Archive for » June 11th, 2014«

Boat sales show slight 1Q gains

Posted on June 11th, 2014
Written by Jack Atzinger

Early spring weather was unkind to the U.S. marine industry again this year, but first-quarter numbers from Statistical Surveys suggest that 2014’s signature bitter chill was somewhat less of a sales deterrent than the raw and wet conditions were a year earlier.

Sales in the industry’s main powerboat segments edged higher this year, rising by 212 boats, or 0.9 percent, to 23,684, and industrywide sales rose by 824 boats, or 2.5 percent, to 34,341, in 48 states that represent 99 percent of the nation’s boat market.

Only Maine and Hawaii, which report sales once a year, were not included in the report. A year earlier, sales fell 4.4 percent for the quarter in the main segments and 8 percent industrywide.


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“I think we better weathered the storm this year,” Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager Ryan Kloppe said.

Kloppe said the data bore out reports from exhibitors at boat shows that they were seeing significant numbers of interested and qualified buyers.

“I think pent-up demand helped us through the bad weather,” he said. “As we hit the summer months in this country, I think you’ll see the sales gains continue.”

In a tale of two tough seasons, sales were higher for the quarter this year in each of the three high-volume segments where the industry has shown significant growth since the Great Recession ended.

Sales of 11- to 40-foot fiberglass outboard boats rose 4.6 percent or 362, to 8,272, and sales also increased in two high-volume categories of aluminum boats. Sales of fishing boats climbed 2.1 percent, or 178, to 8,465, and sales of pontoon boats eked out a gain of 0.4 percent, or 17, to 4,604.

Sales of 14- to 30-foot inboard and sterndrive fiberglass boats continued to struggle, falling by 14.2 percent, or 315, to 1,899.

The top sales states for the quarter were Florida (5,125), Texas (3,493), Louisiana (2,036), Alabama (1,432) and North Carolina (1,338), all of which reported higher sales than they did for the first quarter last year.

Rounding out the top 10 were Georgia (1,251), Missouri (1,248), Minnesota (1,098), South Carolina (1,079) and Wisconsin (1,013).

The Coast Guard was up to date in its reports of documented vessels, providing a complete picture of sales in the cruiser and yacht segments. Sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers fell by 39 boats, to 243, and sales of 41- to 62-foot yachts dropped by six boats, to 154, but sales of custom and semicustom yachts from 63 to 99 feet rose by 15, to 47.

Sales of personal watercraft rose by 15.2 percent, or 573 units, to 4,351, sales of ski boats rose by 9 percent, or 74 boats, to 897, and sales of jetboats climbed by 8.3 percent, or 45 boats, to 586.

Sales of sailboats fell by 7.2 percent, or 35 boats, to 450.

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Backyard of Boats

Cody Hills leans back in the stern of the small boat owned by Humboldt Baykeeper, which is zipping north through the Eureka channel of Humboldt Bay. He looks as relaxed as if he were reclining on his living-room couch. Around him the water crinkles and winks, like smoothed-out foil gift wrap. Two frothy white tracks stretch parallel behind the moving boat, creating a broad path back in time.

Beyond the wake sits the Schneider Dock, which knew the bay when it was a working man’s paradise, full of mills and ships and fishing boats, even whalers, and ferries. The work has dwindled — there are mostly fishing boats now — but stories linger out here, sealed in the grain of old wooden boats, in the iron cells of former war ships like the World War II Navy landing craft Ten Ninety-One, now a civilian museum ship docked north of the Schneider dock at Waterfront Drive and Commercial Street, and even in some of the more modern boats.

There are boats in this bay that look like old beaters, ready for retirement in some quiet, forgetting cove. And others, seemingly in good shape, that never leave port. There are nameless boats. There’s “Admiral” Jim Blum’s 1965, 49-foot, lovingly-oiled wooden crab and tuna boat, the Tempest. Rescue barges. Ordinary old fishing boats, and new ones made by Eureka boat builder Ken Bates. And more.

Hills knows many if not most of them — he’s been living and working on the bay, drinking in the lore like an essential nutrient.

Sure, he’s just 23. But he’s Leroy Zerlang’s kid: Zerlang, also reared on the bay, who owned the Crab Shack at the foot of C Street when Hills was young (he called Hills, to whom he’s been father since Hills was 1, the “Crab Kid”); Zerlang, captain of the Madaket, the oldest boat on the bay, which began as a ferry boat in 1910 and turned into a harbor cruise boat in 1972, after the Samoa Bridge was built rendering ferries useless. Hills learned how to walk on the Madaket and how to row in a little boat tethered to the dock at the foot of I Street, outside his childhood home. Four years ago, he became the youngest licensed merchant marine captain in California (just like his dad before him).

