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Boats sail into AC (on wheels) for annual show

Boat Show Setup

Boat Show Setup

Trucks hauling boats turn onto Ohio Avenue from Bacharach to enter the Convention Center. Saturday January 31 2015 Boats begin arriving at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the annual Atlantic City Boat Show. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Boat Show Setup

Boat Show Setup

Sand for the welcome sand-sculpture is placed near the enterance. Saturday January 31 2015 Boats begin arriving at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the annual Atlantic City Boat Show. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Boat Show Setup

Boat Show Setup

Workers from Schrader Yacht Sales of Point Pleasant push a boat into position. Saturday January 31 2015 Boats begin arriving at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the annual Atlantic City Boat Show. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Boat Show Setup

Boat Show Setup

Front loaders lift a boat so dollies can be placed underneath. Saturday January 31 2015 Boats begin arriving at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the annual Atlantic City Boat Show. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Boat Show Setup

Boat Show Setup

A boat crane places the larger boats into position. Saturday January 31 2015 Boats begin arriving at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the annual Atlantic City Boat Show. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Boat Show Setup

Boat Show Setup

Saturday January 31 2015 Boats begin arriving at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the annual Atlantic City Boat Show. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Boat Show Setup

Boat Show Setup

Jason Speck of Barnegat removes the plastic wrap off a boat from Jarvis Marina of Tuckerton. Saturday January 31 2015 Boats begin arriving at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the annual Atlantic City Boat Show. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Boat Show Setup

Boat Show Setup

Saturday January 31 2015 Boats begin arriving at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the annual Atlantic City Boat Show. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Boat Show Setup

Boat Show Setup

Saturday January 31 2015 Boats begin arriving at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the annual Atlantic City Boat Show. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)



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Atlantic City Boat Show arrives for Setup

Saturday January 31 2015 Boats begin arriving at the Atlantic City
Convention Center for the annual Atlantic City Boat Show. (The
Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2015 12:00 pm

Boats sail into A.C. (on wheels) for annual show

By DONALD WITTKOWSKI, Staff Writer

The Press of Atlantic City


ATLANTIC CITY — There was something bizarre about the convoy of pickup trucks and tractor-trailers crawling along the Atlantic City Expressway on Saturday.

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      Saturday, January 31, 2015 12:00 pm.


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      Sailing

      Scott extended his 15-month winning run in style, successfully defending his 2014 Finn title from Miami, winning the first race and finishing fifth in the second on day four.

      In the second race Scott’s closest rival Australian Jake Lilley finished deep in the pack, handing the Brit an unassailable 23-point lead.

      But if anyone thinks that this means Scott will take it easy in the medal race then the world and European champion has bad news.

      “It feels very good to be able to round off the racing and have a 23 point lead and not have a stressful day for the medal race!” 28-year-old Scott said.

      “It was a difficult day. We were kind of lucky in that we were on so early so we got the morning breeze. It was very light, very shifty, so to be able to continue the sort of consistency I’ve had all week is great to have done.

      “Hopefully I can round the week off well.”

      Windsurfer Shaw also amassed an insurmountable lead in the RS:X women’s competition meaning she too defended her title from 2014.

      Recording no worse than a fifth-place finish across her 11 races heading into Friday’s penultimate day, the 31-year-old old pumped her way to a second and a fourth in the two light wind races the class managed, and turned her 21-point lead at the start of the day into a 33-point margin by the end of it.

      And Shaw admitted her delight at claiming gold with an impressive all-round performance amid some tricky conditions at this season-opening event.

      “We’ve had a really mixed week of wind and that has been the lightest so it’s been much more like a game of chess I would say,” she said.

      “I’ve been trying to stay in touch with my closest rivals. The wind’s been really tricky with an offshore breeze so we’re really having to play the percentages.

      “Considering we’ve had all winds from 25 knots down to five it’s been a really broad-ranging week and I think that’s played to my strengths.

      “Every day I’ve been edging that points gap bigger and bigger so I’ve been pleased to start off the year well.

      “Miami was a target regatta for me and it’s important to kick-start the year on a high with a view to trying to get medals at the next Olympic Games. It’s important to start winning now and try to keep that momentum going.”

      Saturday will see the medal races for the ten Olympic classes, with 14 British boats set to feature in final day action.

      It’s a straight showdown between Nick Thompson and Germany Philipp Buhl for the Laser gold. With neither sailor able to finish worse than second and with Thompson just one point ahead going into the double-point race, whoever finishes in front on the water will take the title on Saturday.

