BOAT SHOW ROUND-UP
Newport Show Reports Improved Attendance, Positive Exhibitor Feedback
Show producers for the Newport International Boat Show reported “big crowds, great weather, lots of marine industry exhibitors, a rising level of boat and boating product sales” for the event many consider to be the kick-off to the 2010 Fall boating season. Attendance was reportedly equal to pre-recession levels, about 10% higher than in 2009.
As noted by Liz Ellis in SOUNDINGS Magazine, Bentley Collins, vice president of marketing and sales for Sabre and Back Cove Yachts said, “The mood was extremely positive. We sold a Back Cove 30, a Sabre Spirit and a Sabre 426. There was no negativity being expressed. People were not talking about themselves, they were talking boats.”
Jeff Johnstone, President of J Boats Inc. added, “…the vibe was good and there was a noticeable uptick in the number of knowledgeable sailors coming through. We never felt like we were wasting time…I think people are ready to reclaim their sailing lives again!”
Event highlights included the appearance of some of the icons of sailing, including Ted Turner, Bill Ficker, Steve Van Dyck and Gordon Ingate at the Twelve Metre Legends Forum. Hundreds ended VIP Day at the Show listening to their barbs and commentaries in a tent set-up out among the in-water displays in an hour-long discussion of the America’s Cup, past and future, lead by Gary Jobson, ESPN Sailing Commentator.
The Newport For New Products™ awards, the recognition of the U.S. debuts of new boats and boating products for the 2011 model year, also drew lots of interest. The Spirit 46 from Spirit Yachts in the UK won Best New Sailboat, the PB 50 from Palm Beach Motor Yachts in Australia and shown by Ballast Point Yachts in San Diego won Best New Powerboat, and the Simrad NSE Version 2.0 navigation and system control software from Navico was recognized as Best New Boating Product.
Show producers reported that more than 20 new sailboat models will make their debut during the 41st annual United States Sailboat Show opening October 7 – October 11 from top manufacturers including the likes of Beneteau, Dufour, Hunter, Jeanneau, Southerly, Matrix, Prout, Sabre, St. Francis and more.
In addition, the show recently added an island of floating docks to accommodate additional exhibitors an added 10,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space in the former Fawcett’s retail store.
Other positive news included advance on-line ticket sales are ahead of last year by 12.2% for the sailboat show.
“We are all very enthusiastic about the upcoming shows,” said Paul Jacobs, general manager of United States Yacht Shows, Inc. “There is an impressive array of boats scheduled, both in terms of size and quantity, with our land and booth spaces over flowing. Twenty-one premiering boat models, several interesting show features, and the largest group of exhibitors assembled in years in the historic Chesapeake city of Annapolis will make this show very special. We are very grateful for the support shown by the sailing industry.”
Strictly Sail Chicago and Miami National Sales Manager Kevin Murphy reports space sales are healthy for both upcoming sail shows.
In Chicago, space sales are already exceeding 2010 year-to-date, with more new companies waiting to be allocated space than in years past. Reminder that second payments deadlines are approaching due October 15.
The move back to Bayside for the Miami event has reportedly reignited interest in the 2011 show. Murphy says contracts continue to “pour in,” with space allocation to begin October 18.
“Our 2011 space sales for the Strictly Sail Shows continues to surprise us,” said Murphy. “Both shows are well beyond 2010 levels year over year, but perhaps most surprising is the number of new companies requesting space.”
Discounted hotel blocks have been set up for both shows and will soon be available on the websites.