Hills works for Brusco Tug Barge and Knutson Towboat Co. and is one of just three remaining guys who operate tug boats. He also works for his dad at Zerlang and Zerlang Marine Services, the family’s boat-repair business on the Samoa Peninsula. The Zerlang boat yard is where volunteers and local boatwright Dave Peterson are helping Veterans for Peace restore the Golden Rule, the little peace-protest ketch that in 1958 tried to storm the Marshall Islands atomic testing grounds.

Veteran Chuck DeWitt, who coordinates that restoration, is piloting the Baykeeper boat that carries Hills, another Veterans for Peace volunteer named Skip Oliver, and a couple of Journal staffers on this late-November morning.

Hills sits back in his bright orange jacket, his Giants cap shading blue eyes under dark bushy eyebrows, and a five o’clock shadow. Coffee cup in one hand, he couldn’t look more at home. His dad was the one who’d planned to conduct this history tour of the boats on Humboldt Bay. But e ngines blow, and duty calls. The son — minus, granted, the load of crusty old jokes his dad’s known for — can step right in, launching the tour from the foot of C Street in Eureka.

At the marina, Hills points out the Christine, a 45-foot fir boat built in 1948 by the Makela Brothers, out of Fort Bragg. The Makelas’ fishing boats can be spotted by their pale tan, white-tipped masts, and they’re held together by nails instead of screws and epoxy. There used to be more Makelas here. Today there are four: The Sea Wolf, Pacific Seas and Katherine are across the bay in the Woodley Island Marina.

But where is Hills’ dad? We zip down the channel toward the enormous, blue-and-red Fortune Amaryllis, out of Hong Kong. Zerlang is trying to assess its struck-dumb generators so it can load its cargo of logs and head to China. We regard the silent ship, then head back to the Eureka Marina, where we round the rusting hulk of the 1944-built Mary Ann Brusco, an old tugboat long docked, ever since the housing market went south in 2007 and log-shipping declined. Nearby, that bright blue barge with MSRC 136 on its hull, looking squat, flat and nonhistorical? That’s the Thrustmaster — if ever there’s a fuel spill on the bay, it and its partner, the Recon 1, will be the first responders, laying out a containment boom and skimming the surface until mop-up crews arrive. Luckily, there hasn’t been a spill on the bay since the Kuray, banging too hard into some pilings, punctured a tank and dumped 4,500 gallons of fuel into the water back in 1997.

The dark blue-and white High Sea, a 52-foot commercial fishing boat, rides ready nearby. After the 1964 tsunami that wiped out the Crescent City harbor and its fishing fleet, a Crescent City sheet metal workshop called Fashion Blacksmith started building boats to replenish the fleet; the High Sea, launched in 1971, was one of those.

And now we come to Hills’ first true love, the Stephanie. The faded red “pair trawler,” built from fir, is the second-oldest (mostly) functional boat on Humboldt Bay. It was built in 1917 by Genoa Boat Works for San Francisco International Fish Co., where it was called “No. 3.” Its job was to work in tandem with another boat to drag a net for bottom fish. Tom Lazio — locally famous for Lazio’s, a beloved restaurant once at the foot of C Street — got the boat in 1941 after the fish company, where he worked, went out of business. He named it after his daughter, Stephanie, brought it north and fished it until 1956 when it got stuck on a rock outside Crescent City. He sold it for a pittance, and 10 years later it was sold again, and the new owners brought it to Eureka. Hills remembers pestering the owner to let him wash the pretty workhorse when he was a little kid. He remembers hearing how, when the ocean got rough, the Stephanie‘s crew steered it backwards out the mouth of the bay so the waves wouldn’t bust the pilot windows out.

Its pilot house burned one day in 2003; they rebuilt it. Then the federal government started paying dragnet boat operators to give up their boats — their nets caught too many other creatures, including dolphins. The Stephanie was abandoned. But Hills has been looking after it. In 2012, after it had sprung serious leaks and he’d spent all night bailing it out, he, boatwright Peterson and boatyard worker Dean Anderson hauled it ashore and gave it seven new planks and 2,000 new screws. Since then, the Stephanie has become part of the Maritime Museum and the Zerlangs, with help from fundraising events, have put some $15,000 into restoring her.

