Archive for » June 23rd, 2014«

Boat sales rebounding in South Florida – Sun

More people in South Florida are taking to the water in new boats.

Registrations of new boats increased 14 percent in Paslm Beach County in the year ending in March, after jumping 25 percent the year before, according to Info-Link Technologies Inc., a marine industry tracker based in Miami.

In Broward County, registrations of new boats increased 17 percent, up from 13 percent the year before.

The reasons: an improving economy, attractive financing and people who are tired of waiting to buy, marine retailers say.

“It’s been crazy. We’re extremely busy,” said Steve Sprague, vice president of Tuppen’s Marine Tackle, one of the oldest and largest marine and tackle outfits in the county. “We’ve just been going like wild fire.”

Tuppen’s has two locations in Lake Worth and one in Hypoluxo. Just last week, Tuppen’s delivered seven boats across South Florida. And more deals are in the pipeline.

“We’re doing well in South Florida,” said Chuck Cashman, vice president of east operations for Clearwater-based MarineMax, the nation’s largest recreational boat and yacht retailer with about 55 stores in 18 states. “We’re seeing consistent, solid growth. We’re pretty well up over last year.”

Cashman oversees nine MarineMax stores from Martin to Monroe counties, including sites in Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale. He said sales of new boats in particular are “going very well.”

The rebound is a relief to an industry that weathered tough years after the recession. New-boat registrations in Palm Beach County totaled 1,268 in 2008, but the numbers declined for three years after that and increased only 8 percent from 2011 to 2012.

The total number of boats registered still has not recovered. It fell from 37,051 in 2012 to 36,852 last year.

Boat and supply dealers say the industry seems to have bottomed out. Both big and small boats are in demand this year, they say.

“We’re seeing a lot of new people coming into boating,” Sprague said.

Taiwan yacht builder Horizon Yachts, which operates its U.S. headquarters in North Palm Beach, has seen high interest in its luxury yachts in the past six months.

Horizon recently sold four E88 luxury motoryachts — 88 feet long with price tags ranging from $6.4 million to $6.8 million, said Elise Moffitt, a Horizon Yacht USA sales and marketing agent.

“Sales are definitely up compared to this time last year,” Moffitt said. “Having four sales at [relatively] the same time is an increase for us.”

The majority of the E88 yachts are going to buyers with ties to South Florida, she said.

“There’s pent up demand, and people are tired of waiting” for the right conditions to buy, she said.

Dusky Marine in Dania Beach has seen an upswing in sales of its custom-built offshore and shallow-water sportfishing boats in the past two months, after a slower start to the year due in part to the lingering winter.

Just recently, two boats were sold, and more orders are rolling in.

“We’re backed up three to four months,” said Michael Brown, vice president and owner of the nearly 50-year-old business. “I can’t build them fast enough.”

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All at sea

Robert Snashall with Mount Santubong as the backdrop.

JAMIE CULLUM sings of a life, idyllic and free, in his song “All At Sea” with the lyrics — I’m all at sea, where no one can bother me. Forgot my roots if only for a day. Just me and my thoughts sailing far away.

When one thinks about it, doesn’t a life in a yacht out on the wide azure waters of the ocean inspire a life of luxury?

When you read pop culture books, yachts are often referenced as a status symbol, with butlers, champagne and oysters among other luxuries, and even in recent news, you would have seen celebs enjoying a nice time yachting out on the ocean.

thesundaypost had the opportunity to board a yacht recently although the experience was nothing as glamorous as the silver screen or books made it out to be.

In the much noticeable humid temperatures brought about by sizzling El Nino, it was sweltering, yet strangely calming as we bobbed up and down like a cork in water.

The yacht, named Jolie Brise, which means beautiful breeze, is owned by 72-year-old Australian Robert Snashall.

Of course, I was intrigued to find out the story behind the name.

The original Jolie Brise.

“There is a lady involved, but it’s not,” Snashall said with a definite chuckle when prompted by the question – Was it named after a lady?

Apparently, the story behind Jolie Brise started when a young Robert Snashall, aged eight or nine, found an old book about sailing (Peter Heaton’s Sailing), which featured the original Jolie Brise, a French pilot cutter ship.

“I used to devour this book — I learned about building boats because my father was sort of a boat builder although he was really more of a house builder but I looked at this (referring to a picture of a boat blueprint) and thought One day, I must have a boat like that to go exploring,” he recalled.

Snashall’s interest in sailing was not merely sparked by that coincidental stumbling upon a blueprint nor the colourful history of the Jolie Brise but also partly by his own childhood.

