Strictly Sail Pacific reports attendance boost

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Sailing enthusiasts gathered in record numbers April 14-17 at Strictly Sail Pacific in Oakland, Calif., organizers reported.

Overall attendance was up 10 percent and there was a 35 percent increase in e-ticket sales. Space sales were up more than 20 percent and the site had to be expanded to meet the higher-than-expected demand.

Attendance figures were not immediately available, although organizers are estimating that 12,850 people attended, compared with 11,700 in 2010.

"Attendance was up every day of the show, and many exhibitors commented on the quality of the crowd," show producer and Sail America executive director Jonathan Banks said in a statement. "The new show layout worked out extremely well and the new features, including America's Cup Day, VIP Day, the DIY Demo Tent and the Discover Sailing Learning Center were a big hit."

Many exhibitors reported a successful show.

"There was a lot more excitement this year, a higher customer count and higher sales activity. Items were selling off the shelf, with a focus on electronics and safety gear," West Marine boat show manager Lauren Durfee said in a statement.

Don Magraf, of Lagoon Marine, said it was a great show, with a luxury catamaran sold on the first day of the event and two more sales in progress. And Marnie Reid, of Morris Yachts of Maine, said, "It was great to be back. The Morris 36 was extremely well received; it was a terrific show with well qualified buyers."

"By far, this was the strongest Strictly Sail Pacific show in recent years," Banks added. "There were no complaints about the economy; exhibitors and attendees were in remarkable spirits and the weather was perfect. The show got off to a strong start with America's Cup Day and enthusiasm continued to build throughout the four-day sailing extravaganza."

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