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Dockside boat show returns to Norwalk Thursday

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With Tropical Storm Jose appearing on a heading to stay east of New England, organizers of the Norwalk Boat Show say they expect as many as 15,000 people for this week’s show at Norwalk Cove Marina starting Thursday and running through Sunday, with the show open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

From a focus on boat sales a decade ago, the show has evolved into as much a festival celebrating all things boating, with activities including taking a ride on Norwalk Harbor; how-to workshops for experienced boaters; and a new career fair on Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. sponsored by the Connecticut Marine Trades Association.


Organized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and sponsored by Progressive, the Norwalk Boat Show represents the last major showcase in the Northeast in 2017, coming on the heels of the Newport International Boat Show that concluded Sunday in Rhode Island. The Norwalk and Newport shows differ from annual boat shows in New York City and Hartford that display vessels on the floors of convention centers.

“I think what’s nice about the show is it gives people a true taste of the boating life,” said Jon Pritko, vice president of Northeast shows for NMMA. “You see boats in their natural environment.”

For kids — those age 12 and under get in free with adults paying the $15 regular admission — this year’s show will include dockside “touch a boat” exhibits and photo opportunities, with options including working boats for law enforcement, firefighting, oystering and marine towing. And plenty of other activities are on deck for youngsters, including paddleboats and toy boat building.

For serious boaters, the show will feature a steady lineup of forums under the “Boat Confident” banner starting daily at 10:30 with one covering “iNavigation” and others docking, anchoring and “Ask a Captain” question-and-answer sessions. And at “Fred’s Shed” the details of boat maintenance are explored throughout the show, including repairs, engine troubleshooting and one-on-one consultations. The complete schedule of activities is online at www.boatshownorwalk.com.

All Seasons Marine Works will have between 25 and 30 boats on display at the show, with the dealer having locations on the Rowayton waterfront in Norwalk and in Westport. Co-owner Nathan Gottlieb said sales are up this year, particularly in the luxury segment but with sales starting to come back for boats priced in the $40,000 to $60,000 range.

“In the past two weeks we sold seven boats, which is pretty good for September,” Gottlieb said. “Boat shows began changing more than 10 years ago, from a place where people would show up and buy a boat to a place where people are looking to have fun. … We definitely sell boats at the boat show, but I can’t say its our primary goal any more — hopefully we just make a good connection so that people keep us in mind if they ever decide to buy one.”

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman


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Trading average for adventure: How one couple ditched it all to live aboard in Puget Sound

I always felt slightly out of place sitting at a desk from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. every day, returning home to a beige house in the suburbs, crammed into a tree-lined street elbow to elbow with all the other houses, all looking just about the same. I had a hard time finding a place I loved to eat, to shop, to spend my time and my hard-earned money because, for me, nothing in the town where we lived had any sense of originality, no character, nothing whatsoever to develop a connection with. That’s what I craved: connection. To my community, to the people with whom I shared this collective space.

I’ve found that nothing worthwhile ever comes as a result of a carefully laid plan. God (or the universe or whatever you believe in) laughs at plans. Plans are simply our way of attempting to gain control over our lives. So it came as no surprise to me that the end to this way of life came hurdling at me like a fastball to a newbie batter. To put it simply: I lost my job. My husband, Jim, had lost his almost a year earlier, and the time had come to make some big decisions. Fast.

Should we get new jobs we didn’t love simply to keep the house? Did we even need the house? Were we willing to continue putting our dreams of being full time wedding photographers on hold simply to maintain possession of the structure that housed our things? And if not, what else were we going to do?

A visit to friends in Seattle, less than a week later, provided all the answers we needed. We loved the area, the thought of being closer to our friends sounded like so much fun, and over lunch on the last day of our visit, Jim threw out a wild idea he only half meant at the time: “Maybe we should buy a boat and move up here and live in a marina.”

The idea was crazy, wasn’t it? Who just up and sells everything they own to move onto a boat in a new state? Well, apparently, we do. We had fifteen hours’ worth of driving  home to find a reason we shouldn’t make this crazy plan a reality. We never found one.

It was easier than we thought to part with the “things” we’d amassed over the course of our lives and our relationship. When the options were to hold onto wedding gifts we’d barely used and a library full of books (which, by the way, were my pride and joy) or to go off and live a life of adventure, a life that truly felt like “me,” the decision was simple. Suddenly, those things that once felt so important, so critical to survival became just “things,” items that stood between us and the life of our dreams.

Don’t get me wrong. It was an emotional time. We had spent almost five years building a home together. The house we sold was our first, and we had created a space that we loved, that was our sanctuary, and it was not something we parted with lightly. Fat tears rolled down my cheeks as I said goodbye for the last time, to our garden, to the shelves Jim had built into our library, to the kitchen I’d prepared so many meals in. It was a sacrifice for the life we live now. But it was worth it.

