VIDEO: St. Petersburg show reports attendance increase

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stpete1203The 2012 St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show wrapped up Sunday with a 5.2 percent increase in overall attendance compared to 2011.

“All in all it was a good show with strong attendance,” said Ricardo D. Strul, vice president and CFO of Show Management, the company that owns, manages and produces the show. “The mood seems to be up.”

Indeed, vendors eagerly answered questions, formulated deals and displayed their products to energetic showgoers under sunny, warm skies during the entire four-day event.

It might be a regional event, but the show — in its 35th year — drew just about every national boat brand you can think of: Hatteras, Regulator, Tiara, Viking, Beneteau, Regal, Sea Ray, Boston Whaler, Grady-White, Contender, Sabre and Carver. Dealers included Denison Yacht Sales, HMY Yacht Sales and MarineMax.

Click play for a look at the show.

The boats ranged from 10 feet (Frigid Rigid) to 80 feet (Vicem).

“We’re trying to show the diversity of Beneteau powerboats,” said Alex Wilkes of Denison Yacht Sales. The Fort Lauderdale dealership had an outboard boat (Barracuda 9), two express boats (the Gran Turismo 34 and 38) and the 34 Swift Trawler.

“For Denison, we’re trying to get our product over on the west coast of Florida. And this being the biggest show on this coast it was important for us to be here to show off the boats.”

Exhibitor participation rose to more than 250 — a 10 percent increase from 2011. In addition, the overall number of new and brokerage boats was up — 153 this year vs. 135 last year. The boost was mostly attributable to an increase in sailboats, Strul said. Last year there were 24 sailing vessels, and this year there were 41.

Held at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park, the four-day event also featured marine electronics and gear, seminars and kids fishing clinics presented by the non-profit Hook The Future.

— Chris Landry

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