ESSEX, Conn. — A small sampling of opinion from brokers exhibiting at the Essex Spring Boat Show revealed confidence and optimism about the way the year will play out.
“Even though it was a tough winter, we did OK,” Tom Pilkington, of Prestige Yacht Sales, told Trade Only Today during the weekend show. “We’re already ahead of last year and are expecting a mild uptick, which is fine with us.”
Pilkington said Prestige, which has offices in Essex, Mystic and Norwalk, Conn., did well at the winter shows in New York and in Hartford, where it sold a new Southport 33 center console.
“We’re starting to see some of the inventory get a little tighter in the brokerage market and starting to see a hint of buyers leaning toward new,” Pilkington said, noting continued low interest rates as another positive factor.
Ben Knowles, who mans the Stonington office of East Coast Yacht Sales, which carries new and brokerage J/Boats, Tartans, Grand Banks, MJM and Everglades, said the long winter certainly held buyers back, but he’s seeing them emerge with the spring thaw.
“We’re not like the restaurant business, where if you lose business you never get it back,” he said. “We’re seeing pent-up energy, for sure. I’m optimistic things are looking up.”
Lincoln White, who runs the newly opened Essex office of Long Island-based McMichael Yacht Brokers, said that after a slow start to the year, things are getting pretty active on both the power and sail sides.
“Things are beginning to pop now,” he said.
More than 40 boats from exhibitors showcasing the brands Alerion Express, Beneteau, Cabo Yachts, Chris-Craft, Grand Banks, Hanse, Hatteras, The Hinckley Co., Hunt Yachts, Jupiter, Legacy, Nonsuch, Southport Boats and Viking Yachts were on display at the extremely local and casual “boutique” show held at Brewer Dauntless Marina Friday through Sunday on the banks of the Connecticut River in southeastern Connecticut.