EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S CORNER
THE LATEST UPDATE ON KEY SAIL AMERICA INITIATIVES
Dear Sail America Members,
I’m happy to report there’s been a great deal of activity and momentum lately at Sail America!
On the show front, you’ve probably seen or heard much of the great press we’ve received so far about Strictly Sail Pacific. The entire marina basin is now sold out, and all the slips have been filled. In addition, the on-site exhibit hall in the former Barnes & Noble bookstore also sold out a few weeks ago, so we expanded our show space and added a tent right in the center of Jack London Square to accommodate the positive demand.
Besides the encouraging vote of confidence from our exhibitors, we’ve also just released some phenomenal news about the America’s Cup coming to the show! Please review this story in this month’s edition of Sail America News, but suffice it to say, this exciting new development will certainly be a big boost in driving attendance on the opening day of the show as sailors and the community come to see the Cup and have the opportunity to meet and hear a free presentation by the BMW ORACLE Racing Team.
We’re right on the cusp of the show opening and everything is coming together beautifully, thanks to the hard work of the entire show team. We have more than 100 seminars lined up, plenty of parties and special events, and of course, a great display of new and premium pre-owned boats, gear and accessories and more.
In other news, we have made strides with the Industry Focus Group programs launched by our new President Sally Helme a few months ago. Board members have met and continue to meet with various segments within our industry to discuss your most compelling needs and issues so we can become even more responsive in meeting and addressing those needs and work collectively to grow the market. The feedback has been excellent and we appreciate the participation and support from those who have taken the time to meet with us and contribute. There will be a special session at the Industry Conference to discuss feedback and next steps for the Industry Focus Groups.
Of course, you’ll be interested to learn more about the forthcoming 2010 Sailing Industry Conference and Regatta that is also featured in this issue. I want to personally encourage you and your key players to make plans to attend the conference. This conference is specifically designed to help you better manage your business and improve sales in this challenging economy. The Industry Conference committee, comprised of George Day (Chair), Josh Adams, Brenda Collins, Eric Braitmayer, Gregg Boersma, Scot West, Mike Richberg, and Mary Ewenson have been hard at work to make this an outstanding event. Be on the lookout for more information coming soon!
I'm pleased to report the Individual Membership Program is making good headway. We are currently reviewing proposals from three website providers and plan to start creating the website by the end of April. We are also looking to hire a contract Content Manager to help source and edit content on the website. We continue to add membership benefits which we believe will offer tremendous value to industry and individual members alike.
Finally, as you’ll read in the Economic News article this issue, there are some positive signs on the horizon. I speak with industry leaders on a daily basis and, although the market has been slow to turn around, I am seeing several positive indicators, including significant gains in sales of brokerage boats (year-to-date brokerage sales value is up by almost 50%), most builders are reporting increased production, the aftermarket continues to stay relatively strong, and attendance at boat shows has not seen the declines that were feared. I'm hoping the higher-than-expected space sales at Strictly Sail Pacific are a sign that the market is starting to improve.
Finally, if you are in Oakland for Strictly Sail Pacific, please attend the Members Meeting at Scott’s Restaurant on Friday, April 16 from 8:00 am to 9:45 am (complimentary breakfast included). Hope to see you there!