Organizers see positive signs at California show

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Show producer Duncan McIntosh said the 37th annual Newport Boat Show, held April 15-18 in Newport Beach, Calif., saw increased boat exhibits and attendance.

"Everything was looking up," McIntosh told Trade Only Today. "The mood felt very positive and we had a total of 245 boats that averaged about 50 feet, compared to 220 last year."

McIntosh said while some boat shows this year have seen a decline in exhibitors, the Newport Show has the advantage of being one of the oldest and largest in-water shows in California. McIntosh said he did not have final numbers on attendance, but all four days of the show were busy.

"We have gradually built up a reputation and people look forward to the event," said McIntosh. "We have also done repairs to the [Lido Marina Village]. We have it here every year and this place is as old as the show is, so we did some refurbishing."

McIntosh said many of the exhibitors were repeats from last year, but newcomers like Ocean Alexander Yachts, which makes luxury motoryachts, trawlers  and megayachts ranging from 54 to 155 feet, reported it did well at the show.

"We just opened a company store in Newport in January, so we definitely wanted to be a part of this," said Jacque Watkins, Ocean Alexander sales manager. "We had a very successful show."

Watkins said the boatbuilder is under contract or have an offer on five of the six company vessels displayed at the show. The boats under contract include a 45 sedan, a 52 sedan out of Seattle and a 2008 64 Pilothouse taken in as a trade with an owner who wanted to upgrade. Watkins says there have been offers made for the 68 motoryacht and the 80 motoryacht, both of which were on display.

"We will definitely be back for sure next year," said Watkins. "It was great to reconnect with a lot of old customers but see new faces as well."

Elizabeth Ellis

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