Archive for » September 22nd, 2017«

San Francisco delays fresh fish sales from Fisherman’s Wharf



SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Port of San Francisco’s plan to allow the sale of fresh, whole fish from boats at Fisherman’s Wharf has been put on hold due to an insurance issue.

Fishermen were set to sell dabs, sole and rockfish from their boats starting this weekend at the popular tourist spot as part of a one-year pilot program.

But the San Francisco Chronicle ( reports Friday the plan will be on hold for a week or two until the Port can determine if it’s required to obtain supplemental insurance coverage to enhance public safety.

The port is allowing only whole, gutted fish to be sold at a limited part of the harbor and only by San Francisco fishermen, comparing the program to a farmers’ market for fish.

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How Technology Is Changing The Modern Sport Fishing Boat

Sport fishing is a lesser part of the overall boating scene in South Florida. Most boat owners are in it for cruising along. But considering the enormous scope of the marine industry in the state, fishing boats are still a major economic factor. And unlike much of the industry, which sees major yachts built all over the world, sport fishing boats, including the finest custom designs, are concentrated in Florida. There are four builders in the Stuart area alone.

“Florida is the place with the pedigree when it comes to sport fishing boats,” says Paul Flannery, director of the SYS Yacht Sales office in Jupiter.

Flannery poses on “Big Blue,” a 45-foot Rybovich built in 1967. It is the last plank on frame boat built by the legendary Tommy Rybovich. It is valued at about $400,000. “There’s no better boat than Rybovich,”  Flannery says. “It’s a name synonymous with the highest quality in the world, bar none.”

Paul Flannery could have written this piece, and not just because his 30 years in the boating industry include 15 years as a fishing boat captain. He’s knowledgeable not only about boats, but he also has fished about every destination available to South Floridians, and tried the latest equipment in the field, which is seeing rapidly advancing technology.  When it comes to boat builders, he’s a bit of a historian. And he has a gift for talking about it. Moreover, he also has done a bit of writing, a skill he attributes to his classical Jesuit education, first at a Massachusetts prep school and later at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. He contributed to Marlin Magazine, the bible of sports fishing, when it launched in the 1980s.

He has been director of SYS Palm Beach (the actual office is at the Jupiter Yacht Club Marina) for two years. He formerly owned his own company, which he sold to HMY Yacht Sales, and worked for that company for 12 years.

The major players in the sport fishing world are mass production outfits—Viking Yachts in New Jersey, Hatteras in North Carolina and Bertram in Tampa. But when it comes to custom builders, South Florida is dominant.

There is a story behind each of these builders, often started by colorful figures. Among the oldest is Michael Rybovich Sons in Palm Beach Gardens, which traces its history to John Rybovich Sr. who came to the Palm Beach area in 1910. Merritt Yachts in Pompano Beach opened in 1948 and Jim Smith Boats in Stuart in 1959. These firms built their reputations on quality and innovation in custom-built boats.

“There are production boats and there are custom boats, they’re entirely different,” says Jamie MacGregor of MacGregor Yachts in Palm Beach Gardens. “Custom are handmade; they take two to three years to build. A production boat takes a couple months. And the ‘gentleman’ boat owner is going to go custom every time.”

It is not just the business that is big in Florida. The boats themselves are getting bigger, and correspondingly more expensive.  Paul Flannery explains why: “Years ago, a 52-foot Hatteras was a huge boat. Today, 62 feet would be about average on the tournament circuit. We came to learn that a boat over 50 feet rode a lot better. With the advent of big engines, it gives us more response. You’d be amazed at the responsiveness of a 70-foot boat. You know, a Bentley Coupe is a hell of a big auto, but it handles beautifully.”

The more expensive boats have sleek designs and amenities, such as staterooms, associated with luxury yachts.

“These are not your daddy’s fishing boats,” Flannery says. “The technology gets better every day. In the Bahamas they’re using a dredge, a teaser that has as many as 48 baits. It’s like having a school of fish following your boat.” 

The new boats also keep pace with technology. Bob Denison, president of Denison Yacht Sales in Fort Lauderdale, describes the use of drones to help spot fish beyond the range of outriggers.

Sport fishermen in South Florida need not go far to find action. “You don’t have to run [a boat] very far in this market,” says Mike Bass of Flagler Yachts. “Between here and the Bahamas the Gulfstream is closest to the U.S. You have good fishing two miles off shore. Up north, say New York, you have to go 50 miles off shore.”