We head farther south and cross the bay to the Woodley Island Marina. There’s the Nanbellis Jo, a 58-foot commercial fishing vessel that was the first boat in the bay to be widened in order to handle more gear, worse weather and more catch. On the other end of the scale there’s the 39-foot Terron — the sweetheart of the bay. The tidy, well-kept white boat with green stripes of trim around its hull was built in 1927, its boards fitted together so tight it didn’t need caulking. DeWitt idles the boat a bit longer so everyone’s eyes can linger on the pretty Terron.

Nearby lies the white, 37-foot fisher the Albatross, built in 1927 and one of the few double-enders in port — meaning it has a pointed stern and bow, which makes it more stable, especially in a following sea with swells crashing against the stern. And then there’s the Lohilani, a square-butted little cracker-box oblong built in 1943 that once was a Navy admiral’s barge in Hawaii. When Hill was little, his grandma lived aboard the Lohilani; he remembers being babysat aboard it. It’s owned by somebody else now.

We motor around the Humboldt State University’s big, green research boat, the Coral Sea, DeWitt takes the boat back into the bay and points it north. Hills has one more thing — well, a couple — left to show us. As we near the marshy shore of Indian Island, he points at a tiny warped-wood building on stilts at water’s edge: The old Baptist church. Then, he says, see that copse of trees, where the egret rookery is? That’s where Mia, the black lab and the Madaket‘s old mascot, is buried. She lived a long life, charming tourists by swimming after the Madaket, until she died when Hills was 4. Then he lowers his hand, drawing our eyes to what looks like a corroded old wood wall sticking out of the shallows by the shore. That, he says, is writer Jack London’s old boat, the Christine. The nameboard, taken from her long ago, is now at the maritime museum.

It’s hard to find evidence proving that this was indeed one of London’s old boats, although a 1966 story in the Eureka Humboldt Standard also says it’s so. London had several sailboats — famously, The Snark — and wrote in a memoir, Four Horses and a Sailor, about sailing in Humboldt Bay. Like the 1910 barfight between London and Stanwood Murphy in the Oberon Saloon in Eureka — recorded later by eyewitness W.J. “Hap” Waters — the story lives on.

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Barbara Veneri — Sea Notes: Goodspeed gives season an old-school kickoff

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Both the Low Tide and the Mattapoisett Yacht clubs kicked off the sailing season last week with the first races of the summer under welcome summer sun with chilly winds and cold water temperatures. The first big race, the Spring Round-the-Bay, is set for Saturday.

MYC Racing and Round the Bay

At the MYC, the Ensign class, which races every Tuesday from a starting line outside Mattapoisett Harbor, got off to an exciting start with four out of the seven boats registered competing in 12- to18-knot winds from the southeast in choppy waters last Tuesday. The sun was shining but, although crew members wore T-shirts and shorts ashore, they donned foul weather jackets as needed out in the bay.

Former MYC Commodores Fran Grenon and Tom Muldoon aboard Goodspeed, the MYC’s committee boat, revved the old boat’s engine to the max (but not to the point of failure), as we set out to drop the upwind mark a little over a half mile from the starting line. The third race committee member, Ed Normand, and Muldoon set the appropriate flags, course and distance markers for two races. The first race took the Ensigns upwind and downwind, one leg apiece, beginning shortly after 6 p.m. The second races doubled their trouble to two upwind and two downwind legs, with boats finishing downwind.

Goodspeed, a Sisu dating from the 1960s, became a member of the MYC’s fleet about 10 years ago, and presents a combination of an old school wood and fiberglass fishing boat with 21st century technology — a new GPS unit, an electric windlass (which sometimes works), an electronic air horn used for starts, finishes and postponements, and so on.

Not only does Goodspeed serve as the MYC’s race committee boat, but it is also used as a mark boat for the Buzzards Bay Regatta. Several years ago, the old boat’s engine blew out during the BBR, and it took a ton (almost literally) of effort to get it going again. The original Chrysler V-8 engine has been rebuilt and tended to, but is still humming (or coughing or smoking, occasionally) after 50-plus years.

The Ensign sailboat is the largest class of full keel boats in North America. It was designed by Carl Alberg and built by Pearson Yachts of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, where nearly 1800 boats were built from 1962 through 1983.

The Ensign is 22 feet long, weighs about 3,000 pounds, has a draft of three feet and is best raced with a crew of four. Most of the Ensigns racing out off Ned’s Point last week carried crews of three or four, and, with the stiff southeast breezes, they hiked out on the upwind legs to maximize boat speed.

Rick Warren’s Odyssey won both races last Tuesday; Steve and Tina Clark aboard BrouHaHa came in second both times, and Jason Dubreuil’s Hydra placed third. John Mello’s One Love III placed fourth in the first race, but had to abandon the second race after doing a penalty lap at the upwind mark and suffering some minor damage.

