Archive for » October 9th, 2014«

Former Boat Dealer In Cleburne County To Pay Penalties, Restitution

LITTLE ROCK – A former Cleburne County boat dealer who swindled consumers out of the money he owed them for consignment sales has been ordered to pay civil penalties and restitution of more than $170,000, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox issued a default judgment against Gary Eubanks of Heber Springs and his business, Edgemont Marine, in a suit filed by McDaniel last year. Fox ordered Eubanks to pay $90,000 to the State for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and to provide restitution of $82,630 to affected consumers.

Edgemont Marine and Eubanks entered into contracts with consumers who wanted to sell their personal watercraft. He agreed to sell the boats at his business on consignment, typically for a 10 percent commission. However, in at least nine instances, Eubanks kept all the money from the sales for himself.

“The defendant created impossible situations for both buyers and sellers with his illegal actions, since boat sellers were left without the proceeds of sales and buyers were unable to obtain a clear title for their purchases,” McDaniel said. “Consumers need to have confidence in the transactions they make at Arkansas businesses, and that’s why my Consumer Protection Division continues to aggressively pursue actions in instances such as these.”

Eubanks was accused of contacting consumers who were selling their watercraft on Craigslist and offering to sell the items on consignment. He also used newspaper and radio advertisements to promote his business.

Eubanks was ordered to pay $5,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs in addition to the penalties and restitution.

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Sailing – PREVIEW

There have been no female entries in the race since the 2001-02 event but the advent of a new one-design boat that puts less emphasis on physical prowess and more on pure seamanship has led to a well-prepared all-women team getting on board.

Team SCA is Swedish-backed but boasts an international crew after a search to find the best 11 offshore female sailors in the world.

Many, like British skipper Sam Davies, have round-the-world sailing races behind them but the gap in experience on their male rivals in the special challenges of the Volvo race has been tough to bridge.

They have, however, had several more months’ preparation time on the rest of the seven-strong fleet after declaring their entry in 2012, two months after the finish of the 11th edition, won by French boat Groupama.

“It’s been a long hard road and a year ago I would say that we weren’t ready – now I think we are,” Davies told a news conference this week.

The new Volvo Ocean 65 boat has not only been designed to help welcome back women to the race.

Each one of the seven challengers’ boats has come off a production line in the UK with every detail identical, down to the sail grinders and tiny wash basin.

It promises to be a game-changer for the event since all teams can now share the same shore crew and spare parts, cutting costs by around a half.

It has also ensured that the focus has been returned firmly to the seamanship of the sailors on board rather than boat designers.

“There’s no excuses any more,” said Race CEO Knut Frostad. “Each team has exactly the same boat to work with, it’s all down to the skills of the crews on board. We expect a very close race on this level playing field.”

The race is one of the longest professional sports events in the world, lasting nine months with short stopovers in 11 ports across four continents. The boats will cover 38,739 nautical miles before arriving in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27, 2015.

The first leg to Cape Town sets sail at 1200 GMT on Saturday from the Race’s HQ in Alicante, Southern Spain. It is expected to take around three weeks to complete.

Boats from China (Dongfeng Race Team), Denmark (Team Vestas Wind), Spain (Mapfre), Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing), The Netherlands (Team Brunel), Sweden (Team SCA) and Turkey (Team Alvimedica) are competing.

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Ian Walker: Living life on the ocean wave

Ian Walker is the skipper behind Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s bid to win the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race, which will be the longest voyage in the event’s 40-year history.

The race, which lasts nine months and includes nine legs, will finish in Gothenburg next June.

On the eve of the first leg, which departs Alicante for Cape Town this Saturday, two-time Olympic silver medallist Walker reveals how life at sea is anything but plain sailing.

How did you first get into sailing?

I lived near a little lake that belonged to Chip­stead Sailing Club, near London, where I started by crewing for people.

How long have you been doing it?

I started when I was eight and I’m now 44, so I’ve been sailing for 36 years, and have been a professional since university.

What is your favourite destination (visited or would like to visit)?

Sydney Harbour is a fantastic place. It’s where I won an Olympic medal (in 2000) so I have very proud memories of that place. I also like Miami, both off and onshore, as we’ve done a lot of training there. The Cape Town scenery and food is amazing.

I’m looking forward to visiting Auckland this time because most people there have boats and the population has a strong under­standing of sailing and there’s lots of enthu­siasm. Abu Dhabi is the big stopover for us, it was the most popular one last time and it will probably be the same again.

How do you cope being in close quarters with the same people for so long, and being away from your loved ones?

The one drawback of what I do is that I’m away from my family a lot. I’m used to it but it doesn’t make being away from them any eas­ier, but they’ll be in Abu Dhabi for the three weeks we’re there for Christmas and hopeful­ly they’ll be at two more of the stopovers too.