With Jim’s truck packed to the brim with all the items we would need for our first several weeks in Seattle, we pulled out of his parents’ driveway before the sun was up. We drove north fueled by Dutch Bros coffee and an adrenaline like none I had ever felt. This was a new kind of adventure for me. It was terrifying…and it was amazing.

We’d decided (after 12 hours of sailing lessons on a practically windless lake and one tour of a Pearson 30 on the Sacramento River) that we were going to live on a sailboat. Jim called on every listing he could find on Yacht World and within the first 48 hours we had a whole two boat tours lined up. The first was a Catalina 34 that was just a tad over our budget…and needed far too many tads’ worth of work for our beginning comfort level. The second was a custom Endurance 37 that ended up being the best boat we looked at by far. Not because she was our boat, but because she brought us to our broker.

Sue at Capital City Yacht Sales was a godsend in our boat-buying process. She did more than show us boats and help us find the right one for us, she took us under her wing and helped us figure out exactly what we wanted and what we didn’t, she drove all over the Puget Sound to show us boats and pulled me off the ledge when the trawler we fell in love with and made an offer on (yes, I said trawler) ended up not being the boat for us. She started this process as our broker, and I am so happy to report that to this day, we call her our friend.

Finding Sue was our first bit of luck in the boat-buying process, but it wasn’t our last. Seattle area marinas are notoriously hard to get into. Every single one we visited had a waiting list at least a year long just to get a permanent slip. And in order to join the waiting list for live aboard status, you had to have a permanent slip. It was starting to look hopeless.

While visiting the Port of Poulsbo, we fell in love with the quaint little town and decided it was time to actually put our names on one of these lists. It was the only list we joined, and we were number twelve. But here we had the option of winter moorage at their guest docks while we waited for a permanent spot. It was the best opportunity we’d come across.

Port of Poulsbo.

Meanwhile, the deal for the trawler had fallen through and we were madly running around looking at boats. We had to find one before we returned to California to photograph a wedding at the end of the month, and time was rapidly running out.

We knew Willow was the boat for us the second we stepped into her cabin. We even had a secret signal, and Jim and I stifled a laugh as we both signaled at the same time. Her owner, Peter, spent almost two hours showing us every inch of the well-maintained Islander Freeport 36, including all the little quirks and potential problems he was aware of. We called Sue the moment we left the boat and told her we were in love. Again. I hadn’t been sure it would happen a second time. That trawler had seemed perfect, but next to Willow, it was just another boat that wasn’t our boat.

We made an offer and hit the road for California, cutting our trip shorter than we’d planned in order to get back in time for our survey. As we were packing our bags the afternoon before our drive back north, the Port of Poulsbo called and offered us a permanent slip. Everything was falling into place.

Signing the papers for Willow.

At the end of October, we will celebrate our first year living aboard Willow. Only a month after being put on the live aboard list in Poulsbo, our names came up and we became official.

This past year has been like living a dream I never knew I had. Tiny living definitely suits us and we’ve found our tribe in our fellow liveaboards (and lots of non-liveaboards!) in our marina and in the community around us. Our friends and family ask us how long we plan to live on the boat, and our answer is always “as long as it still feels right.” At this point, I can’t imagine it not feeling right.

Sure, it is an inconvenience to walk up to the marina bathrooms to take a shower in the winter when the introduction of additional moisture into the boat can cause problems, but it is a small price to pay for the kind of life we live. Other small prices to pay: lugging groceries down the dock at low tide. Having to shop twice a week because our fridge is small. Pumping our waste tank. Walking the dog in the rain. Dealing with leaks. Refilling water tanks mid-shower (we do shower in the boat in the summer). Parking half a mile away from our front door. Lying awake in a wind storm as our lazy jacks slap against the mast. Losing a can of pumpkin at the bottom of the pantry that is about half as deep as I am tall.

But if those things are the price of waking up every morning on the water, of having the freedom to cast off our lines and be on an adventure at a moment’s notice, of watching the sun rise over Mount Rainier with a steaming cup of coffee and my best friend in the whole world, the lovely sounds of bells from the church up the hill ringing through the air, of living a simple life free of clutter and “things” that don’t bring me joy, in a community that I feel a deep connection to, then that is a price I am gladly willing to pay.  


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MarineMax, Inc. (FL) (NYSE:HZO) Experiences Heavier than Usual Trading Volume

MarineMax, Inc. (FL) shares had a trading volume of 475K in the last trading session. Volume was up 85.09% over the stocks average daily volume.

