Swimsailor

Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show

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As posed on the FP, what's wrong with our sport?  It's been debated ad nauseam on these pages.  However, from the pic in this article and on the FP I'm going to just say it might be this...

$85k to pull strings and hike out at 5 knots with 4 friends or $85k to push a handle and go 35 knots with 9 friends.  Oh and there will be a fridge, standing headroom, a shitter and a nice lounge pad to take selfies.

https://www.nwitimes.com/business/local/chicago-boat-rv-sail-show-sails-back-into-mccormick-place/article_c9521ff4-a998-5e59-8824-84bfb6eef87b.html  

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Cause sailing is hard and there are more yahoos driving powerboats/jet skis than who know what they're doing

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That's how we save sailing: lounge chairs that collapse into the foredeck.

Power boating is alive and well among the young, though you see a couple masts: 

 

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The misery is the same in Toronto, just a week later.  Oh to be at BOOT Düsseldorf!

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Old news.  The former "Strictly Sail" on San Francisco Bay has been "Pacific Sail & Power Expo" the last couple years with increasingly poor attendance and a smaller and smaller in-water portion each year, and fewer seminars.  I remember not even 10 years ago having to make tough decisions about which  conflicting seminars I wanted to attend and rushing from thing to thing so I could see it all in two days.  Last year I went for about an hour just to chat with a couple specific vendors and buy a VHF. Nothing else really worth seeing. 

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This is an instant gratification world now.  No time to wait for the wind to kick up.  No time to put up and take down sails.  Just push a button and steer.

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There are lots of things contributing to the demise of the sailboat show, outside of "powerboats are easier." For background, I am probably among the anarchists most connected to Strictly Sail. My day job is working for the guy who founded Strictly Sail when it was at the Waukesha Expo center and before he sold it to NMMA. I attended that show as a boy. As an adult, I ran booths in Strictly Sail for more than 10 years, both at Navy Pier and McCormick. Here are my takes on why the sailing part of the show is dying in Chicago:

1. In general, we don't buy at shows anymore. Once upon a time, I could roll into the show with Vanguard (then LaserPerformance), Hobie, and Gill, and sell enough at the show to pay all of my expenses and come away with a healthy profit. The winter show season in Chicago accounted for about 40% of our annual sales between the sportsman show, Chicago Boat Show, and Strictly sail. In 3 weekends over the course of a month, I would bust my butt, work long hours, manage logistics, and spend my life driving boats through snowy nights of Chicago traffic in Penske trucks. The reward was a spring full of deliveries and wonderful customers. Now, the internet economy has really challenged that concept.

2. There was value in 3 shows. I legitimately talked to customers at all 3 shows and closed a sale at the last show (Strictly Sail). Developing a relationship with the buyer over multiple weekends was exceptionally valuable. The sportsman show may still be alive in Rosemont, but combining the general boat show with Strictly Sail lost that opportunity to see people at both of those shows. Frankly, the Rosemont show was all kayak customers, not sailors. 

3. Dealing with Chicago trade shows has only gotten more difficult. There is no easy way to buy a booth, build a reasonable looking display, and man the booth that isn't at least double the costs of a decade ago. In my current career, trade shows at McCormick easily cost $15k for a 3 day show in a 10x10 booth. I used to spend $10k all in to have a 40x40 at Navy Pier, man the booth, and deal with all of the moving. 

4. McCormick is exponentially harder logistics than Navy Pier for move in/move out. 

5. The "house" wants more from your pocket every year if you aren't a table top booth. The last show I ran, I spent every single morning of the show in the office correcting a credit card charge they had run overnight. Over the course of the show, they hit me for 4 charges that added up to $8k and were all refunded because they were all in the category of "I'll win a dispute with my credit card company if you don't refund this now." Each easily took me away from my booth for an hour that would have been better spent in the pursuit of actual sales. Telling me that the utilities I bought were installed on overtime and now cost double (for running an extension cord that already cost an absurd amount) even though I signed all my paperwork months ago may be "the Chicago way," but isn't dealing in a manner that encourages repeat attendance. 