As for the crew, on board you have to respect each other and we have a strict watch system, so with eight crew members, we have four on and four off watch at any one time.

At sea, how do the crew keep themselves entertained when there’s no rigging or boat maintenance to do?

Most of the lads will bring their iPods or iPads and listen to music or watch films, otherwise it’s just sailing, although we’ll keep each oth­ers’ spirits up by telling tales and stories.

What is the craziest/funniest thing that has happened to you at sea?

In the last race in 2011/12, we laminated the hull at sea. In order to fix the boat in the mid­dle of the Southern Ocean, we capsized it and drilled 30 holes in the hull. We just chucked someone over the side in a safety suit and drilled 30 holes in the boat. So doing that 1,500 miles from dry land was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

What do you like to do when you’re out of the boat and on dry land?

One of my main passions is kite surfing, as well as tennis, going to the gym and socialis­ing with friends.

Have you got any plans when you drop anchor in Abu Dhabi, what are your favourite spots to visit in the city?

Abu Dhabi is our home port and I hope the second leg to Abu Dhabi will really ignite the team. Leg One is important but our main aim is to win the leg coming into Abu Dhabi.

I’ve been resident in the city since 2010 so I like kite surfing on Yas Island lagoon, cycling and running around the grand prix track on Tuesday evenings, or playing golf, badly, at any local course. The kids love Yas Waterworld too.

What kind of fitness do crew members need in order to take part in such an arduous challenge like the VOR?

The crew balance aerobic exercise with strength. We take training pretty seriously and have been training for six days a week since February. It’s a 50 per cent mix of weight training as well as cycling, rowing and running.

Who is your sailing or sporting inspira­tion?

In terms of sailing and leadership, I look to Ernest Shackleton (who led a 1916 sailing ex­pedition to Antarctica) or (former Royal Navy captain) James Cook as old school examples of how they led voyages in their time.

In the modern day, any sportsman who maintains their peak is impressive, for example Roger Federer or Tiger Woods in his prime. They earned so much fame, money and success, but they kept going for the love of the sport; they still drive themselves on in spite of reaching the peaks.

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US Recreational Boating Market

LONDON, Oct. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — US demand to be driven by economic recovery

The recreational boating industry, which includes boats, separately sold propulsion systems, and related accessories, is recovering from the economic downturn, which began in 2007 and lasted until mid-2009. The effects were harsh and extended beyond the end of the recession because boating products are luxury items. The market depends on strong consumer spending as well as reasonable access to credit to both enable boat dealers to acquire inventory and allow consumers to finance boat purchases. In the years since the downturn, credit has begun to loosen, allowing for an influx in boat sales as purchasers relieve pent-up demand. By 2018, recreational boat demand will exceed 2013 levels, but will not yet achieve pre-recession levels of demand. Advances in the recreational boating market will be stimulated by the continued economic recovery manifesting in accelerations in personal consumption expenditures and disposable personal incomes, and rising spending on recreation and leisure. The aging used boat fleet will also aid sales of new boats as more boat owners will be looking to trade up. In order to grow further, the industry must also expand the potential customer market by attracting women and minority participants who have been traditionally underrepresented among boat owners. Reaching other demographics is especially crucial as the large “baby boom” generation transitions out of the target age range for boat buying, and the generation that follows is smaller.

More versatile power boats among fastest growing types

In 2013, demand continued to reflect a recovery from the depths plumbed in 2010, although still remaining well below pre-recession levels. The dominant boat segment will remain the traditional powerboat, which will see demand rising as manufacturers continue to release more powerful and more efficient engine lines. The boats helping to lead the industry away from its prior recessed levels will include more versatile craft as consumers seek a boat that can fill multiple roles. In some cases, the newer generations of engines have contributed to the versatility of certain types. For instance, pontoons, which have been historically known as floating patios, are increasingly available in versions powerful enough to pull tubers or skiers.

PWC to benefit from entry-level market position

Sales of personal watercraft (PWC) will be aided by the fact that they are relatively low cost, portable, and easy to operate compared to most other types of boats. Typically seen as entry-level vessels that enable users to become familiar with boating activities, PWC can eventually stimulate consumer interest in trading up to a larger marine vessel. In contrast, demand for sailboats will continue to be hampered by the aging population since these boats are more physically demanding to operate.

South West regions are key boating markets

Among the four US census regions, the South and the West are the largest and fastest growing regional markets for boating products. In addition to demographic and economic factors driving sales, both regions benefit from a generally mild climate, long coastlines, a large number of inland waterways, and relatively high participation rates in boating and fishing activities.

Study coverage

This upcoming industry study, Recreational Boating, presents historical demand data for 2003, 2008 and 2013, plus forecasts for 2018 and 2023 by material, product and US regional market. The study also considers market environment factors, details industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles 41 leading competitors in the US industry.

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