New Board members at Sail America

Published on January 24th, 2018

Warren, RI (January 24, 2018) – Sail America, the trade association for the U.S. sailing industry, welcomed three new members to its 2018 board of directors: Lenny Shabes, American Sailing Association; Patrick Turner, Catalina Yachts; and Josh Toso, US Sailing.

Shabes and Turner were elected through the association’s standard election process. A nominating committee submits candidate names to association members who then vote anonymously on the names put forward. Meanwhile, Toso joins the board as a replacement for Jack Gierhart of US Sailing. Also welcomed back was Reagan Haynes, whose expiring term was renewed. All board members serve for three years.

The new Sail America directors join the president of the board, Jim Abel, of West Marine as well as existing board members Mark Pillsbury of Cruising World Magazine (treasurer/secretary); Erin Schanen of SAILING Magazine (vice chair); Bob Ross of Sail Northwest (vice chair); Scot West of Ronstan (past president); Kevin Murphy of the National Marine Manufacturers Association; Kevin Carlan of Mastry Engine Center; Josie Tucci of The Moorings; Peter Trogdon of Weems & Plath; Chris Doscher of Beneteau USA; Reagan Haynes of Soundings Trade Only; Lou Sandoval of Brunswick Corporation-Nautic-ON; and Kimo Worthington of North Sails.

The Sail America Board says farewell and extends its thanks to Jeff Johnstone of J Boats for his tenure and service to the organization.

New Directors to the Board:

Lenny Shabes, American Sailing Association
Lenny started his career in the early 70s as a pioneer in the nascent home theater market. He founded The Video Centers, America’s first specialty chain of stores for home videos. He concurrently developed Videovision, the home video industry’s first company to license Hollywood movies and distribute videocassettes. He built seven stores and licensed thousands of films before selling the successful business to the Federated Group in 1980.

In 1982, his true love took front and center and he founded the American Sailing Association (ASA) and remains its chairman of the board. Today, ASA is an association of 350 sailing schools, 7,000 sailing instructors, and almost a million certified sailors. Lenny is currently responsible for ASA’s marketing and long range strategic planning.

In the early 1990s, he formed WATV Productions, a specialty television programming, production service and consulting company. Lenny produced and delivered over 2,000 episodes to multiple cable networks including Discovery, Velocity, Spike, ESPN, TLC, Outdoor Channel, Outdoor Life Network, Speed, National Geographic and Fox Sports.

In 2007, Lenny co-founded Torque TV, a startup OTT (over-the-top) digital television network for motorheads. He was a board member and the director of programming through the successful sale of the company to Motor Trend Magazine. Lenny is a serial entrepreneur with a life full of successes of which he believes the ASA is his greatest.

Patrick Turner, Catalina Yachts
Originally from Ohio, Patrick’s career in the marine industry began in 1984, in Massachusetts, where he rented sailboats on Cape Cod during summer breaks from attending The Ohio State University. After finishing college, he and his business partner purchased a small sailboat dealership on Cape Cod. That dealership broke multiple sales records throughout the years and in 1987 added the Catalina Yachts dealership.

That is when he met Frank Butler (Catalina Yachts owner) and Sharon Day (Catalina Yachts national sales manager). As that professional relationship thrived, so did Patrick’s career. After selling his share of the sailboat business, Catalina Yachts asked Patrick to join them in California. There, he was a liaison to the dealers and supervised several boat shows around the world.

In 2002, Patrick returned to New England, joining a sailboat dealership in Rhode Island and serving as their corporate president. In the ensuing years that dealership too broke its sales records time and again. In 2006, Patrick put his strong sales and marketing managerial skills to work outside his own dealership, also advising numerous other sailboat dealerships throughout the country.

In 2013, Patrick rejoined Catalina Yachts as their materials manager. Today, he is a member of Catalina’s management team at their Florida operation and is also a liaison to the dealer network.

Josh Toso, Marketing Director – US Sailing
In 1984, when Josh Toso was just 2 years old, his father bought a J/24. Josh has been sailing ever since. He learned to sail in Boothbay Harbor, ME and raced in J/24 Fleet 43 out of the Portland Yacht Club. When his father relocated the J/24 to the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, Massachusetts, Josh started racing in the junior program at Manchester Sailing Association in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts.

When Josh was a fresh graduate (and sailing club member) of the University of Rhode Island, he was hired by Vanguard/LaserPerformance as their events manager, directing the company’s charter boat program. Traveling the world, Josh supported the charter fleets at various US Sailing, Intercollegiate Sailing Association, International Laser Class Association and International Sunfish Class Association regattas. LaserPerformance later promoted Josh to serve as their North American marketing executive, a position he held for two years.

In 2013, US Sailing hired Josh as their marketing manager and recently promoted him to marketing director. It is Josh’s passion for sailing, passed down from his father from an early age, that drives him and his work at US Sailing. Josh constantly strives to support already-committed sailors in the United States while, at the same time, introducing new people to its joys.

Sail America
Sail America is the trade association for the U.S. sailing industry and plays a vital role for all companies that are involved in providing sailing-related products and services. Established in 1990 by members of the U.S. sailing industry, Sail America now has over 200 members representing all segments of the sailing market. With a professional staff, a dedicated Board of Directors, and a team of volunteers and supporters, Sail America works hard to promote the health and growth of sailing.

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