“We used to live by the seaside where a lot of people went for their summer boats and my father used to build a lot of motorboats for people to go fishing in. This was in the early 1950’s and he used to rent out these boats along with some canoes.

“I was allowed to use one of these canoes — I was about eight or nine years old — and I got my mother to get me a broomstick and an old sheet to make a sail.

“I used to paddle upwind and sail downwind. I thought that was fabulous,” he enthused, recalling the remarkable discovery of being able to go somewhere without doing much work and getting blown along with the wind.

The blueprint photos that inspired Robert Snashall to build his own boat.

Snashall then went on to join the Sea Scouts and bought his first small yacht when he was 15 years old, after saving up from Saturday mornings working at a local petrol station.

“It was 12 feet long and cost me 60 pounds at the time. About 25 years ago, I bought the fibreglass hull and fitted it out over five years, spending my free time and weekends doing all the woodwork, fitting it out and making the mast.

“So this is all my handiwork, well, not the fibreglass but most of it. So in a way, it’s one of my creations — a floating holiday home, if you must,” he chuckled.

When the boat was finished and ready to be launched, he originally wanted to call it Cameric, a combination of his two sons’ names – Cameron and Eric.

But at the time, he had a partner who was French, and he remembered this book (Peter Heaton’s Sailing), and thought Why not?

“So that’s the story behind Jolie Brise,” Snashall said, further revealing that the original Jolie Brise had quite a chequered past.

In the 1890’s and before, ships used to leave the East Coast of the US to return to Europe, and they would telegraph their leaving times to “pilots” who were required to guide these ships into French and English ports.

Mini companies would usually provide these pilots.

Jolie Brise was the fastest of these sailing pilot cutters, as they were called, but towards the end of the sailing era, and when steamships were starting to take over, Jolie Brise became a racing yacht, going on to win the first major international yacht race before becoming a fishing boat in Portugal, a wreck, a rich man’s yacht in the South of England, resuming a racing yacht life, and is now a national trust boat, managed and run by a sailing school in the United Kingdom, based on the Isle of Wight.

“It’s a lovely historic boat,” Snashall mused.

The weather, despite being sweltering, was interspersed by occasional cool breezes which alleviated the humid discomfort, yet everyday at sea couldn’t always be this pleasant, could it?

“Oh, no. Sometimes there are enormous waves. For example, when I was sailing here from Indonesia along the Sunda Strait, there were enormous thunderstorms, heavy winds and strong rain for three nights. It wasn’t enjoyable.

“So yes, sometimes I get scared. I mean, I don’t think anyone won’t be scared; you’re up against the elements, the weather. But you think rationally about it. Everything is okay, you’re doing everything you can do and need to do, and just think rationally,” he said.

A faraway sight of the Jolie Brise and its owner Robert Snashall arriving to pick journalists up in a dingy. — Photos by Phyllis Wong

Snashall, who has worked with the UN as a consultant over the past 15 years, building refugee camps, also spoke of sailing rallies such as the Sail Indonesia Rally and Sail Malaysia Rally.

“A lot of international boats sailing round the world would come across the Pacific and stay the hurricane season in Queensland, Australia, before sailing to Darwin and joining the Sail Indonesia Rally, taking them right through Indonesia to complete the run in Johor Bahru.

“From then on, they join the Sail Malaysia Rally — from Danga Bay, Johor Bahru to Miri, Labuan, Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Turtle Islands Park, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Semporna and ending in Tawau,” he explained.

Snashall further explained these rallies often saw dinners and cultural events at the various stops — a great way to introduce the local culture to the sailors.

“I think what these rallies do is introduce a lot of Australians, who are living quite conservative lives with no understanding of other cultures, to the local cultures.

“While a lot of them do travel, it’s mostly to Europe or America, and recently, more to Southeast Asia, but a two-week holiday doesn’t really teach you much about other peoples’ culture, does it?

“So it’s good for sailors to experience this, and it’s good for cultures to see each other and have a better understanding. Hopefully, that way, we can have a more peaceful world,” Snashall added.

Before I disembarked, Snashall shared an old seamen’s adage: You need one hand for yourself and one hand for the ship.

A proverb which states “when you are on a ship, always use one hand to steady yourself, and one to work; likewise, always put some effort into safeguarding yourself as well as into working.”

Something to consider — often, the modern man or woman chases success, stability, power, fortune, in an eternal rat race, but at the risk of over-exerting or overworking.

This saying is such a revelation that going all out with both eyes on the prize may not be the best in the long term and it’s always better to sometimes take a step back, draw a deep breath and pursue it with one eye on the prize and one eye on well-being.

