Countdown to Summer Sailstice
June 20 – 21, 2009 will mark the ninth annual sailing holiday held on the summer solstice weekend, and organizers expect the global extravaganza to draw record participation of more than 12,000 sailors from 50 states and 20 countries.
“Summer Sailstice is focused on creating a global celebration of sailing – something which I believe will create critical mass and, by connecting thousands of sailors in a common celebration, will become a draw to those who want to get involved,” said Sailstice founder John Arndt.
According to Arndt, every sort of sailing craft is welcome to participate, with past years’ entries including everything from windsurfers and kite boards, to daycruisers and passagemakers, from racers and tall ships to multihulls. The common experience of sharing the joy of sailing unites enthusiasts and helps to promote and introduce the sport and lifestyle in communities everywhere.
In addition, this year’s extravaganza brings a new component to the mix.
“Sailing is already an earth-friendly way to enjoy life on the water, so Summer Sailstice is working with conservation group Sailors for the Sea to support its ‘Around the Americas’ adventure,” said Arndt. “Participating sailors can pledge funds for every mile sailed during the Summer Sailstice weekend.” The goal is for participants to collectively sail 25,000 miles, equivalent to a circumnavigation of North and South America, with 100 percent of the resulting funds benefiting the conservation group’s ongoing ocean preservation programs.
Numerous companies have come aboard to help support and sponsor this sailing celebration, and there are more than 300 sailing prizes up for grabs including a one-week Moorings charter in the BVIs. And while the level of corporate participation is growing, Arndt believes sailing companies are missing the boat if they don’t get involved in one of the many channels that are available.
“One of the biggest challenges of the sailing business is building community among sailors,” said Arndt. “It’s fairly easy with racers as they all gather in the same spot and racing naturally builds camaraderie among participants. But racers are probably less than 15 percent of all sailors. There are over 165,000 Lasers in the world, but only 5000 in the international class association and perhaps only 100 at a large event like the recent Laser Masters. Where are all those others … and how would you get them to all feel part of one large Laser family? What if they all celebrated a sailing holiday together? Do that on Summer Sailstice and offer them all a chance to win, even if they’ve never raced in their life!”
Arndt also suggests that Summer Sailstice provides a great opportunity for companies to sponsor more sailors easily and less expensively than through traditional means.
“There are thousands of small sailing events all over the country, and each organization would like a sailing company to donate a prize, a free one week charter or anything to help support their event,” he said. “How does a company sift through thousands of opportunities and help support sailors in places ranging from Key West to Mark Twain Reservoir in Missouri? Summer Sailstice allows a company the opportunity to offer prizes which can be won by sailors in all 50 states and beyond.”
Finally, Arndt believes manufacturers, in particular, can take advantage of the Summer Sailstice event to their benefit.
“If you’re a boat manufacturer and have boats scattered across the county or around the globe, this really is a way to unite them all in a huge, virtual rendezvous,” he added. ”You can never get all your owners together in one place, but you can unite them in spirit on one weekend dedicated to celebrating their common bond with sailing and your product!”
For more information about Summer Sailstice or about how to register or get involved, visit www.SummerSailstice.com and join the all-new Facebook group.