6. My current view is that sailors come, see the sailing, and see the powerboats. For sake of argument, if they come see sailing for half the day and browse the powerboats for half the day, that has taken what used to be half a day of time that I had the opportunity to talk sailing with my friends and customers. The feel of "let's talk sailing" is gone. 

7. The show's pursuit of "record attendance" hurts the vendors. I saw a sign that said "$5 after 5" on Facebook and promised $5 in your hand if you show a parking receipt. I have seen show management hand out tickets to anyone in the building so they can drive the head count. The dad who came in from Colorado to see his daughter play volleyball in the west building isn't going to buy anything of value from me. He is going to talk to me and take my focus away from a customer who might have purchased a boat. In my experience, the days that were 20 below outside and had only sailing were the best selling days because everyone in the building was serious and there to buy.

8. Booth parties used to be the norm. They were the best reason to come early in the day. Now, you might get arrested for throwing a party in your booth after hours with a case of rum and all of your friends. 

It is really sad to see the decline of the show. I'm not sure that it is economically viable today to have a standalone sailing show, but the current actions of the show are really sad to watch. I'm going to be in Chicago tomorrow and I won't even walk through the doors. With all of my connection and history with the show, that is really telling. 

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I have one more big point. For years, lots of booths at Strictly Sail have been handed out without charging the booth operators. These include College teams, class associations, the sailing simulator, and others. Many of these "charitable" booths have been used for less than charitable purposes. The real vendors are paying through the nose. The salesman sitting in the booth of a one-design class selling the boat he builds needs to pay for his space just like I do. The dealer down the street from me who is sitting in the sailing association booth that is displaying a boat he sells needs to pay his fair share. I finally played the game too. I contributed a sailboat to the "giveaway" and got booth space that was worth at least what the boat cost at retail (but only cost me wholesale). The finances are broken because of stupid management decisions like this. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that in later years 50% of the booths displaying sailing stuff (not the random $5 sunglasses guys) were on the house. That means as a legit vendor, I paid double so the show could hit its bottom line. 

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52 minutes ago, ScowLover said:

In general, we don't buy at shows anymore.

I think this is true for many outdoor and recreation activities. Interbike, OR and SIA have all been combined into one show.

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Went to the show last night. Minimal space allocated to sail. Everyone seemed more interested in RV's and powerboats. The RC boat pool seems the most popular with lots of kids playing with the toys. Even the equipment vendors didn't seem very enthusiastic about being there. I talked to a few and they said sales for sailing gear was very slow, even for this show. One told me he probably wouldn't be back next year. On top of that, there were the swarms of what I call the typical trade show suckers who sell cheap sunglasses, party dip mixes, cell phones and the like. There was even a roof gutter cover business.

Truly a waste of time if you are trying to find out what is new in the industry.

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The value of "trade shows" for high end products is questionable, especially considering the costs and logistics.  Most of the big Auto Shows are struggling too, as many high end manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW and Porsche are pulling out of them.  It seems like most of folks attending these events there to kill some time on weekend, collect a bunch or free crap and have absolutely no intention of spending any money.

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1.No sailor in Chicago gets excited about heading to McCormick Place.  
2. Owner and crew went to the show last year JUST to get a deal on foul weather gear.  Don't need anything this year and the pickings are slim...no reason to go.
3. The internet is the shopping place of today.
4. We had a fleet rep including myself every year at Navy Pier.  Now, the cost and the boat isn't even present makes for bad PR for selling a fleet and it's benefits.
5. Socializing now is post show and they occur up LSD at Belmont or Montrose.  Not many places that are convenient down around McCormick Place.  
6. It bothers me that collegiate teams, clubs, and charitable organizations have to PAY as much as any dealer. This equates to no giveaways and no younger sailors to talk to and get them into your fleet.
7. My college sailing team used to have a booth.  I bought a Tshirt and sweatshirt and half went to their program.  Seems like a foul ball not having these opportunities anymore.
8. Lastly, I can shake hands and have a beer with my fellow sailors at the YC.  

