Strictly Sail Pacific reports attendance boost

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Attendance and space sales were up at the 2012 Strictly Sail Pacific boat show, which took place April 12-15 at Jack London Square in Oakland, Calif.

Space sales increased by 7 percent and overall attendance was up more than 8 percent, organizers said.

The four-day sailing event featured nearly 100 sailboats, gear and accessories from more than 400 manufacturers, more than 100 seminars, on-the-water sailing clinics, free sailboat rides on an America’s Cup AC 45, and the entire Clipper Round the World Race fleet.

“This was the strongest Strictly Sail Pacific boat show we have had in recent years, with both exhibitor space sales and attendance back to pre-recession levels,” Jonathan Banks, Sail America executive director and Strictly Sail Pacific producer, said in a statement.

“The combination of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet and an America’s Cup display, along with a brand new exhibit hall, additional special events and an aggressive marketing plan resulted in a good uptick in attendance,” he added. There was great energy at the show, and many exhibitors reported strong sales, as well — a win-win for everyone.”

Exhibitors were generally happy with the show.

“We had bigger crowds than in previous years, with high enthusiasm from attendees,” said Debbie Reynolds, of Passage Yachts. “Attendees seemed to have a lot of fun at the show this year. People are ready to buy boats and get back on the water sailing.”

“Strictly Sail Pacific boat show has been fabulous this year. We increased the number of boats we had on display over last year and are so pleased with the quality of this year’s attendees,” JK3 Yachts president Jeff Brown said.

As part of this year’s show, Strictly Sail Pacific hosted the California stopover of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race, the world’s longest ocean race. The fleet of 10 68-foot sailing yachts arrived in Oakland from Qingdao, China, and remained on display throughout the show.

Attendees were able to climb aboard the racing yachts and talk to crewmembers. There was a sendoff Saturday morning, which was proclaimed 2012 Strictly Sail Pacific Clipper Race Day.

Hundreds of onlookers cheered the boats as they left Jack London Square for the start of the next leg of the race to New York.

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