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3 takeaways from marine executives at the Palm Beach International Boat Show

The Palm Beach International Boat Show, which features more than $1.2 billion worth of yachts, boats and marine accessories, launched in downtown West Palm Beach at noon Thursday.

The Palm Beach International Boat Show, which features more than $1.2 billion worth of yachts, boats and marine accessories, launched in downtown West Palm Beach at noon Thursday.

Emon Reiser
Reporter- South Florida Business Journal


The boating business, hit hard by the recession, is recovering quickly, executives from some of Palm Beach County’s largest employers in the marine industry noted Thursday at the 30th annual Palm Beach International Boat Show.

The the panel of executives drew about 50 members of the media and boat show officials to a pavilion at the show site in downtown West Palm Beach.

Click the photo to view a slideshow from the event.

Executives speaking on the panel: Mark Crosley, executive director of the Florida Inland Navigation District; Bob Healey, president of Viking Development in North Palm Beach; Pat Healey, president of the Viking Yacht Company; Rick Morgan, president of Old Port Cove Holdings; and John Smundin, dockmaster of the Palm Harbor Marina. Michael Kennedy, president of the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County (MIAPBC) moderated the panel.

Their observations:

Demand for boating is growing. After a slow post-recession recovery, the recreational boating industry is returning more quickly in recent years, said Morgan, president of Old Port Cove Holdings in North Palm Beach. More boats are being sold and those boats are docking for longer times at South Florida’s marinas.

“We’ve seen a significant change from our guests to be much more committed to sign seasonal and annual leases, so we really see this industry rebounding,” Morgan said. Monthly or short-term dockage leases were common before, he added.

Superyacht sales in January were stronger than start-of-year sales for the past six years, with strong sales figures for new orders of superyachts, according to Boat International Market Intelligence. The U.S. recreational boating industry expects to see a 5 percent increase in boat sales in 2015, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which would mark one of the healthiest pre-recession year for the industry.

All Aboard Florida could pose big problems for this growing industry. The MIAPBC said it has been working with All Aboard Florida and elected officials to find ways to reduce the impact of the Orlando-to-Miami passenger rail service on marine transportation.

“We don’t want to lose any more navigation time, but we understand mass transit is important,” said Kennedy. His organization is mainly concerned with reduced access to three main rivers that are used by South Florida’s marine communities: New River, Loxahatchee and the Okeechobee Waterway.

Marine businesses in Palm Beach County create nearly 2 billion in economic impact.

The county’s marine industry had an estimated impact of more than $1.8 billion in gross output including $682 million in wages and earnings, according to a 2014 recreational marine industry economic impact study. The industry had 18,220 direct and indirect jobs jobs, up from 8,931 jobs in 2010.

“We have 175 employees and I would imagine we support twice that amount in the community,” said Pat Healey.

In 2013, Palm Beach County had 36,852 registered boats.

Emon Reiser covers retail, restaurants, tourism and hospitality. Get the latest retail news with our free daily newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

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It is now heading for Cape Horn in southern Chile, a graveyard for countless sailors since it was first used as a trading route in the early 17th century.

The region is the only time in the 38,738-nautical mile race where the boats are likely to see icebergs and to complicate matters, a huge storm is building up behind them in the Southern Ocean.

Earlier on Saturday, the Chinese boat Dongfeng Race Team, skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, led the leg from Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil, but by less than 10nm from four other crews.

Caudrelier admitted that the stress was becoming “wearing” on his eight-man team.

“I think it’s unique in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race (launched in 1973) to have a fleet battling like this in these latitudes,” he told Reuters on Saturday.

“Tomorrow, we’ll be even further south and the water temperature is going to drop. I’m expecting the hardest part of this race in the next 48 hours.”

Dongfeng was one of three boats to narrowly avoid capsizing earlier in the week when they crashed over on their sides midway through the Southern Ocean on the 6,776nm leg — a so-called ‘Chinese gybe’ or ‘death roll’.

Miraculously, all the crews avoided anything more serious than cuts and bruises and damage to boats have been repaired on the move.

After some 3,000nm miles of sailing in the toughest leg of the race, Dongfeng lead by just 5.1nm from Dutch boat Team Brunel with overall leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, MAPFRE (Spain) and Team Alvimedica (Turkey/U.S.) no more than 4nm further adrift.

The all women’s crew of Team SCA (Sweden) were nearly 100nm behind that pack. They and MAPFRE also suffered Chinese gybes on Tuesday.

The leg is expected to conclude around April 5-6 after three weeks of sailing from New Zealand. In all, the boats will sail nine legs and visit 11 ports. They finish the race on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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See inside: the boats at this year's Northern Boat Show in Liverpool

Here’s a sneak peak at – and inside – some of the boats announced to be at this summer’s Northern Boat Show at Liverpool waterfront.

The show’s organisers have made their first announcement about the line-up of power boats, cruisers, narrow boats, sailing boats and marine businesses that will be on show at Liverpool’s waterfront this June as part of the International Mersey River Festival.

The three-day boat show from June 5 to 7 will play host to some of the biggest and most popular boat brands.

Richard Milbourn, director of the Northern Boat Show said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from companies involved in every aspect of the leisure marine industry.

“They are all extremely excited to be part of this brand new show. We will be making new announcements every week on the boats and exhibitors you will be able to see and meet at the show so do keep checking on our website, for the latest news.“

Among those signed up are Beneteau, Bavaria, Bayliner and Viking boats, brought by exhibitors Maiden Marine, Windermere Aquatics, Clipper Marine and Preston Marina, with more boat dealers and brands confirming their attendance every day.