Bass (left) and Bilbo (right) are aboard a 2008 74 Viking enclosed bridge sport fisherman, valued at $2.85 million.

Flagler Yachts in Jupiter is a new name in the boating brokerage business, but one of its principals is anything but new. In fact, Mike Bass may have the deepest Florida lineage of anybody in the marine field. He is a fourth generation Floridian. His oldest relative arrived in Florida in 1865, and his grandfather and great grandfather were both born in Kissimmee.

And although his company is only 10 months old, Bass has 22 years experience in the boating field. He was formerly with South Florida Yachts. His partner, Bob Bilbo, came to Florida from Maryland to play on the PGA tour.  “He’s a sharp guy with computers, which I am not,” Bass says. “We make a good balance.

That said, local fishermen do travel to favorite fishing spots. The Bahamas have always been popular. Lately, Costa Rica has become popular and has seen some extraordinary catches.

“Costa Rica has become one of the highest destinations,” Flannery says. “They’re using a FAD (Fish Attraction Device). On a fairly regular basis they are catching 15 to 20 blue marlin in a day. That’s epic activity.”

Flannery adds: “Different places have different seasons— spring and summer are best for east coast fishing. You’re not going to catch a lot of marlin in the winter off New York.”

Which is precisely why South Florida is as good for sport fishing as it is for baseball. When the fishing is good it lends fame to otherwise quiet places such as Stuart, which has used fishing as a tourist attraction almost from the day the town incorporated more than a century ago. It is no accident that its most prestigious gated community is named Sailfish Point. 

And even when the fishing is bad, it’s still pretty good. The modern sport fishermen would rather use air conditioning than a heater on their boats.

Jamie MacGregor has specialized in sport fishing boats throughout his career, the last 18 with his own company. He has seen the genre grow from small boats to large vessels with amenities associated with luxury yachts. Yet, in his words, the modern boats  “are fast, nimble and go to sea very well.”  He is shown with “Mantra”—an 87-foot Weaver built in 2013. It is capable of 43 knots and has four staterooms. Priced just under $7 million, it is the epitome of the custom “cream of the crop” boats his brokerage handles.
Bob Denison is shown aboard the Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish, priced at $1.8 million.

The Denison name is one of the oldest in the South Florida marine industry. It traces to Frank Denison who bought a Fort Lauderdale boatyard and turned it into Broward Marine in the late 1940s. The firm originally built boats, including mine sweepers for the U.S. Navy.

It is now known as Denison Yacht Sales—a large brokerage, with 80 brokers, headed by a third generation, Bob Denison. It is a South Florida distributor for the popular Hatteras line.


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South Carolina sells former Beaufort County port site for $9 million after 13 years

A marathon 13-year effort by the state to sell a mothballed Beaufort County port is crossing the finish line.

An attorney for the buyer said the purchaser signed the paperwork Wednesday to acquire the 317-acre former Port Royal marine terminal for $9 million.

The seller was the state’s Department of Administration, which took ownership of the property from the State Ports Authority last year. The SPA will receive proceeds from the deal after expenses are paid, but the amount has not been determined, a spokeswoman for the agency said Thursday.

The buyer is Grey Ghost Properties. It has said it plans to develop about 400 residences, dozens of stores and restaurants, a 150-room hotel and a marina capable of docking some of the world’s biggest yachts at the historic waterfront town. 

The purchaser is a group led by Columbia real estate investor Whit Suber, Beaufort boat dealer Chris Butler and four other investors, including actor Matt Battaglia, who appeared in “Friends,” “Thor” and “True Detective.” They prevailed at a state auction for the Lowcountry port property earlier this year.

The buyers expect to spend about $200 million in development. Just 52 acres of the Battery Creek site can be built on. The rest is marshland. 

“This is the most highly anticipated project on the South Carolina coast in the past decade,” Suber told the Post and Courier last month. “This is not Disney. It’s not something you have to make up. You have a real village here.”

Grey Ghost is buying the shuttered port for far less than the three previous sales contracts of $26 million in 2006, $17 million in 2012 and $15.4 million in 2015. But it’s paying more than the most recent appraisal of $6.95 million.

The state built the Port of Port Royal in the late 1950s.

In 2004 it was handling only about 20 ships a year because of its shallow water and relatively remote location. That year, then-Gov. Mark Sanford signed a bill ordering it closed and sold.

Until now, efforts to sell the property have failed.

Grey Ghost has said its first steps over the next 18 months will be to reopen a boat storage building, construct a waterfront walkway and restart the seafood market and Dockside restaurant, which were closed after a 2015 fire.

