Monday, November 17, 2014, saw the 13th International Sailing Summit (ISS) host an amazing line-up of speakers. They shared their ideas and best practice from around the world, demonstrating how the sailing industry can change to increase and retain participation, through innovation, technology, as well as cultural changes.
This year’s hosts, British Marine Federation’s (BMF) group association British Sailing, said feedback from the delegates was overwhelmingly positive to the messages and detailed insights provided addressing the conference theme which was ‘Waking up the sailing industry – how sailing needs to modernise, diversify and develop to attract and retain participant’.
Olympic Gold Medallist and America’s Cup sailor Iain Percy OBE officially opened the Summit with a unifying speech focusing on the need to reinvigorate sailing clubs, facilities for more localised sailing and exciting innovations in sailing boats, including foiling. Subsequent speakers went on to identify gaps in the industry, offering remedies to drive positive change and promote sailing on a global scale.
The presentation from Terry Greenwood of British Cycling, an organisation which has seen its membership grow by 567% since 2005, gave the sailing industry a rare insight into another sport’s success in driving massive growth. He outlined how a clear plan for consolidation and simplification gave the sport a goal for growth.
In her presentation, Molly Winans, of Spinsheet Magazine, provided practical tips for how companies could help increase participation by avoiding typical stereotypes and thinking about how to increase participation and diversification through marketing messages.
Paul Strzelecki of Henri Lloyd said “I thought the ISS was extremely informative, thought-provoking and a fantastic platform to change the way we promote sailing after hearing how other successful sports have achieved success in increasing participation.”
Her Highness Sayyida Ghada Al Said of Oman Sail, after sharing the cultural changes required to build a strong female sailing team in Oman, commented: “It was fantastic to see so many countries coming together with the passion and desire to raise awareness of sailing. I came away with ideas to help us further to promote sailing in Oman and it was great to hear about innovative projects in the industry”.
Speaking at the event Alice Driscoll, Chair of British Sailing commented: “Today’s conference has been incredibly inspiring. Having such a wealth of speakers sharing their experiences and aspirations, has educated, motivated and inspired the delegates. The format has enabled real networking opportunities with businesses benefiting from being at this conference. From learning how other sports such as British Cycling have grown participation, through to how Oman has chosen sailing as a sport to empower women, and how the sailing and boating industry needs to consider carefully the words and images used for key messages, the day has been packed with useful and thought-provoking sessions. ”
Taking place in Amsterdam RAI, the day before the start of the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS), the worldwide industry forum brought together the best in the industry from every corner of the globe. During the event, a cheque for £2,500 was presented to the Andrew Simpsons Sailing Foundation, the ISS 2014 chosen charity and an organisation inspiring the next generation to the wonders of sailing. This donation was made of 50 per cent of the event’s profit. However, by the end of the day companies at the event had joined together to double this original donation to a total of £5,000.