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Exhibitors upbeat about mood at Norwalk show

The Norwalk Boat Show finally caught a break from Mother Nature this year and turnout was up, but the decidedly optimistic mood among exhibitors at the four-day Connecticut show was more about the quality of potential buyers stopping at their slips.

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“The attendance was a little light on Thursday and Friday, but picked up dramatically on Saturday and by Sunday we were back firing on all cylinders. It was like a Sunday in the old days,” Tom Pilkington of Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk said this morning.

Prestige displayed three Hunt yachts and four Beneteau sailboats.

“Even though the show is thought of as a powerboat show, we had a lot of interest in our sailboats,” he said.

Pilkington said the southwestern Connecticut show is one of few opportunities for area dealers to appeal to clients from New York City, Fairfield County and northern New Jersey.

“We always come away with sales here. Last year we sold five or six and I hope to keep pace with that this year,” he said. “The mood at the show was definitely upbeat. We seem to have turned the corner. Last year and this year’s show seems to have people looking forward.”

Down the dock, SeaSide3 Yacht Sales, based in Lindenhurst, N.Y., was showing the new Carver C34 Fly from its line, which also includes Marquis, Monterey, Jupiter and Cobia.

“The traffic, volume-wise, is light, but we’re seeing very interested people,” sales manager Phil Marsala said. “The attitude seems very upbeat in terms of enthusiasm. There are buyers.”

Marsala said the Carver C34 was a clear hit with shoppers.

“This particular boat is getting great reviews from attendees,” he said. “They’re liking the overall value, roominess and functionality.”

Grand Banks Yachts was on hand with its Eastbay 46 SX and 50 SX.

“Newport was probably the best-attended show for us in the last five years. It just had a different feel to it than the last few years,” Fran Morey, director of training and service for Grand Banks, said of the serious inquiries the manufacturer fielded at the Newport International Boat Show in Rhode Island the previous weekend. “[At Norwalk] we’re meeting with less people, but they’re asking all the right questions.”

— Rich Armstrong

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