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I've seen the raft ups during the summer it is quite amazing. TnA everywhere.................Chicago in the summer.......AH YES

 

17 hours ago, CFS Klopas said:

That's how we save sailing: lounge chairs that collapse into the foredeck.

Power boating is alive and well among the young, though you see a couple masts: 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Rum Runner said:

Went to the show last night. Minimal space allocated to sail. Everyone seemed more interested in RV's and powerboats. The RC boat pool seems the most popular with lots of kids playing with the toys. Even the equipment vendors didn't seem very enthusiastic about being there. I talked to a few and they said sales for sailing gear was very slow, even for this show. One told me he probably wouldn't be back next year. On top of that, there were the swarms of what I call the typical trade show suckers who sell cheap sunglasses, party dip mixes, cell phones and the like. There was even a roof gutter cover business.

Truly a waste of time if you are trying to find out what is new in the industry.

Sailing is something you have to try as a kid or as you get older, there are cheaper, easier and better things to waste your money on.
I get more excited about driving 2 hours to El Mirage to go land sailing. Fast is Fun

2 hours ago, proOC said:

1.No sailor in Chicago gets excited about heading to McCormick Place.  
2. Owner and crew went to the show last year JUST to get a deal on foul weather gear.  Don't need anything this year and the pickings are slim...no reason to go.
3. The internet is the shopping place of today.
4. We had a fleet rep including myself every year at Navy Pier.  Now, the cost and the boat isn't even present makes for bad PR for selling a fleet and it's benefits.
5. Socializing now is post show and they occur up LSD at Belmont or Montrose.  Not many places that are convenient down around McCormick Place.  
6. It bothers me that collegiate teams, clubs, and charitable organizations have to PAY as much as any dealer. This equates to no giveaways and no younger sailors to talk to and get them into your fleet.
7. My college sailing team used to have a booth.  I bought a Tshirt and sweatshirt and half went to their program.  Seems like a foul ball not having these opportunities anymore.
8. Lastly, I can shake hands and have a beer with my fellow sailors at the YC.  

#6 bothers me too. To think the Judd Goldman foundation would have to pay to expose others to the possibilities for a disabled person is criminal.

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14 minutes ago, CFS Klopas said:

Yet @ScowLover is pissed the non-profits don't have to pay to set up a booth.

I think there's a balance. I'm fine with strict non-profits, but I'm bothered by a manufacturer clearly using a "class booth" to get around paying for entry as the sales organization they are. I'm bothered by the show giving space for things that don't match booth rates. I want to see the college sailors there (they often used the college sailors to do work around the show in exchange for the free booth). I want to see the truly charitable organization there. I don't mind subsidizing it. I do mind that people have opportunity to game the system and not pay what they should.....for lots of years in a row. 

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37 minutes ago, ScowLover said:

I think there's a balance. I'm fine with strict non-profits, but I'm bothered by a manufacturer clearly using a "class booth" to get around paying for entry as the sales organization they are. I'm bothered by the show giving space for things that don't match booth rates. I want to see the college sailors there (they often used the college sailors to do work around the show in exchange for the free booth). I want to see the truly charitable organization there. I don't mind subsidizing it. I do mind that people have opportunity to game the system and not pay what they should.....for lots of years in a row. 

The classes i am involved with do not have to pay.  Not sure where you got your intel.

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Just now, Looper said:

The classes i am involved with do not have to pay.  Not sure where you got your intel.

I watched multiple manufacturers set up in the "class booth" through the years. No volunteers from the "class" were there. When I'm paying for my booth space, that makes me less likely to enthusiastically support the show. I'm mostly out of the industry now, and have been for a while. I hope that particular issue is fixed, but NMMA used to turn a blind eye to manufacturers getting free or discounted space under the guise of "class association." I wholeheartedly approve of a one-design class getting space. I don't approve of the sole manufacturer of said boat getting free space and operating the booth like a manufacturer, booking sales of said boat. Yes, there is a fine line, but those who clearly crossed the line for multiple years were always allowed to continue the next year. If my business was selling foiling moths, it wouldn't be fair for me to book space as the moth class association and not pay for my space. Yes, one design dealers promote their classes, but volunteer promotion of a class is very different than manufacturer sales. If you are selling boats, you should pay for your space. 