There will also be two traditional boats on display from Character Boats and for narrow boats Liverpool’s own Collingwood Boat Builders are bringing along four of their boats.

The Boat Building Academy are showcasing one of the boats built on their courses and the world’s premier sail maker, North Sails, will be there to showcase their sails as well as Yamaha motors, the leading outboard motor manufacturer in the world.

The Albert Dock will showcase the latest sailing and power boats with smaller craft on display in Salthouse Dock and a land-based exhibition on the Salthouse Dock quayside.

Early Bird tickets for pontoon access boats are currently £2.50 per day, with the price going to £5 from Friday May 1. To book tickets, visit .

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Bizarre caravan boat seen floating down the Swale and Faversham and Oare Creek

Cruising down the Swale alongside sailing boats and fishing vessels, this bizarre combination sticks out like a fish out of water.

The mobile home appears to be fixed to the base of a catamaran.

The caravan boat spotted in the Swale

The caravan boat spotted in the Swale

It’s no slow mover either, with an engine on the back to speed it up as it travels up the estuary.

Seen anchored along Faversham Creek, Oare Creek and as far away as Conyer, it is unknown whether someone stays in this floating home all year round or whether it’s an unusual holiday home.

Locals say the owner is a keen boatman in his “70s or 80s” who lives in nearby Sittingbourne.

The caravan boat spotted in the Swale

The caravan boat spotted in the Swale

“So he decided to kill two birds with one stone and just attached the caravan to a float. I have seen it a few times on the river.”

Fisherman Trevor Ryan, 63, added: “He bought the catamaran and then he fitted the caravan on it and launched it from Iron Wharf boatyard.

“He is about 70 or 80 years old and he has got a few yachts and boats in the harbour but for some reason he has obviously built this caravan.

“I don’t know why he has done it but he loves the water and maybe he saw it as a bit of an escape where he could get away and watch the world go by.”

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Sailing: Sunbeams’ class shines through

The magnificent Solent Sunbeams Picture by Chris Hatton

The Solent Sunbeam class based at Itchenor Sailing Club has been awarded a prestigious Classic Boat magazine award.

They have taken the title in the Spirit of Tradition under-40ft category.

The Sunbeams have enjoyed a spectacular resurgence over the past five years because of their courageous decision to build new boats in GRP while remaining true to the traditional wooden design.

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The tradition in the title of the award stems from the inspired original 1922 design by Alfred Westmacott, who had previously designed the popular XOD, Victory and Mermaid classes. The Sunbeam is considered by many to be his masterpiece.

The GRP Solent Sunbeams faithfully follow Westmacott’s beautiful hull lines, deck and cockpit layout with a skilful combination of modern and traditional materials.

The first new Sunbeam named Betty was launched in 2010 just five months after the members of the class association gave approval for the use of the line drawings. She competed in Cowes Week that year.

Charles Hyatt, commodore at Itchenor SC, said: “The Classic Boat award is a deserved reward for the foresight and dedication shown by members of the Sunbeam class. We are proud to have this iconic fleet of boats racing at Itchenor and gracing the waters of Chichester Harbour.”

Champion Sunbeam sailor Roger Wickens led the project. For Roger the only answer was yes, the only timescale tomorrow and for every detail there was no compromise. Naval architect Theo Rye interpreted Westmacott’s design for GRP boats so successfully that they sail equally with the traditional boats whilst maintaining their key wooden visual features.

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The plug and moulds were created by AP Structures of Sandown, Isle of Wight, who also built and assembled the hull and deck mouldings. The completion of the work took place at Itchenor’s Haines Boatyard, who contributed the beautiful timber work and fitted out and rigged Betty ready for racing.

There are now seven GRP Solent Sunbeams racing at Itchenor alongside the traditional wooden craft. With a further two under construction the rejuvenation of the Sunbeam class continues.

The Classic Boat award is a deserved reward for the foresight and dedication shown by members of the Sunbeam class

Itchenor Sailing Club commodore Charles Hyatt

Itchenor Sailing Club are inviting people to enjoy a free sailing experience on Sunday, May 17, as the club open their doors for sailing taster sessions as part of the the RYA’s Push the Boat Out campaign.

The event is supported by Chichester estate agents Strutt and Parker. Push the Boat Out is a nine-day nationwide event that will see hundreds of sailing clubs and centres across the country opening their doors for local people to have a go at sailing and windsurfing.

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RYA sport development manager Duncan Truswell said: “Push the Boat Out provides the perfect opportunity for people to discover their local sailing venue, meet key volunteers and like-minded people, have a go at the sport and find out how much fun it is and how easy it is to get involved.”

Gayle Palmer, organiser of Itchenor’s open day, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in the RYA Push the Boat Out. We are inviting the local community to come down to the club, have a go at sailing, see what the club has to offer and get involved. Who knows – if you visit you might just get hooked.”

Starting at 9.30am, Itchenor will stage a wide range of activities including opportunities to meet and talk to club members, a short sail in a dinghy or keelboat, a race on a boat, a tour of the clubhouse and facilities, viewing of the types of boats that race from Itchenor – dinghies and keelboats for all levels of experience and age.

You can also find out about the training courses on offer throughout the season for children, powerboaters and keelboat racers and discover how less-experienced ladies are learning to sail. There’ll also be details of how to hire one of the club boats or join an existing fleet, plus membership options.

Free tea and coffee will be available and the clubhouse and bar will be open for lunch, drinks and tea.

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All those who wish to sail are requested to pre-register before the day so the club can allocate enough boats and members – call the office on 01243 512400 or complete the form at

Visit or call 01243 512400. You can also find the club on Facebook and via @Itchenor1 on Twitter.

For more on RYA Push the Boat Out, visit

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