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Boat dealer arrested at Atlantic City Boat Show charged with fraudulent sales


Boat dealer arrested at Atlantic City Boat Show charged with fraudulent sales


Written by Staff Reports


Friday, February 07, 2014 09:28 am




Submitted/Tracy Blumenstein is charged with various fraud and theft offenses.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – A local salesman was arrested by Egg Harbor Township Police Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Atlantic City Boat Show and charged with fraudulent boat sales and other offenses.

According to police, Tracy Blumenstein, owner of Professional Boat Sales on Margate Boulevard in Egg Harbor Township, was arrested as part on an ongoing investigation into fraudulent sales and deceptive practices.

Blumenstein, 48, of Egg Harbor Township was also charged with theft by deception and with issuing $33,000 in bad checks. He owns another off Roosevelt Boulevard in Marmora.

Similar complaints were signed against Blumenstein last month by a private citizen regarding the sale of his boat.

Municipal Court Judge H. R. Switzer set bail at $25,000 full cash, and Blumenstein was lodged at the Atlantic County Justice Facility.

Other employees of Professional Boat Sales have been implicated in fraudulent activity involving the sales of boats, and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

Anyone with information about fraudulent or criminal activity involving Blumenstein or Professional Boat Sales is asked to contact Detective Ray Theriault of the Egg Harbor Township Police Department Criminal Investigation Bureau at 609-926-4051, or contact Atlantic County Crime Stoppers at 652-1234, 800-658-8477 (TIPS) or report the tip www.crimestoppersatlantic.com. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to arrests and indictments in Atlantic County.



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Owner of boat dealership arrested at Atlantic City Boat Show for alleged …


Owner of boat dealership arrested at Atlantic City Boat Show for alleged fraudulent sales


Written by Staff Reports


Friday, February 07, 2014 09:28 am




Submitted/Tracy Blumenstein is charged with various fraud and theft offenses.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – A local salesman was charged with fraudulent boat sales among other offenses and arrested at the Atlantic City Boat Show by Egg Harbor Township Police on Thursday, Feb. 6.

According to police, Tracy Blumenstein, owner of Professional Boat Sales located on the Margate Boulevard in Egg Harbor Township, was arrested as part on an ongoing investigation for fraudulent sales and deceptive practices.

In addition, Blumenstein, 48, of Egg Harbor Township was charged with issuing bad checks in the amount of $33,000 and with theft by deception. He owns another location in Marmora.

Similar complaints were signed against Blumenstein last month by a private citizen regarding the sale of his boat.

He was taken in to custody. Municipal Court Judge H. R. Switzer set bail at $25,000 full cash, and Blumenstein was lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility.

Other employees of Professional Boat Sales have been implicated in fraudulent activity involving the sales of other boats and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

Anyone with additional information regarding fraudulent or criminal activity involving Blumenstein or Professional Boat Sales is asked to contact Detective Ray Theriault of the Egg Harbor Township Police Department Criminal Investigation Bureau at 609-926-4051.

They can also Contact Atlantic County Crime Stoppers at 652-1234, 1-800-658-8477(TIPS) or at www.crimestoppersatlantic.com. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to arrests and indictments in Atlantic County.



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Sailing in Sweden: off piste in the Baltic

But there was no need to book where we were. Early in September there was just
Thomas and us. He gave me the code for the lock, told me I had to chop my
own wood and left me to get on with it. He was disappointed to learn we had
no beer on board, only duty free wine from Heathrow; to him a sauna without
cold beer was hardly a sauna.

So off I went through the trees, across the rocks, to the sauna hut – actually
more like a house than a hut. Sure enough at the back there was an axe and
some wood waiting for me. Chop the wood, light the fire, wait for the stones
to heat, pour your bucket of water on them and bingo you have a sauna.

Just as I was about to strip off and start sweating Thomas arrived, on his way
to the ferry for the five-minute journey to the neighbouring island of
Sandhamn, just to make sure everything was OK. He was carrying an ice cold
beer for me – what a star.

Aerial view of the Stockholm Archipelago. Photo: Roine Magnusson

When I was hot enough it was down to the sea – starkers, the place was that
deserted – for a quick swim. There was a moment of thinking I was completely
mad; the forecast that morning had told us there would be ‘No Baltic Ice’,
but that was no great comfort. ‘It’s September, in the Baltic and I am
******* freezing,’ I thought as I paddled as hard as I could. Then back for
another sweat.

