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Old 03-16-2019, 12:23 AM   #41
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As one of the vendors, and a boater, Iím with @SteveZ. These events are really good for newbies, or for folks that want to take just a few classes. Example: Nigel Calder and Mike Beemer are teaching the upcoming Seattle eventís diesel class. Those two gentlemen are GOLD in my opinion. But the boat show part is only for builders that can stomach the entry fee compared to the cost of the boat theyíre selling. So you wonít be seeing much for under $250k. And the tent vendors can get a better bang for their marketing buck elsewhere. Call it New Math.
I call it an ineffective cost and pricing strategy. If the price is keeping the boat brokers and the tent vendors from attending, then the price is excessive and risks the long term viability of the show part. Every show provider, of RV shows, boat shows, auto shows, home and garden shows, has dealt with this issue. The successful ones reach the breaking point for their customer and back down a bit. Many ways to do so. For instance, those who will bring more boats might get discounts. Tents might be looked at as simply an additional benefit of the show and be priced at a minimal price. Sometimes it means moving shows. I've seen shows moved from major arenas to civic centers. I assume Stuart was an effort to find an affordable locale but maybe it isn't as affordable as it needs to be. FLIBS can get by with outrageous pricing. No builder can afford not to be there. The Miami shows seem to be able to charge high prices but it's a very popular show with the Central and South American buyers.

Nothing new about the math. Just the show company has to decide is making less on each boat shown and having more boats and more attendees beneficial. One other very common approach has been gaining sponsorship. Look at the Miami show and the amount of promotion and benefit of Progressive sponsoring it. Tampa Bay Boat show is sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times. Often it's television stations. Palm Beach Show goes the route of a sizable list of partners.

I've seen companies in every industry get just a little complacent, with no intent and no knowledge they're doing so. I was pleased to read Passagemaker has plans to change things. Ultimately, it's not going to matter how good the seminars and classes are, if they don't draw people to the show as a whole. I'd consider everything, every possible change and that includes location. I don't think Stuart holds some special pull to the trawler community. Perhaps they should hold it somewhere less expensive or perhaps hold it somewhere in conjunction with another show as was attempted in Palm Beach I believe. I hope they find the answers.
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Old 03-16-2019, 02:32 AM   #42
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As one of the vendors, and a boater, Iím with @SteveZ. These events are really good for newbies, or for folks that want to take just a few classes. Example: Nigel Calder and Mike Beemer are teaching the upcoming Seattle eventís diesel class. Those two gentlemen are GOLD in my opinion. But the boat show part is only for builders that can stomach the entry fee compared to the cost of the boat theyíre selling. So you wonít be seeing much for under $250k. And the tent vendors can get a better bang for their marketing buck elsewhere. Call it New Math.
Couple of thoughts, based on our attendance a few years ago at Stuart Trawlerfest. Actually, the location was pretty centrally located in Florida, and had the requisite hotel, restaurant and marina in one location.

Most of the seminars were boring, one afternoon class was exciting (Chris Parker's weather class), and one class (electronics repair) seemed to be in a foreign language with too much unknown terminology. In a nutshell, we wasted three days and a long drive, so we agree with Fajah. They suck you in with a lower seminar price if you attend all three or four days, so perhaps that was our mistake.

While it is great that Trawlerfest is occasionally able to land such industry luminaries as Chris Parker, Nigel Calder, and Steve Zimmerman, I'm afraid Trawlerfest's vetting of some of their other seminar instructors is sorely lacking. It was obvious that some of the seminar leaders were there to sell outdated books, and some were there in order to be like the remora fish that attach themselves to whales, i.e. to attach themselves to industry people of solid reputation because they are lacking in that regard.

There were not many trawlers on display, and most were very pricey new boats, except for a couple of over 50' models that we could not afford to maintain. I know it costs more to rent a few extra floating docks for more boats, but maybe the future Florida organizers should consider this. Adding a few easy-up tents for respite from the hot Florida sun would also be helpful. It was brutally hot the day we spent on the docks.

IMHO, a better Trawlerfest would pay more attention to hiring quality instructors, more boats (new and used over a wide price range), many more vendors, plus daily lunch and dinner opportunities open to paying attendees in order to mingle socially with other trawler owners/buyers.

Cheers,
Mrs. Trombley
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:29 AM   #43
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I don't think Stuart holds some special pull to the trawler community. Perhaps they should hold it somewhere less expensive or perhaps hold it somewhere in conjunction with another show as was attempted in Palm Beach I believe. I hope they find the answers.
Depending on what boat manufacturers you want to attract, Stuart certainly is home to several traditional trawler East coast distributors. It seems to me, if you're trying to revitalize the show, getting the locals to participate would be an easier first step.

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Old 03-16-2019, 10:57 AM   #44
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Ditto on the Baltimore trawler fest in Baltimore last fall - we were disappointed.
Likewise, the rain didn't help, but the show was totally underwhelming. If you're not going for the classes it wouldn't be something I'd go out of my way to attend. There's just not enough vendors exhibiting, nor boat inventory, to make it worthwhile. I love just about any excuse to see boats, and I live a mere hour's drive away, but that last one was kinda pointless.
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Old 03-16-2019, 04:21 PM   #45
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As a newbie, I found the Stuart Trawlerfest valuable.

I'm a small boat sailor and have only chartered sailboats, never though I'd get aboard a big powerboat. But I started thinking about what to do for retirement, and realized that the Loop was an adventure I'd like to do with my wife. I headed to Stuart to attend a few courses, and found the "how to buy a boat" especially useful.

Steve Z's chart regarding "how are you going to use your boat" and chatting with Dorsey and Bruce, the very pleasant owners of Esmeralde, an American Tug 395 really firmed up my thinking about what type of boat would suit me best.

The many lectures on the legal and insurance requirements and realities of purchasing and owning a boat were a glimpse into the black arts of protecting assets, saving taxes and preparing and maintaining proper documentation. I was staying with friends in West Palm Beach who own a sailing cat, and chatting about what I was learning sparked several interesting discussions which revealed that I was getting prepared in a way they never had, and certainly would have appreciated up front.

I plan on attending the Baltimore Trawlerfest in September, in order to take the Diesel engines course if Nigel is teaching it again, as well as to sign up for some handling experience. If nothing else, it would be an opportunity to provide more documentation when chartering that I'm a good risk for their valuable equipment.

As far as the in-water boat show and vendors? I found it valuable to chat with the owners of several boats, and several of them took a half hour or more to answer questions and provide insight into the lifestyle. If you are already in the community, already have the access, this would be less valuable. But I also spent 20 minutes talking with Kurt Dilworth of American Tugs and 15 with Trevor Brice of North Pacific. They were able to explain their history, their process and their take on a busload of questions I developed after looking at their handiwork. Their pride, and their relationship with their customers, was on full display. In such an intimate atmosphere you can easily see benefit to potential customers and to the industry.

Finally thank you Jeff Merrill, who taught the "Offshore Essentials" course which had good tips of how to prepare for and conduct a trip when you have to depend on boat and crew for your survival and enjoyment of an adventuresome passage. He then showed me through the engine room of the Nordhaven 47 NaviGator with an in-depth discussion of maintenance, upgrade and operation of the systems such a boat requires.

I must sound like an infomercial. But that's my $0.02
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Old 03-16-2019, 04:50 PM   #46
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It's great to hear from you Philly and get the positive side. Seems they're hitting what the new powerboater needs and missing the desires a bit of the more experienced.
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