Financially healthy and growing, Sail America presented several new initiatives at the annual industry meeting in Annapolis, MD. Sally Helme, Publisher of Cruising World magazine and President of Sail America, revealed the plan before a crowd of key industry personnel attending the United States Sailboat Show.
Citing improved financials, diversified revenue streams, and a growing list of partners including the management of a new boat show in Texas, Helme reported growth in the organization’s membership and an uptick in attendance at Strictly Sail shows nationwide over the past two years.
Jonathan Banks, Sail America Executive Director, kicked off the breakfast program by saying, “The attendance here serves as a reminder that there is still life in the sailing market.” He added that he was pleased with how well the industry has coped and adapted as everyone has worked together to improve market conditions in the down economy.
Sail America’s vision was described as “creating a stronger sailing market” and several objectives were outlined as steps to achieve that goal:
- Continued financial health – to be accomplished by continuing to reduce costs and grow membership.
- Promotion of the sailing lifestyle – including the launch of a new Discover Sailing video modeled after and partnered with the Discover Boating awareness campaign currently promoted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The video is not complete but when finished, is expected to be 3-5 minutes long and is intended to help introduce new people to sailing.
- Launch of a new consumer website – designed to help boaters and potential boaters connect with the sailing industry.
- Growth of show partnerships – adding to the long list of sailboat shows, Sail America introduced SWIBS, the South West International Boat Show, which will launch in Houston, TX, March 22-25, 2012.
- Education and research – Sail America will continue to provide ongoing business education for industry members via their Waypoints newsletter, and market data from various sources.
- Leveraging the America’s Cup World Series – Sail America has promoted the branding push behind the 34th America’s Cup to build awareness and excitement about the 2013 yacht race. In fact, even the 2012 Sailing Industry Regatta and Conference will coincide with the World Series events in Rhode Island in June.
The meeting wrapped with the Best in Show awards that recognize those companies that provide the most unique and professional image via their show exhibits. Winners included Sunsail, Petit Paint, Lagoon Catamarans, and Jeanneau Yachts.