Short traders are feeling a little more bearish on shares of MarineMax, Inc. (FL) lately if you take note of the rise in short interest. The stock saw a rise in short interest of 17.43% between August 15, 2017 and August 31, 2017. Short interest increased 364,505 over that timeframe. The short-interest ratio increased to 8.0 and the percentage of shorted shares is 0.10% as of August 31.

A few notable investment firms have updated their holdings. Ubs Group Ag divested its holdings by selling 2,014 shares a decrease of 98.9% as of 06/30/2017. Ubs Group Ag now controls 23 shares with a value of $0. The total value of its holdings decreased 100.0%. Nbw Capital LLC cut its investment by shedding 2,102 shares a decrease of 1.3% from 03/31/2017 to 06/30/2017. Nbw Capital LLC owns 158,026 shares worth $3,089,000. The value of the position overall is down by 10.9%.

As of the end of the quarter Allianz Asset Management Gmbh had disposed of a total of 2,705 shares trimming its holdings by 4.1%. The value of the investment in HZO went from $1,428,000 to $1,236,000 a change of $192,000 for the reporting period. Coe Capital Management, LLC grew its position by buying 4,370 shares an increase of 13.4% in the quarter. Coe Capital Management, LLC now holds 36,965 shares valued at $723,000. The value of the position overall is up by 2.4%.

The company is down by 0.32%% since yesterday’s close of 15.75. It is trading at $15.70 which is marginally over $15.57, the stock’s 50 day moving average and significantly below the 200 day moving average of $18.78. The 50 day moving average moved up $0.13 and the 200 day average went down $-3.08 or -16.39%.

The most current P/E ratio is 15.70 and market capitalization is 381.13M. In the latest earnings report the EPS was $1.00 and is expected to be $0.98 for the current year with 24,276,000 shares currently outstanding. Analysts expect next quarter’s EPS to be $0.09 with next year’s EPS anticipated to be $1.23.

MarineMax, Inc., launched on January 20, 2015, is a recreational boat and yacht dealer in the United States. Through 56 retail locations in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Texas, the Company sold new and used recreational boats, including pleasure and fishing boats, as of September 30, 2016. The Company also sells related marine products, including engines, trailers, parts and accessories. In addition, it provides repair, maintenance, and slip and storage services; arranges related boat financing, insurance, and extended service contracts; offers boat and yacht brokerage sales, and operates a yacht charter business..


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Innerviews: Inveterate river rat celebrates half-century of boating – Charleston Gazette

There’s hardly anything Tom Pile enjoys more than his 6-mile commute to work. No stop lights. No stop signs. No traffic jams. And the lanes are as wide and open as a Montana sky.

He commutes from his home in Dunbar to Lou Wendell Marine Sales in St. Albans on his pontoon, the Wilma Rae. Rain or shine, even in the cold, warmed by a thermos of hot coffee, he enjoys the river trek that jump starts his day.

To anyone who knows him, this is not surprising. At 55, he can’t remember life without some kind of boat, from the jon boats of boyhood to the series of fancy sternwheelers all named the Pile Inn.

He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but a pacifier shaped like an anchor wouldn’t have surprised the obstetrician one whit.

After flirting with a religious career and paying his dues selling hardware and carpets, he found his perfect working world 20 years ago, selling boats for Lou Wendell.

He’s a 38-year veteran of the Great Kanawha River Navy and the organization’s only two-time commander. He’s celebrating his 50th year as a boat owner.

Boats and the river are his addiction, his vice, the passion of his life, second only to his wife, Wilma.

They were married on a sternwheeler with a full river theme wedding.

Ah, the lure of the river. A shared romance.

squf; squf; squf;

“I have never not had a boat. I grew up in Dunbar on the river in the house I still live in, the homeplace. We had a camp on the Greenbrier River. We would go there as soon as school was out and come back when school started again. We had a boat on the river there.

“We were swimming at 4 and turned loose on a boat at 5 and never looked back. We had jon boats with outboards on them. On my 15th birthday, I wanted a boat with a windshield and a steering wheel. And that’s what I got. My daddy bought it for me, my birthday wish.

“In my teenage years, unlike other boys who got into cars, I got into boats, I would bring them home and fix them up and trade them for something else.

“I graduated in December of ’75 from WVU but I had to go to summer school one year to graduate. I took a boat to Cheat Lake with me that year. Looking back, I wish I’d gone to summer school every year because it was so much fun.

“I started at Wesleyan as a Bible and religion major, then transferred to WVU as a business major. I was going to be a preacher.

“I had a religious upbringing and at 17, I didn’t know what I wanted to be as a true goal. I thought that would be a way to get started in school, being raised in the Methodist church and going to a Methodist school.

“You know Dr. Edwin Welch, the president at UC? He had just started teaching at Wesleyan and I took a New Testament history course from him. Thirty-some years later, I was a presenter at the dedication of the Dr. Edwin H. Welch [towboat] at UC.

