Archive for » October 16th, 2014«

Boat sales up in September, but growth rate slowing

InfoLink Sept2014

Jonathan Sweet
October 16, 2014
Filed under News

Powerboat sales were up year-over-year again in September, according to Info-Link’s Bellwether Report, but the rate of growth dropped below 10 percent for the second month in a row.

While still running more than 5 percent ahead of last year, sales unit growth had been in double digits this summer. The Bellwether report tracks boat sales across the country based on new U.S. boat registrations. Bellwether states are geographically dispersed states representing roughly half of the US boat market (varies by market segment and time of year).

Sales were up in almost every category when compared to September 2013, although at a slower rate than in August. The sterndrive/jet category was the only one to be down year-over-year, with unit sales down nearly 5 percent.

PWC sales continued to be strong, up about 25 percent from 2013. The Sport Fish and Ski Boat segments both are showing unit sales increases of more than 10 percent from September 2013, while outboard boat sales were up just less than 10 percent after spending most of the year in double digits.

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State sets its sails for the lake

UP to 150 boats are expected on Lake Hume when the Victorian dinghy championships head inland on the Melbourne Cup long weekend.

Cr John Watson, Cr Kevin Mack and Commodore Stuart Richardson say the Victorian dinghy titles at Lake Hume on November 1-2 has put the Sail Country regatta on the map. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

UP to 150 boats are expected on Lake Hume when the Victorian dinghy championships head inland on the Melbourne Cup long weekend.

The Albury-Wodonga Yacht Club will host the event that, for the first time in its 30-year history, will be held outside Melbourne.

The championships will be part of the Border club’s Sail Country regatta, promoting the waterway as a “hidden jewel” of inland sailing.

Stuart Richardson said he wanted to make the weekend a signature event on the sailing calendar.

“The annual dinghy championships results go towards the Victorian Sailing Cup,” he said.

“This is the first time we have been given the chance to run it and we have aligned that with our annual regatta and called it Sail Country.

“Normally, we could get 20 boats to our event but we are expecting at least 100 boats and up to as many as 150.

“It is going to be quite a sight with these boats, typically one and two-man boats, ranging from 8 feet to 18 feet, out there on the lake.

“Sail Country is something we want to run as a regular event — make the Melbourne Cup weekend our signature event, attracting sailors from NSW and Victoria — and any other state for that matter — in a type of state of origin competition.”

Richardson expected there would be some future Olympians in the field.

“The championship will include many of the youth pathway classes of sailing boats, such as Laser and 420,” he said.

“These classes are feeder classes, destined for the Olympic Games.

“The lake is at 75 per cent at the moment and that gives us plenty of foreshore to work with and plenty of open water for the racing.

“Most of these regattas are run on the bay in Melbourne or Sydney Harbour, but we want inland sailing, lake sailing, promoted.”

Wodonga councillor John Watson talked up the event with the city a major sponsor along with Albury Council.

“The lake is a hidden jewel and we don’t use it to its full capacity so what the yacht club is doing here for itself is great,” he said.

With the club bringing people to the region, the councils are happy to get behind the event.

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Boat sales show big gains in September

Posted on October 16th, 2014
Written by Jack Atzinger

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Just as the sun was setting on the summer of 2014, the industry had one of its best performances of the year in September, posting sales gains of nearly 10 percent in the main powerboat segments and across the industry.

Led by stalwart post-recession categories such as aluminum fishing boats and pontoons and fiberglass outboards, sales climbed 9.8 percent, or 469 boats, to 5,258 in the main segments and by an identical percentage, or 742 boats, to 8,322 industrywide from the same month last year in 25 early reporting states that represent 62 percent of the national market, Statistical Surveys reported today.

The figures compared with an even more robust September last year, when sales in the main segments were up 18.3 percent and industrywide sales climbed 19.9 percent.

Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager Ryan Kloppe said anecdotal reports of a selling season that gained momentum after the bitter and lingering chill of last winter and the early spring were reflected in the sales increase last month.

“We’re seeing what we saw last year, with sales continuing into September,” he said. “Maybe this is a trend. With the late springs, we’re having a longer selling season.”

