A Letter from the President –
A Clarifying Moment
In a recent letter to Sail America Members, Sail America President Bill Goggins discussed the new direction for Sail America and urged members to join the
association and get involved.
The letter, in its entirety, follows:
“I have done a lot of thinking since the Sail America General Members Meeting in Annapolis. I want to tell you all
that I found it to be a clarifying moment for me personally, and I hope, after
reading this letter, it will be for you too.
The energy at the Annapolis meeting was fresh. The entire industry was there,
and the industry was looking for change and direction. We
had a real message showing that change has been made inside of Sail America.
There was hard news coming from Wall Street, and people were looking for direction.
Our executive committee has worked tirelessly to secure Sail America for the
future. As I explained, for the past several months this was our 'heads
in the boat' phase, ensuring we’re healthy from here forward. A
re-organization as you know is never easy….but it was the right thing
to do. Thanks to all this hard work we now have a solid platform in place on
which to build a stronger Sail America.
Today, Sail America is autonomous, not held down by a cumbersome business
model forcing us to be in the boat show operations business. Today we’re
presented with the chance to: a) stay financially solvent, b) re-define how
our industry interacts with each other, and c) create more value for our members.
At the meeting, we reviewed the new paths that Sail America will be taking:
- Shows: Instead of running boat shows, we are now partnering
with first-class boat show producers to improve sailing’s presence
at their shows. We achieved an industry first at the Members Meeting by having
NMMA, Show Management and the Annapolis Sailboat Show all together in the
same meeting talking about how they will promote sailing.
- Business Education: After the success of our inaugural
Sailing Industry Conference in Newport this spring we have started planning
a bigger and better event for next year.
- Outreach and Marketing: We heard how our marketing efforts
will be focused on helping sell more boats and getting more exposure for
sailing through Discover Boating and Discover Sailing.
Many people at the meeting were relieved to know that Sail America will remain
strong into the future due to the reorganization. But towards the end of the meeting there
was some discussion that Sail America was not doing enough to support boat
dealers and other companies during these challenging economic times.
After the meeting I heard from some of our members that they were hoping for
more change from Sail America, that we need to address the Main Street needs
of the industry, and that we should be more open about the financial health
of our association.
The Members Meeting was a clarifying moment for me. Yes, Sail America has
achieved a great deal internally in the last year as we reorganized and refocused,
but it is clear that we are just at the beginning of the change that needs
to take place externally.
Never before have I seen THE opportunity for each of us to step up and help
steer what Sail America should be about for tomorrow. We will create real change – with
I’m going to revise a quote from a famous yachtsman who also happened
to be President of the United States:
Ask NOT what Sail America can do for you
But what YOU can do for Sail America.
I’m sorry if this sounds cliché – that’s not my point.
My point is that NOW is the time to care. NOW is the time to re-join. NOW
is the time to volunteer and help us by getting involved.
Our industry association is 100% driven by you. By caring enough to not only
speak up, but to ACT.
It is unfair for anyone to be critical of our industry association from the
sidelines, without stepping in. This is the most empowering message I can give
to you – only YOU can help make a difference if you really care.
To be organized about how we can respond to your help and thoughts, Jonathan
and our executive committee will continue to re-structure Sail America. These
changes will create channels where you can directly volunteer and help step
in. Since the Members Meeting we have already established a task force to improve
the sailboat certification process, we have started work on a mentorship program
for our newest and youngest industry recruits, and we are planning a conference
call with marine lenders, dealers and boat manufacturers.
For each of you that has an opinion about what we can do better, there will
be a way where you can step in and actually be part of that change.
YOU are the agents of change, and we look forward to working with you.”