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Cantiere delle Marche appoints Denison Yacht Sales as US dealer

By Merijn de Waard

Cantiere delle Marche has appointed Denison Yacht Sales as the US exclusive dealer for their new range of explorer yachts. The two companies have worked closely for several months, resulting in the sale of a Darwin Class 102’ (formerly 96’) and the signature of one letter of intent on a Darwin Class 96’.

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Vasco Buonpensiere, Sales and Marketing Director of Cantiere delle Marche, comments, ”there is no doubt about the need for Cantiere delle Marche to have someone who transfers our values, mission and vision on a daily basis in the US market. Beside a strong marketing plan, we are also working on a dedicated range of vessels which are engineered and designed exclusively for the American market, after having interviewed more than 250 potential CdM yacht’s owners in the US. This wouldn’t have been possible without such an experienced and proactive partner.”

Bob Denison, founder and President of DYS strongly believes in the success of CdM in the North American Market. He comments, “the Denison team is thrilled to be representing CdM in North America. As a grandson, a nephew, and a son of aluminum boatbuilders here in the U.S., this product is very special to me personally. I strongly believe in the CdM and can’t wait to introduce the American market to the product.”

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Cantiere delle Marche produces vessels in a limited number of units. The Darwin Class and the Nauta Air Explorer Yachts combine the luxury specifications of a superyacht with the size of a steel hulled mini-ship designed for long range use, at an average speed of 10 knots with ranges up to 7000 miles. The Italian shipyard will bring two boats to American Boat Shows in 2015 in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.


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Nereid’s Rally aims to bring more yachting tourism to Tobago

Nereid’s Rally will see boats leaving Tobago for Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana next month. Yachts will also be leaving from Trinidad.

The organiser, David Mussnot explains why he chose Store Bay as a starting point for the rally, which will see participants setting sail at 9 a.m. on September 2.

“It is the ideal jumping off point for yachts heading for South America. Tobago is on the direct sailing path to Guyana and Trinidad has the facilities yachts need to make preparations,” he said.

He hopes the rally will result in a growth in yachting tourism for Tobago.

“The event is growing exponentially as people realise that there is fine sailing to be had south of TT during the hurricane season. Tobago is often bypassed by cruisers as it is considered off the beaten track for the majority of sailors heading north. As sailing to Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana during the hurricane season increases in popularity, Tobago will find itself at a new crossroads, and will benefit from a different kind of yachting tourism,” states Mussnot, who has teamed up with Store Bay Marine Services on Pigeon Point Road for the Tobago leg of the rally.

“Without the facilities offered by Store Bay Marine Services it would be impossible to start the rally from Tobago as there would be no support services for those taking part.”

The event is also expected to raise the profile regionally of, not only Tobago, but all of the destinations planned.

“Traditionally, these areas have not been thought of as cruising grounds, and we hope that the rally will go some ways towards educating cruisers to the wide range of facilities offered to them in these areas, as well as the natural beauty of these countries,” adds Mussnot.

All yachts taking part in the rally are expected to finish at Saint Laurent du Maroni in French Guiana on October 3.


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Boat sales in state expected to rise this year

“I bought my boat a month ago,” said Lance Lavignette, 52. “We have gone out in it quite often in Falgout Marina. My wife and I love to fish.”

Boating is a way of life for many people in the state, and the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s annual report released in May shows Louisiana is No. 9 in the country in boating sales.

The $478 million in boating industry sales in the state that include trailers and related equipment dropped 5 percent in 2013, but sales are expected to grow this year, said Sarah Ryser, National Marine Manufacturers Association director of communications.

“We’re anticipating continued steady growth this year, with a 5 to 7 percent increase in new powerboat retail sales,” she said.

The manufacturers association projects there will be one boat for every 5.6 households in Louisiana in 2014.

This is good news for the 866 boating businesses the association lists in the state in its annual sales report.

Shawn Robert, manager of H H Marine Inc., 5196 La. 311, Houma, said he has seen a continual upswing in boat sales in the past few years as the economy recovers.