I don’t think I will ever have another sauna in my life: this was too perfect.

In the morning we took our boat to Sandhamn. The postcard I bought there
called the village ‘the metropolis of the outer Stockholm archipelago’ which
told me a lot about the other islands. In the height of summer there is
apparently a queuing system to get a berth, but for now the place was almost
empty.

There was one hotel that we could see, one shop, a bakery already closed for
the winter, two restaurants, a ferry stage, a pilot station, Strindberg’s
garden, a variety of prettily painted clapboard houses, no cars, one main
street and not much else. Very attractive in a quirky sort of way, but
hardly a metropolis.

Before setting sail we had been given a helpful itinerary for a week’s sailing
with stopovers most nights in places like Sandhamn, but when I talked this
through with a Swedish sailing acquaintance he told me – very politely –
that I was a wimp. Real Swedes don’t eat in port restaurants every night,
they find shelter in the middle of nowhere, anchor, cook on board and enjoy
the solitary beauty.

We were not going to see nature, only nature-lite. So in the face of his
gentle scorn we decided to go off piste – get out there and be Real Swedes.

Fortunately we were well equipped for this. On board were my friends:
Jonathan, with huge experience in all kinds of sailing and navigation,
undoubtedly the admiral; his wife, Cathy, crew and – most important – galley
slave; and me, a sort of first mate.

In truth the sailing is easy in the archipelago, reasonable winds and very
little tide to worry about. The problem is the navigation; there are rocks
you can’t see waiting for you underwater, rocks you can see all too close,
small islands, big islands. You absolutely need an auto pilot as well as the
usual charts for the green Swedish islands are a bit like the blond Swedes:
initially, at least, they all look the same – beautiful, but the same.

Our first night could not have been more on piste. Due to a gathering storm
and our general lateness we only got two hours sailing in and ended up in
Vaxholm, which you can actually reach from Stockholm by bus. Thomas was
later to tell us he thought the place had been ruined.

But of course, that depends where you start from; for us it seemed a little
like the ports along the French and Spanish coast before they really were
ruined. Our arrival was not impressive – skippering the boat into the
harbour I had an unfortunate argument with the harbour wall and we ended
with a small hole in the fibreglass bowsprit.

But things got better after that. There was a scattering of restaurants, a
couple of clapboard shopping streets with a slightly New England feel about
them, a nice hotel taking pride of place on the front and a constant bustle
of boats and ferries to keep you entertained.

No beach, but an offshore fort added a little history to the place. The fort
deterred the Russians from attacking Stockholm in the 18th century but did
little to impress the Germans in the 19th century. The pilot book told us
that the German Field Marshal von Moltke was said to have only laughed twice
in his life: once when his mother-in-law died and once when he visited
Vaxholm in 1881 and saw that the fort could not possibly cope with modern
cannons.

The next morning, while waiting for the wind and rain to abate, we decided we
needed sustenance and headed for the Heritage Museum which, the guide book
added, had a ‘fantastic outdoor cafe’. The museum, showing living conditions
a century ago and run by an enthusiast and his elderly mother, sadly seemed
to be doing very little business, even though it was free, while the cafe
next door was mobbed.

First Mate Will, breaker of bowsprits. Photo: Jonathan Giles

We too were seduced by cakes over culture. How could anyone resist a table
that stretched the length of the room, piled high with pastries and buns?
How do Swedes stay thin in the face of such temptation? Perhaps the price
deters them: £18 for three drinks and a sugary, creamy delight each.

But with that comes a seat in the garden, overlooking the water, blankets
provided if necessary. Perfect apart from the vague guilt about the museum
without any visitors.

It was when we left Vaxholm that things began to change. Trees, not houses,
stretched down to the waterfront; people, cars, worries were all
disappearing fast, although when I sailed us down the wrong channel it reminded
us that we still needed to worry, but at least the subjects we worried about
had changed.

Loknasviken, our next stop, was a natural harbour with nothing but a few
boats, with no one on board, tied to a small jetty. We motored up as close
to the horseshoe end of the bay as we dared and anchored close to the reeds.

And there we were alone, the bay and us; a few sheep bleating quietly away in
the field across the water, swans and their cygnets looking for food, with a
gentle almost comforting sort of Highland rain adding layers to the
stillness. Here we were less than a couple of hours’ ferry ride out of
Stockholm and already we could have been in the middle of nowhere.