Wise words from 16th century sailors to keep in mind even in this advanced time and age.

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Sailing for Salmon exhibit opens in Blaine, Wash.

June 20th 4:00 pm | by Tim Troll

Sailing for Salmon, the exhibit marking the 125th anniversary of the Bristol Bay commercial fishery, opened in Blaine, Wash., over the Memorial Day weekend. The exhibit put together by the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust had its inaugural opening in the Peter Pan Cannery netloft in June of 2009. The exhibit celebrates the longevity of the fishery by highlighting the days when sailboats, often called double-enders, drifted the Bay. The exhibit has traveled to the Pratt Museum in Homer, The Anchorage Museum, The City Museum of Cordova, the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, and the Alaska General Seafoods cannery in Naknek. Blaine is the first venue outside of Alaska.

Blaine has a long historical connection to Bristol Bay. The Main offices and cannery of the Alaska Packers Association (APA) were located on Semiahmoo spit in Blaine. The APA was, for decades, the dominant canning company in Alaska and Bristol Bay. Many of the APA sailboats that fished Bristol Bay were built in Blaine. The APA is now gone and the cannery complex on the Semiahmoo spit has been transformed into a luxury resort. But, the history of the APA is preserved in Blaine largely through the preservation of several cannery buildings maintained by Whatcom County Parks and Recreation. The exhibit is on display in one of these original cannery buildings. The grand opening for the Sailing for Salmon exhibit in Blaine was attended by many people connected to Bristol Bay as fishermen, cannery workers or retired employees of the APA.

The APA museum keeps an original Bristol Bay sailboat in its permanent display. However, the non-profit organization Drayton Harbor Maritime that operates the museum recently received a donation of another sailboat by Trident Seafoods. The volunteers at Drayton Harbor Maritime, under the direction of its visionary director Richard Sturgill, are restoring that boat to sailing condition. The sailboat comes from the APA Diamond NN cannery in Naknek and was saved by its former employees Gary Johnson and Carvel Zimin. Soon the sailboat will become the only surviving example of a Bristol Bay double-ender still in the water and in its original fishing configuration.

Sailing for Salmon will remain at the APA museum in Blaine through the Labor Day weekend. The Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust is in discussion with several other potential venues for the exhibit – including The Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union in Seattle that has a sailing example of a Bristol Bay double-ender. The Maritime Museum of San Diego, Calif., home of the tall ship Star of India, has also expressed interest. The Star of India was part of the great star fleet assembled by the APA and sailed between San Francisco, Calif. and Nushagak from 1906 to 1922. The Star of India has been restored and is now the world’s oldest active sailing ship.

Tim Troll is the Executive Director of the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust.


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Buying or browsing, boat show at the South Florida Fairgrounds draws from all …

Sales were not as strong as during the boom days around 2007, but Craig Clements, of Palm City Yachts, said Sunday his staff was happy to sell nine boats at the West Palm Summer Boat Show.

“Back then we sold 29 boats. Now that financing is loosening up, people are buying again,” said Clements, standing among the 180 shiny new boats for sale at the South Florida Fairgrounds.

The three-day annual event that ended Sunday drew steady crowds, said Gary Lipkins with Show Management Inc., the event organizer. Boat sizes varied from 13 feet to 49 feet and prices ranged from $25,000 to $450,000, he said.

“Many customers are from Palm Beach County. But some are up from Miami and other locations. Some boats have been sold and are being shipped out of the country,” he said.

Dressed in Guy Harvey T-shirts, flip-flops, ball caps and shorts, it was a boating crowd that paid $7 each to enter the show. They eagerly kicked off their shoes before stepping aboard to view many of the boats inside the Expo east and west auditoriums.

Buying a boat has long been a dream for her family, said Lois LeBlanc, a Vero Beach resident. Running her hand along the stern of a 25-footer, she said they wanted to buy one before their two daughters, 12 and 15, get much older.

“We have friends who have a boat. They take us out, and that’s great. But it would be fantastic to have our own boat and go out when we please,” she said.

While his company had sold just two boats, MarineMax business manager Michael Demask said getting his boats out in the public means future sales.

“Many people are out here just to kick tires and look. That’s fine. They will remember us when it comes time to buy,” said Demask, whose company has stores in North Palm Beach and Stuart.

Boats were not the only items for sale. A $1,600 outdoor chair for two and a coffee table made from water skis were on display by Ski-Daddle, a New Smyrna company. Salespeople touted mattresses for $1,300. Hot tubs, outdoor lighting systems and home furnishings were also for sale.

