Sunday, April 19, 2009

Strictly Sail Pacific

Boat shows are a lot like Scuttlebutt. At each show, some things will interest you more than other things. Last Friday I travelled to Oakland, CA to attend the Strictly Sail Pacific show, which had been marketed as “the west coast’s only all-sail show”. About a month before the show it became the Strictly Sail Pacific & Power Boat Expo. I wasn’t interested in looking at power boats, but then I didn’t see too many either.

What I was interested in was experiencing the show vibe, seeing old friends, meeting with Scuttlebutt clients, and testing the Scuttlebutt Twitter page. There had been a lot of concern for the show, as diminishing land space and discretionary income was not in its favor. I understand the show has been bigger in the past. However, any attendee who came away disappointed should pause to re-evaluate why they came to the show.

Everything about the show is online. Information about the exhibitors and their boats/gear/accessories is known in advance. This show had loads of seminars (again, topics known in advance), they were conveniently located, and were free. There were boat displays that were free too, which included new choices like the International Moth, Weta trimaran, and LaserPerformance options, or older classes like the Flying Dutchman and the Finn (but lacking Grateful Dead music).

I can see the expense for national brands to exhibit at boat shows. Keelboat exhibitors such as the King 40 and Santa Cruz 37 might not have attended the Oakland show if not for locally owned boats being available. It would also seem important to make each show an event that goes beyond the show boundary. With the public access to this show, perhaps host street musicians, local artists, etc. To attract the out-of-towner, leverage local items of interest. Having the right number of shows in the U.S. seems vital for the interest of the sport and its suppliers.

I had a great trip as I knew what I wanted and it was all there in one place… at the boat show.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]


At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Deep Playa said...

The SSP show was fun and useful, but the exhibits were tiny compared to the Seattle Boat Show and a lot of the "manufacturer booths" were being run by distrbutors. The booths also were much smaller with smaller staffs than what I am accustomed to at the Seattle Boat Show. I know the Seattle Boat show has a lot of annoying power and ski boat stuff but even if you removed all of that the Seattle show is still bigger. I also felt the SSP show lacked polish, there were no PA's and mics for the speakers even though trains went by blaring horns every hour. The booths were numbered but not in a way that you coudl still ser the numbers so we wandered around a bit to find things.

But those weren't major issues for me, just things to work on for next year. I do however think they were more poblematic for the older attendees and participants which out numbered me 10:1.

The weather was beautiful and Jack London Sq was a very nice neighborhood. the ferry ride to SF was also a delight.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Charles Heimler said...

This is the second time the Northern California Finn fleet had a booth at the boat show.
It was a rallying point for us, and we had special hats made for the occasion. We have vibrant Finn growth in California and wanted to promote the Finn, which is attracting older, veteran sailors off the rail of keelboats and into the exciting world of dinghy sailing.
We have 20 boat fleet of Finns at Encinal YC with a healthy club racing schedule. We're hosting the PCC's and next year the World Championship and North Americans.
And at the boat show we wanted to show our swagger and celebrate our guy Zach Railey's silver medal. People should know about how the Finn class nurtured and helped Zach to his well-earned accomplishment!! We have to guys, Andy Casey and Bryan Boyd, who are in Europe now and pushing Zach to prove it was no fluke!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home