Archive for » March 25th, 2015«

Olympics-Rio bay won't be clean for sailing-organisers

(Writes through adding quotes, details)

By Andrew Downie

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 24 (Reuters) – Brazilian Olympic officials changed tack on Tuesday and said they would only clean up lanes for sailors in 2016 and not the whole body of water for the sailing competition as originally promised.

Rio de Janeiro pledged to reduce pollution in the notoriously fetid Guanabara Bay by 80 percent but officials have now confirmed that the target will not be reached.

“The area of competition for the Olympic Games will be ready,” Carlos Nuzman, head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, said at a press event to mark 500 days until the starting gun.

“Our obligation is to deliver the area for competing during the Games,” he added.

His comments came 24 hours after the city’s mayor expressed his disappointment at the broken promise.

“I think it is a lost opportunity, yes,” Eduardo Paes told Sportv in an interview. “Not for the Olympics but for Rio, it’s important to Rio. De-polluting the Guanabara Bay is something we should have done.

“It’s a shame that the Olympics were not the reason or the motive, as in Sydney, to resolve the issue once and for all.”

However, Paes said he did not believe the dirty waters would pose a risk for sailors.

The sailing events will take place in a relatively clean part of the bay and. as it is the dry season, there will be less water flowing into the bay from the five rivers that surround it, he said.

In addition, staff will be employed to keep flotsam and jetsam away from the boats.

The Rio state government recently withdrew so-called eco-boats that were dredging some of the worst rubbish from the waters.

Officials said they were reviewing the programme and expected to announce new measures in the near future.

The cleaning of Guanabara Bay was a key part of Rio’s bid pledge and has long been a goal of successive local governments.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent but the water remains fetid, with Olympic sailors who visited the city for test events complaining of floating sofas and animal carcasses in the water.

When it bid to host the Games, Rio said it would cut the amount of raw sewage flowing into the bay by 80 percent but has since admitted that is unlikely.

Biologists last year said rivers leading into the bay contained a superbacteria that is resistant to antibiotics and can cause urinary, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections. (Reporting by Andrew Downie; editing by Martyn Herman and Ken Ferris)


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Rio bay won't be clean for sailing: organizers

By Andrew Downie

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazilian Olympic officials changed tack on Tuesday and said they would only clean up lanes for sailors in 2016 and not the whole body of water for the sailing competition as originally promised.

Rio de Janeiro pledged to reduce pollution in the notoriously fetid Guanabara Bay by 80 percent but officials have now confirmed that the target will not be reached.

“The area of competition for the Olympic Games will be ready,” Carlos Nuzman, head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, said at a press event to mark 500 days until the starting gun.

“Our obligation is to deliver the area for competing during the Games,” he added.

His comments came 24 hours after the city’s mayor expressed his disappointment at the broken promise.

“I think it is a lost opportunity, yes,” Eduardo Paes told Sportv in an interview. “Not for the Olympics but for Rio, it’s important to Rio. De-polluting the Guanabara Bay is something we should have done.

“It’s a shame that the Olympics were not the reason or the motive, as in Sydney, to resolve the issue once and for all.”

However, Paes said he did not believe the dirty waters would pose a risk for sailors.

The sailing events will take place in a relatively clean part of the bay and. As it is the dry season, there will be less water flowing into the bay from the five rivers that surround it, he said.

In addition, staff will be employed to keep flotsam and jetsam away from the boats.

The Rio state government recently withdrew so-called eco-boats that were dredging some of the worst rubbish from the waters.

Officials said they were reviewing the program and expected to announce new measures in the near future.

The cleaning of Guanabara Bay was a key part of Rio’s bid pledge and has long been a goal of successive local governments.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent but the water remains fetid, with Olympic sailors who visited the city for test events complaining of floating sofas and animal carcasses in the water.

When it bid to host the Games, Rio said it would cut the amount of raw sewage flowing into the bay by 80 percent but has since admitted that is unlikely.

