Sail industry conference starts Monday

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Organizers of the 2012 Sailing Industry Conference say they're excited about interactive workshops that will customize the Grow Boating message to the sailing industry.

Scot West, U.S. general manager at Ronstan International Inc. and one of the show’s seminar organizers, says the Grow Sailing workshops are designed this year to brainstorm with attendees about ways to build on Grow Boating’s message.

“That portion has been put in because at each of the last couple conferences, people wanted the opportunity” to contribute,” West said. “Obviously at conferences we tend to do a lot of talking to the crowd, but there’s not a lot of interaction with the crowd, so I’m really excited about that.”

The conference will be held June 25-27 in Newport, R.I.

West hopes that if industry players have a chance to participate and help shape the direction in which sailing wants to take the Grow Boating message, they will be larger participants in executing the message.

The idea sprang from the realization that this is one of the only times that key sailing industry people from every segment come together in one room to learn, said Josh Adams, publisher of Sail magazine.

“We realize we’re going to have lot of key stakeholders in sailing together in one room, so we thought, let’s try to leverage that to help spark some ideas about how we’re going to grow sailing,” Adams said.

The sail industry and Sail America had a voice at the boating industry’s Growth Summit in Chicago in December, and that helped inspire the idea to take some of the larger marine growth initiatives and apply them to the sail industry, Adams said.

“Discover Sailing is alive and well and is a very important part of our industry, but the idea with this workshop is we can drill down a little deeper to see where we as an industry should be focused and how we can make it easier for people to enjoy the sport,” Adams said.

Having a nice cross-section of industry players should make the conversation richer, Adams said.

There will be representatives from areas that include charters, builders, dealers, sailing schools and accessory manufacturers, Adams said.

“That’s really important to us. We want to make sure every segment of the industry has a voice,” Adams said.

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