The developers also want to reopen a shrimp processing plant, also closed in the fire, and bring shrimp boats back to town. 

“We want to have an authentic Lowcountry feel to it,” Suber said in late August.

The town was already growing before the latest development, with its population expanding by one-third to 12,800 since the port went on sale.

The makeover is expected to give Port Royal a tourist boost. The town, which has two hotels, does not draw as many visitors as Beaufort to the north and Hilton Head Island to the south. The new hotel, restaurants and stores could give visitors to Marine Corps Recruit Depot on nearby Parris Island a reason to stay in Port Royal.

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Norwalk Boat Show offers a glimpse of luxury lifestyle

Published 5:35 pm, Thursday, September 21, 2017



Jamie Bloomquist, National Sales Manager for Black Cove Yachts shows the spacious living in the Black Cove 32 which offers sea lovers a most luxurious home at the Progressive Norwalk Boat Show Thursday, September 21, 2017, at Cove Marina in Norwalk, Conn.


Jamie Bloomquist, National Sales Manager for Black Cove Yachts shows the spacious living in the Black Cove 32 which offers sea lovers a most luxurious home at the Progressive Norwalk Boat Show Thursday,

… more

Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

NORWALK — Stepping aboard the 680 Prestige is like stepping into a fantasy — one covered in plush white carpet and hydraulic sunbeds, a glass of wine never more than an arms-length away, a master bedroom with water views in every direction and the luxurious lifestyle most people only dream of.

This 70-foot, award-winning architectural feat of a yacht sells for $2.8 million — a small price to pay in comparison to the mega yachts roaming the high seas, but more than a pretty penny for anyone considering a full-time life on the water.

“It’s a great second home for people,” said Dick Curry, a yacht specialist for Staten Island Yacht Sales who was showing the opulent vessel Thursday at the Norwalk Boat Show. “Any other boat like this has to be 90 feet long at least. It’s won awards for the most innovative use of space and design.”

The four-bedroom, three-bathroom luxury cruiser offers three floors of light-flooded living space, sundecks galore, two full kitchens and no shortage of closet space. The bedrooms are surprisingly spacious — more-so than most New York City apartments — and a gyro built into the hull keeps the boat so level at sea it hardly feels like a boat at all, even when it tops out at 25 miles per hour, Curry said.

“They are like a house and that’s what they are for these people — vacation homes,” said Chris Broadbent, a salesman for Grande Yachts. “You can buy a vacation home in Montauk for $1.6 million or more and you’re stuck there — which there are worse places to be stuck — but you can pay almost the same price for one of these and go anywhere.”

While the Norwalk Boat Show offers impressive examples of a luxury life at sea, not every boat needs to feel like a floating McMansion and run upwards of $2 million to be realistically livable for an extended period of time.

More Information

Norwalk Boat Show

Hours: The show runs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sunday.

Learn more: Go to for ticket and other information.

Mike Bassett, co-owner of Louis Marine in Westbrook, said the essentials for comfortable on-board living include heat and air conditioning, hot water and a microwave. Typically these boats are 35 to 40 feet, and can run anywhere from $130,000 to nearly $500,000 depending on the level of luxury, detailing and features that are added. The larger the boat, the more maintenance required, so really, it’s all about the lifestyle one is willing to live.

“These are a lot more realistic for people and you can comfortably live aboard if you have those amenities,” Bassett said. “The 70-foot, $2 million yacht is not realistic for most people, but (living on a boat) doesn’t just have to be a dream. There are affordable, realistic and comfortable ways to do it.”

In order to be eligible for a tax write-off as a primary or secondary residence, a boat must be equipped with a sleeping area, bathroom and kitchen. Other fees — like marina and registration — can vary from place to place, but as long as a boat is registered and has a home-port, you’re free to roam the open ocean, said Carrie Waible, a spokeswoman for the Norwalk Boat Show.

Bassett said it’s a lifestyle choice to live aboard a boat, but often those who choose to do it have lofty goals like completing the Great Loop — a 6,000-mile excursion that takes boaters up the Hudson River, through the Great Lakes and Canadian Waterways, down the Mississippi, into the Gulf of Mexico and Florida and up the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It takes months to complete and certainly isn’t an excursion for the sea-wary.

Others may choose to dock at a marina, only taking their floating home out to open water for shorter stints. Either way, it’s sure to provide for a unique living experience land-dwellers may never understand.; 203-842-2563; @kaitlynkrasselt

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