Biologists last year said rivers leading into the bay contained a superbacteria that is resistant to antibiotics and can cause urinary, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; editing by Martyn Herman and Ken Ferris)


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Biggest-ever boat show reflects industry trends

Workers over the past couple of weeks have been busier than ever transforming the South Flagler Drive waterfront into a fully operational marina for the 30th edition of the Palm Beach International Boat Show, which opens Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Crews had more work to do this year because the show is again breaking its size record, organizers say, not only in its footprint but also in the number of vessels on view. The event’s growth reflects the vibrant economy, especially on the upper end, as well as Palm Beach County’s strengthening reputation as a yachting destination, according to industry observers.

This year, vendor displays have been extended so far south on Flagler Drive that the ticket booth for that area has been moved toward the Royal Park Bridge a couple of blocks and is now closer to Lakeview Avenue. Paid parking nearby at Phillips Point’s west garage, 777 S. Flagler Drive, also has been added.

Likewise, more slips have been installed in the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s all to accommodate, at last count, upward of 600 vessels in the show, compared to about 500 last year and around 400 the year before. Their total value is said to top $1 billion.

That’s all good news to Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, CEO of Active Interest media, the parent company of Fort Lauderdale-based Show Management Inc. The latter produces the annual show, which is owned, in turn, by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County. Show Management also mounts other boat shows, including February’s Miami event and the mammoth Fort Lauderdale show each fall.

Even with its growth, the Flagler Drive event retains its reputation as being an easy-to-navigate show with a user-friendly size, Zimbalist said.

“It has something for everyone, in a relaxed, luxurious atmosphere,” he said. “You can see every type of boat in Palm Beach — and you can see them in a day.”

Direct vessel sales stemming from the show are hard to quantify because sales contracts often aren’t inked until several months afterward, according to Palm Beach yacht brokers. But it’s clear that manufacturers and brokerages did brisk business last year, Zimbalist said. Just look across the bridge.

“The proof is that the show is bigger than last year,” he said. “I always say that Show Management doesn’t own the show and the Marine Industries Association doesn’t ‘own’ the show. The exhibitors ‘own’ the show — and we have more and more coming back.”

Range of boat sizes at show

Boats will range from 9-foot inflatables up to the 200-foot Aurora, the largest yacht on display. There are nearly 40 so-called “superyachts” of 120 feet in length or more, and at least four of those will hit or exceed 180 feet. Many of the larger vessels docked at Palm Harbor Marina on the north end of the show site.

Several brokerages and manufacturers with Palm Beach offices will again be represented at the event: Camper Nicholsons’ will display seven yachts; Worth Avenue Yachts expects to exhibit 11 vessels and Ferretti Group America will offer seven yachts. Princess Yachts America also will supply several Princess yachts to the show through the HMY Yachts brokerage.

The show will stretch over a dozen acres and will include tents filled with vendors of nautical equipment and related merchandise. Visitors will see exhibits of luxury cars, hear live entertainment, attend fishing clinics, and watch demonstrations of hovercraft and other “water toys” in the new AquaZone exhibit at the Meyer Amphitheater.

Other influences

Mike Rafferty, a broker at Camper Nicholsons’ office in Palm Beach, is among those who have watched the boat show and the yacht market — for sales and charters — rebound since the recession ended.

“The general economy and the upper-end economy is strong now,” Rafferty said. “When the stock market is in good shape, the large yacht sales tend to follow. It’s the same with high-end real estate.”

But other forces also are affecting the resurgence in the market on a more local level, Rafferty said. He pointed to improvements over the past few years at Palm Harbor Marina and, especially, Rybovich Marina, 4000 N. Flagler Drive. Both facilities have newer deep-water docks, but the ones at Rybovich can accommodate some of the largest yachts being manufactured today, well above 200 feet in length. Rybovich also offers refit, repair and maintenance services for such vessels.

Those facilities have helped cement Palm Beach County’s growing reputation as a yachting destination, while making it more convenient to show and sell yachts on Palm Beach, Rafferty said.

“Rybovich has brought in the very large yachts, and Palm Harbor has brought in the large yachts,” Rafferty said. “It centralizes our job. Instead of us having to always go to Fort Lauderdale or even to Europe, it makes our job easier.”

