Just Whose Job Is It To Grow Sailboat Racing Anyway?

Published on July 2nd, 2013

By Glenn McCarthy, Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation
When I asked Eric Jones of World Yachts this question recently, his answer was “Everyone.” But the next question I ask everyone is, “And how is that working?” As everyone in the sailboat field succeeds when more boats are out there racing, doesn’t everyone want growth and to prosper, or at least to replace them so someone is available to buy their boat when they are done with it? Is it possible that the entire sailboat industry is disjointed?

Let’s look at the top associations in sailing:

– Sailors commonly are members of Yacht Club, Class Association, US Sailing and/or LMSRF.
– Sailing Schools are either members of US Sailing or the American Sailing Association (ASA)
– Marinas commonly are members of the Association of Marina Industries (AMI).
– Marine Bankers are member of the National Marine Bankers Association (NMBA)
– Life Jacket makers are members of the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA)
– Shipyards and Chandleries are members of the Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA)
– Boat builders & boat parts makers are members of National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
– Sailboat builders and parts makers are members of Sail America (SA).
– High Schools are members of Interscholastic Sailing Association (IS S A) and Midwest Inter – Scholastic Sailing Association (MISSA)
– College Sailors are members of Inter – Col legiate Sailing Association (ICS A) and Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association (MCSA)
– Boat Brokers and Dealers are members of the National Marine Representatives Association (NMRA) or Association of Yacht Sales Professionals (YBAA)
– Boat Designers are members of the American Boat & Yacht Council (AB YC).

Is there any coordination between all of these organizations? No. About ten years ago one of the big alphabet consulting firms did a study of sailing in England. I was at the meeting where the researcher gave his report. They, too , have as many industry associations in sailing as the U.S. does. The consulting company recommended a merger of all of the associations so there is coordination, remove overlaps and get sailing growing. As far as I know, it hasn’t happened in England.

Can anyone identify what proactive “sales” program each organization above offers? Does any single “sales” program jump to the top of your mind? What is it? Where is it? I’ll start with the top two targeted to sailing that I can think of: Sail America has “Discover Sailing” and runs the “Strictly Sail Boat Shows” (some done in concert with NMMA) across the country http://www.discoversailing.com/home.asp. After that, I can’t think of another proactive program that is attempting to lure the public to come join sailing. – Read on (Page 8): http://lmsrf.org/lmsrf/images/stories/newsletters/2013_06_LMSuRF.pdf

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