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Analyst optimistic despite slow May boat sales

Posted on June 19th, 2014
Written by Reagan Haynes

Wells Fargo analysts are reiterating their belief that the overall retail boat industry will be up between 8 and 9 percent in light of May sales data released by Statistical Surveys.

Senior analyst Timothy Conder and associate analysts Marc Torrente and Karen Wang say that despite some mixed trends, the decrease in sales was likely attributable to tough comparisons with sales last year.

“We believe industry fundamentals remain sound, with clean channel inventories and new [and] used market dynamics lifting new unit sales,” the three say in their analysis.

Sales in key segments aluminum pontoon 16 to 99 feet and aluminum fishing 16 to 24 feet decreased 6.2 percent and 1.5 percent “with very difficult prior year comps,” having risen 17.6 percent and 9 percent last year, Conder said in the analysis.

Outboard fiberglass 11 to 40 feet showed steady momentum, rising 6.2 percent in May and 9.3 percent year to date, Conder said.

Fiberglass inboard and sterndrive also faced difficult comps in larger ranges, but on smaller volumes.

Ski and wake, as well as PWC, “continued to be standout categories under the non-traditional segment,” with ski rising 13 percent and PWC spiking 31.8 percent in May.

Conder expects Brunswick Corp., Malibu Boats and Sea-Doo’s sales to be favorable for shareholders.

He expects Brunswick to continue to regain share during the second and third quarters this year. “We believe management is indifferent to the rotation away from mid-size sterndrive boats to aluminum and fiberglass boats as long as a Mercury engine is attached,” Conder wrote in his analysis. “Mercury is Brunswick’s largest and most profitable business.”

He noted that National Marine Manufacturers Association data shows outboard engine shipments increased 4.3 percent year-over-year for the period ending in May, with retail sales up 8.9 percent for the same period.

Data through March showed Malibu lost share, but in a quarter that only accounts for 13.7 percent of annual volumes. Also, the data “excluded a few key Malibu Boats states,” Conder said.

The company also stands to “earn better economics on sales” in Australia if the licensee buyout announced Monday goes through.

The rise in PWC sales also bodes favorably for Sea-Doo, he said.

“Spark is a potential catalyst in restoring PWC industry growth after a 14-year decline,” he said. “The Spark should also help Sea-Doo’s entry into target developing markets. Evinrude is benefiting from strong outboard boat trends, but has underperformed modestly as engine sales for new boats outpace the repower business, where Evinrude is concentrated. The new E-TEC engines should help regain momentum.”

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Holmes Hole Sailing Association kicks off season

The Holmes Hole Sailing Association kicked off the summer season in a big way last Saturday with its first ever opening weekend potluck supper, followed by the annual Tune-Up Race the next day on Sunday, June 15. More than 34 skippers and crew converged on Steve and Pam Besse’s house in Vineyard Haven for the supper where Commodore Gerry Goodale announced the season as officially started and Roger Becker issued sailing instructions.

The next day Frank DeSimone captained his Colombia 32 sloop for the opening day win by nearly five minutes over second-place finisher Penelope, skippered by Mo Flam. Coming in third was Brian Roberts aboard Aileen, a Sparkman Stephens entry, and fourth was HHSA newcomer Adam Hayes aboard Resilience, an SS Dolphin.

Overall, 12 boats came to the line and set out for East Chop on Course No. 1, a 6.5 mile loop that sent the fleet twice around the harbor buoys. The wind blew out of the north with just enough authority at 12 knots to craft a beautiful afternoon of sailing. All boats finished in just over two hours with both A and B division vessels competing as one group.

Next race is on Sunday, June 22 which will start at 12 noon on a course that will take the fleet out into Vineyard Sound. Competitors will be divided into divisions A and B to begin season series scoring.


If you are interested in joining the HHSA, all new members are welcome. Contact David Lott at 508-693-6204 for more information. 

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Boat sales momentum stalls in May

Posted on June 19th, 2014
Written by Jack Atzinger


Click to enlarge.

