The Maritime Heroes Award presentation at the symposium.
US SAILING’s Annual National Sailing Programs Symposium, Clearwater, FL, Jan. 23-26 By Jabbo Gordon
level. The national governing body nce again, US SAILING’s for the sport of sailing has already annual National Sailing established the inaugural sailing Programs Symposium set an leadership forum for San Diego, attendance record as it hit the 270 CA, on Feb. 5-8, 2014. mark in Clearwater, FL, in January. The plan is to bring leaders from When registrations passed the all areas for an inclusive learning previous record of 260 and walk-ins and networking experience. Officials continued to appear at the will be combining the NSPS with the Clearwater Beach site, officials were yacht club summit and one-design afraid they would have to put a cap symposium. Gilfillen estimates there of 275 on the event, which marked its will be 750 in attendance. 30th anniversary. The Marriott Suites “There have been crossovers Hotel was already sold out; there before, but we haven’t done it as were only so many meeting rooms available and symposium personnel From left to right are: Brian Johnson, regional vice much as we could,” he said. “I were scrambling to provide proper president, International Beverage USA (Old Pulteney); know it will work to bring all these Lyne Backe holding the Old Pulteney Single Malt people together.” packages for the newcomers. Back to this year’s record-breakWhat is causing this growing Scotch Maritime Heroes Award, which she accepted trend? We asked Stu Gilfillen, the on behalf of Don Backe (who wasn’t able to attend); ing symposium; the opening session was called a sailing industry town event’s coordinator, and he came up and Tom Hubbell, US SAILING president. hall. On the panel were: Cori Serti, with a variety of reasons. 1988 Olympian and two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the With the growth of sailing in America, there is a growYear; Jack Gierhart, executive director of US SAILING; Lt. ing need for resources, services, education and connections. (jg) Jen Peterson of the U.S. Coast Guard; Nick Hayes of Although he knows that you can’t please everyone all of the Saving Sailing; and Wayne Moss of the national Boys and time, Gilfillen and his group tweaked the format somewhat Girls Club organization. to give everyone a healthy serving of appetizers, main Gierhart told the audience that other sports and activientrees and desserts. ties are challenging sailing for time and money. Moss “And there was more opportunity for audience particishared his approach of selling fun to attract young people. pation this year,” Gilfillen explained. “Instead of hitting Hayes recommended that instructors be more inventive people with three days of lectures, we set up more panel when they teach. discussion sessions so that all attendees could share their “Be more creative,” he said. “Use less uniformity.” experience and knowledge.” Serti suggested promoting the sport through high Furthermore, newly created regional symposiums, which school sailing. were held throughout the nation (including the Southeastern “Also, get the parents—past and present—more one at Clearwater) last fall, helped stir up interest. involved in your program,” she counseled. It was a recipe that proved popular. The final keynote address was by John Craig, principal However, US SAILING is not content to rest on its laurace officer for the upcoming America’s Cup. He reviewed rels and plans on taking these types of meetings to a new