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Lauderdale sales steady despite downpours

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show organizers and exhibitors said they were generally happy with the event, which ended Monday, despite stormy weather that affected attendance figures.

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Overall attendance was down about 5 percent from last year, according to Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III. Zimbalist is the chairman and chief executive of Active Interest Media, the parent company of Show Management, which produces FLIBS, and Soundings Trade Only. For the first two days of the show, before the rain moved in, attendance was up.

“We were very happy with the first two days, and overall happy with sales at the show, from what we heard from exhibitors,” Zimbalist told Soundings Trade Only. “We heard a lot of good things about buyers and interested parties. Clearly, we’re very unhappy with the weather the last three days, especially Saturday, which I think can only be characterized as a monsoon.

“I think the show looked great. I think the buyers were there, and I think a lot of boats were sold,” he added.

Marquis Yachts, in a statement, said it sold 14 new yachts at the show, with additional deals pending, contingent on post-show sea trials. The brand had 18 international dealers on hand.

Boats were sold to buyers in the United States, as well as Algeria, Brazil, Japan, China, Russia and other countries.

“We are encouraged with the immediate sales success directly attributed to this event, as well as the quality and volume of strong, pending business that remains in negotiations,” Marquis president Robert Van Grunsven said. “We view this as a very positive indicator for the current market’s health and look forward to the Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show for the presentation of our second new model this year with the completion of our new 630 Marquis Sport Yacht.”

Rosemary O’Brien, director of marketing for The Hinckley Company, said her company showed three boats, and its recently updated Picnic Boat was the Yanmar demo boat at the show. Additionally, Hinckley used FLIBS to announce a new model, the Hinckley T34, that it will launch next summer.

“We are in serious talks with two individuals who visited with us at the show and, of course, we have several ongoing dialogues,” she said. “Some shows you come away with a greater sense of urgency from the crowd than you do from other shows. I would not say I felt that sense of urgency in Fort Lauderdale this year.”

Maryline O’Shea, Beneteau Group’s Powerboat America marketing director, said it sold two boats at the show and is actively following up on 50 or more “very serious leads.”

Bentley Collins, vice president of sales and marketing for Sabre and Back Cove yachts, said his company showed two of each brand and “the Sabre 48 stole the show for us and from our competitors.”

“We had fly-ins from all over the country, from Canada and from Europe,” he added. “[There was] some new dealer interest, but less than in past years.”

For a full report on the 52nd annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, see the December issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— Beth Rosenberg

b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

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