BOSTON — The rebounding economy has boat buyers showing interest in the cruiser market for the first time in years — at least for many dealers at the New England Boat Show.
That’s according to Tim and Lou Bassett of Connecticut-based Louis Marine, who say the Jeanneau brand they represent has been selling well.
“People got out of big boats for a while, but now, with the economy coming back, we’re seeing people buying boats,” Tim Bassett told Trade Only Today on Monday. “We’ve already gotten two people on the Merry Fisher 855,” which comes equipped with Yamaha outboards.
There were also deals working on the Leader 40 Sport Coupe, which made its North American debut at the New England show with hull No. 4, Lou Bassett said.
“We’re seeing more interest in the 28- to 40-foot range,” he told Trade Only. “It’s my smaller bowriders that aren’t getting the traffic. A lady saw the bow of the Leader 40 from the other side of the building and she’s ready for sea trials. There’s a lot of excitement in the bigger express cruisers.”
The two ordered more larger product at Louis Marine, based on the interest they say started last year.
“You’ve got a 28-foot boat with two closed estate rooms and outboard engines, which people want,” Tim said, gesturing toward the Merry Fisher 855. “It’s innovative, it’s different from everything else out there. People are gravitating to some of the European brands.”
Mike Fulcher, of Bosun’s Marine, said the Chaparral 327 SSX and the 370 Signature Cruiser have been doing well. “They’ve both been big at the show so far and we should generate some sales from that,” he said.
Scott Lucas, of Boston Yacht Sales, agreed that larger boats had seen more interest and inquiries during the last few months. “The bigger boats are getting busy,” Lucas said. “We’ve had lots of phone calls. That had been few and far between for the last few years.”
The company, which has long sold Hatteras Yachts, Sabre and Back Cove among others, recently picked up Princess Yachts. “We hadn’t had a boat for that type of buyer, and there are types of buyers,” Lucas said. Larger Hatteras boats saw a great turnout in Miami, co-owner Rhonda Myers said, selling two 100-foot boats, an 80 and a 60.
Dave Nolan, of Cape Yachts, a Beneteau power and sail dealer, also said Miami was lucrative for his business, but he speculated that because weather kept Northeasterners from attending, the company was picking up that business at the New England show.
“The show so far has been phenomenal,” Nolan said. “We expected virtually no traffic today, but we’ve been busy all day. Miami was light in traffic, but very good. The weather knocked a lot of the Northeastern traffic out, so we’re hopeful that will show here.”
The New England show continues through Sunday at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.