Through September, industrywide sales in the early-reporting states are up 8.2 percent, or 14,561 boats, at 191,328, putting the industry on a pace that would easily eclipse its 2013 total of 207,277.

Sales of aluminum fishing boats rose 8 percent, or 102 boats, to 1,375, in September and pontoon sales climbed an even higher 13.7 percent, or 139 boats, to 1,150. The surge in pontoon sales that followed the Great Recession had appeared to be slowing this year, but Kloppe said the September sales figure “indicates that this is going to continue to be one of the top three segments in the industry.”

Fiberglass outboards posted the best results among the main segments, with sales surging 13.8 percent, or 265 boats, to 2,180.

Sales of 14- to 30-foot inboard and sterndrive fiberglass boats continued to lag other segments. Sales of 438 boats were 3.9 percent lower than in September last year. However, Statistical Surveys also said that sales of sterndrives 23 feet and larger are up 4.5 percent for the year through September, or 146 boats, to 3,388 in the early-reporting states.

Sales were higher in six of the top 10 states in September this year than they were in the same month last year.

Florida was the sales leader with 1,893, a gain of 400. Texas ranked second at 1,395, a gain of 214, and Michigan was third at 571, a gain of 117. North Carolina had sales of 520 boats, a drop of 69, and sales totaled 492 in South Carolina, a gain of 101.

Rounding out the top 10, sales were lower in California (416, down 116), Tennessee (307, down 35) and Minnesota (299, down 75) and higher in New York (274, up 25) and Washington (258, up 39).

The Coast Guard was up to date in its reports of documented vessels, providing a complete picture of sales in the low-volume bigger-boat categories. Sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers fell by 15, to 57, sales of 41- to 62-foot yachts fell by six, to 47, and sales of 63- to 99-foot yachts rose by two, to 11.

Among smaller vessels, sales of personal watercraft climbed 7.8 percent, or 118 units, to 1,625, and sales of jetboats rose by 7.6 percent, or eight, to 113.

Ski-boat sales climbed by 34.9 percent, or 80, to 309. It was another September sales number that Kloppe singled out as impressive.

“I know this is a small segment, but it continues to show double-digit growth every month,” he said.

Sailboat sales fell by 25, or 18.9 percent, to 107.

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Gary Jobson: Superstar of sailing visits Lewes

With little fanfare, one of the greats in the sport of sailing paid a short visit to Lewes.

Gary Jobson, who sailed America’s Cup five times and won in 1977, was producing and filming a promotional video for the Hobie Cat 16 class during the North American Championships at Lewes Yacht Club.

The highlight of the event was a sold-out Sept. 24 presentation by Jobson to the fleet and yacht club members.

Jobson, who was on Ted Turner’s sailing crew during the 1970s, has been an ESPN sailing commentator since 1985 and has covered nine America’s Cup events. He also has covered Olympic sailing and will be in Brazil in 2016.

He’s written more than 15 sailing books and won two Emmys. His long resume includes most of sailing’s most prestigious awards including induction into America’s Cup Hall of Fame and National Sailing Hall of Fame. As owner of Jobson Sailing Inc., he is also editor-at-large for “Sailing World” and “Cruising World.” Over the past 35 years he has given more than 2,000 lectures throughout the world. He started his career as a sailing coach at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy.

The event also featured Jobson’s newest production – a documentary on the tragic 1979 Fastnet race. The film will be shown at various film festivals and will eventually air on ESPN.

Jobson was on the crew of Ted Turner’s Tenacious during the 605-mile Fastnet race in August 1979 when a horrific storm developed in the waters around Great Britain. It blew for 22 hours, and the yachts were no match for 35-foot waves and more than 60-knot winds. Of the 306 boats that started the race, only 86 finished, and Turner’s Tenacious emerged victorious in a race that would see 18 people die including 15 sailors and three rescuers. About 4,000 people were involved in the rescue operation during one of the worst sailing disasters in history.

Jobson’s said by far the most exciting and inspiring sailing event he’s covered was the 2013 America’s Cup. As the only journalist on the water in San Francisco Bay, he had a ringside seat to watch the United States team come back to win the cup after going down 8-1 to New Zealand.

