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Ending the Summer on a High Note

Brokers and buyers come together at the Yachting Magazine Brokerage Boat Show.

September 1, 2010
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Yachting Brokerage Show

Billy Black

Brokers throughout the Northeast and the rest of the country are making plans to head to Rhode Island in anticipation of the Yachting Magazine Brokerage Boat Show. The show, which will be held from September 16 to 19 at Newport Shipyard, offers a different sort of perspective for both the sellers and buyers of boats, falling as it does at the beginning of the end of the boating season in the Northeast and the beginning of the beginning of the fall boat show season. What kind of show does that confluence of timing and mindset produce? Ask the people who go every year — ask a broker.

“That show seems to be heading up all the northeast shows,” says Alex Rogers of Westport Yachts (westportyachts.com). “It’s easy to get to and it’s a great venue. It seems that the show has picked up growth and momentum over the last few years, and that it’s an event that people want to go to.” But it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario: Is the show gathering momentum because the people who show up there end up buying boats? Or is it the boats that draw the people? Different brokers have different theories.

| |Photo Courtesy Newport Shipyard|

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“A lot of the people that we get to go to the used boat show are people that we have been talking to or e-mailed,” says Jon Knowles of East Coast Yacht Sales (ecys.com). “Many of the people that we talk to at the show knew the boats were gathering and knew we would be there with those specific boats. It makes it a one-stop shopping trip for them. Now the guy doesn’t have to travel to Maine if he’s from New York to see XYZ boat. Any of our prospects know that those boats are now going to be centrally located for five days in one spot.” Add the fact that the yachts are accessible after a season of missed showings —owners were enjoying their boats in glorious weather all summer — and you’ve brought together excited buyers and sellers.

“It attracts a more serious clientele, people who are actually there to research the market and possibly to buy a boat rather than to look at the ‘big boats,'” says Pam Barlow of Luke Brown Yachts (lukebrown.com). “It’s a smaller crowd but a more intense crowd, I would say. We don’t see a lot of what we call tire-kickers at that show.” That intense crowd is made up of buyers who know what they want.

| |Photo Courtesy Newport Shipyard|

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“If I had a custom one-off boat I would definitely target Newport for it,” says Barlow. “And any quality build, I would definitely target Newport. The clientele are more yachtsmen there, and more experienced. They’re not necessarily price buyers, but people who are looking for a good boat.” But these experienced brokers go into the situation with their eyes open. And they see a diversity of boats in the harbors of the Northeast, one that seems to be growing each year. The boats offered at the show reflect that shift.

“I think Newport’s sailing heritage has had an impact on the show in the past,” says Peter Schmidt of United Yacht Sales (unitedyacht.com). “There are definitely more sailboats in the Northeast than there are in the southeast. But it’s a misconception that it’s all down east boats. I think we’ve got a 71-foot Sunseeker going in beside a 44-foot Jeanneau powerboat.”

For more information, visit www.newportshipyard.com.

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