Francois van Well, a Rybovich Marina spokesman, acknowledged his marina’s growth has helped boost the county’s visibility among the world’s yacht owners — not to mention their crews, who can number as many as 600 sleeping aboard vessels docked there during the busiest times of the year.

“Our efforts have not gone unnoticed in the community, and we’ve done a lot of work to get yachts to come to Palm Beach County and start using the U.S. as a destination rather than a ‘fly-by,’” van Well said.

Meanwhile, Rybovich Marina owner Huizenga Holdings and the Related Group are pursuing plans for a major — and controversial —residential mixed-use redevelopment project to add six towers and retail space to the property. At Palm Harbor Marina, plans for a hotel also are on the drawing board.

Economic impact

Economic development to strengthen the local marine industry — particularly along Broadway Boulevard — also has been a priority of recently re-elected West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. She envisions the city one day becoming a world-class “marine city,” the phrase she used three years ago at a kick-off breakfast for the boat show.

Last week, Zimbalist was bullish on the growth of the local marine industry, citing a new economic-impact study for budget year 2014 commissioned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. The first such report since 2010, it shows that the county led Broward and Miami-Dade counties in marine-related sales. In all, Palm Beach County’s marine industry saw an estimated impact of $1.88 billion in gross output —an increase of $960 million in four years, the study showed.

“Palm Beach County is the fastest-growing of the three counties,” Zimbalist said. “And it’s certainly one of more beautiful environments to go boating.”


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Sailing smarts will be put to the test

Marlborough college sailors, from left, Kate Overend, 16, from Queen Charlotte College, Iolo Adams, 15, from Marlborough Boys’ College and Natalie Trayling, 15, from
Marlborough Girls’ College, don their school colours ahead of the 420 College Team Regional regatta that will be raced in Picton Thursday to Saturday.



Marlborough’s college sailors will get to test their tactical nous and teamwork on familiar waters this week when the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club plays host to school squads from the top of the South Island.

The 420 College Team Regional regatta will run from Thursday to Saturday in the Picton Harbour, with teams of seven from 10 schools gunning for improved seedings at the secondary school nationals in Taupo on April 12-17.

Queen Charlotte College, and Marlborough Boys’ and Girls’ Colleges will each enter teams, with most members sailors from the host club. Five schools from Nelson, Christchurch Boys’ High School and one from Wanaka will also be sending teams to Picton.

The team sailing offers a new dynamic for some of the younger competitors, with two team members in each 420 boat and three boats from each school going head to head in each race. That allows for team tactics such as one boat from a school attempting to slow an opposition yacht so that their own schoolmates can take advantage.

“It is not only about fast sailing, it is very much about team tactics,” Christel Hopkins, one of the regatta organisers, said during a busy week for the host club.

“It’s aggressive in a way. Close contact, aggressive, and being really smart. Every manoeuvre has to be done to perfection otherwise it doesn’t work.”

The nature of the racing can lead to sailors pushing the boundaries, Hopkins said.

“There are normally three teams of judges on the water at all times, because there are rules that must be abided by. Of course you shouldn’t bump into each other, but with the type of sailing they are doing it can happen.”

Although all the competitors will be of school age, there is a wide variety of experience levels among the Marlborough crews. Fifteen year-old Youth Olympian Alistair Gifford will skipper one of the MBC 420s while 11-year-old Year 8 QCC student Jasper Hopkins will crew for his school.

Schools will accumulate points from each race depending on their boats’ placings. Those results, along with independent securitisation from appointed New Zealand Team Sailing Association judges who attend each regional regatta, will determine what fleet each school will compete in at the nationals, Gold, Silver or Bronze.

MBC performed well at the national regatta last year, placing fourth, and in 2015 they return five of those seven sailors, Gifford, Hamish Clark, Callum Radford, Iolo Adams and Jake Morris. They will be aiming to win this week’s regionals and set themselves up for a top three finish at nationals.

QCC return six sailors from last year’s team who placed fourth in regionals and then took out the bronze fleet at nationals. This year they will be looking for a top three finish in Picton, which should put them into the silver fleet for Taupo. Jasper Hopkins is the only new team member in 2015.

