Editorial / Sailing News

The State of Sailing


State of the Sport:

When we talk to people about our business, we are often asked about the health of the sport of sailing.
They usually assume that we will offer stories of doom and gloom and look a bit surprised when we tell them a different story. We see a sport making a slow and steady comeback from the depths of its loss of participation. We are seeing great interest in the products we sell, both used and in particular new. We can attest to the great value that a brand new boat provides. Our outstanding growth in new boat sales for the 2015 season definitely shows that people agree.

What the data says:


Laser heading off with a happy customer

The most recent data compiled by the National Marine Manufacturers Association in Chicago, supports our findings. They reported that new sailboat sales in 2014 were up nearly 34%. The increase was driven by the sale of boats under 20 feet in length. We are confident that the 2015 results will see more growth to sailboat sales.

What drives new sailboat sales?

It’s the economy:
We are seeing a greater confidence in the economy along with greater disposable income for individuals in higher income brackets. Coupling this buying power with all the options offered in the high-quality new sailboats designed today, and you get sales.

Yes, it is memories of youthful days on the water combined with a sense of nostalgia. That also is driving sales. We wish we could bottle it and sell it! The basic story that we hear people share is this: “I used to sail a lot when I was younger. Then I moved away from the sport and got busy with life. When I reflect on some of my best memories from my youth, I think of great adventures and fun I had sailing. I now want to recapture that for myself, for my children, for my grandchildren.” Not surprising, this is also the story we tell when asked why we went into the sailboat business.

Sailing, authentic, unstructured, fun:
We may be on the cusp of a directional shift in parenting. Youth sports participation has in many ways been the undoing of sailing. Long gone are the days of summer where a kid had to rely on their ingenuity to fill their day. Micromanagement and over-scheduling have left families feeling stressed, and little time is left after delivering everyone to their respective practices.  (Nick Hayes did a fantastic job describing the problems sailing faces in his book Saving Sailing.) We are seeing a rebound from this extreme. Our customers seem to have “seen the light” and know that kids need time to be kids. Sailing offers authentic unstructured fun and provides a lifetime of memories.



New Sunfish on their way to summer camp. Lucky campers!

When we started our business in the Spring of 2013, we weren’t completely certain that people were going to buy what we were selling. Boy were we wrong! Our reach has been surprising, from Nebraska to Canada to Florida, from individuals to camps, from music icons to world record holders to regular everyday people like us. This has left us more optimistic and more excited about sailing than any other time in our lives. With big plans and big announcements for 2016 and beyond we cannot wait for what the future will bring.