Dana Point Boat Show targets increasingly enthusiastic public

Dana Point Boat Show targets increasingly enthusiastic public


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Visitors to the Dana Point Boat Show check out a 2005 Selene Ocean Trawler Thursday. The 62-foot yacht is selling for $1,395,000.

If you go

When: Noon to 7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

Where: OC Sailing Events Center, 34451 Ensenada Place

Admission: $9 for adults and free for children 12 and younger

Parking: Free at most harbor lots; a shuttle will be available at each parking lot every 10 minutes

Information: danaboatshow.com or 323-655-2010

DANA POINT – With sunny skies and highs in the upper 70s, the Dana Point Boat Show started Thursday afternoon and is expected to attract crowds through the weekend to check out the more than 150 boats in the water and on land.

Sailboats, power boats, personal water craft and even paddleboards are on display at Dana Point Harbor, washed, waxed and looking for new owners to take to the open ocean.

And as the latest numbers from the National Marine Manufacturers Association showing an increase in California’s powerboat sales by 30 percent over the last two years, show organizer Ray Hebert said boat sales at the show have increased in recent years as well.

“People joke about that you never actually sell boats at a boat show, but here, we’re known for it,” Hebert said.

For those looking for something in the $1 million range, the 51-foot Marquis 500 Sport Bridge motoryacht is being offered for $1.3 million. The boat, featuring pod-drive steering, allows drivers to maneuver the 40,000-pound vessel with ease.

“The new joystick technology they’re putting in the drive systems makes driving a boat like a video game – a kid can steer this thing,” said Joe Martino, part owner of local brokerage firm Dick Simon Yachts.

This year, Martino said the company brought 19 boats to the show, down from its usual 25 entries. But that’s a good sign for the company.

“We’re bringing fewer here because we’ve sold so many boats this year, our inventory’s depleted,” Martino said.

For Brett Tilly, owner of Tilly’s Marine with dealerships in Ventura and Huntington Beach, the recovering economy has been good for business.

“We nearly doubled our sales in 2013 compared to 2012,” said Tilly, whose stock includes Malibu ski and wakeboard boats, along with Robalo fishing boats.

The change is a welcome one after the company weathered the recession that crippled California’s boat sales. The low point was 2010, as powerboat sales totaled $310 million, about one-fourth of the $1.2 billion sold in the industry’s heyday in 2005.

“We were in the middle of opening our Huntington Beach shop in 2010 during the worst of it,” Tilly said. “It was ugly, but we made it.”

Now, Tilly is hoping to sell a few boats at this year’s show, displaying seven boats, along with a 22-foot Robalo center console fishing boat priced at $59,500.

Those looking for something to fit in the garage can head over to the Outrigger Surf booth, where owner Keils Stevens and her son, Robert Freschauf, have paddleboards ranging from 8-foot full epoxy boards up to 15-foot carbon-fiber designs. Ranging anywhere from $900 to $1,500, the crafts don’t have sails or an engine, and they’re the cheapest option at the show.

Freschauf said the company will offer lessons and board rentals through the weekend.

Hebert said he expects total attendance to top 10,000 for the weekend event.

“For the boating enthusiasts, the weather really doesn’t matter; they’ll come rain or shine,” Hebert said. “But with sunshine through the weekend, we’ll get a lot more foot traffic from people who might just be looking, and perhaps they’ll end up buying a boat.”

Contact the writer: 714-796-2468 or thill@ocregister.com

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