      Luke Patience and Elliot Willis are assured of their first World Cup medal together, at least a silver, and take a 15-point lead over Australian World champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan into the men’s 470 finale.

      Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark sit in silver medal position going into the 470 Women’s medal race, with Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre currently fifth and also able to push into the podium spots.

      Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves are looking to hold the silver medal position in the Nacra 17 fleet, although gold is out of their reach.

      Both John Pink and Stuart Bithell and Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign will be hoping to push into the 49er medal positions while Alison Young and Nick Dempsey are into their respective Laser Radial and RS:X men’s finals in fifth position, with Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth having made the cut in the 49erFX event in tenth place.

      © Sportsbeat 2015


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      57th annual Detroit Boat Show is bigger than ever



      Michigan comes by its nicknames, the Great Lakes State and Water Wonderland, honestly. Its shorelines touch four of the five Great Lakes and its home to more than 11,000 inland lakes. Michiganders are never more than six miles from a lake and they make use of them via boats.

      Thats why the Detroit Boat Show is such a big deal.

      Going on at Detroits Cobo Center Feb. 14-22, the annual boat show features 150 marine businesses and boat dealers, not to mention activities the entire family will enjoy.

      The show is bigger again, said Nicki Polan, show manager and president of the Michigan Boating Industry Association. We added 50,000 square feet in 2015 and now at 350,000 square feet, we are sold out, so people will be seeing lots of boats!

      Boats of all kinds fishing, skiing, wakeboarding and cruising, plus paddle boats, kayaks, paddleboards and inflatables remain the star of the show. Still, theres a lot more to consider when it comes to life on the water and much of it is covered at the show from boating gear, electronics and marinas to ski and wakeboarding equipment, tow toys, docks, lifts and hoists.

      Its the best place to shop all things boating, Polan said. It would take weeks to see this much product on your own.

      Of course, as the economy improves, so do boat sales.

      As people see their home values go back up and are feeling better about the job market, they have more confidence. Many have paid down their debt and are ready to start spending on important things, and we know boating is important to people in Michigan, Polan said. After the recession, there was a lot of pent-up demand that is now driving boat sales. Were entering our fourth year of growth for sales.

      The show has grown accordingly to keep up with this increased demand. The MBIA reported that 57 percent of those who buy a boat attend a boat show.

      The show grows when people are buying boats again, Polan said. Dealers want to show more product so they take a bigger footprint at the show.

      And theyre there to sell.

      People buy right on the show floor. Dealers can make up to 50 percent of their annual sales at this event and with the leads they generate here, Polan said. When you are buying something like a boat, you really do want to get on it, sit in it, and check it out fully. You cant do that on the Internet.

      The show also reflects trends in the boating industry such as new boats manufactured for multi-uses.

      Whereas in the past, some people might like to own a fishing boat and a pontoon boat, now they can get a pontoon boat with swivel fishing chairs, she said. Similarly, there are pontoon boats available now that perform more like traditional runabouts or ski boats. They are called tri-toons and with three pontoons and stronger engines, they can turn better and go faster.

      She added that larger cruisers are offering open bow seating to get more people on board for day cruising.

      The Detroit Boat Show will also have a new youth sailing exhibit. Partnering with sail clubs from around the state, the exhibit will help to bring awareness to Michigans many youth sailing programs.

      The Grosse Pointe Youth Nautical Education Foundation will sponsor a Youth Sailing Simulator at the show, a one-of-a-kind teaching tool that lets kids feel as if they are actually sailing. Polan said a large fan serves to fill the sails, as instructors make this a real hands-on learning experience.

      We would like more people to discover the boating lifestyle, and that is why we have created a Discover Boating Center at all of our boat shows, said Polan. Our Discover Boating Center is a great place for those who are interested in boating to start. We have unbiased individuals ready to help them understand important things, like what type of boat is right for me and my family?

      Other considerations include a boaters guide to the states more than 1,000 public access sites, how to begin boating, and the finances of owning a boat.

      The Discover Boating Center at the Detroit Boat Show has a list of boats on the show floor that can be purchased for under $250 a month, Polan said. Boats are more affordable than most realize as they dont depreciate as quickly as cards do and can be financed longer.

      Polan expects boating to continue growing in popularity.

      And with the water resources this state offers, it should! she said.

