The Newport International Boat Show in Rhode Island proved to be a strong start to the fall boat show season, aided by bright, crisp weather and a strong contingent of serious shoppers, exhibitors say.
Whether that translates to an uptick in overall sales remains to be seen, but exhibitors expressed the same cautious optimism that they did a year ago.
"It seems like people are slowly starting to use their money again," says Thomas Sarin, managing director of Minor Offshore, a Finnish builder of all-season pilothouse boats imported to North America by Skarne Marine in Milford, Conn.
Sarin says that despite gloomy reports about the European economy, the most recent boat shows in Helsinki, Stockholm and Oslo delivered better-than-expected results for his company.
Foot traffic in Newport was steady early and throughout Friday, the first of three show days held under blue skies.
Final attendance figures for the show were not available this morning, but the docks were busy throughout the weekend and several vendors commented that those in attendance skewed toward serious buyers rather than tire kickers.
More than 650 new sailboats and powerboats were in slips and on the hard at the Newport Yachting Center, Oldport Marine, Bannister's Wharf and Bowen's Wharf.
On Thursday, multiple boats, gear and exhibitor displays were named the tops in their class by a panel of judges
- Rich Armstrong