Sales personnel and customers agreed the annual boat show at the fairgrounds does not draw the volume of people as the big boat shows in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the West Palm Beach waterfront. But a smaller show has its advantages, said Jackson Walsh, a resident of Delray Beach.

“Here, you can take your time and look,” Walsh said. “You go to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and it’s elbow-to-elbow people.”

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Oxnard yacht club takes veterans sailing

The Channel Islands Yacht Club sent 40 boats carrying about 200 veterans out onto the Pacific on Sunday for its Veterans Sail Day.

KAREN QUINCY LOBERG/THE STARSea lions sit on a buoy off Channel Islands Harbor on Sunday, one of the offshore sights during the Channel Islands Yacht Club Disabled Veterans Sail Day.

Photo by Karen Quincy Loberg, Karen Quincy Loberg

Sea lions sit on a buoy off Channel Islands Harbor on Sunday, one of the offshore sights during the Channel Islands Yacht Club Disabled Veterans Sail Day.

Some sailed the local waters off Oxnard while others went as far as Anacapa Island.

“I wanted to do something like this for some time, and I planned to do it when I was at a previous yacht club,” said Bill Brayton, event organizer and yacht club member. “I knew I wanted to help give something back to vets who serve our country, and so I started working with sponsors to make it happen,” he said.

Yacht club members volunteer their time, boats, fuel and crew, and sponsors including the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association, Wounded Warriors, Eyman-Parker Insurance Brokers, Vintage Marina and the Ventura Chefs Association of the American Culinary Federation contributed.

“When I first started doing this three years ago, we had maybe 40 vets come out, and then the next year it was a few more,” Brayton said. “This year, word got out, and they came from all over.”

KAREN QUINCY LOBERG/THE STARPassengers and crew aboard the Glin De Mar wave to a passing boat and its passengers Sunday in the Oxnard Harbor.

Photo by Karen Quincy Loberg, Karen Quincy Loberg

Passengers and crew aboard the Glin De Mar wave to a passing boat and its passengers Sunday in the Oxnard Harbor.

Brayton said check-in time at the yacht club was 10 a.m. but that people began showing up as early as 9 a.m. Boats began returning to the club about 3 p.m. Veterans got breakfast, lunch and a T-shirt, he said.

Edward Collins, who served 11 years in the Navy and was a signalman aboard the USS San Jose in Vietnam, said he was thrilled to be back on the ocean again.

“The ocean can be very humbling,” said the resident of the Veterans Home in West Los Angeles. “When you go out there again, you feel very small, but it revitalizes your soul. It gives you a little bit of faith.”

Frank Sullivan, a yacht club member and captain of the 35-foot Valkyrie, a motor vessel, took three veterans, including Jerry Feldman, of Calabasas, and a retired Marine who served in the Korean War, around Anacapa Island and back.

KAREN QUINCY LOBERG/THE STARFred Neil, a retired Marine and veteran of the Korean War, travels off Silver Strand Beach on Sunday.

Photo by Karen Quincy Loberg, Karen Quincy Loberg

Fred Neil, a retired Marine and veteran of the Korean War, travels off Silver Strand Beach on Sunday.

“It was wonderful,” Feldman said. “The fresh air, a beautiful day, and we got to go all the way out to the island. I loved it.”

Yacht club member Kim Morris, owner of the 36-foot motor vessel Nella, said the experience gave her more than she expected.

“It’s our first time participating, and we took out three generations of a family. To be able to participate in something like this, to see the joy on their faces — it was more than worth it.”

One of Morris’s passengers was John Bickerstaff, of Moorpark, an Army veteran who served in Korea during the Vietnam War. Bickerstaff; his son, John Jr.; and grandson C.J. were onboard. Bickerstaff was in a wheelchair.

KAREN QUINCY LOBERG/THE STARPat O’Neill sits at the bow of a powerboat taking her husband and her for a ride during the Channel Islands Yacht Club Disabled Veterans Sail Day.

Photo by Karen Quincy Loberg, Karen Quincy Loberg

Pat O’Neill sits at the bow of a powerboat taking her husband and her for a ride during the Channel Islands Yacht Club Disabled Veterans Sail Day.

“I’ve tried three times to go fishing out here,” he said. “Once, it was too choppy, once it was too foggy, and the third time there weren’t enough passengers.”

Bickerstaff said today was the realization of a goal.

“I got to go out today and see the arch out at Anacapa. It was a great thing. I could do this everyday of my life,” he said.

“It’s very difficult for me to talk about it a lot,” Brayton said. “I get very emotional. This is all from the heart, and all of us just want to give back. You can’t ask for more than that.”

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