      Detroits Cobo Center is at 1 Washington Boulevard, Detroit. Parking is available at Cobo Center and surrounding lots. Admission to the boat show is $12 for adults; children 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult. Save $2 by purchasing tickets in advance at detroitboatshow.net. Show hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays and Monday; and 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

      Special admission days include: Feb. 16, when seniors 65 and older receive free admission and Feb. 17 when ladies get in free. Free admission will also be given to those donating five cans of food for Gleaners Good Bank at the Boat Load of Food, from 3 to 6 p.m. Feb. 18. Feb. 19, tickets are 50 percent off between 3 and 6 p.m.

      For more information, visit detroitboatshow.net


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      Lower Gas Prices Fueling Early Boat Show Sales

      Thanks in part to the recent decline in gas prices, boat dealers across the country are reporting an uptick in boat sales at the winter boat shows now in progress across the U.S.

      The dip in fuel costs is helping the boating industry that is enjoying a recovery as of late. Tom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), recently projected a five percent increase in the sale of powerboats for the year.  Dammrich stated this projection was made without even considering the decline of fuel costs.

      According to Mike Lyons of First Coast News, boat dealers are reporting a significant increase in sales this year from the Jacksonville Boat Show.  Boat dealers from the show claimed a 10 percent increase in 2014 and were optimistic sales would be up even more in 2015 with help from lower gas prices.

      Likewise, in Houston, business is heading in the same direction.  At the Houston International Boat, Sport Travel Show, numerous dealers noted a heavy increase in attendees compared to shows in recent years. Jonathan Whitmire, a sales manager for Texas Marine in Beaumont, stated low fuel prices were certainly helping sales.

      Gas prices today are at a six year low, According to Deutsche Bank, for every penny that consumers save on gasoline, U.S. households can spend about $1 billion more in the broader economy.


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      Dealers excited about Atlantic City Boat Show

      Local boat dealers predict that the Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show, which opens for five days starting on Wednesday at the Atlantic City Convention Center, is going to be good for business.

      “People are juiced up again, I think it will be good, I’m excited about it,” Chris Gallagher, general manager of Garden State Yacht Sales, said.

      Gallagher said they had a very good year. “Everybody rebounded from Sandy and the market took off.”

      Gallagher was at the New York Boat Show and attendance was up 20 percent, which is always a good sign.

      Garden State will be bringing a full line of Edgewater Boats to the show, from the 318 CC to the 280 CX down to the 158 CC.

      Gallagher said the CX models, with their bowrider fronts, fishing boat stern and cabin down below are proving to be enormously popular.

      “We have a lot of positive alignment going on in the economy now,” said Paul Zamoyta, owner of Coastal Boat Sales in Brick.

      “Gas prices are low, there’s a stabilization in the interest rates and there’s an election year coming up, which usually means status quo on the economic front,” Zamoyta said. “That means high consumer confidence, which translates into spending disposable income.”

      He also said he seen a lot of buyers returning to the finance market, putting 10 or 20 percent down on a boat, when just a few years ago, that wasn’t happening.

      Zamoyta said Coastal will be bringing the entire line of Tidewater Boats, including the 2015 220 CC, 220 LXF and the 198 CC. The boats will range from 17 to 28 feet.

      Ed McCarthy at McCarthy’s Marine Sales in Brielle, a Boston Whaler dealer, said he had just returned from a very successful show in New York and said if this momentum keeps up, he’s predicting a great show in Atlantic City and a great start to the season.

      “Atlantic City is a good show for us because it’s in our area and it’s usually a stronger show,” he said. “It’s mostly local people.”

      McCarthy is bringing a 27-foot Dauntless, a 35-foot Outrageous, a 345 Conquest, plus a variety of smaller boats.

      He added that Whaler has just opened a new plant and the future looks very positive. While there are boats available now, McCarthy expects inventory will get tight.

      Drew Santoro, sales manager at South Jersey Yacht Sales in Point Pleasant, is looking forward to a very strong show as well.

      “The market has improved significantly, and the outboard center console segment has been real strong, We’re having a hard time keeping them in stock,” he said. The brokerage business has been brisk as well, he said, especially on high-end boats.

      South Jersey will be bringing a 32-foot Yellowfin with a pair of 300 hp Yamahas, a 34-foot Jupiter with triple 300 Yamahas, a 28-foot Ablemarle and a 26-foot Jupiter.

      In addition to seeing the hundreds of new boats on display, show attendees can also enjoy the numerous seminars, exhibits and demonstrations that take place during the show.