Last Wednesday, the MYC scheduled a practice race for the PHRF classes. The PHRF races get under way for real on Wednesday this week, and the Ensigns continue to race on Tuesdays.

The MYC hosts the Spring Round-the-Bay race on Saturday, with the starting sequence schedule to begin at 11:30 a.m. This race takes boats on a lengthy course from Ned’s Point to West Island bell, the Weepeckits, Woods Hole, Cleveland Ledge lighthouse and back to Ned’s Point.

The MYC and Mattapoisett Boat Yard are offering free moorings Friday for any boat entered in the race. There is also a cookout scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday on the grounds of the Mattapoisett Boat Yard (where the MYC maintains a clubhouse).

Entries close at 10 p.m. Thursday, and no late entries are allowed; fees are $40 for MYC members and $50 for non-members. The Spring RTB is open to single-hulled yachts with a 2014 PHRF certificate and with a cruising rating of 257 or less. Boats entered in the Racing division can use an asymmetrical spinnaker; boats entered in the Cruising class may not use spinnakers of any type, double-headed headsail combinations with luffs attached to the forestay or mizzen staysails.

For the Notice of Race, entry forms and sailing instructions, see Click Racing, then select the desired link in the Spring Round the Bay section.

Low Tide Yacht Club Racing and Coming Events

Racing at the Low Tide Yacht Club got underway at noon on June 1 following a well-attended Commodore’s breakfast.

LTYC Commodore Ed Lobo’s J-105 Waterwolf placed first in the spinnaker (racing) class; Dick Hitchcock’s J-30 Dragon placed first in the non-spinnaker (cruising) class. Racing continues weekly on Thursday evenings starting in the waters off Fort Taber near the Butler Flats light.

The LTYC is planning at Steak Out followed by a silent auction at 6 p.m. July 10 and a clam boil Aug. 23, also at 6 p.m. Both events and the auction take place at the LTYC clubhouse in the Fort Taber complex in New Bedford’s South End.

On Aug. 16 is the Run, Row, and Hops pursuit race, where the winning skipper rows in after finishing the race, hops to the clubhouse, rings the bell and gets a drink of choice as a reward.

The LTYC is seeking active members and more people to race on Thursday nights. Contact Commodore Lobo at 774-501-2097 (cell) or 508-971-1409 (home) or by e-mail at for more information.

Morgan Homecoming Parade of Boats

All area sailors and skippers are invited to participate in the Parade of Boats to celebrate the homecoming of the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 29 (after the Seastreak ferry departs the harbor).

The parade is scheduled to start in a single vessel formation in the New Bedford Harbor. Boats will be grouped in categories behind the New Bedford Fire Department Marine 31, with water cannons blasting, followed by, in order: whaleboats, rowing shells, recreational boats, commercial fishing vessels, public safety boats and ending with commercial tugs and other commercial vessels. A staging area for rowing shells, whaleboats and recreational boats will be located northeast of green buoy No. 3 on the Fairhaven side of the harbor channel. Vessels will monitor VHF Channel 71 for communications and instructions.

Registration is not required, but skippers should let organizers know of their interest in participating by sending an e-mail to with your name, description of your vessel, name of the vessel and mobile/cell phone number.

To volunteer ashore, contact Kelly Bendiksen at or 508-965-1007. For complete information on the C.W. Morgan homecoming schedule, visit

Barbara Veneri writes about boating and sailing for the Standard Times. Contact her at

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Sailing: Maloney and Bullot in top ten after day two

Winds were light for day two of the 2014 European Laser Standard and Laser Radial Championships being held in Split, Croatia and all fleets added just one race to their results before the diminishing sea breeze saw the second scheduled race cancelled.

Andy Maloney retains 5th overall in the Laser standard division at the same time maintaining his spot as the best placed of four kiwis in the 132-strong fleet. Maloney, who was 12th in today’s race, has a point-score of 19.

Mike Bullot has broken into the top ten after today’s race climbing from 18th up to lie 9th overall going into day three. He was 8th across the line today and holds 23 points – equal to the sailor in 8th position.

The regatta website describes the day at the venue; “If we said that yesterday was tough today it was even more difficult. One race for all fleets, [the] second was not possible because the wind was too unstable and fragile. Again the air temperature was very high, 32 degrees, so the Race Committee did not waste time, they made a quick call and send the fleet home around 1630.”