“After three years, I dropped out and went to work. I felt I was wasting my time in college. My parents were understanding, but they said I wasn’t going to just quit. ‘You are going to work and then go back to get a degree.’ For 18 months, I worked in the hardware business, then went back and finished college in business. I figured if you had a degree in business you could go to work about anywhere.

“When I graduated in ’75, I bought a new car, a new boat and a used motorcycle. The following year, I got a houseboat, the first Pile Inn. There have been many of those over the years. They were named after the camp on the Greenbrier River, Camp Pile Inn. With three generations at the camp, I thought it would be appropriate name for my boat.

“I went to work for my dad as a hardware rep. I called on retail stores in West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia.

“I spent 20 years in the floor covering business working for Sears in the carpet department. Then I ran the Carpet One store for Bill Smith in Big Chimney.

“I was always good about going to visit people in the hospital. Lou [Wendell] had had a heart attack. This was 1997. I went to see him and I teased him and said, ‘If you don’t die, can I have a job?’ And that’s how I got here, 20 years ago.

“He offered me a job in boat sales. We’ve had a very good year. People are buying boats.

“Once you get around the water and a boat, it becomes an addiction. You almost have to do it. So I’m doing what I love.

“It’s easier to sell something you love doing. It’s a whole lot easier to sell a boat than carpet and hardware. It’s easier to get that excitement or spark in someone’s life when you know how much fun it is to start with.

“The whole industry has gravitated to pontoon boats. The cruiser market started fading in ’08 when the economy started going haywire. Also, most people don’t allow themselves to travel overnight and the pontoon boat has taken that market. It’s a good day boat and play boat, and it’s the least maintenance of any boat. Now with the big engines, if you want to water ski and go fast, you can do that.

“I’ve been active in the Great Kanawha River Navy for 38 years. I’m the only two-time commander in chief and I’m a fleet admiral now. I joined in 1979.

“I’ve been married twice. The first one lasted six weeks. I was 27 and everyone else was getting married so I thought I was supposed to.

“I got married for good in 1999 and we had a river wedding. It was at the house. Nelson Jones brought a barge in and placed it for me. The Coast Guard notified mariners to close down the river. We had 40 or 50 boats there and a calliope playing and the wedding was on top of the Juanita. Navy members wore their white uniforms. After we departed the boat to come up to the yard for the reception, they lined up with crossed paddles and we walked through all those.

“As far as what I’ve done on the river, I was master of ceremonies for the only sternwheel boat race on Bluestone Lake at the lake’s 50th anniversary.

“And we once did a collision enactment. We got an old junk motor boat and put manikins in it and the Charleston [towboat] ran over top of it. And we had the DNR and Coast Guard as the first responders, all with the cooperation of Amherst. I ran the boat. The video is still out there in their training.

“During the regatta, we ran Anything That Floats contest for four or five years and actually participated in it once.

“Oh, and I built a pontoon, too. I named it Daddy Jack after my dad. I built it for his 70th birthday. There were baby sternwheeler races and we had heats with 12 or 14 of them. I never won first place, but I always placed. Boats came out of Texas and Marietta. It was a big deal.

“The farthest I’ve traveled on a boat is Pittsburgh north and Cincinnati west.

“The existing Pile Inn was built in 1963 and was sold in ’73 to Bob Lemley who lived on it for 30 years. Physically and mentally, he needed to get off the boat. It was for sale. I have a nephew in Frankfort, Kentucky, and we went there one Christmas and stopped to look at it, and I ended up purchasing it. I called Nelson and he said the Charleston will be there in 30 days to pick it up and bring it home to you.

“Pile Inn needs a little attention right now but I have the pontoon, the Wilma Lea. I bought it four years ago. I ride it to work every day. Our house is six miles away. In reference, I have a truck that I put 700 miles on in the last two years. The truck would be quicker, but the boat is so much more enjoyable, that 7 a.m. trip with a thermos of coffee and a little mist on the water. It’s a good start to your day.

“It takes a half hour compared to 15 minutes when I drive. But I have a 600-foot wide traffic lane and no stoplights.

“After 50 years of being a boat owner, I do have a dream. I want to leave here on the Pile Inn and go to Nashville and take a summer to do it in and walk up to the Ryman Auditorium and buy a postcard and mail it back to me and start home. But I want it to be a four or five month boat ride.

“My dad‘s oldest brother, Frank, was a charter member of the Charleston boat club. He built a boat. I found an article on it with a 1939 launching date. Had seats from a glider and engine from an ambulance. So it’s a family thing.”

Reach Sandy Wells at sandyw@wvgazette.com or 304-342-5027.



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