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VIDEO: St. Petersburg show sees first-day attendance boost

The 35th St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show got off to a strong start on Thursday with a 25 percent spike in attendance on the first day from last year.

“We’re encouraged by the exhibitor participation and by the strong first-day attendance,” said Ricardo D. Strul, vice president and CFO of Show Management, the company that co-owns, manages and produces the show.

Held at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park, the four-day event also features marine electronics and gear, educational seminars and kids’ fishing clinics presented by the non-profit Hook The Future.

Strul said exhibitor participation has risen to more than 250 — a 10 percent increase from 2011. In addition, the overall number of new boats is up 13 percent from last year and there is an 11 percent increase in the number of brokerage boats. The show's boats consist of 75 percent powerboats and 25 percent sailboats. Boats range from a 10-foot Frigid Rigid dinghy (land location 209) to an 80-foot Vicem (water location 907-935).

Click play for a stroll through the show grounds.

“This show is a great mix of sail and power,” said Marc Grove, president of Wefing’s Marine in East Point, Fla., a dealer for Ranger Tugs, Eastern, Seaway, Sea Ark, Frontier, Black Jack and C-Dory. “Our customer is oftentimes moving from sail to power and we sell trailerable trawlers, which is sort of a trademark of our dealership. And it’s a good crowd because we have shallow-draft boats and the west coast of Florida demands that.”

“It’s going great,” said Anthony Valiente of Yacht Controller, a Coral Gables, Fla., company that sells a patented system for the wireless control of yachts, among other products. “Usually Thursday is a slow day, but we’ve had some great leads and there are a lot of local people and we do a lot of business in this area.”

“We’re here because of the sailing industry aspect,” said Roy Bergey, field sales and application manager for Universal Marine Power of Medley, Fla., which sells Westerbeke engines and generators. “Westerbeke started doing this show years ago with auxiliary engines and so forth, and it’s one of the shows you really have to be at over the years. You’ve got to keep your name before the public and the boatbuilders, and that’s why we’re here.”

Show hours are today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can download the show’s app, MyBoatShow from iTunes, for more information.

— Chris Landry

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