Chicago Boat Show

The Chicago Boat, RV and Outdoors Show ended today.

Typically, there is little or no sailing presence at the show, despite the boating and recreation focus. One would expect attendees of a large, well-publicized and heavily-sponsored boat show would have interest in learning more about sailing. Conversely, one would expect the local sailing community to better use this event as an opportunity to promote local sailing activities. Unfortunately, that seems not to be the case.

Strictly Sail Chicago follows only one week later, as an entirely separate event. Although it is a welcome gathering for midwest sailors in the middle of winter, marketing sailboats and sailing to the more highly-focused audience lacks the exposure provided by the larger, better-advertised and better-supported Chicago Boat Show. It seems less than ideal that the Chicago Boat Show is under-used for promoting sailing.

National Marine Merchants Association

Apparently, the show organizers, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), have finally arrived at the same conclusion. Shows in Virginia and Baltimore this year introduced Sailfest to test the waters of introducing more sailing at the boat shows.

NMMA and Sail America Launch New Sailfest Ventures

CHICAGO, July 24, 2007 – As a means of stimulating sales and providing additional opportunities for businesses in the sailing industry, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Sail America are launching a new “Sailfest” venture at two upcoming NMMA consumer boat shows: The Virginia In-Water Boat Expo, taking place September 14-16; and the Baltimore Boat Show, being held January 23-27, 2008.

In addition to adding the “& Sailfest” tag to the end of boat show titles, the updated show format will feature a mini Strictly Sail show including: Sailboats, gear and accessories; sailing seminars; and other special sailing-related events. The Sailfest shows will be marketed to attract sailors in both the Norfolk, Virginia and Baltimore regions and complement existing show advertising to promote the two events.

“Sailfest was created as a response to boat show attendees asking to see more sailboats at shows where powerboats were primarily featured, as well as a strong desire on the part of exhibitors seeking ways to get their products in front of a larger audience” explains Kevin Murphy, national show manager for Sail America and the Strictly Sail events. “The overall goal of adding a more sail-focused component to these two events is simply to expose Sail America members’ products to more potential buyers.”

Murphy says the Virginia and Baltimore events are test cases for the Sailfest show. If the concept proves successful, the plan is to incorporate additional sail-focused components into future NMMA-produced consumer boat shows and events.

For more information, visit,, or contact Kevin Murphy at (401) 841-0900, ext. 28;

Sail America, an independent affiliate of NMMA, is the trade association that represents the U.S. sailing industry and plays a vital role for all companies involved in providing sailing-related products and services. Sail America has more than 500 members and works hard to promote the health and growth of sailing.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers in the United States. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy, market research and data, product quality assurance and marketing communications.

20 January 2008 | Boat Shows, Sailing Promotion | Comments

Leave a Reply


Leukemia Cup Regatta -












 ...a cool website for everyone who wants to sail fast...