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I didn't see a lot of that, and I covered every SS from about '05 to the end.  Almost everyone in the class or college booths was trying to sign people up for donations or the class, or selling class or college merch.  In fact I can't think of one MFR moonlighting in a nonprofit booth to sell commercial goods.  

second thought, maybe a little j/boats crossover in the J/105 or J/35 booth with Richie S? Not like J didn't have a massive, presumably pricey, booth itself.

 

 

 

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On 1/10/2020 at 3:41 PM, Looper said:

The classes i am involved with do not have to pay.  Not sure where you got your intel.

We always HAD class members or owners at a table around the boat we raced.  First problem, the boat does not get hauled into the show anymore like everyboat it seems so there is really nothing to showcase.  There are reasons dealerships that sell recreation allow you to demo the merch or at least walk through it.  Wets your floorboards and appetite.

Again, we will go to far lengths to get sailing on people's "to do" list any maybe sold for a lifetime of it but the show makes it a bit more difficult or I should say maybe not the best purveyor of information.

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We used to exhibit at Navy Pier and it was a good sailing show. When the show moved and consolidated to McCormick I was optimistic however the first year there logistically and financially just walking into the front door had doubled from the previous year. Not to mention the show hours are long an wear you down. By time you get to the hotel after the show, it's almost 9 at night as there isn't' a place decent to eat and almost every stays at the Fairmont. Also the show is weather dependent, if It's freezing cold and snowing it's a ghost town there.  

The drive for quantity over quality is killing shows in general though. All show organizers want is bodies through the front door to pad their numbers, they don't care if it's a 3 years old or not. 

Not to mention the show organizers keep pushing the sailing area further and and further away and I'll attribute that to the RV's as the the 2nd year there they had moved. 

I will say the worst part about the show is that it's in Chicago and that unions are killing it. We would transport our own vehicle in and the only thing we didn't provide was power and the carpet (though I should have gone to Home Depot and bought a 10X30 rug as it was cheaper than renting it and leave it there after). One year we got into a fight as they wanted to charge us for unloading/loading our own vehicle. Never again. 

We gave that show up 2 years ago and haven't looked back. To be honest I completely forgot about it and only got reminded last week because of this thread. 

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On 1/10/2020 at 3:58 AM, Jules said:

This is an instant gratification world now.  No time to wait for the wind to kick up.  No time to put up and take down sails.  Just push a button and steer.

So True.  This is occurring in many skill level sports.  Sailing, many skill level shooting sports, water skiing, golf are all suffering because they are hard to master.  Today’s young people are impatient for success.

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Great point on the show hours. When I did the Chicago Boat Show the first time, Friday that was 8am to 10pm, followed by an 8am open the next day. I didn't see a soul that wasn't an exhibitor until well after noon. By 8pm, the place had cleared out. My industry trade shows generally run 10am to 6pm. 8 hours on a show floor is plenty. I don't believe that a long day drives any more attendance. How on earth are the exhibitors supposed to be rested and ready for the big day of the show on Saturday if they couldn't walk out until 10pm, then had to eat and get back in the booth for an 8am opening bell? 

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1 hour ago, ScowLover said:

Great point on the show hours. When I did the Chicago Boat Show the first time, Friday that was 8am to 10pm, followed by an 8am open the next day. I didn't see a soul that wasn't an exhibitor until well after noon. By 8pm, the place had cleared out. My industry trade shows generally run 10am to 6pm. 8 hours on a show floor is plenty. I don't believe that a long day drives any more attendance. How on earth are the exhibitors supposed to be rested and ready for the big day of the show on Saturday if they couldn't walk out until 10pm, then had to eat and get back in the booth for an 8am opening bell? 

