Archive for » March 13th, 2015«

Boat sales increase 8.5 percent in 2014

Posted on March 13th, 2015
Written by Jack Atzinger


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Led by four segments that topped 40,000 in sales, the recreational boating industry finished 2014 with moderate growth of 6 percent in the main powerboat segments and 8.5 percent industrywide.

Aluminum fishing and pontoon boats, small to midsized fiberglass outboards and personal watercraft were the top categories as the industry sold 226,494 boats nationwide last year, 17,804 more than it sold the previous year, Statistical Surveys reported today.

The “good, steady moderate growth” the industry achieved last year appears to be reachable again this year, barring unforeseen economic problems, Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager Ryan Kloppe said.

“The pattern was established pretty early last year,” he added. “There were four segments that topped 40,000 units. That’s really great.”

Sales of fiberglass outboards rose 10.1 percent for the year to 42,693 boats. Aluminum fishing boats gained 6.4 percent to 41,965 and aluminum pontoons rose 5.8 percent to 41,143.

The industry enjoyed its third year in a row of sales that topped 200,000 as it continues its recovery from the Great Recession. Sales in 2013 were up 5.8 percent in the main segments and just 1.9 percent industrywide, finishing at 208,690, but the broader industry did better in 2014, in large part because of PWC sales, which climbed by 8,331, or 21.1 percent, to 47,864.

“People can afford the price points on those,” Kloppe said. “It’s pulling some people to the water who will hopefully transition down the road to a powerboat.”

Sales of jetboats rose 15.7 percent to 3.545 and ski-boat sales climbed 14.6 percent to 7,066, last year.

Six of the eight categories in the main segments showed sales increases. Sales of 31-40-foot cruisers rose 7.4 percent to 1,430 and sales of 63- to 99-foot custom and semicustom yachts climbed 17.8 percent to 245, but sales of 41- to 62-foot yachts were 4.4 percent lower at 860 and sales of 14- to 30-foot inboard and sterndrive boats fell 9 percent to 13,041.

Sailboat sales fell 3.8 percent for the year to 2,567.

In the fourth quarter, the industry sold 14,642 boats in the main segments, a gain of 10.1 percent, and 20,010 industrywide for a gain of 8.6 percent. Kloppe said the quarter gave the industry a strong finish in months that typically don’t produce large numbers of sales.

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The round-the-world event had been forced to delay the anticipated Sunday departure for the six-strong fleet from Auckland until Monday because of the category five cyclone.

Cyclone Pam has built up winds of more than 250 kilometres an hour and is, according to one New Zealand meteorologist, the fiercest in the South Pacific for 40 years.

Richard Green told local radio station RadioLIVE on Friday: “Cyclone Pam is enormous, it is the most powerful it can be. We have seen nine cyclones of category five in the last 40 years in the South Pacific and this is the strongest.”

Race CEO Knut Frostad told a news conference on Friday that he had “no option” but to delay the fleet’s departure for the 6,776-nautical mile leg to Itajai in Brazil.

The sailors have unanimously backed that decision.

“We know that our boats are strong but we cannot sail in 70 knots of wind (130 kph). This is already something more than a cyclone. I have not seen anything like this in my life,” MAPFRE (Spain) skipper, Iker Martinez, an Olympic gold medallist in Athens 2004, told reporters on Friday.

The nine-month race, which is staged over nine legs, covers 38,739nm, and is due to finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

There are nine legs in all and the fifth, which takes the fleet through the treacherous Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn, was already reckoned to be the toughest of all.

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SailQuest Boat Show returns to Connecticut in May

Posted on March 12th, 2015

SailQuest Boat Show Cos. said it will hold its annual boutique boat show May 1-3 at Mystic Shipyard in Mystic, Conn.

The family-oriented show will feature new sailboats, trawlers, Down East-style powerboats, kayaks, paddle boards and select brokerage yachts from 12 to more than 50 feet.

Mystic Shipyard is offering free parking and free admission to the show. Exhibitor space is available on and off the water.

The show, in its eighth year, caters to serious buyers, and many land activities will be held to support Sails Up 4 Cancer, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research in the education, prevention and cure of all types of cancer through the art and enjoyment of sailing.

“Springline Yacht Sales enjoyed yet another successful SailQuest Boat Show in 2014,” Springline president Rick Dieterich said in a statement. “Over the years, we can directly attribute sales to this show, and this past year was no exception. Having a boutique-type show that focuses on vessel sales and not the gate or ticket sales is what makes this show such a welcomed addition to our schedule. With super-low cost to the dealers and superb seasonal timing, you can’t go wrong,”

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Contiki tours evolve from 'booze and bongs' to luxury sailing

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“Generation Y will not camp,” says Contiki Australia’s youthful managing director Katrina Barry, who last year joined a Contiki tour in Europe undercover to glean insights about today’s travellers.

Contiki travellers can now stay in hotels, hostels, on boats, or in unique company-managed accommodation such as a 16th century French chateau or a Swiss chalet in the Alps. Of the eight trip styles, a camping option remains, but that is hardly a growth area for the company.

“We joke internally the cheap Kiwis love a bit of camping,” says New Zealand-born Barry. “It is very much a declining product.”

That contrasts with the rapid growth in other products, such as sailing adventures in Greece, Croatia and closer to home, the Whitsundays. Trips outside of Europe have been gaining in popularity.

“Twenty years ago it was just boozing around Europe,” Barry says. “Now Asia is our fastest-growth region.”

The average age of a traveller on a Contiki trip to Europe is now 26 – around the time that many Generation Y members finally leave home. Half of the trips have at least some financial contribution from mum and dad, which makes sense given the experiences being sought cost more than the bargain-basement bus tours of the past. At the upper end, the new 13-day Japan trip, which has been a hot seller, is priced from $4465, not including optional add-ons like the night at the Robot Restaurant which costs $70.

On European trips in the northern summer, the average age falls to around 21 or 22. But the trips to Asia, Latin America and the US have an average age of 29 and tend to have smaller group sizes. In the 1970s, the average trip lasted six weeks. Now it lasts just three, in part because cheaper airfares mean travellers will make multiple trips to Europe and other destinations rather than a single grand tour.

Contiki may be a global company based in the United Kingdom, but 45 per cent of the travellers on the Europe trips – by far the largest demographic – are from Australia, with the US market the next biggest.

Social media is naturally a key focus for Contiki in influencing youth travellers to consider one of its tours. Its slogan is #noregrets, which Barry says has proven so popular that some travellers have even had it tattooed on their bodies after a trip. Contiki also sponsors events such as the Splendour in the Grass music festival to keep in touch with its market.

“It is to make sure Contiki is cool rather than a daggy thing your parents did,” Barry says.

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