Builders unveil new models at Newport show

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Exhibitors said the show drew buyers.

Exhibitors said the show drew buyers.

NEWPORT, R.I. — The Newport International Boat Show, which kicked off Thursday and ran through Sunday, attracted strong crowds and buyers.

Boston Whaler doubled unit sales over last year’s show, and quadrupled dollar amounts, East Coast business manager Doug Nettles told Trade Only Today.


Half of the Boston Whalers sold were to people who “came out of the woodwork,” Nettles said.

“No one had spoken with them prior to the sale,” said Nettles.

“The Newport International Boat Show was a huge success,” said show director Nancy Pfiffard. “Weather was perfect, attendance was up significantly, particularly Saturday, and our exhibitors and sponsors reported strong sales and great conversations with potential customers. We can’t wait for next year’s show.”

Back Cove Yachts’ new 34O — the first outboard-powered boat in the brand’s lineup — was so busy on Friday it was difficult to board. The boat won the Newport For New Products in the best new powerboat under 35 feet, and the People’s Choice Award. It is one of few boats to have earned the People’s Choice award, as well as Newport For New award.

“We’re having a great time here,” said Back Cove and Sabre Yachts sales and marketing vice president Bentley Collins. “We don’t have another outboard on the horizon at this time. But the Back Cove 34O is creating more interest than anything I’ve seen in five years.”

Grady White was generating enthusiasm with its Freedom series, said Sheila Giancola with Cataumet Boats.

“The Freedom series in general is our best seller,” said Giancola. “It’s a great line for us. You can do the whole family thing, and the whole fishing thing.”

A 335 Freedom was in the water for sea trials, courtesy of Yamaha Marine, and was powered by dual 425 hp XTO outboards.

“This is a 16,000-pound boat, and these will get it up on plane in four seconds,” said Capt. Shannon Pickens, who travels to various shows for Yamaha to conduct sea trials.

Bertram’s new 61 Convertible drew crowds as well.


“We’ve fished this boat all over, it’s one of the driest boats I’ve ever ridden,” said Morgan Bertram, son of founder Richard Bertram and Bertram broker. “It goes 44 knots wide open, and economic cruise of 27 knots. The boat likes to run about 34 knots.”

All of the Newport For New Product awards were announced Friday morning at a press breakfast.

The Parasailor USA Catch and Lift Rescue System, which won for Best New Boating Operation, Safety or Maintenance Product, is a system that can help someone rescue a person from the water easily, even if they weigh more.

“Often couples will cruise or sail together, and if the man goes overboard and weighs more than the woman, it can be difficult to rescue him,” said Bonnier sailing division publisher and judge Sally Helme. “This invention is great because it makes the rescue easy.”

“This was a year of true innovation,” said Piffard. “There were so many excellent entries; the judges had a hard task ahead of them. We are honored to have these new and exciting introductions launched at the Newport International Boat Show.”

In addition to the Back Cove Yachts 34O, winners were:

  • Best New Electronics Product — Vakaros Atlas
  • Best New Sailboat Over 35 Feet — Friendship Yacht Company Surfari 50
  • Best New Sailboat Under 35 Feet — Figaro Beneteau 3
  • Best New Powerboat Over 35 Feet — Palm Beach Motoryachts GT-50
  • Green Award for Boats — SW Boatworks 38 Calvin Beal “Star”
  • Green Award for Products — Elco Motoryachts EP-50 Electric Outboard Motor

Click here to read more about the winners.


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