I had the pleasure of attending the US Sailing National Sailing Programs Symposium(NSPS) in Jacksonville this past weekend. I attended the show with RS Sailing as I am now the North American Sales Rep for the RS21 Keelboat. Sean and I attended the event with Jon Partridge, the Managing Director of RS Sailing and Todd Riccardi, the North American Sales Rep for RS Sailing. Also representing RS Sailing were Distributors Zim Sailing. West Coast Sailing and Central Coast Sailing.
Here is what NSPS from the US Sailing website - "NSPS is the only conference of its kind that brings together program directors, instructors, volunteers, parents and industry representatives to share and learn best practices with one another about running, maintaining and improving sailing programs." For more about it check out the link here.
One of the goals of why we attended the NSPS was to talk about and demo the new RS21. We brought two of the boats there for the planned demo day on the Friday of the Symposium. On Thursday the whole thing started and Jon was asked to give an introduction before the keynote speaker. This was a great opportunity to talk about the goals of RS Sailing and how important it is to be a part of this event and help in growing the sport of sailing. The talk this year was about Diversity. So what a better way to contribute than the launch of the new RS21 which will allow a much more diverse group of people the opportunity to enjoy sailing.
The buzz on Thursday very much included the RS21 as lots of people came to the RS Sailing booth to ask questions. The RS21 is the top searched boat on the RS Sailing website so these questions made sense of that. Due to the volume we decided to create a sign up sheet for the Friday demo day. We quickly filled up the schedule with 6 spots every half hour and a pretty good list of standbys. There was also lots of interest in other RS Sailing boats especially the Quest and Zest.
As Friday came around we had to launch the two RS21's so we headed to Florida YC to get things done early. A little power outage wasn't the most welcome part of the day and as we were about to start neither was the rain. Definitely worried as all of our hard work with bringing two boats and try to make the most of the short demo day was threatened. But as we were about to start people started showing up to go for a sail. That line continued all day and there were even some grumblings that were weren't moving people through fast enough. I guess waiting in the rain makes things go by slowly. The excitement for the boat was very high all day. As we wrapped up the rain dried up and we had a few more groups swing by to ask us questions and look at the RS21's.
Saturday was the final day so we were back at the hotel for more time to meet with people and answer questions. We were also able to share the news on the Charter fleet of RS21's that are heading to the US for the NOOD Regattas and Charleston Race Week. We also decided to add and a RS21 North Americans which will include free charters for the winners of the previous events and a Yacht Club challenge. More information on that soon. For information on the charters please email firstname.lastname@example.org and check out this link here.
To wrap up it was very encouraging to see what US Sailing is doing to educate and grow sailing in the US. Creating these Symposiums allow established programs to ability to share what they have learned with the smaller programs in our country. Even the bigger programs can learn and fine tune what they have. It also gives the venders the ability to support the different programs and let people know who the companies are that truly want what is best for our sport.
RS21 North American Sales Rep