12th Summer Sailstice set to launch Saturday
Summer Sailstice is set to begin around the world this weekend on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice, and marinas, yacht clubs and sailing crews across all 50 states and in Canada are heading out to the water enjoy the sailing lifestyle.
The event has been refined during the past 12 years to make it easier for the marine industry to get involved. This year, more than 60 companies have contributed prizes including gift certificates toward sailing charters, gear and sailing training courses.
John Arndt, founder of Summer Sailstice, began the event 12 years ago as a way to bring together sailors and the sailing industry around the world to help promote the sport of sailing. Arndt says he wanted to find a way to work with marinas, yacht clubs and manufacturers to promote sailing in a way that would benefit everyone.
“There’s very little effort put into selling sailing as a lifestyle instead of selling boats,” Arndt says. “This was a way of getting everybody in the same tent to promote the activity and the lifestyle.”
Coordinating the efforts of sailing manufacturers, marinas and clubs helps small sailing events capture media attention, Arndt says, and simultaneously garners exposure as both a national and global event. Prior to the inception of Summer Sailstice, Arndt says there were many hardworking and dedicated people putting effort into local events, but they rarely rose “above the clutter of the world to get visible beyond their small audience.”
The event has attracted more than just sailing clubs since 2001. Marinas and yacht brokers have been using it as a way of increasing activity through raffles, parties and open houses.
“The goal is to get people out sailing and using their boats and to have marinas utilize the event as a way to show what sailing is,” Arndt says.
Events like America’s Cup help create awareness of sailing, but they can appear exclusive to the wealthy owners of larger sailing yachts, whereas Arndt says Summer Sailstice is about promoting the diverse nature of sailing and targeting the casual sailor who is looking to have fun on the water.
Arndt says that with Summer Sailstice he intended to create a single effort that manufacturers can use to reach a wider customer base of sailers. Instead of donating to many events in hopes of reaching customers, businesses can hit a large audience with one event.
“It certainly doesn’t replace the value of more specific, intimate, personal events but it can help you touch people you wouldn’t otherwise have the manpower, time or budget to reach and pull them into your sailing world,” Arndt says.