Not to mention that if you wanted to eat dinner at the show, there is nothing in McCormick and the show is charging an arm and leg for a hot dog.  The last year we did it the booth across from us the guy was so pissed off about the show he packed up Mid day on Saturday and left. He sold nautical trinkets that would be suitable for the Newport or Annapolis show but not applicable to the Chicago show. 

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So, where besides Chicago could this show go?  (Hopefully not in Illinois to get rid of the Unions.)

NMMA doesn't listen to sail as far as shortening hours, fewer days, etc.  At least got rid of having it through King Holiday, that was a total throw away day.

Would NMMA move up the two week Milwaukee show and put Chicago back to later January? 

Agree, McCormick Place is WRONG for sailing.  Too gigantic, few services, co$t through the roof ... Unless vendors have a Chicago base it is simply frighteningly expensive.  If they do, the commute is now killer, wasn't so awful 20 years ago.

Once the show got moved to early January college sailors were to be gone forever--they're all on winter break.  When it was end of January was right before MCSA Annual Meeting and between their working the gate and other things for NMMA and having their booths to sell burgees, t-shirts, etc., it was great for them and a reliable funding source for their stringing along programs. 

What will old farts do to draw junior and high school sailors to stuff like this? The Junior sailing program directors do not put together group outings to the show.  The young people simply don't know anything about buying a boat, owning a boat, trailering a boat, rigging a boat, fixing a boat ...  This is a huge change in the last 30 years.  Even college kids are hardly towing boats anymore ... 

Too much has become focused on offshore racing.  Sailing was strong when we had really strong small-boat one-design fleets at every club, every beach, every harbor, and regattas all over the place.  Recruiting straight fro high school and college to offshore isn't going to fix anything. 

Too much is focused on Olympic sailing.  We don't have fleets of Olympic Class boats around the US anymore.  The ego of US to chase after Olympic medals with just 2-4 teams per Class chasing it is nothing like the 1950s-60s-70s when we had fleets of Olympic Class boats all over the country, up and coming sailors could see-touch-feel-try them.  Sailors can't even get real time news on what is happening in sailing at Olympic Games. 

Family approach is what keeps all this going. 

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10 hours ago, nautisailor said:

So, where besides Chicago could this show go?  (Hopefully not in Illinois to get rid of the Unions.)

NMMA doesn't listen to sail as far as shortening hours, fewer days, etc.  At least got rid of having it through King Holiday, that was a total throw away day.

Would NMMA move up the two week Milwaukee show and put Chicago back to later January? 

Agree, McCormick Place is WRONG for sailing.  Too gigantic, few services, co$t through the roof ... Unless vendors have a Chicago base it is simply frighteningly expensive.  If they do, the commute is now killer, wasn't so awful 20 years ago.

Once the show got moved to early January college sailors were to be gone forever--they're all on winter break.  When it was end of January was right before MCSA Annual Meeting and between their working the gate and other things for NMMA and having their booths to sell burgees, t-shirts, etc., it was great for them and a reliable funding source for their stringing along programs

What will old farts do to draw junior and high school sailors to stuff like this? The Junior sailing program directors do not put together group outings to the show.  The young people simply don't know anything about buying a boat, owning a boat, trailering a boat, rigging a boat, fixing a boat ...  This is a huge change in the last 30 years.  Even college kids are hardly towing boats anymore ... 

Too much has become focused on offshore racing.  Sailing was strong when we had really strong small-boat one-design fleets at every club, every beach, every harbor, and regattas all over the place.  Recruiting straight fro high school and college to offshore isn't going to fix anything. 

Too much is focused on Olympic sailing.  We don't have fleets of Olympic Class boats around the US anymore.  The ego of US to chase after Olympic medals with just 2-4 teams per Class chasing it is nothing like the 1950s-60s-70s when we had fleets of Olympic Class boats all over the country, up and coming sailors could see-touch-feel-try them.  Sailors can't even get real time news on what is happening in sailing at Olympic Games. 

Family approach is what keeps all this going. 