      Among them will be American Fly Fishing Schools “SIMUL-CAST” fishing, casting and paddle sports lessons.

      Visitors can also meet Capt. TJ Ott from National Geographic’s television show, Wicked Tuna, or attend the Progressive Insurance Boat School. There will also be fishing seminars sponsored by the Recreational Fishing Alliance, a toy boat building tent for the kids, plus a boatload of prizes and giveaways.

      For more information, visit officialboatshows.com/atlanticcity/


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      Sailing: Shaw's shining in Miami

      DEFENDING champion Bryony Shaw extended her lead at the halfway stage of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami yesterday with British Sailing Team crews well placed across the 13 Olympic and Paralympic Classes after the third day of competition.

      Shaw, who is based in Weymouth, who won the 2014 edition of the season-opening regatta, added two race wins and a second to her scorecard today to stretch out a 17-point lead in the women’s windsurfing class with three days still to run.

      She’s one of five British boats to top the standings heading into the second half of the regatta, with Weymouth’s Giles Scott and Portland Megan Pascoe maintaining their leads in their respective Finn and 2.4mR Paralympic classes, and 470 European champions Luke Patience and Elliot Willis and 49er pairing John Pink and Stuart Bithell advancing into pole position through their efforts on the water.

      In spite of her commanding position at this stage of the regatta, the Olympic bronze medallist Shaw feels there’s room for improvement looking ahead to the rest of the week.

      “It’s strange, it didn’t feel like a perfect day out there. I made a lot of mistakes actually,” the 31-year-old admitted.

      “It was really shifty and puffy and I think it was my awareness, especially on the downwinds, that really pulled me through.

      “I made a couple of silly calls by going a bit too extreme at the start so I had to make some pretty big comebacks today.”

      With a gold medal at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, a gold medal on the Rio 2016 waters just before Christmas, and another victory in the warm-up regatta to this week’s World Cup a fortnight ago, Shaw feels confident about her present form and hopes to continue in that vein this week.

      “I feel like this is a momentum from winning in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year and the event we had in Rio. It’s nice to come out here and put on a good show.

      “I really feel like 2015 is my year and it’s important for performance. I want to try and be selected for the Games and win a medal in Rio, so I need to be performing at that level now.”

      Scott posted six and nine from his two races to keep Australia’s Jake Lilley at arm’s length in the Finn class, while Pink and Bithell were happy with their day’s efforts in men’s 49er skiff event – and their progress as a relatively new team in this highly competitive class.

      Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign are poised in fourth in the 49er event with fellow British pairing Dave Evans and Ed Powys in sixth.

      A fifth and a race win from their two races helped Patience and Willis reclaim the yellow jerseys in the 470 men’s fleet heading into today’s fourth day of competition, and like his former 470 crew Bithell, Patience is content with their efforts on a testing day on Biscayne Bay.

      “We had a good day – some big pull backs actually. It’s not happening from the start, we’re picking it off bit by bit,” the Scotsman admitted.

      Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark and Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre continue their push at the front of the 470 women’s fleet, maintaining their overall second and third positions at the halfway stage, while Weymouth’s Nick Dempsey enjoyed a better day than his key rivals on the RS:X men’s course to progress to overall second.

      Just one point separates the 2012 silver medallist from France’s Thomas Goyard in first and Dutch Olympic Champion Dorian van Rijsselberge in third.

      “It was a tricky day,” said the 34-year-old. “This is the third day of this offshore 12-16 knots. I had three really good comebacks – I was kind of scrabbling around in the middle of the fleet but got an 8,8,3 which I think was pretty solid compared to the rest of the guys at the front.”

      A race win rounded off Nick Thompson’s day on the Laser course to see him into overall second just a point behind Australia’s Matt Wearn, while there’s an equally tight battle developing in the Paralympic 2.4mR class with Portland’s Megan Pascoe having a one point edge over team-mate Helena Lucas and Norway’s Bjornar Erikstad.

      The Paralympic Classes conclude their regatta on Friday, so there are just two days left to make a mark. John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas fell foul of a large wind shift and then a motor yacht disrupting their race to see their overall lead whittled away on Wednesday.

      They’re now in second, tied on points with the first-placed USA boat, while the SKUD pairing of Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell are currently third.

      Nacra 17 pairing Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves are in second place on countback from the Italian duo Bissaro-Sicouri, Alison Young pulled back to ninth overall in the Laser Radial class while Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth are currently 10th in the 49erFX.