There is no change to Sam Meech’s overall standing after today; he stays in 21st after a 14th on the water on day two. Thomas Saunders, who was 25th in race three of the series, lies 45th overall.

Sharing the overall lead at this early stage are Britain’s Nick Thompson and Brazil’s Robert Scheidt both on 12 points.

In the Women’s Laser Radial fleet, including 92 boats, Sara Winther has improved a couple of places to 24th after a 19th from today and Susannah Pyatt is now in 80th.

Sara Winther reports; “We raced one race in a 4-7 knot sea breeze, but it started to fade before we could get another race in. I had a shocking start and was pretty deep, but did everything I could and managed to get back to 19th…not great, but possible the best race I have sailed so far.”

Racing continues in Split tomorrow and runs for another four days with the titles set to be decided and medals presented on Saturday 14th June.

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Boat Dealer Profits offers free video marketing webinar for dealers, brokers

Boat Dealer Profits
June 10, 2014
Filed under News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Matt Sellhordt, author and “Head Profits Coach” is offering a free webinar for boat dealers and brokers, “Video Marketing to Sell More Boats Year Round.”

According to the training, all you need is a camera phone (iPhone, Droid) and the desire to sell more boats 24/7, 365 while building your brand online for free.

More and more prospects are going online during the buying process so the internet is becoming the place to master in today’s marketing world. Recent studies have also stated 74% of online consumption by 2017 will be video based.

“If your dealership is not doing video marketing right now, you will soon be left behind,” says Sellhorst.

In the early days, it just took a telephone and time to follow up. Then came the internet and email and now video marketing is the one media you must utilize to gain an advantage. And, this is not a passing fad but a game changer you must figure out now before it’s too late.

That’s why the folks at Boat Dealer Profits have pulled back the curtains for this webinar to show how a top producing salesman gets over 20,000 video views each month that lead to hundreds of leads and more importantly, high margin boat sales.

You can gain access. The training promises that within 17 minutes anyone can start driving quality leads using these simple video marketing strategies and gain a huge advantage over their competition.

Participate and get started with your own video marketing system before your competition does. A special website has been established for free access for a limited time at: www.HowToSellMoreBoats.Com

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Last year Britain’s most able seaman since Admiral Nelson masterminded one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all-time, calling the tactics as Oracle Team USA sailed back from a virtual Dead Sea to win the America’s Cup in San Francisco.

But sailing with a Stars and Stripe on his sleeve took something off the moment for the four-time Olympic champion.

Britain has staged the Olympics, finally won the men’s singles title at Wimbledon and seized yellow at the Tour de France twice…in two years.

But the Auld Mug is arguably the last sporting summit to be conquered and it’s time to end 163 years of maritime misery, with Sir Ben at the helm and a nation providing the wind in his sails.

However, turning a required investment of £80 million into a success will not be easy, new teams rarely succeed on their maiden voyages – indeed it took US software billionaire Larry Ellison two attempts – a reported $200 million – before his success in Valencia four years ago.

“It is never easy, but it is about bringing together the right people who have built successful corporations, designed successful America’s Cup boats, sailed on winning boats, brought the Olympics to Britain and we have those people,” said Ainslie, who is being backed by London 2012 deputy chairman Sir Keith Mills and Carphone Warehouse co-founder Sir Charles Dunstone in his campaign.

“Winning last year was more powerful that anything I’d previously achieved but it would have been so much more fulfilling with a British team and that’s the goal.

“Since childhood I’ve had this burning desire and ambition to be part of a winning British America’s Cup team. We don’t just want to take part, we’re here to win and we’ve got a budget that will make us competitive.”

Next week Ainslie will seek to capture one of his sport’s most famous records as he seeks to set the quickest monohull circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight at the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

He already holds the multihull record from last year and the event has deep rooted historical links to his America’s Cup campaign.

The race was first contested as a 52-mile circuit sail on the Solent in 1851 – the schooner America won – claiming trophy naming rights – and a British boat has never won it back.

Ainslie – who has already raised 40 percent of his required budget – could have named his price to be involved with another campaign but wanted to fly the British flag, though he’s drafted in experienced Kiwi Jono McBeth to the key role of sailing manager.

“For me, it is probably not the easy option, but it is certainly the right option,” added Ainslie, who received a royal seal of approval to his challenge from Team GB ambassador the Duchess of Cambridge.

“It is about righting a wrong and bringing the cup back to British waters for the first time ever.

“I know what it is like to be successful but I’d like to do that under the British flag – with a boat the whole country can get behind. All of us are here to win the America’s Cup and we will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.”

© Sportsbeat 2014

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