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4 November 2007, 08:39 pm
2007 Connect to Sailing Seminar
Image of kids playing on the water
The panellists at today's seminar emphasised the importance sailing being fun

Connect To Sailing

The Connect to Sailing seminar at this year's ISAF Annual Conference brought together a panel of industry experts under the title: "The Shape of Sailing - Today and the Future"
Alistair MURRAY, the founder and chairman of the International Sailing Summit, hosted the seminar along with Tim COVENTRY, Connect to Sailing Project Manager.

This year's seminar had an industry focus, with a series of presentations from leading figures in the sailing industry. The panel featured a varied line up from all areas of the industry - from super yachts to dinghies, sailing media to market research - who gave an overview of their area of the sailing market before giving their thoughts on future trends.

Click here for more details on the panellists.

Despite coming from very different areas with the sport, all the panellists shared the same overriding goal of Connect to Sailing, to increase participation from the grassroots up. This issue is one of the cornerstones of the ISAF Strategic Plan, but as COVENTRY explained, it has to be approach in bite-sized chunks. Through Connect to Sailing, ISAF is looking to build partnerships with the sailing industry, to develop strategies to get more people out on the water and sailing. As David GRAHAM, Managing Director Performance Sailcraft Europe, said, "I knew this problem of participation was key to our business and wanted to see how we could partner with ISAF to help address it."

A common theme from the panellists was that a key to attracting new people to the sport, especially youngsters, was to really focus on one basic element - sailing for fun. At the entry level sailing should not be about results, racing and rules, but just getting out on the water and having a good time. Peter DURHAM, from BIC Sport Windsurf, expressed the idea as a need for "more focus on the sensations of sailing".

The Seminar finished with contributions from ISAF Vice-Presidents Fiona BARRON (GBR) and Teo Ping LOW (SIN), before Tim COVENTRY wrapped up the meeting.

More details from the presentations made by the panellists will be published shortly on the Connect to Sailing microsite at

Click here to view the seminar programme.

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