“Boat sales have definitely been up this year over last year,” Robert said. “Sales last year were an increase over 2012, so it’s definitely in an upward swing.”

Boat sales are most prosperous in the spring and fall months, he said, when people buy boats for fishing and hunting.

“Typically spring is the biggest season for us. It’s when we sell a lot of our fishing boats, mostly bay boats and saltwater fishing boats. In the fall we sell a lot of hunting boats, mostly surface-drive hunting boats and boats for extremely shallow waters,” he said.

The company, which has operated out of Houma since 1970, sells boats costing $12,000 to $70,000, Robert said.

“The smaller aluminum boats are relatively inexpensive. When you get into the much bigger ones with all the bells and whistles, the price gets up there. On the higher-end boats, people typically put higher-end GPS, stereo and radar systems, and power poles to anchor the boat down. That raises the price,” he said.

Across the country, nearly 200,000 boats were sold in 2013, a 2 percent increase from 2012 when the industry began bouncing back from the recession.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association now estimates 37 percent of the nation’s adults, or 89 million people, participated in recreational boating in 2013.

According to its report, 60 percent of boat owners use their vessels for fishing. In Louisiana, the state issued 418,577 recreational fishing licenses in 2013.

Florida and Texas were the country’s two biggest boating states last year with sales of nearly $2 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively, the association said.

Boat and accessory sales nationwide in 2013 totaled nearly $36.7 billion, up 3.2 percent from the previous year, the association added.

Staff Writer Jordan Gribble can be reached at 857-2208 or jordan.gribble@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @JGrib_Courier.


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Says Thom Tillis "gives tax breaks to yacht and jet owners."

Supporters of Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., say giving tax breaks to yacht and jet owners is one way that her opponent has shown he is out-of-touch with the state’s average families.

In the North Carolina race for U.S. Senate, much of the debate has focused on Republican candidate Thom Tillis’ actions as a state leader.

In 2013, the North Carolina government received national attention for a wave of conservative legislation. The Republican-dominated General Assembly — with Tillis as speaker of the House — passed laws increasing voter ID requirements, lowering business regulations, upping restrictions on abortion providers, tightening education spending, trimming unemployment benefits and changing the tax code.

In another fact-check, we found that the controversial tax code changes reduced taxes for everyone — but much more for wealthier people than lower-income people.

Supporters of Hagan, the incumbent, keep harping on this point about the tax code in particular: Tillis supports tax breaks for yacht and jet owners. You can hear that claim here, here and here.

Most recently, we heard it in an ad from Senate Majority PAC, a liberal political action committee.

“When it comes to education, Thom Tillis is gambling with our future,” the ad’s narration says. “As speaker, he cut nearly $500 million from education, eliminating 9,000 teaching positions and overcrowding classrooms. Now he’s promising more lottery money for education? We’ve heard that broken promise before. Meanwhile, Tillis gives tax breaks for yacht and private jet owners.”

Some of the other ads said Tillis “protected” tax breaks for yacht and jet owners, but others — including this one — say he gave them the tax breaks. We decided to look into the claim a little more closely.

N.C. tax code

In 2013, under Tillis’ leadership, North Carolina lawmakers passed legislation to overhaul the tax code — which hadn’t had comprehensive reform since the 1930s.

The primary change was switching the income tax from a progressive rate to a flat rate. The law also eliminated tax holidays, sales tax exemptions and the State Earned Income Tax Credit, which is a refundable tax credit for low-income workers.

So what did the law do for yacht and jet owners? Well, nothing, really. It preserved the tax breaks that were already in place.

Since 1991, boats and aircraft — a broader category than just yachts and jets — have had a sales tax rate of 3 percent, with a $1,500 cap. This means that anyone who buys a boat or plane worth $50,000 or more pays exactly $1,500 in taxes.

The rate had been 2 percent from 1969 to 1991, and the cap was $300 until 1989, according to a document prepared by the North Carolina General Assembly research division.