After appearing to gain momentum in April, recreational boat sales were mixed in May in 27 early-reporting states, a disappointing result for the industry as it tries to climb out of an early-spring slump and repeat the summer gains it achieved in 2013.

Statistical Surveys said today that sales in the main powerboat segments fell 2.6 percent, or 339 boats, to 12,658, from the previous May in states that account for 63 percent of the U.S. market. Industrywide sales rose 5.1 percent, or 1,054, to 21,674, largely on the strength of double-digit percentage increases in personal watercraft and ski-boat sales. PWC sales rose by more than 1,300.

Sales of 11- to 40-foot fiberglass outboard boats rose 6.2 percent, or 223, to 3,792, but sales declined in the other high-volume categories in the main segments.

Sales of aluminum pontoons and fishing boats, which have been industry leaders since the Great Recession ended, were lower. Pontoon sales fell 6.2 percent, or 288 boats, to 4,363, and fishing boat sales were off 1.5 percent, or 43, at 2,875.

Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager Ryan Kloppe attributed the slow sales to the lingering effects of the harsh winter that much of the country endured.

“I think what you’re still seeing is the remnants of that winter,” Kloppe said. “We didn’t have a good boating day in Michigan until Memorial Day weekend.”

As states that had a particularly hard winter shake off its aftereffects, “you’ll see some of the [expected] uptick in sales,” he said.

Although pontoon sales have slowed this year, Kloppe believes it would be premature to say the segment is losing momentum. He said Minnesota and Wisconsin, two strong states for pontoon sales, were not among those reporting early in May. He expects sales to grow in those states and others during the warm-weather months.

Kloppe said he spoke with one dealer in Michigan who said he was flooded with requests from customers near Memorial Day for delivery of pontoons they had bought.

Florida, as usual, was the sales leader among the early-reporting states. Sales there rose by 588 boats to 2,857. In an encouraging development, Michigan emerged from the frigid winter to rank second with sales of 2,692 boats, although the number was virtually flat — up just 27 from May 2013.

Other states in the top five were Texas (2,524, up 265), New York (1,666, down 190) and North Carolina (1,312, up 176).

Rounding out the top 10 were Georgia (898, down 63), Tennessee (887, up 262), New Jersey (768, up 123), Arkansas (744, up 143) and Ohio (730, down 186).

More boats were sold in seven of the top 10 states this May than in the same month last year.

Sales of 14-to 30-foot sterndrive and inboard fiberglass boats have been slumping, and that category’s struggles continued. Sales for the month in the early-reporting states totaled 1,379 — 6.2 percent, or 288 boats fewer than a year earlier.

Sales of PWC, which rose 31.8 percent, or 1,311 units, to 5,439, buoyed the market, as did the ski-boat category, where sales rose 13 percent, or 84, to 732. Sales of jetboats were 3 percent lower, off 11 boats, at 354.

Among the low-volume bigger-boat categories, 31- to 40-foot cruisers were the only one that showed a gain. Sales rose by 19 boats to 151. In the 41- to 62-foot yacht category, sales fell by 11 to 81 and among 63- to 99-foot yachts sales dropped by 11 to 17. The Coast Guard was up to date in its reports of documented vessels, providing a complete picture of sales in those categories.

Sailboat sales fell by 29 to 245.

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Kenyan tourist island of Lamu braces for attacks fallout

Lamu (Kenya) (AFP) – Kenya’s resort island of Lamu has almost everything a tourist could want: white sand beaches, ancient UNESCO-listed architecture and year-round sunshine.

Cruelly missing, however, is a sense of security, and this week’s massacres in a nearby town and village could be the death knell for the tourism sector and a key source of income for thousands of people.

“It’s totally dead,” said Ziwa Abdallah Mohamed, who has worked as a tour guide on Lamu island since the early 1970s, a time when it was a hippy destination.

Back then, hundreds would arrive each day on the docks of the ancient town of Lamu, where only donkeys and motorbikes can fit down the narrow winding streets.

