Teamwork Prevails and Leads to Major Discover Sailing Success at Shilshole Bay Marina Boat Show
As a result of an outstanding collaborative effort among members of the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA), 170 newcomers to sailing were recently introduced to the sailing lifestyle at the Shilshole Bay Marina Boat Show, with a variety of positive results, ranging from a new boat sale, to club membership.
“Our boat show was a great example of what we can accomplish by working together,” said Michael Collins, publisher of 48 North whose staff manned the Discover Sailing booth. “The NMTA, working with Puget Sound Sailing Renaissance, got 170 people new to sailing on the water including 147 at the show and an additional 23 who signed up at the Discover Sailing booth to sail on Elliott Bay.”
According to Collins, the prospecting event came together as the result of a positive pre-show story that aired on KCPQ Channel 13 TV that invited people to try sailing. The public response included 200 viewers who RSVP’d to attend the show. NMTA Director of Communications and Marketing John Thorburn coordinated a VIP event which included a preview of the boat show, salmon dinner and complimentary beverages.
“The most significant thing about the group that responded was that over half were minorities,” said Collins. “This has been a segment of the population that sailing has not been able to reach in the past. We need to all be thinking about how we can best welcome this new segment to the sport.”
When the show opened Thursday, one boat was scheduled daily for the Discover Sailing program and two for Saturday, all provided and captained by Windworks and the Seattle Sailing Club.
“It became obvious from the start that the promotion of Discover Sailing was done right, because we were very short on boats,” said Collins. “Thursday was booked solid in the first couple of hours and we were turning away more people than we were able to get on the water. By Friday, we were able to double the number of boats scheduled, with Admiralty adding a boat for Friday through Sunday, and Marine Servicenter adding a boat for Saturday skippered by Elliott Bay Yacht Sales. Even with double the capacity we ended up turning a number of people away.”
According to Collins, many of the prospects who took advantage of the Discover Sailing promotion said they wanted to try sailing before taking the plunge. In addition, one skipper reported that a prospect left the ride and expressed the intention to immediately walk up the dock and join one of the sailing clubs. Another family had come to the show to buy a powerboat, but after seeing how their entire crew worked together on a sailboat, was rethinking their plans. Great news – another prospect left his Discover Sailing ride with enthusiastic plans to purchase a boat at the show.
“This is just the kind of grassroots activities needed to promote the growth of sailing,” said Sail America Executive Director Jonathan Banks. “It’s no surprise that the strength of our positioning in the marketplace happens when smart sailing businesses and organizations work together to make it happen. This is a great example of success and we applaud all those involved in the effort.”
Collins said kudos were in order for the crew who worked tirelessly to make the event successful and included Lisa Samuelson of Samuelson Communications, NMTA’s PR firm, who arranged the TV and press coverage; John Thorburn who coordinated the special event logistics and follow-through; the Seattle Sailing Club; Windworks; Stacey Hoopes and Fisheries Supply for the donation of children’s lifejackets; Admiralty Yachts (and skipper Jerry) for usage of Delphia; Marine Servicenter for usage of the SB3 and Bruce McPherson of Elliott Bay Yacht Sales who skippered her; and the team from 48 North who staffed the Discover Sailing booth.