Ever since the 1930s the Swedes have been going on about ‘heartless property
developers’ at work in the archipelago, and in some of the 30,000 islands
that we never got to maybe that is true. But having had several immensely
enjoyable family sailing holidays in Greece and Turkey and seen mega hotels
eating up quiet bays, the Swedes seem angels by comparison.

Perhaps the winter ice and the short summer season helps protect them but the
islands we visited were remarkably unspoilt. I suspect they are much better
with the boring subject of planning consent than the Turks who suddenly
found an irresistible gold mine sitting on their beaches.

In the 1960s and 70s, while Southern Europe was getting rich quick, the
Swedish government was buying up whole islands and now owns 15 per cent of
the archipelago. Through the impossibly named Skärgårdsstiftelsen they
protect the islands they own but also develop them where necessary to
provide work for the islanders who want to stay all year.

The Swedes go back to school in the middle of August and before then the
archipelago must be full up, but at least it is full of boats and ferry
passengers rather than coaches and sun umbrellas. In the first week of
September it felt as if someone had pulled a mysterious plug on the whole
archipelago; the people had all disappeared down the plug-hole but the water
had stayed.

But even in midsummer if you find the ‘metropolis’ of Sandhamn too much then
you can do what we did and just keep heading east to the outer, outer
islands where there are absolutely no cars, no people, no facilities, and
even the trees have a hard job hanging on because the winter weather is so
bad.

Strindberg describes them so well, ‘These islands, holms, skerries lying so
softly on the water it was impossible to say whether they were part of the
earth or part of the heavens.’

We sailed for most of the day until it became too dangerous and we had to
motor, picking our passage through the rocks until we found Gubben on Stora
Nassa, a collection of 365 islands and rocks where the last permanent
inhabitant died in 1930 at the age of 96.

Moored in Hallskar for another perfect night. Photo: Will Ellsworth-Jones

We were anchored both fore and aft, so well protected by the rocks it felt as
though we were enclosed in some welcome womb – again totally alone, the only
people in the universe, sitting on the edge of the world – silent, safe but
still on the edge.

The admiral declared he had never ever found a bay like it and we all sat
transfixed watching the sun go down. But only the admiral was keen enough to
be up at fiveish the next morning to spend an hour and a half watching it
come up again. We went below to eat, drink wine and talk about Henry Moore –
these rocks have something of his soft sculptural quality – football, our
children and where the world ends, all in no particular order.

In the morning I celebrated this amazing place with a skinny dip, having first
checked that the jelly fish were still all asleep, and then bacon and eggs
in the cockpit – perfect.

At our next stop, Hallskar, there were two other boats in the same bay and it
felt like Piccadilly Circus. The drop-off from the rocks was so steep that
we could put our bow against the land so we were almost touching without
going aground. This was fortunate since we lacked a tin opener and so I
scrambled ashore and then over the rocks to beg for one.

If ever there was proof needed of the theory of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ –
the idea, as I have always understood it, that if you meet a stranger you
are only six acquaintances away from making a connection – it surely came
here. Both boats were Swedish, and one had English guests on board who lent
me their basic Boy Scout tin opener.

I had only got about halfway round the precious tin of tomatoes I was carrying
when we had established the connection; they lived on the Isle of Wight and
we both knew a good friend, Serena Allott, who had died there earlier in the
summer. It was extraordinary.

I returned triumphant to the boat with the tomatoes and got told by the
admiral to jump aboard. He was very unimpressed at my efforts to scramble
across the bowsprit, ‘I told you to jump on the boat, not shag it,’ he
shouted as I struggled to stay out of the water.

That night there was more wine below and we talked about trips of a lifetime
and how much they depended on who you were with and what was going on in
your life as much or perhaps more than where you were. Thus my trip of a
lifetime was the last time my late wife, Barbara, could really travel to the
sun; we went to Majorca. The hotel was good; we did nothing much – it was
just the fact that we could be there together that made it such an amazing
trip.

The Swedish islands were, though, an experience of a lifetime, one I would
more than happily come back for.

