Archive for » March 2nd, 2015«

Same-store boat dealer sales up slightly in February

After a January decline, marine dealers saw a modest uptick in same-store sales in February.

Sales were up 0.3 percent from February 2014, following the 1.5 percent year-over-year dip in January, CDK Global Recreation reported Monday. Sales were up in all four categories in the report, which is based on data from users of CDK’s Lightspeed software.

Unit sales saw the smallest increase, up only 0.2 percent from 2014, following a 1.1 percent drop in January. That came on the heels of double-digit growth in November and December. Unit sales have posted year-over-year gains for 11 of the last 12 months.

Service department revenue, which experienced the largest year-over-year decline in January at 13.5 percent, had the best growth from February 2014 at 3.6 percent last month. Service department revenue has been up year-over-year for five of the last six months and nine of the last 12, according to CDK.

Parts revenue continued its positive streak, with sales up 2.8 percent from February 2014. That was the 11th month in a row of year-over-year growth for that department, which was up 7.0 percent in January.

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Without dredging, low water dooms Great Salt Lake sailing

If that happens, the state marina on the Great Salt Lake’s south shore could become unnavigable by this fall if it is not dredged.

Boats that draft deeper than 4 feet now risk wedging their keels in the mud on the harbor floor and in the narrow twisting channel through the breakwater. The marina has 320 permanent slips. But just 160 hardy boat owners remain, and their number is likely to plunge further.

“You can damage the boat doing that,” said Gerry Harwood, who has kept his 30-foot Catalina at the marina for years. “You don’t want to separate the keel from the hull, or open a stress fracture. You can get in as much trouble out on the lake as you can on the ocean.”

Even so, Utah State Parks managers have targeted $1.5 million in dredging funds not at the Great Salt Lake but at Utah Lake — where sailboats are outnumbered by much more plentiful powerboats.

“We studied the number of launches and the number of people affected, the number of boaters in general that would be affected,” State Parks Director Fred Hayes said. “I know the sailors are coming apart at the seams at this. I understand their disappointment.”

If lawmakers follow Hayes’ recommendation, the sailboat owners who remain will face a tough decision during peak water this spring. Normally, a crane is set up to put boats in at this time of year. But this spring, sailors will have to pull out their craft. Otherwise, boaters who don’t pull out now could see their vessels stuck in the marina until lake levels rebound — years perhaps, Robins says.

Sailors say that would effectively kill a Utah tradition that dates to the 19th century.

“It’s a huge deal to move these. If these boats leave, they are not coming back,” Robins said. “When that marina is usable again, there are not boats in the state to use it. It will take a long, long time for the marina to recover.”

‘Magic water’ • It’s a sad state for one of the largest and oldest sailboat harbors between the Great Lakes and the Pacific. Half the slips are vacant, and 40-foot masts barely rise above the rocky banks.

State Parks’ decision surprised members of the lake’s 138-year-old sailing club, who have been paying at least $1,200 a year each in slip fees.

Concessionaires including Jim Anderson of Sailing Solutions and Dave Ghizzone of Gonzo Boat Rentals and Tours also were not consulted.

Numerous traditions have grown up around the marina, including Wednesday night races and opening day and the Blessing of the Fleet by an Episcopal priest.

Then there is the quality of the sailing on heavy water seven times saltier than the ocean.



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SAILING: Yale sails to success in opener

After more than three months away from competition, the Yale women’s sailing team finally returned to action this weekend in South Carolina at the Charleston Women’s Interconference Regatta. Despite the lack of practice time, the Bulldogs finished third among 14 teams.

The delegation for the Elis, ranked second in the country and tied with Boston University as of last November, consisted of team captain and skipper Marly Isler ’16 and crew Natalya Doris ’17 competing in the A division. Skipper Casey Klingler ’18 and crew Isabelle Rossi de Leon ’17 represented Yale in the B division. The regatta was the Elis’ first time sailing since the final competition of the fall season and the first time the Bulldogs had been out on the water as well. Short Beach Cove, Yale’s home practice location, froze completely over this winter and prevented the Bulldogs from practicing in preparation for Charleston.

“It’s really nice to be able to compete in a regatta after not having sailed for three months and finish in third,” Doris said. “We were sailing against a lot of teams that had the opportunity to practice before the event, so we were really excited that we did better than a lot of them.”

Isler and Doris finished the two-day competition with 77 points, second among A division boats and two points in front of the eventual regatta champions, Georgetown. The A squad took on 13 other teams in flying juniors — a type of sailing dinghy used in U.S. college and high school programs — while battling winds upwards of 12 knots at the J. Stewart Walker Sailing complex.

Isler noted that the team was not too concerned with the results considering the Yale sailors’ lack of practice. She added that the results showed promise.

“Since the team has been on our off-season since Thanksgiving break, it was important this weekend to not be too hard on ourselves as we got back into the boats,” Isler said. “We came into this event at Charleston with absolutely no practice, so our in-boat communication needed a lot of work. However, I think our scores show that we are excited to keep improving throughout this season.”

Meanwhile, Klingler and Rossi de Leon ended the competition with 71 points, slightly behind Ivy rival Harvard but ahead of Vermont. The team as a whole finished in third place with 148 points, just four behind the aforementioned Catamounts and besting Harvard by nine points.

Rossi de Leon noted that although things were a little bit difficult at first, the women managed to get back into the swing of things by the end of the competition.

“Our boat handling was pretty atrocious compared to the end of last season, but that’s definitely forgivable … Casey and I haven’t sailed together, or at all, in months,” Rossi de Leon said. “After a few races, our sailing tactics were back. We started hitting the shifts properly, and it felt natural to be back on the water. Though we were over at the start in one race, our starts were generally pretty good as well.”

The Elis will begin training this week at Yale for the spring season before they head off to St. Mary’s College of Maryland for a week of practice over spring break.

The coed team will head to Charleston as well next weekend to compete at the Bob Bavier team race. The next event for the women’s team will take place on March 14 and 15 at the Navy Women’s Interconference.

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