ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With its signature sunshine and laid-back attitude, the 39th annual St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show wrapped up the fall 2016 boat show season on a high note during the weekend.
Boat sales on Thursday and Friday had dealers in a positive mood, and deals on inventory and new models had buyers smiling. Show owner representatives were thrilled to see a line at the gate Thursday on opening day, along with steady traffic during the day Thursday and Friday.
The show was held at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg, and it wrapped up on Sunday. Final numbers on attendance, square footage and exhibitor participation will be released later this week.
“This show is everything we expected,” Tiburon vice president Gary Smith said Friday afternoon.
Tiburon Boat Co. sold a 25-foot and a 22-foot Tiburon ZX flats boat during the first two days of the show. The Tiburon display was on land.
“The buyer was walking by and said the [Tiburon ZX-25] was exactly what he wanted,” Smith said. “He was a fishing guide in this area and was excited to see a flats boat with a keel, something that could get him through a little chop, across the bay, and [allow him] to fish in skinny water.”
Tiburon is based in Corpus Christi, Texas, and it builds three models of its shallow-water flats boat with a patented keel. The company recently opened an office in Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast; this is Tiburon’s first year exhibiting at shows on the coast. Smith said the company was happy with the two Tampa shows it participated in, but the St. Petersburg show was by far the best.
“Beautiful day, outdoors, friendly people, boat sales. Definitely what we had hoped for,” he said.
Chris-Craft regional sales manager Justin Short said the St. Petersburg show is home turf for the Gulf Coast-based builder. Chris-Craft was excited to show its new Commander 42 and Calypso 30 dual console in the water, along with several other models. Short said interest was strong across all models during the first two days of the show.
Galati Yacht Sales operations manager Alex Kramer was thrilled with the perfect weather and positive attitudes along the docks, but he thought business activity for Galati was light on Thursday and Friday. He was hopeful that more qualified buyers for the boats Galati carries would arrive during the weekend.
“The show promoters do a good job, but we’d like to see even more publicity — news about what’s brand new, never been seen before, at the show,” he said.
Kramer said the big 75-foot Viking was getting some coverage. He said Galati brought three different-sized Maritimos in the water to the St. Petersburg show and “anyone interested in Maritimos is able to compare three of them, side by side, right next to other, each a different length, at the same show on the Gulf Coast.”
Sailboats have a strong history of participation at the St. Petersburg show, said Catalina Yachts materials manager Patrick Turner, but Catalina would like to see stronger show support and more show presence from Sail America.
Sail America organizes the Cruising Seminar Series and the Discover Sailing series at the show. Catalina was off to a decent start Friday, Turner said, and salesmen were working on closing deals on a Catalina 385 and a new-this-year Catalina 425.
“I think buyers were nervous before the November election, and now they’re confident and relaxed and are in a buying mood,” Turner said.
The largest in-water boat show on Florida’s Gulf Coast was larger than ever this year with the addition of more than 50 boats and nearly 4,000 square feet of additional exhibit space. There was an 18 percent increase from last year in the number of new boats in the water.
The multifaceted show included hundreds of powerboats, sailboats, marine electronics and accessories, as well as special events and educational activities for all ages, interests and experience levels.
Show Management owns and produces the St. Petersburg show. Show Management and Trade Only Today are owned by Active Interest Media.
Dealers and manufacturers are coming off strong fall shows and are excited about the mood, Show Management representative Daniel Grant said. MarineMax moved a tremendous amount of product at the Fort Lauderdale show and was hoping to keep up the momentum in St. Petersburg, he said.