St. Petersburg show reports attendance boost

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Organizers said the 2014 St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show was encouraging and positive as attendance increased 8 percent from the 2013 show and there was a 5 percent increase in the number of in-water new and brokerage boats.

Held Dec. 4-7 on the redeveloped downtown St. Petersburg waterfront, the show featured sailboats and powerboats in and out of the water, along with several hundred marine industry exhibitors.

Dealers and brokers were upbeat afterward, citing strong sales and a movement in the show structure that they believe creates the critical mass necessary for a successful show. More than 2,000 people attended Sail America’s cruising seminars.

“The St. Petersburg show activity has been excellent and has had all my attention with follow-up opportunities the past two days,” Darren Plymale, of Galati Yachts, said Wednesday. “We were quite successful this past weekend, writing several contracts, including one for our Viking 75MY on display, and we have several more [contracts] we are trying to complete.”

Show Management spokesman Daniel Grant said the 2014 show was the biggest show in terms of the number of boats and exhibitors since 2007. The show featured more than 300 powerboats and sailboats.

Show Management manages and produces the show. Active Interest Media owns Show Management and Soundings Trade Only.

Murray Yacht Sales president Stanton Murray said the show was successful for his business and the sailing industry as a whole.

“Since the merger of Sail America's Strictly Sail St. Pete with the St. Pete powerboat show in 2008, the new show has a critical mass that is impressive,” he said.

Murray said Sail America representatives and show managers met during the show to share ideas about building the already successful sailing portion of the event.

Murray Yacht Sales’ focus at the show was on Beneteau sailboats, with the Oceanis 55 as Murray’s grande dame at the show. The dealership introduced the Oceanis 35 earlier this year. It displayed the centerboard version, which has a 3-foot, 9-inch draft, on a trailer at the show and the shoal keel version, which has a 4-foot, 9-inch draft, in the water.

Murray Yacht Sales also displayed the Oceanis 38, 45, 48 and 55 in the water, showing an overall total of six boats that ranged from 35 to 65 feet.

“The wide beams, twin wheels and hard chines are what the market wants,” Murray said. “The 35 and 38 (Beneteau Oceanis) come in daysailer, weekender and cruiser versions, giving the sailor a wide range of options.”

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