Archive for » August 11th, 2014«

Analyst anticipates boat-sales growth in July

Posted on August 11th, 2014
Written by Reagan Haynes

A marine industry analyst for Wells Fargo disagrees with growing concerns that U.S. retail boat sales are sluggish.

Senior analyst Timothy Conder says that based on conversations with marine lenders, Wells Fargo is estimating that July sales are up between 7 and 9 percent.

“The 19- to 30-foot portion of the sterndrive segment remains the most challenged part of the market, while the remainder of the industry has continued its seasonal upturn begun in June,”Conder wrote in a recent report. “Of particular note is an ongoing improvement in 31- to 40-foot sterndrive …and 40-foot-plus inboard products.”

Aged inventory seems to be tracking sequentially toward a new annual historic low, Conder wrote.At the same time, dealer inventory turns are around two times and dealer financial health is at record highs.

“We believe the 2014 retail season will be concentrated in June to September, similar to the late-season trend seen in July to October of 2013,”Conder said. “For July-October, we expect solid mid- to upper-single-digit year-over-year growth rates,”given comparisons that were up 12 to 18 percent.

Conder said “flash”data provided by Statistical Surveys that focuses on 25 to 30 early reporting states should be considered secondarily to broader trends occurring in the marketplace. The Statistical Surveys data are later updated with reporting from all states.

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Sailors rescued after 80 boats capsize in Northern Ireland storm

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Northern Ireland’s coastguard launched a rescue operation on Monday after around 80 small sailing boats capsized during a storm.

A spokeswoman for the coastguard said all of 97 sailors involved had been rescued.

The incident took place in strong winds on Strangford Lough during a world championship race for GP14 class dinghies.

At least 10 people were injured and treated at the scene.

(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Poor Robert Redford. If only he had gone to sailing school, the wayward yachtsman would have known not to cross the Indian Ocean solo with the wrong lifeboat. When a cargo container slashed the port side of his 39-foot yacht, he should have immediately tacked to starboard.

“And if he had the presence of mind to cover the gash with a mattress and taped plastic over the hole, he might have made it,” says skipper Mark Turner, as he comes about off Florida’s Sanibel Island and heads toward port.

For Redford’s character in the film “All Is Lost,” it’s too late. But as Turner, fleet services director for Offshore Sailing School
( based in Fort Myers, explains, “Learning how to sail is not difficult if you’re willing to take a good class.”

With more than 130,000 graduates behind it, Offshore promotes the green alternative to power boating. You may be surprised to know that more than 60 percent of Americans have never climbed aboard a sailboat.

As one who has sailed his entire life, I find this to be one of life’s great mysteries. After all, as my father frequently pointed out, yachting is indisputably the secret to longevity.

“It takes about a week of training to get to the point where you can charter a yacht,” says Offshore chairman Steve Colgate, who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the sailing school he founded in New York.

“Less, if you want to sail a smaller boat,” says his wife, and company president and CEO, Doris Colgate.

With locations in New York, New Jersey, Florida and the Virgin Islands, Offshore Sailing School’s mission is to make yachting safe and enjoyable. And, as many of the school’s students will tell you, a class could also change your life.

Learning how to run with the wind, come about, jibe and handle “man overboard” incidents on Colgate 26 training sailboats, designed by Steve Colgate and Jim Taylor, are all part of the curriculum.

The Colgates and their team of instructors are missionaries, talking business people, families, kids and even powerboat owners into giving sailing a try. Although you can certainly learn a lot from their books, online and classroom instruction, there’s nothing quite like being out in the Gulf of Mexico, Long Island Sound or the Caribbean.

At its headquarters in Fort Myers and other locations, the school partners with local resorts to offer a program that turns a vacation into a learning experience. Although there are three-day courses perfect for beginners, many students focus on weeklong sessions. Upon graduation, they are fully qualified to charter bareboat yachts; the term “bareboat” means the boat comes without crew or provisions.

While students are from all walks of life, the current trend is toward empty nesters who have both the time and the money to take up sailing. Fuel costs have also helped persuade powerboat owners to switch to sailing. The school also attracts many students who own sailboats and want to brush up on their skills.

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