Honestly, I think the success of this show happens in the fall with an outdoor show, something like Annapolis. I don't think it has to be in water, simply in a big parking lot. Have one large tent for table top booths and have outside flat areas for rigged boats on trailers. Augment this with a row of food trucks and a big party that begins at 6pm on Saturday, and you have a winner. The chances of great weather on an October weekend are high. If it is bad weather, make the party good enough that you come anyway. $5 rum drinks and $3 beer....a band, and no booths that aren't really about sailing. If this parking lot was adjacent to a bunch of hotels with a ~$100 rate, you have a winner. 3 day show....Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Doors open at 3pm Friday so you can set up your booth that morning. Show closes at 2pm Sunday. 

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49 minutes ago, ScowLover said:

Honestly, I think the success of this show happens in the fall with an outdoor show, something like Annapolis. I don't think it has to be in water, simply in a big parking lot. Have one large tent for table top booths and have outside flat areas for rigged boats on trailers. Augment this with a row of food trucks and a big party that begins at 6pm on Saturday, and you have a winner. The chances of great weather on an October weekend are high. If it is bad weather, make the party good enough that you come anyway. $5 rum drinks and $3 beer....a band, and no booths that aren't really about sailing. If this parking lot was adjacent to a bunch of hotels with a ~$100 rate, you have a winner. 3 day show....Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Doors open at 3pm Friday so you can set up your booth that morning. Show closes at 2pm Sunday. 

Why not try and leverage Yachtapalooza at Crowley's in the spring? Everything you talk about is already in place there, except boat dealers. See if you and some of your cohorts can work out an arranegement to display there, and if it works, expand it next year to 2 days, more displays.

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14 hours ago, nautisailor said:

So, where besides Chicago could this show go?  (Hopefully not in Illinois to get rid of the Unions.)

NMMA doesn't listen to sail as far as shortening hours, fewer days, etc.  At least got rid of having it through King Holiday, that was a total throw away day.

Would NMMA move up the two week Milwaukee show and put Chicago back to later January? 

Agree, McCormick Place is WRONG for sailing.  Too gigantic, few services, co$t through the roof ... Unless vendors have a Chicago base it is simply frighteningly expensive.  If they do, the commute is now killer, wasn't so awful 20 years ago.

Once the show got moved to early January college sailors were to be gone forever--they're all on winter break.  When it was end of January was right before MCSA Annual Meeting and between their working the gate and other things for NMMA and having their booths to sell burgees, t-shirts, etc., it was great for them and a reliable funding source for their stringing along programs. 

What will old farts do to draw junior and high school sailors to stuff like this? The Junior sailing program directors do not put together group outings to the show.  The young people simply don't know anything about buying a boat, owning a boat, trailering a boat, rigging a boat, fixing a boat ...  This is a huge change in the last 30 years.  Even college kids are hardly towing boats anymore ... 

Too much has become focused on offshore racing.  Sailing was strong when we had really strong small-boat one-design fleets at every club, every beach, every harbor, and regattas all over the place.  Recruiting straight fro high school and college to offshore isn't going to fix anything. 

Too much is focused on Olympic sailing.  We don't have fleets of Olympic Class boats around the US anymore.  The ego of US to chase after Olympic medals with just 2-4 teams per Class chasing it is nothing like the 1950s-60s-70s when we had fleets of Olympic Class boats all over the country, up and coming sailors could see-touch-feel-try them.  Sailors can't even get real time news on what is happening in sailing at Olympic Games. 

Family approach is what keeps all this going. 

NMMA is focused on selling products. The concept of increasing the number of sailors is secondary to them. Obviously the fewer sailors, the less is spent on the sport but they are a trade organization which tries to maximize profits for members.

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Little background history, Strictly Sail all began just West of Milwaukee, not run by any association and for a long time.  It was then sold to NMMA and they moved it to Navy Pier.

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There are many things wrong with the new set up but long hours might be the biggest. For example of something that works. My wife has a wedding show on Sunday from noon to 4pm. She is exhibiting so plans to be there from 11:00 until 5pm tops. She went to a show last weekend that was similar and we are hosting a Wedding Expo in our Boat Barn from 1pm until 4pm. We are shortening by an hour this year from last.

