yachts, cruiser, sport fishers and more.

Pontoon boats offer relatively affordable means to get into boating, are fuel-efficient, can still come with luxuries and — for more money on the high-end side — very powerful engines that can move them in the 50 mile-per-hour range.

“Our pontoons are probably the biggest seller right now,” said Shawn O’Neill, salesman for Sheltered Cove Marina with locations in Tuckerton and Vineland. The marina has a prominent area near the entrance of the boat show, and set up a row of Bennington pontoons to showcase.

“Everybody’s got a lot of pontoons. It’s an affordable, entry-level way to get into boating. You can run low horsepower, they don’t carry a lot of fuel so they don’t use a lot of fuel, and you can fit 14 people on them,” he said.

They can come with luxuries, like bathrooms that pop up on the deck. They typically travel around 20 miles per hour, he said, and some versions have a third buoy that adds stability.

Glenn Gioe, owner of Bayville-based New Jersey Outboards, said these “triple toons” can carry 150- to 300-horsepower engines and have become more popular recently.

“It’s not your grandfather’s pontoon anymore,” he said.

Of the 300-horsepower ones, Gioe said, the business sold around seven this year for about $70,000 each.

“People are spending money on these boats, and they are liking them,” he said.

The National Marine Manufacturing Association says new boat and engine sales reached nearly $9 billion in 2012. Pre-owned boat and engine sales totaled almost $12 billion.

Overall, industry saw an uptick last year from 2011, as new powerboat sales reached 157,300, according to the NMMA, which is based in Chicago.

But even before then — when sales were declining or flat in other areas — pontoon sales had increased.

The NMMA says sales of aluminum power boats, which include pontoons, increased 4 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. Overall, traditional powerboat sales were nearly flat during that time, with 142,830 units sold in 2011 and 142,330 sold in 2010.

Andrew Zierak, 30, of Johnstown, N.Y., was browsing pontoons boats Friday afternoon at the boat show.

Zierak, who bought a used pontoon boat last year, said he enjoyed taking it out with family and his young daughter.

“My father bought one two years ago. We got a lot of family and people who come up to the camps, you get the kids out on it,” he said.

Contact Brian Ianieri:


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Boats and more at final day of Auckland On Water Boat Show

Trailer powerboats, dinghies, RIBs, motor launches, sailing yachts and all the products and services needed to maintain them are on show for the final day of this year’s Auckland On Water Boat Show.

With more than 180 exhibitors and over 90 boats on the water of Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, the vibe at this year’s show has been extremely positive with a number of boats of all sizes already sold.

Auckland On Water Boat Show CEO Michelle Khan says: “Feedback from the marine retailers and manufacturers exhibiting at this year’s Auckland On Water Boat Show indicates a definite trend toward a more positive retail environment. Every exhibitor we’ve spoken to says they have made sales and/or have many leads to follow up after the show.

“As an example, Terry Bailey, from Bailey Marine in Waipu, said that for the first time he can recall, he’s physically signed a deal at the show with a show visitor who had just seen the boat for the first time today.”

Bailey imports the European Arvor Boats’ range and the Arvor 280 sold retails for around $240,000 depending on the extras required.

In a similar vein, Lance Fink of Hamilton’s Tristram Marine has enjoyed talking with really enthusiast boaties keen to find the right boat for their lifestyle.

“The Auckland On Water Boat Show is a great venue for people to see the latest models, like the Tristram 741 Offshore Sterndrive which is attracting a lot of attention. We have sold a number of boats already and expect to receive confirmation of further orders after the show.”

Hundreds of visitors to this year’s Auckland On Water Boat Show have written messages for Emirates Team New Zealand in a special book being created for the team on the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron site at the show. The squadron has the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup on display and invites anyone attending the show to contribute their written messages to the team. After the show, the book will go to the RNZYS headquarters at 101 Curran Street, Westhaven where members of the public are welcome to visit and add their own messages.

Khan adds: “Whether people are looking for a replacement diesel engine, a new paint to re-finish their boat or new marine electronic components, theys can find a range of exhibitors to talk to who are keen to share their knowledge and passion for on-water activities at this show.”

The Auckland On Water Boat Show is open from 10am to 5pm on Sunday 29 September with tickets available at the gate. Children 15 years of age or younger are free of charge.

See for full details or find the show on Facebook

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Sailing-New Zealand shrugs off America's Cup loss

By Greg Stutchbury

WELLINGTON, Sept 26 (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister John Key summed up the feelings of his country when their America’s Cup team were beaten by Oracle Team USA in the winner-take-all showdown in San Francisco on Thursday.

“Bugger,” he Tweeted from New York.

In a taciturn country where one word is more than enough to convey the gamut of emotions, it said it all. Frustration, disappointment and, ultimately, resigned acceptance.

Tens of thousands had been on tenterhooks for a week as Dean Barker’s Team New Zealand established what many considered an unassailable 8-1 lead, needing just one more win to clinch international sport’s oldest trophy and return it to Auckland.

Oracle, however, powered back with eight successive wins to seal the trophy in a remarkable comeback that helped make the once-troubled event among the most exciting in sailing history.

“Not unexpected. It just seemed fairly obvious over the last week that the gains Oracle have made they have got better and better,” Graeme Mercer, a sailing instructor at Wellington’s Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, told Reuters of the final day’s racing.

“Our boat wouldn’t go any faster and today just showed that despite the minor errors that Team New Zealand had made in some of the previous races, it wouldn’t have made any difference.”

Backed by NZ$36 million ($30 million) in public funds, Team New Zealand’s performances to establish their lead had created a sense of expectation that a trophy they had last held in 2003 was within their grasp.

Despite the stunning turnaround, Mercer said Oracle had won as a result of a sensational fightback, not by Team New Zealand choking.

“Choking is an armchair critic response from people who have no idea what they’re talking about,” he added.

“Maybe if you’re putting a golf ball and muff it … but this is a technology sport and … Team New Zealand could not have raced any faster.

“Oracle continued to pull away upwind and that technology is what delivered it for them.”

Oracle team boss Russell Coutts, who won the America’s Cup twice for New Zealand in 1995 and 2000, told Reuters in San Francisco that despite having a population of only 4.4 million, New Zealanders would fully have expected to win.

“New Zealand expects a lot out of their sports people,” he added. “As a nation we generally fight above our weight.

“As a nation we expect the All Blacks to win and expect our sailing teams to win and if they don’t people say ‘Why not?’ I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”

In addition to missing out on the sport’s bragging rights, New Zealand is set to miss out on an estimated NZ$500 million in additional economic activity for its $170 billion economy.

Despite the defeat, New Zealand’s marine industry was still seeing some positive spinoffs.

Oracle established an 80-strong boatbuilding factory in Warkworth, north of Auckland, for the regatta, while more than 40 other local companies had provided components and expertise to the four syndicates.

“What happened was all very unfortunate, but the positive spin is that it’s really revitalised the America’s Cup,” said Peter Thomas, project manager at Cookson Boats, which built TNZ’s two state-of-the-art 72-foot catamarans.

“The man in the street now is excited to watch it.

“Team New Zealand did such a bloody good job that I’m sure the whole world feels for them.

“They didn’t win it but everything else is good. The New Zealand marine industry will benefit from this.” (Additional reporting by Alden Bentley in San Francisco and Naomi Tajitsu in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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