ADVICE: What it takes to maximize growth

Published on April 25th, 2013

UllmanDave Ullman grew up sailing in Southern California, started his sailmaking business in 1967 and remains active in running the network of lofts. Now deep into his 60s, with shelves of championship titles to his name, he continues to race and coach at the highest level. Here Dave shares some advice on class growth…

If the mission is for a class of boat to enjoy broad growth, there are a handful of requisites needed. It needs to fill a niche, the price point must be within reach, the class and builder support must be solid, the boat can’t be particularly complicated to sail, and the performance must be acceptable – high performance without being too high.

It is important that the boat does not exhibit significant performance characteristics, as then most people won’t be able to sail it to its absolute potential. It is important that the boat is good but not great as it keeps the fleet tighter. That way the good people won’t go ripping by the middle of fleeters.

While the elite sailors might want super high performance, these people are not the boat buyers, or at least they don’t make up a very large segment of the boat buyers. A boat that is a click down takes better aim toward the middle of the fleet.

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