Increased sailboat sales a sign of turning tide?

July 04, 1993|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Staff Writer

In the 1970s, while gas and diesel fuel were in short supply in the United States, a considerable segment of the boating population switched from powerboats to sailboats. In the early- and mid-1980s, sailboat production in the United States and Canada continued to increase.

In the late 1980s the industry entered a tailspin, with production of new boats dropping and the used boat market floundering in a high tide of sailboats no one wanted or could afford to buy.

International Marine, a leading supplier of marine accessories and original equipment, says that its annual study of U.S. and Canadian builders shows the sailboat industry hit low ebb two years ago and last year made a 22 percent overall increase beyond 1991 figures.

IM's study, which was started in 1988, also shows that even the gains of 1992 leave the industry 27 percent below 1988 figures and roughly 10 percent below figures for 1989 and 1990.

The study shows a 25 percent increase in sales last year of entry-level boats, from 12 feet to 29 feet, which makes up about 85 percent of all sailboats built.

The 41- to 45-foot category increased 32 percent over 1991 figures, but the luxury segment of the industry, those boats over 45 feet, lost 39 percent from 1991 and remains down 63 percent from a peak year in 1989.

The study said that export sales for boats over 29 feet, increased sales of multi-hulls, a wider array of new models and increased production of boats that emphasize ease in sail and boat handling all were major factors in increased production and sales.

Stream of consciousness

Always wanted to check out a Colorado trout stream, but didn't have the time? The National Aquarium in Washington has an exhibit that will allow one to see what makes that state's trout streams and trout work.

The Colorado Trout Stream Exhibit and Tank was opened June 10 as part of National Fishing Week.

The permanent exhibit contains trout in a natural environment and is designed to illustrate the complexity and fragility of Colorado's cold water fisheries.

"The Colorado Trout Stream Exhibit underscores the importance the National Aquarium's responsibility to share the wonders of our rich and diverse biosphere, specifically the nation's coastal and territorial waters," said David Gross, director of the National Aquarium.

Trout Unlimited, the aquarium and Coors Brewing Co. put the exhibit together, with Trout Unlimited providing technical assistance on the exhibit and Coors donating $10,000.

Fencing reaches milestone

Late last month, a golden stake was driven into the ground on a farm along Pequea Creek in Salisbury Township, Lancaster County, Pa. It represented the completion of 100 miles of stream bank fencing on Chesapeake Bay watershed tributaries.

Stream bank fencing is a program designed to improve nutrient management and reduce sediment loading in rivers and creeks by keeping livestock away from stream banks and out of waterways.

Stream edges protected from livestock traffic and grazing retain their natural cover of grasses, brush and trees and serve as a filtering system for waters that run off the land into creeks and rivers.

Agricultural runoff is a major contributor to harmful nutrient enrichment of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Miscellaneous

The Annapolis Sailing School will celebrate its 35th anniversary by offering a $35 discount on beginners courses starting the weekend of July 31. . . . ESPN has been granted the worldwide rights to telecast the America's Cup '95 defender selection series and the America's Cup match to be held in San Diego.

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