NEWPORT, R.I. — The 45th annual Newport International Boat Show was blessed with wall-to-wall sunshine during its four-day run weekend run and dealers’ and vendors’ disposition was equally bright.
“People must be feeling better about the economy,” Ben Wilde, owner of Wilde Yacht Sales, a Nordic Tugs dealer in Essex, Conn., told Trade Only Today. “We’re selling 44s like crazy and are seeing a clear trend that people are looking for bigger boats.”
Wilde said he had more scheduled appointments with potential buyers at this year’s show than any in recent memory, which indicates to him that there are more “serious” buyers.
Wilde said he delivered the first of the redesigned Nordic Tug 44 in July and has contracts to have three more built. The last of them will be delivered next June.
Larry Russo, of Russo Marine, a Boston-area Sea Ray and Boston Whaler dealer, was speaking with a steady stream of interested show-goers on Friday.
Last month, Russo cut the ribbon at the dealership’s new location in Danvers, Mass., after 75 years in Medford, Mass.
“Traffic is way up and unit sales are significantly up,” Russo said of the short time in the more centrally located location for his North Shore customers.
“We had planned for a dip in sales because of the move, but it never happened,” he said. “We’re having a great year.”
Bruce Perkins, Eastern Boats’ director of sales and marketing, was speaking with potential customers for the builder’s 2016 Seaway 24 Sport, another model in the small-to-midsize-boat niche where the company has made its name.
“It’s a very affordable, family boat that’s great for the bay or sound,” Perkins said. “Everybody wants outboards, and that’s been our niche all along.”
The Seaway 24 Sport was named the best new powerboat under 30 feet by a panel of judges for the show’s producer, the Newport Exhibition Group.
The Newport Exhibition Group announced the results of this year’s Newport For New Products Awards on Friday.