      Similar news:

      Sailing

      Shaw won the 2014 edition of the season-opening regatta across the pond and is in good shape to defend her crown as she added two race wins and a second-place finish to her scorecard.

      This means that with three days remaining Shaw, who won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games before finishing seventh at London 2012, has a 17-point lead atop the standings.

      But despite her commanding position at this stage of the regatta, 31-year-old Shaw believes there is still room for improvement as she looks to lay down a marker ahead of Rio.

      “It’s strange, it didn’t feel like a perfect day out there. I made a lot of mistakes actually,” said Shaw, who won a gold medal at the Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi.

      “It was really shifty and puffy and I think it was my awareness, especially on the downwinds, that really pulled me through.

      “I made a couple of silly calls by going a bit too extreme at the start so I had to make some pretty big comebacks.

      “I feel like this is a momentum from winning in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year and the event we had in Rio. It’s nice to come out here and put on a good show.

      “I really feel like 2015 is my year and it’s important for performance. I want to try and be selected for the Games and win a medal in Rio, so I need to be performing at that level now.”

      Shaw is one of four British boats to top the standings heading into the second half of the regatta, with Giles Scott leading the way in the Finn class, European champions Luke Patience and Elliot Willis doing the same in the 470 class and 49er pairing John Pink and Stuart Bithell advancing into pole position too.

      Scott posted finishes of sixth and ninth from his two races to keep Australian Jake Lilley at arm’s length, while Bithell was delighted with his and Pink’s progress in Miami.

      “Racing here was the first day of gold fleet so slightly tough competition,” said Bithell, London 2012 silver medallist in the 470 class alongside Patience.

      “We were on a race course which as slightly closer to the land, just underneath the city of Miami so it was pretty wacky out there, with some big shifts and big differences in the pressure. It was quite hard work. We were on it and we had a good day with three solid counting results.

      “Myself and John have been sailing for a year now and it feels like we’re coming together a bit.

      “We’ve got a new coach on board, Ben Rhodes, who’s been really good for us to help build our consistency with a bit of experience and it’s all going well.

      “I feel like I’m really getting to grips with the 49er now. It’s been quite a lot of hard work and I’ve caught up with the boat physically – I was a little bit behind the curve – but it’s really good fun. It’s a great class with some great, great sailors. It’s good to be out there racing the top guys.

      Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign are poised in fourth in the 49er event with fellow British pairing Dave Evans and Ed Powys in sixth.

      A fifth and a first from their two races helped Patience and Willis reclaim the lead in the 470 Men’s fleet heading into the fourth day of competition.

      Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark and Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre continue their push at the front of the 470 Women’s fleet, maintaining their overall second and third positions at the halfway stage, while Nick Dempsey enjoyed a better day than his key rivals on the RS:X men’s course to progress to second also.

      A win rounded off Nick Thompson’s day on the Laser course to see him into second, just a point behind Australian Matt Wearn, while Nacra 17 pairing Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves are in second place on countback.

      Alison Young pulled back to ninth overall in the Laser Radial class while Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth are currently tenth in the 49erFX.

      © Sportsbeat 2015


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      Freedom Boat Club adds Chesapeake franchise

      Posted on January 28th, 2015


      The Freedom Boat Club is collaborating with a Maryland marina to launch a new franchise operation in the upper Chesapeake Bay.

      The club, which has 10,000 active members in 19 states and 84 corporate-owned and franchise operations, has a Maryland-based club in Annapolis and believes the market is suited for expansion.

      “Whenever possible, we prefer working directly with well-established marina owners and operators in the development of our franchise boat club facilities,” Freedom Boat Club national sales manager Lisa Almeida said in a statement. “We are very pleased to collaborate with Jackson Marine Sales in this expansion initiative and are working jointly to secure a qualified franchise operator for this market.”

      Jackson Marine Sales owner Woody Jackson believes the area’s waterways, combined with the regional boating activity and consumer interest, provides the perfect formula for boat club development. Jackson, whose full-service marina offers new- and used-boat sales and service, believes a boat club will help to grow boating in his market.

      “The Freedom Boat Club model is a tremendous vehicle for bringing newcomers to boating, as well as for providing an alternative for former boat owners who are seeking a new way to enjoy the water,” Jackson said. “We are serving the new- and used-boat market in terms of both sales and service, and we believe our marina is highly conducive for boat club operations. We welcome the opportunity to work with a qualified owner/operator to mutual benefit.”