Visitors would sleep on the rooftops of tower houses little changed for centuries, overlooking the blue sea of the Indian Ocean, where traditional sailing boats cruised the waters.

The massacres in and around Mpeketoni — about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the island — were not the first disaster to hit the area. Three years ago, the kidnapping by Somali gunmen of a French woman from close to the island, and the seizure of two British tourists from closer to Somalia, kept visitors away.

A resident of the town of Lamu on the Kenyan resortnbsp;hellip;

But the numbers were slowly creeping back up, with the island gearing up for its busiest period beginning in July until March.

Then gunmen late on Sunday launched an attack on the mainland town of Mpeketoni, followed by a second assault on Monday, leaving at least 60 dead. Many fear it is the final straw.

“I don’t think we’re going to have any tourists here anymore,” Mohamed said mournfully.

- ‘Our economy is tourism’ -

The attacks were claimed by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab, although President Uhuru Kenyatta has instead blamed the carnage on “local political networks” along with an “opportunist network of other criminal gangs”.

Kenyan soldiers inspect the remains of burnt-out vehiclesnbsp;hellip;

Whoever is to blame, those on the island say their livelihoods are on the line.

“We had a great summer season last year and we were looking forward to this new season,” said boat captain Aswif Omar, who ferries tourists along the mangrove-lined channels for fishing trips and sunset cruises.

“I was to be busy all next month,” he said, noting that two weddings, each with large numbers of guests set to fly in, had been cancelled after the attacks made international headlines.

“Tourism is the main source of income in Lamu,” he added.

The large hotels and high-end villas in the island’s Shela village, famed for its vast beach that stretches as far as the eye can see, are almost all empty until at least August.

Family members wait to collect bodies of their relativesnbsp;hellip;

In one major hotel, of nearly 30 reservations for July, only two have not cancelled, and employees in some places have been asked to stay home “until further notice.”

Workers at the famous Peponi Hotel in Shela, open since 1967, are defiant, assuring that the legendary seafront establishment would open on July 1, like every year.

But many of the rich European and American owners — including many celebrities — of luxury beachfront villas have not been seen for a while, Mohamed said.

In the old town of Lamu, described by UNESCO as the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, the situation is no better.

Jeff Yaa, manager of the Hotel Bahari, a modest property with 16 rooms, said that a group of Germans — regular visitors to the island — had just cancelled their annual visit.

Between 70 to 80 percent of Lamu’s 20,000 residents live directly from the tourist economy, Mohamed said, but added that almost everyone depends on the industry in some form.

“Our economy is tourism, everything here depends on it,” he said.

“The two activities in Lamu are fishing and tourism, but if there’s no tourism, fishing for who? If there’s no tourists, there’s no restaurant to buy fish.”

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Omani teams make their presence felt in Normandy Sailing Week

(MENAFN – Muscat Daily) Oman Sail teams in the M34 and J80 class came up with impressive results at the Normandy Sailing Week that concluded at the port of Le Havre in France on Sunday.

While the Sidney Gavignetled M34 team came third (49 points) in a fleet of seven boats, the predominantly women crew on board Al Thuraya finished 12th in a fleet of 36 teams in the J80 class. Groupama 34, skippered by Franck Cammas, won the top honours in the M34 class with 21 points, while Interface Concept, led by Simon Moriceau, won the J80 event with ten points.

Daniel Souben led Courrier Dunkerque to second place with 42 points in the M34 class. Gavignet said, ”Things went well for Oman Sail at the Normandy Sailing Week. We wanted a podium place and we got one. We’re happy with our new recruits. The Omani sailors were fantastic with the manoeuvres. I am happy with our progress. There was a great battle on the water with the other boats.” Oman Sail M34 crew member Nasser al Mashari was satisfied with the experience.