MGC has a new-look team, so will do well to repeat their fifth place regional placing of 2014.

Races will be short, with an upwind beat to start, followed by a reach to the second mark, a downwind and then another reach and an upwind leg to the finish.

Racing will take place from mid-morning to around 5pm each day and can be viewed from the Picton wharfs and foreshore.

The regatta concludes with a formal dinner and prize-giving at Endeavour Park in Picton on Saturday night.

Marlborough school teams to contest the 420 College Team Regional regatta, Picton, Thursday-Saturday.

Marlborough Boys’ College: (S indicates skipper), Alistair Gifford -S, Hamish Clarke – S, Callum Radford – S, Iolo Adams, Jake Morris, Toby McGreggor, Nick Williams.

Marlborough Girls’ College: Natalie Trayling, Melanie White, Bronte Wooding – S, Jordan Silcock – S, Gabby leitch – S, Niamh Attridge.

Queen Charlotte College: Kate Overend – S, Alice Overend – S, Jasper Hopkins, Lachie Buchanan-Brown, Rosie Buchanan-Brown, Christopher Cameron – S, Jessica Cameron – reserve S.

– The Marlborough Express



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Vitamin Boat Expands Availyn & Movexa Sales Internationally

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Vitamin Boat

“Vitamin Boat expands delivery to new international markets and says other retailers should follow.”

Lawrenceville, GA (PRWEB) March 24, 2015

Since 2011, Vitamin Boat has offered its natural supplements and foods exclusively to the U.S. Although Vitamin Boat has experienced tremendous growth right here in the U.S., Chief Financial Officer Melanie Buchanan predicts international sales will eventually make up over 50% of total revenue.

Still in the early stages of the expansion (February 2015), Melanie states that it is “critical that companies understand exactly what they’re getting into when it comes to online international trade. And we feel we do. We’ve spent countless hours consulting with other companies that have succeeded overseas — as well as those who have failed — and our team feels it understands why certain things work and why some don’t work. Thankfully, we have come at a time where there’s enormous room to build on others before us who have expanded their services. As this model continues to succeed, it’s only a matter of time until this becomes the norm.

“We’re starting with our two top-selling brands first (Movexa and Availyn), and then we’ll debut others shortly thereafter. This will help us immediately see what the different needs are and prepare a strategy to ensure that our new customers are getting exactly what they need. By 2016, we expect to have international campaigns for all of our brands.”

Vitamin Boat GM Chris Cousino says, “Recent overseas success online is heavily thanks to other marketplaces like Ebay and Amazon. They enforce secure shipping policies that have enabled us to ship abroad confidently. They also provide a large community of qualified buyers. In the past, shipping overseas was full of unexpected regulations and buying patterns. Not having to worry about this part of trade anymore gives us the time to see who our customers are and provide an easy-to-use website catered to the individual — no matter which part of the world they live in. And each new area represents a fresh approach to show people what Vitamin Boat is all about.”

Vitamin Boat is currently exploring an additional fulfillment center in Ireland. This center would be used to distribute some of their top-selling brands throughout Europe.

“Vitamin Boat is committed to manufacturing only in the U.S.,” Cousino states. “This is one of our rules at Vitamin Boat. Having a fulfillment center in Ireland simply provides our customers with faster shipping.”

Vitamin Boat offers a selection of name-brand supplements and natural foods. Most commonly known for Movexa and Availyn, Vitamin Boat also carries over 500 natural products.

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Sailing

- Chinese entrant Dongfeng Race Team was one of four boats in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet to keel over in the Southern Ocean on Tuesday as the fleet experienced its roughest conditions since the event started last October. The all-women’s crew of Team SCA (Sweden), Dongfeng and MAPFRE (Spain) all suffered their boats briefly tipping on their sides during 12 hours of drama as they headed towards Cape Horn. Another competitor, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, also endured a drama-filled night, reporting “a massive wipe-out”. Miraculously, no injuries were reported. Team Brunel (Netherlands), which avoided any major problems, led at 1255 GMT by 11.1nm from overall race leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

AFP