New Zealand had to win one race to claim the cup while the U.S. team had to win eight straight races. Jobson said he was struck when during a press conference the U.S. team skipper Jimmy Spithill, who was actually from Australia, said that the team was not done yet.

As it turned out, the impossible occurred and Oracle Team USA did beat New Zealand 9-8. “This was the biggest comeback in any sport in history,” Jobson said. “And how cool that is was in sailing.”

Jobson also had the rare opportunity to sail on both the Oracle boat the Emirates Team New Zealand boat.

Jobson sails the world

Jobson, of Annapolis, Md., is also the National Regatta Chairman of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s sailing program, having survived lymphoma himself.

He’s spent most of his life on the water; he says he competed in 2,000 races during one four-year period. Jobson is also an active cruising sailor, having led expeditions to the Arctic, Antarctica and Cape Horn.

Jobson said sailing has been such an important part of his life that he missed out on a significant event in history. He said as an 18-year-old growing up in New Jersey, one of his friends who operated an ice cream truck asked him to accompany him to a rock concert to make some money.

He was also entered in a regatta during the time of the concert. “I had a decision to make and chose sailing,” he said. “The concert I missed – it was Woodstock.”



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SAILING: Elis sail to success in New York

The Yale coed sailing team had a successful weekend.

The Bulldogs won the New England Match Race Championship at the New York Yacht Club. In addition, the Bulldogs placed third at the Moody Trophy, held at the University of Rhode Island, and eighth at the Roger Williams Invitational, also held in Rhode Island.

But the win was in no way guaranteed. The Bulldogs fell behind on the first day of the New England Championship, finishing last with a 1–6 record. Captain Graham Landy ’15 attributed the team’s poor performance to its minimal experience with Yngling boats, which handle differently than what the team is used to.

Skipper Ian Barrows ’17, Mary Isler ’16 and Landy were the only Elis to represent Yale in New York.

“Match racing in 21-foot Yngling class boats with three people tests a lot of skills that normal college sailing does not,” Landy said. “We were only able to practice five days in keelboats before this event, so Saturday presented many difficulties with teamwork, communication and our maneuvers.”

Barrows agreed and said that the team was struggling because it was the first regatta sailing together.

Despite Saturday’s setback, Landy said that the sailors felt they would be competitive the next day given their speed, tactics and improved boat handling. Indeed, the Bulldogs quickly found success on Sunday, winning their first race in the quarterfinals 2–1 against top seed Roger Williams. In the semifinals, Yale faced Tufts and had to win three out of five matches to advance. The Bulldogs started off strong with wins in the first two races, but losses in the third and fourth upset their momentum. In the fifth race, though, the Elis crossed the line first to advance to the finals against Boston College.

In the final race, Landy said that the sailors “finally hit [their] stride.” Yale defeated Boston College 2–0 and triumphed in the event for the third year in a row. The New England Championship win also qualified Yale for the ICSA Match Racing National Championship in November.

When asked about the team’s spectacular comeback on Sunday, Landy said that Yale did a great job playing to its strengths.

“We were one of the faster boats there, so we tried to simplify the races and let our speed work [to] our advantage,” Landy said.

Barrows added that the team’s success on the second day was attributed to better communication within the boat and quicker boat maneuver transitions.

Isler agreed with Barrows, saying that communication and positivity were the keys to the team’s success.

“Graham and Ian continued to stay positive throughout the weekend, and having that mindset going into the second day allowed us to make the gains we did,” Isler said.

At the same time, other sailors competed at both the Southern Series No. 5 at Roger Williams and the Moody Trophy. Notable performances at the Southern Series include Christopher Champa ’18 and Sanam Rastegar ’16 — who placed third in Division A — and Henry Lewis ’16 and Charles Skoda ’17, who placed 11th in Division B.

Yale’s third-place showing at the Moody Trophy, meanwhile, was largely due to the pair of Mitchell Kiss ’17 and Clara Robertson ’17, who won Division B.

Yale sailing next competes in the Navy Fall Invite at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis on Oct. 18.

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