Large Crowds Visit 13th Annual Strictly Sail Chicago Navy Pier
Nearly 20,000 attendees passed through the doors at Strictly Sail Chicago 2008, with total attendance very close to last year’s show. The annual show was held Jan. 31–Feb. 3 at Navy Pier and showcased more than 150 sailboats, hundreds of sailing-specific accessory booths and 200 educational seminars. The show was completely sold out, with exhibitor space sales hitting an all-time high.
“Strictly Sail Chicago 2008 was a tremendous success from an exhibitor perspective, as a variety of exhibitors noted a considerable number of sales and quality leads as a result of this year’s event,” said Kevin Murphy, show manager. “Positive exhibitor feedback and sales results are encouraging, as the industry looks to the winter boat show season as an economic indicator for participation and sales during the upcoming warmer months.”
LaserPerformance exhibited its world-renowned line of sailboats for the first time at this show, launching ‘The Bug,’ an exciting new dinghy designed by Jo Richards for sailors looking to enhance their skill or to race.
“We were looking for a venue that would be the best melting pot for both consumers and the press, and the Chicago show was a natural venue to launch ‘The Bug’ and our new identity: LaserPerformance,” said Chip Wilkerson, vice president, global marketing for LaserPerformance. “We were very pleased with the outcome. The press coverage was good and we had great consumer traffic through our booth. In the end, we beat sales targets we set for the show. All in all, very positive results!”
Phillip Pollard, of Crowley’s Yacht Yard Lakeside said that he was impressed with the show’s ability to connect to a wide regional audience.
“The Strictly Sail Chicago show is a great event for us,” said Pollard, service and accessories sales manager with Crowley’s Yacht Yard Lakeside in Chicago. “The show provides us with our best opportunity to market our services and retail store to a large regional audience. The show being held close to home allows us to interact with many of our important vendors and manufacturers.”
US SAILING’s current President Jim Capron attended the Chicago show and enjoyed the chance to swap sailing stories with Midwesterners. The show was “an easy opportunity to discuss new ideas and share information about what’s happening in sailing,” said Janet C. Baxter, past president of US SAILING. “We were happy to highlight sailing’s part in the Olympic and Paralympic Games by displaying one Paralympic and three Olympic boats.” In addition, Baxter said US SAILING promoted the upcoming Olympic Games with its display of boats and a new line of t-shirts to support the American team. Baxter noted she also provided information about Chicago’s exciting bid to host the 2016 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
Strictly Sail Chicago also awarded these Best of Booth Awards:
Small Booth: B&G
Large Booth: US SAILING
Small Boat: LaserPerformance
Large Boat: Jeanneau
Next year’s Strictly Sail Chicago will be held Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 2009, at Navy Pier.