”The standard of our crew is excellent. We did a good job during this event, our boathandling was fluid and the communication on board was good. We are ready for the Tour de France a la Voile (TDV). If we can keep these results going, then a podium finish in the TDV is within our reach.” The TDV starts on July 4 in Dunkerque, France. Cammas complimented Gavignet’s crew after the win, saying, ”We’re happy with our performance, though we still have a few points we can improve on.

”The competition and Oman Sail, in particular, have made a lot of progress. In the TDV, it’s likely to be a four-way battle with Courrier Dunkerque, the Omanis and Bretagne Credit Mutuel.” In the J80 class, Oman Sail’s Al Thuraya had only one man on board in Yasser al Rahbi, while the rest of the crew comprised women sailors, including British Olympian Mary Rook. Rook said, ”We had strong winds at the Normandy Sailing Week, and as we had practised boat-handling during training, we were able to focus on tactics and close-quarter sailing a lot more during the competition.

”For us, the highlight on Sunday was when we passed ten boats and caught right up with the leaders on one of the downwind legs – it was exciting for the team. We are all very pleased with our 12th-place finish. The team has made a lot of progress since the start of the season.”

Prior to the Normandy Sailing Week, Al Thuraya participated in the Si Ouest and Grand Prix Ecole Navale regattas. It now takes a ten-day break before participating in the European Championships in Barcelona, Spain starting on June 27.

Results: M34: 1 Groupama 34 (21 pts), 2 Courrier Dunkerque (41), 3 Oman Sail (49). J80: 1 Interface Concept (10), 2 Courrier Junior (22), 3 Gan’ja (27), 12 Al Thuraya (94

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Rainy June means sunny outlook for summer boat show

Houston Boat Show

Houston Boat Show

Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 8:14 pm

Updated: 8:41 pm, Wed Jun 18, 2014.

Rainy June means sunny outlook for summer boat show

Community report

Houston Community Newspapers

The nation’s boat shows are often viewed as an economic indicator for the simple reason that when the economy is good, people have more disposable income, and they buy boats.

In Texas, drought conditions also impact boat sales, and the Houston boat dealers and exhibitors at the 27th Annual Houston Summer Boat Show — opening today at NRG Center — say local rainfall has been plentiful, and that translates into predicted healthy sales.

Houston Boat Show President Ken Lovell says, “While some Texas lakes are still below level, lakes in this region of the state are back where they should be. At the same time, Houston area boaters have so many choices – not only are there lakes within an hour of downtown, there are also bayous, rivers, the bay and the gulf. We are truly a one-of-a-kind city for recreational boaters.”

The Houston Summer Boat Show features the latest in nearly every type of recreational vessel—from pontoon and fishing boats to ski/wakeboarding boats and kayaks. More than 100 exhibits offer fishing gear, water sports accessories, electronics for boating, patio furniture, vacation getaways, clothing and jewelry.

In addition to the impressive display of boats, the Houston Summer Boat Show will have plenty of family-friendly activities, including the Bass Tub, a popular live fishing demonstration; Fish-O-Rama, a Boat Show tradition and a great way to catch a rainbow trout; Bubble Runners, a giant hamster ball for kids; and so much more for both adults and the littlest of boaters.

Show hours for the 2014 Houston Summer Boat Show are:

Today-Friday, June 18-20, 1-9 p.m.

Saturday, June 21, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Sunday, June 22, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $4 for children 6-12. Kids 5 and under are free. Only cash will be accepted at the ticket windows. The onsite ticket windows will open 30 minutes prior to show opening and close 30 minutes prior to show closing. Onsite parking at NRG Center is $10 per day. The first 50 children to enter the Houston Summer Boat Show each day will receive a free rod and reel.

For more information, go to the Houston Boat Show website at

More about Houston Boat Show

  • ARTICLE: Rainy June means sunny outlook for summer boat show
  • ARTICLE: Rainy June means sunny outlook for summer boat show
  • ARTICLE: Rainy June means sunny outlook for summer boat show
  • ARTICLE: Houston Boat Show reports increased attendance, sales


Wednesday, June 18, 2014 8:14 pm.

Updated: 8:41 pm.

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