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Sail America wraps up another successful industry conference in Newport, RI

by Sail America 2 May 2023 17:01 PDT
Sail America © Sail America

The annual Sail America Industry Conference (SAIC) landed in Newport, RI, in mid-April, bringing the industry together for an engaging two days of camaraderie and learning. Attendees hailed from all over the country and enjoyed all that Newport has to offer.

After a day of nice weather and variable wind conditions on Wednesday afternoon, the highly contested industry regatta was held at Sail Newport, followed by an awards ceremony and opening reception for all attendees. Thursday opened with a lively presentation from our Keynote Speaker Ken Read from North Sails. Read's keynote, "Building and Leading Great Teams", was followed by Neal Harrell of Brooks Marine Group who spoke on "How to Find and Land Great Employees". Meanwhile, Don Smith of Beneteau Group spoke on "Chartering a Course to Sustainable Boat Building", and Gail Lowney Alofsin of Leadership at ALL Levels spoke on "Team Building and Leadership". In the afternoon, Tim Murphy of American Boat and Yacht Council facilitated a feature session on professional certifications and training. Attendees were offered a free tour of the Sailing Museum, which features two iconic Halls of Fame under one roof—the National Sailing Hall of Fame and the America's Cup Hall of Fame.

Following an exciting day of content, attendees moved to a reception and raffle with prizes generously donated by Sail America members and conference attendees. Our featured raffle item was a six-night, seven-day bareboat yacht charter aboard a sailing monohull up to 45' in length in the British Virgin Islands—a trip valued at up to $8,000!

The conference continued Friday with a short morning of panels and presentations before attendees went out to explore Newport and enjoy fresh seafood before boarding planes home for the weekend.

"I struggled to fit the SAIC into my schedule but was happy that I did. The combined value of the content and the networking made it worthwhile. There is a certain magic to getting away from the office and thinking about some of the bigger issues that surround our industry, my business, and even the way I do my own job. Throughout the conference, I kept coming up with specific people and companies who would have gotten a lot out of the event. Of course, the bigger the event gets, the better the networking and the more resources Sail America has to create a broad and dynamic agenda," said Scot West, managing director at Ronstan International.

The next Sail America Industry conference, with dates and location, will be announced early this summer.

This year's conference was presented by Groupe Beneteau Americas (Jeanneau, Beneteau, Lagoon, Excess) with additional sponsor support from Yanmar/Vetus, SailTime, The Moorings, Cruising World/Sailing World, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Spinlock, Helly Hansen, Hilb New England, Superior Charters, and Offshore Passage Opportunities.

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