The creation of a ‘steering group’ tasked to encourage participation in competitive and recreational sailing has been raised during the 11th International Sailing Summit (ISS) at Sail Melbourne on Monday. High profile personalities in the sailing industry attended the event, which aims to strengthen relationship among stakeholders and further improve the sport of sailing.
Encouraging participation in competitive and recreational sailing as the emphasis of initiatives going forward, and the formation of an industry ‘steering group’ to guide these initiatives were two of the standouts taken from Monday’s 11th International Sailing Summit (ISS) held at Sail Melbourne on the first day of racing.
Having a clear vision and plan for future programs and ensuring they are not only implemented effectively, but closely monitored and measured over time and engaging young sailors and their families were other key outtakes from the Summit’s industry speakers and guests.
The steering group, to be led by representatives from the ISS, the Boating Industry Association of Australia (BIAA) and Yachting Australia, along with participation from both larger and small yacht clubs will work to link together the industry’s current participation initiatives, including the BIAA’s My Boating Life and Yachting Australia’s Discover Sailing programs.
A focus of the group will be to look at ways to ensure all efforts are streamlined, encouraging both recreational and sport sailing, and findings and ideas will be presented at the Marine 13 conference in Sydney next April.
The Summit attracted some of the best minds in the business to discuss the core areas of driving mass participation, creating a sustainable marine industry and the impact of new media and technologies to support industry growth and development.
Founder of the ISS, Alistair Murray said, 'This year’s Summit was a very effective ‘call to action’ to encourage stakeholders to focus on the future of sailing in Australia. With industry, clubs and association support, the Summit discussed how success can come from initiative and hard work.'
International keynote speaker Jonathan Banks, former executive director of Sail America shared his Discover Sailing Program success story with guests and talked frankly about how a lack of sailing promotion in the US was dire to growth and led to the association directing efforts on new participation in sailing.
Banks discussed how Sail America successfully identified the diverse range of age groups involved in sailing and the need to implement staged programs, from initially starting out in sailing to reintroduction to the sport at a later stage in life.
At a national level, Sport Development Director at Yachting Australia, Ross Kilborn led a panel session with sailing legend John Bertrand and High Performance Director for Yachting Australia, Peter Conde which covered the key catalysts for change and how the industry can leverage Australia’s greatest ever Olympic success.
Tim Reid from Small Business Big Marketing presented the 7 Marketing Wake Up Calls program, which provided example tools for getting the most out of a small business marketing program from an often resource-constrained industry.
A mobile e-commerce and social media session ended the afternoon on an inspiring note, featuring presentations and a panel discussion with professional sailor Chris Nicholson and Zac Jacobs from Tigerspike. The session covered how to communicate with new and existing sailing participants and developing relationships in the current digital age using mobile as the primary device, focusing on mobile-friendly websites and in some cases, dedicated mobile applications.
Chairman of the ISS, Mark Bergin said, 'The 11th International Sailing Summit was made possible through the support channels for industry development from the Victorian Government, in particular the Department of Business and Innovation.
'The business brokering and open dialogue provided at the Summit allowed us as an industry to clearly see where opportunities still lie to evolve our plan for growth in sailing.'
The ISS recognises its role in bringing together the best in the business to drive change. Since its inception at the ’99 World Championships in Victoria, the ISS has become ‘the’ networking event for the sailing industry, cementing itself internationally with a total of 10 Summits taking place around the world, attracting many of sailing’s industry and sporting legends.