While Tillis and other Republican state lawmakers did not create tax breaks for plane and boat owners, they left the prior tax breaks in place.

According to the News and Observer in Raleigh, the law only cut 48 of the more than 300 tax breaks included in the tax code. Additionally, the legislature did not include the boat and airplane tax breaks in a bundle of loopholes that recieved additional scrutiny in a study committee.

It’s also worth noting that Tillis, though he was speaker at the time and supported the bill, was not an author or primary sponsor of the tax code legislation.

The cap on boat and aircraft sales taxes amounts to $10 million in lost annual revenue, according to the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, a liberal advocacy group.

Our ruling

A Senate Majority PAC ad said, “Thom Tillis gives tax breaks to yacht and jet owners.”

North Carolina lawmakers, under Tillis’ leadership, overhauled the state’s tax code in 2013. But they left in place a 23-year-old tax break for boats and aircraft. By using the word “give,” the statement suggests Tillis created the tax breaks, which he didn’t.

Because the ad turns inaction into action, we rate this claim False.


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Sailing on two boats Neil Bhoopalam

Hijri Calendar
Shawwal 30,1435 AH

Prayers
Fajar: 4.59 am
Zohar: 12.27 pm
Asar: 4.40 pm
Maghrib: 6.39 pm
Isha: 7.49 pm
Sunset today 6.34 pm
sunrise tomorrow 6.02 am
Moonrise tomorrow 7.12 am
Moonset today 7.36 pm


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No plain sailing

The West Australian Toby Schmitz. Picture: Frank W. Ockenfels

The thought of starring in a TV series helmed by a network notorious for producing R-rated content was no deterrent for Perth-raised actor Toby Schmitz.

Instead, the 39-year-old NIDA graduate was eager to transform into a brazen pirate for the epic adventure drama Black Sails, the latest offering from US pay-TV channel Starz which, not surprisingly, is replete with sex, nudity and foul language.

“There’s not much I haven’t already done in terms of R-rated stuff on stage or screen, so I have to admit I didn’t raise an eyebrow with what I might have to do,” Schmitz laughs.

Better known for his stage roles, Schmitz’s TV credits include Crownies, The Cooks and Underbelly Files: The Man Who Got Away.

“Sure there’s some adult content but it’s all going to be within the sphere of this world in the early 1700s. All the R-rated stuff, be it sex or violence, I thought was really tied to the plot in a great way and sort of character- revealing stuff.

“It was really interesting because, when we started, the creators of the show were very swift to assure us that the show had its own flavour and I think they were true to their word.”

Spawned as a “loose prequel” to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island, Black Sails opens in the year 1715 at the peak of the golden age of piracy where violence and bloodshed is rife.

Much of the series is set on New Providence Island, a former British colony now overrun by the most feared of pirates who ruled the high seas.

Schmitz plays Jack Rackham, a quartermaster and right-hand man of Capt. Charles Vane (Zach McGowan), who he describes as a “Wall Street banker” of the pirate world.

“He’s quite addicted to the deal, maybe even more than the deal itself, like the kind of guys who just keep stocking away money and keep turning up to work and is sort of turned on by the chase,” he says.

“So I think that was a really early discovery of the character and one that was sort of borne through as we kept filming but that’s the fun thing for me, to try and play someone who doubles down.”

With Hollywood movie-master Michael Bay (Transformers) as executive producer, Black Sails abounds with high-seas action and adventure.

Shot in Cape Town, Schmitz says the authentic purpose-built township and pristine coastal scenery helped transport the cast back in time, as opposed to filming the scenes against a green screen in a studio.

“The set is quite incredible; I’ve never seen anything like it and everyone who walks on set, their jaw drops,” Schmitz says. “It is practical in that you’re not cutting to inside a studio, that cabin is actually there so you can follow it in off the street and have merchants go past the door.