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1 hour ago, Glenn McCarthy said:

Little background history, Strictly Sail all began just West of Milwaukee, not run by any association and for a long time.  It was then sold to NMMA and they moved it to Navy Pier.

Yep, I happen to now work for one of the guys who started it all. He did it on the side while running his company building industrial machinery. He really enjoyed it and they did quite well running it through the years then selling it. 

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Blow it up and restart it.  Make it easier/cheaper for the vendors to come in and find a way to get something new and fun in there.  The same booths are there every year with the same displays selling the same stuff.  People stop coming because there is nothing new to see, vendors stop bringing in new stuff because there aren't enough customers to justify it.

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the boomers liked sailing when they were young, now they're old and cant sail anymore. Nobody else has any money for a new boat.

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On 1/9/2020 at 8:35 PM, CFS Klopas said:

That's how we save sailing: lounge chairs that collapse into the foredeck.

Power boating is alive and well among the young, though you see a couple masts: 

 

One of these days, when I have more money than sense,  I'm going to go rent a barge, a crane with a big magnet and a crew and go fishing for anchors in the Playpen.  Soooo many anchors get tangled and lost to a bottom that seems to be made up of nothing but other anchors and rode that are tangled with other cast off anchors and rode. The going back to the dock is usually pretty good for a few laughs.

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600,000+ powerboats sold in the U.S. each year.  Just north of 30,000 sailboats each year.  Too expensive?

No.

I'm tired of seeing "bar made up excuses."  We need to see real studies.  One such study asked the average person on the street, "When you hear the word 'Sailing" what do you think?"

Two answers were given: 1. We think it is expensive; and 2. We think it is exclusive.

The public has answered, we have an image problem which is our largest problem. We tell people it is expensive.  We tell people "BOAT? Break Out Another Thousand."  We tell people, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."  We tell people, "Sailing is like being in your clothes, standing in a cold shower tearing up 100 dollar bills."  These started out as jokes, but then repeated so often it is now our image.  We found the problem, and it is us!

The second part is the public thinks one must join a yacht club to go sailing (the exclusive part).  All untrue, but we have them believing it is true.

Can I go to Florida this month or some other trip, how about skiing up in Wisconsin this weekend, or Michigan. How about all sorts of concerts, shows, weddings, etc.  I just described things that are 100's or thousands of dollars.  How about 1 Bears game set of tickets. The public knows they can do all of these things.  And they do them.

But sailing NEVER is even considered.  It is not on their radar, they have already blocked this option in their heads. 

Where do I have the proof of this? I created a blog on sailing, not meant for you.  It is meant for the uninitiated, those who haven't sailed before.  It is to show all of the variety of paths into sailing all around Lake Michigan.  100+ adult sailing schools, 100+ youth sailing schools, all of the sailboat charter/rental companies, high school sailing, collegiate sailing, Sea Scouts, RC sailing, Ice Sailing, etc.  As far as I know, it is the ONLY resource to list all of these venues.  Which means Google would be ranking it high, and it should get a lot of traffic for all of those neophytes to find.  Traffic numbers are terribly low.  The public is not searching for sailing as something to do or try.

But they'll go buy a powerboat, those are affordable.

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On 1/16/2020 at 5:57 PM, Glenn McCarthy said:

600,000+ powerboats sold in the U.S. each year.  Just north of 30,000 sailboats each year.  Too expensive?

No.

I'm tired of seeing "bar made up excuses."  We need to see real studies.  One such study asked the average person on the street, "When you hear the word 'Sailing" what do you think?"

Two answers were given: 1. We think it is expensive; and 2. We think it is exclusive.

The public has answered, we have an image problem which is our largest problem. We tell people it is expensive.  We tell people "BOAT? Break Out Another Thousand."  We tell people, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."  We tell people, "Sailing is like being in your clothes, standing in a cold shower tearing up 100 dollar bills."  These started out as jokes, but then repeated so often it is now our image.  We found the problem, and it is us!

The second part is the public thinks one must join a yacht club to go sailing (the exclusive part).  All untrue, but we have them believing it is true.