After Hallskar we had to turn for home. First we saw more sailing boats, then
a ferry, more trees, and then the occasional speed boat and the houses. We
were back in civilisation. This time we nosed our way into a ‘guest
harbour’, Malma Kvarn, very roughly our equivalent of a marina, but tiny,
where the admiral put me to shame with the way he tucked us into the
smallest space between two boats.

Again, in a very Swedish way, the millionaire who owned the harbour gave the
whole place to the Cruising Club in 1949. But perhaps Swedish solidarity is
wearing a little thin these days; the Club’s members who use the harbour are
supposed to come a couple of times a year and help clean it up, but an
old-time member pointed to a shiny motor boat and said, ‘That big fat boat
won’t help. He’s got a summer cottage here and he’s just not interested.’


Map of the outer Stockholm Archipelago

There was a small restaurant on the jetty and a path by it had been christened
‘Avenue du Champagne’, all 40 feet of it. The restaurant announced love all,
serve all, but already it was closed (and the mooring fees were stopped,
too). There were no provisions to buy, just ice creams left in a deep freeze
in a hut, and when we didn’t have the right change the man on the dock
declared a ‘special sale’ and gave them to us for the few coins we could
produce.

Then we were really on our way home. Again we found shelter away from the big
harbours, although for the first and only time we were turned away from a
tempting jetty by people shouting that it was a members’ only island – very
unSwedish.

That night I had one final swim and this time I persuaded the admiral in too.
Strangely the Baltic seemed warmer than Chichester harbour to me, but not
the admiral, and certainly much less salty. The only Swedes who jumped in
seemed to be using it as a bath rather than a place to swim in – maybe
swimming stops in mid-August along with everything else.

On our final morning we took a different route back to Stockholm through what
was almost a canal with lawns coming down to the water and a hint of Esher
about the place. And then we were back at our marina in the outskirts of
Stockholm. Having had a slightly difficult conversation with the owner of
our boat about the damage to the bowsprit we took a ferry to the heart of
the city.

It seemed unbelievable: so far from everything one moment and then back in the
midst of the world the next. In the morning, before flying home, I visited
the Vasa Museum to see the Swedish warship that sank on her maiden voyage
back in 1628 and was then salvaged in 1961. The Vasa is a staggering ship,
so well preserved, so high, so ridiculously unseaworthy.

Staring up at her I thought, well I might have hit the harbour wall on our
maiden voyage but at least I didn’t sink the ship.

You can charter a boat through Nautilus Yachting
(charter@nautilusyachting.com or 01732-867445; nautilusyachting.com).
A two-cabin, 33ft Bavaria costs £1,565 for a week in low season rising to
£2,000 in high season. We flew to Stockholm with British Airways (ba.com)

More on Sweden

2014 Capital of Culture: highlights of Umeå, Sweden

Sweden: Lapland by lamplight
Melody, Stockholm: hotel review
The best northern lights tours
Inside the 24th ICEHOTEL


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An optimistic spin on recreational boat sales

ATLANTIC CITY – Maybe it’s the snowiest winter in recent memory that did it, or a groundhog seeing its shadow the other day.

But within two hours of the opening of the Progressive Atlantic City Boat Show, Steve Bell and his family had signed on the dotted line for a shiny, new, 18-foot, $40,000 Robalo 180.

And the Bells had already settled on a name for the vessel they plan to dock in Strathmere this summer: Six Bells, a sort of play on a nautical term that also signifies Bell, his wife, and their four children.

“We’ve been doing a lot of dreaming about it all winter, doing our research . . . talking about it,” said Bell, of Lancaster, Pa. “We knew what we wanted, so we got right to it.”

The dozens of boat manufacturers and dealers lining the aisles of the annual boat showcase at the Atlantic City Convention Center are hoping the other 30,000 people expected to attend the five-day show, which opened Wednesday, will be as decisive as Bell.

“We’re hoping lots of people have come to buy, but we know most are just looking,” said Ed Pfleger of Schrader Yacht Sales in Point Pleasant.

At last year’s boat show, some buyers were Sandy victims looking to replace boats they lost in the storm, some salespeople said. They expect other storm victims who were busy fixing their homes last summer to shop for boats this year.

“If I’m out buying a boat and I don’t have a kitchen, that’s not going to make my wife very happy,” Pfleger said. “Now that people have moved beyond that, they’re ready to think about a boat. They’ve gone for a summer without a boat and now they realize they don’t want to go through another summer without one.”

