Monday, January 26, 2009

A Good Problem to Have.

Hull #251 Upon Arrival.

When one thinks of problems it usually denotes the negative. That something bad is going to happen or has happened. To start 2009 out, we where faced with one such tough decision. (Actually, I should back things up a bit before we go there...) You see each year we select boats to display at the largest indoor boat show in the Midwest (Strictly Sail) that represent the broadest display of offerings for the Lake Michigan market. In a perfect world, we would love to bring every boat in the Beneteau line, but from a practical standpoint it just isn't possible- one because of sheer cost, two because some boats just won't fit through the loading door at Navy Pier. In years past, Beneteau and Karma Yacht Sales have always been one of the largest displays at this annual show. This year that will once again be true, but like many other dealers and manufacturers we have had to really look at scaling back the number of boats we will bring. While there is some support from the manufacturer, the brunt of the costs for displaying rest on the shoulders of the organizing dealer. As the larger dealer (and local dealer) our share is usually pretty sizeable in relation to the other participating dealers.

Challenge #1:

For 2009, we sought to bring a diverse sampling of the product offerings from both the Beneteau Series boats and the First Series. Our original lineup included: the Beneteau 31, 34, 37, 43 and First 36.7. Logistically, our first challenge came when we found out we could not get the new Beneteau 34 shipped in time for the show. We also looked at having another participating dealer bring the boat. Scheduling conflicts nixed that possibility. So, it forced us to rework the boats we were going to bring- Round One. We reworked it to the Beneteau 31, 37,40, 43 and First 36.7- all of which we had in stock or on order to arrive for the show. The good news is the layout for the 34 is similiar to the Beneteau 37 which will be at the show. We have hulls earmarked for Chicago, we just need to put some names on those production slots and they will be ready for Spring '09 delivery.

Enter Challenge #2:

At the turn of the year, We had the forunate circumstance that Shields sailors Julian 'Skip' Schink and Rob Miller decided to join the Fastest Growing One-Design Fleet and purchase Hull #251 (our stock boat). So now we where faced with the challenge of trying to get another 36.7 in time for the show. The factory is building them and has been doing so since late last year (see photo below). The biggest challenge is that we needed one without a keel on it to be able to get it through the door at Navy Pier. She stands a bit too tall with 'keel on' to fit through the door. Due to production scheduling in the 4th quarter 2008 and 1st Q 2009, this was not posssible. All the boats Beneteau USA has ready to ship are 'keel on'. Taking the keel off is a sizeable investment for one show. ...Enter tough decision #2.

So we reworked our floor layout to account for the Beneteau 31,37, 40, and 46 no First. This was the hardest decision for us. For the past seven Strictly Sail shows the 36.7 has been the cornerstone of our display. This is a boat design that has grown with us in the Lake Michigan market. With thirty boats on Lake Michigan and by far the fastest continually growing fleet in the area, it was a very hard decision to make. We were sure the 'rumors' would start from some of our eager competitors who have seen minor (if any) growth in their fleets. We can hear it now: "This is proof that the boat is no longer being made." or "They will not be able to deliver for the 2009 race season". So we figured we would publish the truth here rather you hear it from unreliable (and biased) interested parties. The First 36.7 is alive and flourishing. We are expecting to uphold the continual growth we have seen in the past seven years. Hull #251 is the first of a few we will have join the fleet in 2009. Delivery is available for 2009 models in time for the full season.

So you see, some problems are good to have.

We'll see you at the show! Once again our lineup will be the Beneteau 31, 37, 40 and 46

(Below:36.7's on the line in Marion, S.C (1st row)