The sale of Genmar's boat lines dominates the list of Trade Only Today's top 10 stories of 2010.
Trade Only's top story of all time, and the top story of the year, came on Jan. 8 when it was announced that Platinum Equity, a private equity firm in California, purchased the majority of Genmar's boat lines.
At that time, Platinum Equity purchased "essentially all the assets" of Genmar Holdings for $70 million. Genmar founder Irwin Jacobs, along with partner John Paul DeJoria, purchased the Carver and Marquis brands for $6.05 million and MCBC Hydra Boats purchased Hydra-Sports for $1 million.
Platinum later sold some of the brands back to Jacobs and DeJoria's J&D Acquisitions, and that was the second-most read story of 2010.
On Jan. 21, it was announced that J&D Acquisitions purchased several Genmar businesses from Platinum Equity, including the Larson, Seaswirl and FinCraft boat brands. The transaction also includes the Larson Boat factory in Little Falls, Minn., the VEC Technology company in Greenville, Pa.; and the Triumph Boat Co. and its Durham, N.C., factory.
The purchase also included the Seaswirl Boat factory in Culver, Ore.; Windsor Craft assets; and other miscellaneous assets.
On Feb. 3, President Barack Obama dominated the Trade Only headlines when he said during a speech in New Hampshire, "When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. And it's time your government did the same."
Obama's comments gave us the third-most read story of the year and brought in the most comments from readers of any single story we've published.
Rounding out the top five stories of 2010 were two pertaining to Genmar's bankruptcy auction. No. 4 was "Judge OKs Genmar auction results," which ran Jan. 14, and No. 5 is "Genmar auction gets under way," which ran Jan. 7.
The No. 6 story of the year - "Unsecured creditors want Genmar auction results thrown out" - ran Jan. 11. The committee said the aggregate amount of the prevailing bids would not satisfy the secured claims, the Chapter 11 administrative expense claims and would provide nothing for the pre-petition unsecured creditors as a group. There were an estimated 4,000 unsecured creditors in this case who were owed more than $100 million, according to court documents.
On Aug. 4, Trade Only Today ran a story about a professional fisherman who had been caught cheating. "Bass tournament officials: Angler caught cheating" was the No. 7 story of 2010.
The eighth-most read story of 2010 is also the most recent entrant to the list. On Dec. 10, Reggie Fountain surprised the industry when he announced his resignation from the company he founded more than 30 years ago. Fountain cited differences in "opinion and philosophy" between himself and the new owners of his company as the reason for his departure.
The America's Cup also made headlines in 2010, and a story posted Jan. 25, titled, "America's Cup squabbles go down to the wire," was the No. 9 story of the year.
According to the article, two weeks before the Cup's Feb. 8 start in Valencia, Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing were in the New York Supreme Court, arguing about what the Deed of Gift says about making a Cup boat's sails in the country of its sponsoring club. BMW Oracle said the Swiss team's sails violated the Deed of Gift because they were built in the United States instead of Switzerland. Alinghi said the deed's "built-in-country" rule applied only to the boat, not the sails, and that its sails were built at home.
The No. 10 story, "Florida brokerage found liable for misrepresentation," ran May 5. A Fort Lauderdale yacht brokerage - HMY Yacht Sales - was found liable for $1.7 million in damages after a Rhode Island man filed suit alleging that the 66-foot yacht he bought in 2007 was "unseaworthy."
Trade Only Today thanks its readers for their comments and input during 2010. We look forward to continuing to provide the most up-to-date information on the boating industry in 2011.
- Beth Rosenberg