“So it creates that wonderful world you see on screen but it sure helps you as an actor when you’re looking around and you see the 200 pirate extras and dogs running through the street . . . I suppose this is pretty much 1715.”

To ensure everyone looked the part, the cast were put through their paces with intensive boot-camp sessions in the months leading up to filming.

“The creators were very keen for everyone to move and look like they did hard labour on boats,” Schmitz explains.

“It was a very big, physical gym regimen and a lot of stage fighting, sword fighting and sparring and all that stuff, and we keep that up while we shoot as well. As soon as I got the part, they said it’s time to start. It was about three months before I arrived in Cape Town.”

Black Sails also stars WAAPA graduate Luke Arnold, last seen on TV screens as Michael Hutchence in Seven’s mini-series INXS: Never Tear Us Apart.

Arnold plays Treasure Island’s notorious antagonist John Silver, who joins Captain Flint’s (Toby Stephens) motley crew, and Schmitz says they hit it it off instantly.

“I rolled up in Cape Town and was sitting on my balcony thinking this is all new like my first day at school, and then Luke called up from down at the pool and we hadn’t met before, so since then we’ve become fast friends,” Schmitz recalls.

“It’s great having an Australian ally in a new world. Also I think he’s a fab actor; he’s got a wonderful sort of Lector charm. “

Sydney-based Schmitz admits his busy schedule of late has kept him from visiting his home town.

“It’s been a couple of years but whenever I’m in Perth, I relish it,” he says. “It’s like a health retreat for me; having a beer in Fremantle pubs is something I dream about. But it’s a rarer and rarer thing given the distance and the price of the airfare ticket (laughs).”


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Sailing Club Draws Local Enthusiasts

Every Wednesday during the summer, the Foolish Pleasure glides out to the Buffalo Harbor, ready to race.

“It was on there when I bought it and I liked the name,” said Bob Barnhart, who owns the sailboat. “If my wife didn’t like it, I would have had to strip it off.”

Barnhart, a retired Moog engineer and manager, has been sailing for more than 30 years and was instrumental in founding the Buffalo Harbor Sailing Club (BHSC) in the late 1970s. The club runs Tuesday and Wednesday evening races throughout the summer, as well as three regattas, according to their website. The Wednesday evening race draws as many as 70 boats in 11 different classes.

“It’s a very prominent event in Buffalo,” said Bob Doll, Barnhart’s friend and right-hand man on the boat. Doll also has many years experience sailing and owns his own boat, docked beside the Foolish Pleasure.

As for the rest of the crew, it’s often made up of a rag-tag group of men with roundabout connections to Barnhart. The unofficial “first mate” is Mike Ercolano, a staff design engineer at Moog, who has been sailing with Barnhart for more than 20 years.

“I grew up sailing,” Ercolano said of his childhood in Florida. “It kinda gets into you.”

After moving to Buffalo, a friend got him hooked up with Barnhart. Now, Ercolano seems to be in charge of recruiting new “rail meat,” the term for crew members who scramble from one side to the other using their body weight to balance the sailboat.

“We need three or four guys, but five or six makes it a lot easier. It depends if they know what they’re doing,” Ercolano said.

Ercolano has recruited friends from work and even his brother-in-law.

“I keep asking, ‘Do you sail? Are you afraid of the water? Do you get seasick?’ in that order,” he said.

Jason Gundlach, a design engineer at Moog, is one of Mike’s recruits. He started sailing last summer.

“It’s peaceful and sometimes intense,” Gundlach said of sailing. “I like that there is strategy involved and new terminology to learn.”

In fact, Gundlach said he liked sailing so much that he purchased a catamaran and is currently refurbishing it.

The Foolish Pleasure—a 30-foot sloop—features one mast and two sails. Barnhart said the sailboat finishes in the middle of the pack most of the time, and they were able to garner a third-place finish in a recent race series.

“We’re out there to win it, but we don’t do it,” he said with a smile.

For more information about the BHSC, visit www.buffaloharborsailingclub.org.


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