      Finding the right candidates as franchise owners is critical to the club’s growth, said president and CEO John Giglio.

      “We have developed a powerful brand with high marks for customer satisfaction and loyalty,” he said. “Our success is a direct result of having franchise owners who share our values and vision and who are committed to serving our members with an exceptional degree of excellence.”

      Giglio said he has made it a priority to build strong relationships and trust with major players in the marine industry.

      “In the past, some marina operators and boat dealers were wary about the presence of boat clubs and viewed it as competition,” Giglio said. “However, those who have worked with us throughout the country understand we are committed to growing boating and to introducing more people to the boating lifestyle. We seek to collaborate and work with other industry players in every market we enter. There is no doubt that the club serves as a springboard to boat sales, as a percentage of our members love the boating experience so much that they decide to become boat owners.”

      During the last few years the club has taken an active role in many marine industry programs and organizations. The corporate entity is a member of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, the Marine Marketers of America and several statewide associations.

      It also supports many industry groups and programs, including the Marina Recreation Association, and most notably, provides boats for multiple “Take the Helm” boat shows sponsored by Discover Boating. Three of the company’s top executives serve on the Recreational Boating Leadership Council on the nationwide Diversity and Affordability task forces.

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      Sailing

      After a first and second finish on day one Olympic silver medallist Patience and 470 class partner Elliot Wills finished fourth and fifth on day two.

      The standings are tight at the top after four races with the Greek pairing of Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis on top with six points and the Brits behind on seven � Australia third on eight.

      And Patience says he is primed and ready for an assault on top spot.

      “I’m just really pleased at how our downwind speed has come on,” he said.

      “That’s something we’re really looking to push and press this week. There are a couple of boats we’ve singled out as being really good downwind, so if we can match that then I feel like we can take the fight to them.

      “There’s that, along with a few tweaks we’ve made in the lighter range, which obviously we didn�t have today.

      “We’ve been looking forward to lining up against those boats with the changes that we’ve made.”

      Elsewhere Bryony Shaw, defending her 2014 women’s windsurfing title, moved to the top of the RS:X leaderboard while Izzy Hamilton is down in sixth.

      Giles Scott is in good shape to keep his unbeaten regatta streak going with the 27-year-old on top after four races in the Finn fleet with a win and a fifth-place finish after the action on day two.

      And Nicola Groves and Ben Saxton sit second overall in the Nacra 17 class after battling difficult conditions during their races.

      � Sportsbeat 2015


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      Canadian students design robotic sailboat for Atlantic challenge

      Crossing the Atlantic Ocean by an unmanned sailing boat? Yes, this is a dream of a group of students from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver in west Canada. They’ve designed a robotic sailboat that will become the first unmanned vessel to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

      They plan to launch the so-called “Sailbot” off the coast of Newfoundland in the far east of Canada this summer from where it will sail the North Atlantic for roughly two weeks before hopefully completing a 2,500-kilometer race in Ireland.

      Since 2010, a group of 66 UBC students have been competing and winning at other robotic sailboat regattas with smaller versions of this automated vessel.

      Josh Andrews, a UBC Sailbot team member, told Xinhua that for that purpose, they had contacted the Microtransat Challenge, which is a transatlantic race of fully autonomous sailing boats.

      The wind-powered boat controls itself with satellite navigation and infrared imaging. As it sails, it will send route information back to a website so the team and people around the world can monitor its progress through the icebergs and rough shipping channels of the North Atlantic.

      “It’s all done with computers on board. There are basically two types of systems that we use. One is a navigational system which determines the route to go across the Atlantic Ocean, and the other is a sailing system that knows how to get from point A to point B. So when the two systems work together, it will get all the way across,” Andrews said.

      Andrews said the main challenge would be the harsh Atlantic weather that could batter the ship or swallow it entirely. Running into other vessels could also be a problem.

      The ship, when completed in the next few months, will be able to use its thermal imaging equipment to recognize obstacles and navigate around them. Andrews said the computer system can also make the boat brace itself for impacts.

      “I think a lot of the work that we’ve done has actually already been proven on a smaller scale, so we’re taking that technology and expanding it and making it work on a bigger scale which is the Atlantic Ocean,” he added.

      To help ensure success, the boat will be equipped with two identical navigation systems should one fail while at sea. The entire project will cost about 60,000 CAN (49,000 U.S. dollars) and they still needs 20,000 (16,200 U.S. dollars) to fulfill their target.


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