Can I go to Florida this month or some other trip, how about skiing up in Wisconsin this weekend, or Michigan. How about all sorts of concerts, shows, weddings, etc.  I just described things that are 100's or thousands of dollars.  How about 1 Bears game set of tickets. The public knows they can do all of these things.  And they do them.

But sailing NEVER is even considered.  It is not on their radar, they have already blocked this option in their heads. 

Where do I have the proof of this? I created a blog on sailing, not meant for you.  It is meant for the uninitiated, those who haven't sailed before.  It is to show all of the variety of paths into sailing all around Lake Michigan.  100+ adult sailing schools, 100+ youth sailing schools, all of the sailboat charter/rental companies, high school sailing, collegiate sailing, Sea Scouts, RC sailing, Ice Sailing, etc.  As far as I know, it is the ONLY resource to list all of these venues.  Which means Google would be ranking it high, and it should get a lot of traffic for all of those neophytes to find.  Traffic numbers are terribly low.  The public is not searching for sailing as something to do or try.

But they'll go buy a powerboat, those are affordable.

Gene, with all due respect I think you've got it wrong.  Whenever I tell someone that sailing is my passion, they never mention cost; they never mention yacht clubs.  They all immediately say "Wow, that must be hard."  The public views sailing as something that's difficult to do.  I explain that if I took them for a daysail the most difficult thing they will do is pry that little tab on the beer can.  They laugh but still perceive sailing as a lot of work.  True, sailing, even in it's basic form, requires something more than turning the key and pointing in the right direction, but it's clearly not the obstacle the public perceives.  Until we overcome that perception, there will always be 20 powerboats sold for every sailboat.

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On ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2020 at 4:57 PM, Glenn McCarthy said:

600,000+ powerboats sold in the U.S. each year.  Just north of 30,000 sailboats each year.  Too expensive?

No.

I'm tired of seeing "bar made up excuses."  We need to see real studies.  One such study asked the average person on the street, "When you hear the word 'Sailing" what do you think?"

Two answers were given: 1. We think it is expensive; and 2. We think it is exclusive.

The public has answered, we have an image problem which is our largest problem. We tell people it is expensive.  We tell people "BOAT? Break Out Another Thousand."  We tell people, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."  We tell people, "Sailing is like being in your clothes, standing in a cold shower tearing up 100 dollar bills."  These started out as jokes, but then repeated so often it is now our image.  We found the problem, and it is us! 

The second part is the public thinks one must join a yacht club to go sailing (the exclusive part).  All untrue, but we have them believing it is true.

Can I go to Florida this month or some other trip, how about skiing up in Wisconsin this weekend, or Michigan. How about all sorts of concerts, shows, weddings, etc.  I just described things that are 100's or thousands of dollars.  How about 1 Bears game set of tickets. The public knows they can do all of these things.  And they do them.

But sailing NEVER is even considered.  It is not on their radar, they have already blocked this option in their heads. 

Where do I have the proof of this? I created a blog on sailing, not meant for you.  It is meant for the uninitiated, those who haven't sailed before.  It is to show all of the variety of paths into sailing all around Lake Michigan.  100+ adult sailing schools, 100+ youth sailing schools, all of the sailboat charter/rental companies, high school sailing, collegiate sailing, Sea Scouts, RC sailing, Ice Sailing, etc.  As far as I know, it is the ONLY resource to list all of these venues.  Which means Google would be ranking it high, and it should get a lot of traffic for all of those neophytes to find.  Traffic numbers are terribly low.  The public is not searching for sailing as something to do or try.

But they'll go buy a powerboat, those are affordable. 

Sailing is dead Glenn, the glory days of the 80s and 90s are gone forever, so I recommend getting over it. While grown adults still prance around at yacht clubs in dress whites giving the elusion they are in The Service it will never been anything other than a punch line from Caddy Shake.

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On 1/16/2020 at 5:57 PM, Glenn McCarthy said:

Traffic numbers are terribly low.  The public is not searching for sailing as something to do or try.

 

A does not necessarily mean B

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