Pfleger and others said this week that they are optimistic about recreational boat sales this year, in an industry that has hit some rough waters recently.

The economic downturn post 2008 caused a sharp drop-off in sales from the go-go mid-2000s, when dealers like Schrader stocked dozens of boats at a time and moved them out of the showroom and marina quickly.

In 2012, industry experts say, sales were up about 10 percent over the years before. The official numbers for 2013 aren’t in yet, but early indications are that the recreational boating industry continued the uptick with at least a 5 percent increase in sales of new power boats 26 feet or smaller, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

An estimated 88 million Americans, aboard 12.1 million registered boats, will take to the water on luxury cruisers, sportfishing vessels, sailboats, and personal watercraft this summer, helping make recreational boating a $35 billion a year industry in the United States.

 


The show continues Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information may be obtained at www.acboatshow.com

jurgo@phillynews.com

609-652-8382

@JacquelineUrgo

www.inquirer.com/downashore



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Charlotte-area boat dealers report improved sales

Boat dealers and yacht club managers at the 42nd annual Mid-Atlantic Boat Show at the Charlotte Convention Center say they’re seeing steadily improving sales in the post-recession economy.

“We’re not back to pre-recession numbers, but the boat dealers are getting pretty close to that,” said Les Gray, vice president of Southeast Productions Inc., the Greensboro-based, family-owned company that stages the show.

The recession forced dealers to lower pricing, which helped increase sales, Gray said. They also cut the number of models they carried.

The show, which opened on Thursday and continues through Sunday, added 40,000 square feet of display space this year because dealers are adding more models, Gray said. The show has a total of 235,000 square feet of exhibit space.

“That’s a direct reflection of the industry rebounding and the need to put more product in front of the customer,” Gray said.

The show has 35 dealers and attracts about 18,000 visitors.

The $35 billion U.S. recreational boating industry continued its post-recession climb with an estimated 5 percent increase in new powerboat retail sales in 2013, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported in late December.

The increase followed the industry’s 2012 rebound when new powerboat retail sales increased 10 percent – the industry’s first sign of recovery.

The association expects recreational powerboat sales to grow another 5 percent to 7 percent in 2014.

Leading the industry’s growth are small fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats 26 feet or less in size, with a 6.7 percent increase in 2013, and ski and wakeboard boats, with an 11.7 percent rise in sales, the association said.

“If economic growth persists and the recreational boating industry continues gaining participants, we anticipate sustained growth in 2014 and into 2015 and 2016,” association president Thom Dammrich said.

George Medler, manager of the Commodore Yacht Club on Lake Wylie, said a sure sign of the boating sector recovery is in the number of slips his club leases.

The club leases slips for $190 a month to $800 a month to 18-foot speed boats, 22-foot pontoon boats, 35-foot cruisers and other craft.

“Two years ago, we had 26 vacant slips going into the winter,” he said. “This year, we have only nine open slips.”


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Advocate for sailors with disabilities mourned

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Advocate for sailors with disabilities mourned

–>

Advocate for sailors with disabilities mourned


Posted on 07 February 2014

Longtime sailor Hugh Elliot, who helped to establish the U.S. Disabled Sailing Program after a serious car accident in the 1990s, died Feb. 2 in Tampa, Fla., after serving as a judge at a regatta at Davis Island Yacht Club.

In the mid-1980s, Elliot was a top-notch Laser sailor, according to Scuttlebutt.

From 1982-88, he qualified for the gold fleet at least once each year at the U.S., Canadian or North American Championships. He enjoyed crewing, most often as tactician or spinnaker trimmer, on boats that included Flying Dutchmen, J/24s, Lightnings and J/30s.

After a car accident in 1993 led to the loss of his left leg (above the knee) and later his right leg (below the knee), Elliot helped establish the disabled sailing program. From 1997 to 2000 he campaigned as crew on a Sonar; his team finished second at the U.S. trials for the Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

He continued to campaign in Sonars as a skipper until 2005.

In 2008, US Sailing presented Elliot with the Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy for his outstanding contribution to sailors with disabilities and disabled sailing over a sustained period of time.

Scuttlebutt said that in recent years Elliot made innumerable and immeasurable contributions to sailing through his work in race management, expertise on the Racing Rules of Sailing and efforts as a US Sailing senior judge and ISAF international judge.

Elliot had been a member of the Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis, Md., since 1985.

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