Where are Laser, Topper and RS at the Sydney Boat Show?

by Chris Kameen on August 4, 2013

For the past couple of days Sydney Sailing School has been selling the sport of sailing dinghies amongst a barrage of flashing lights on wakeboard boats and fishing tackle… So who is selling sailing?

As a sailing school that wants to get as many people into sailing as possible we need a thriving sailing industry that is sharing the marketing of the sport between us all. It is great to see that Yachting New South Wales are at the show promoting the discover sailing, and Yachting Australia promoting the Yacht Training and Sea Survival… but is it really their job? Personally, I think it is great to have them here and they should be here, but we shouldn’t be relying upon them to ‘sell sailing’.

Wait for me!

Sydney Sailing School has been represented on the Bic Sport stand promoting the O’pen Bic. This is a fantastic boat that we use for teaching the kids in our learn to sail program. The reality though is that in terms of sales Bic is a relatively small, but growing, player in the worldwide dinghy sailing industry against the might of Laser, RS and Topper Sailboats. It is a real shame that these other manufacturers are not here with Bic and Hobie. I understand that cost is an issue – you have to sell a lot of boats to make the boat show pay for itself, but I think by not being at the show they are collectively letting the sailing industry down and appear to be waving a white flag to the Wakeboard brigade which I think is a shame.

Whilst at the show I have fielded many questions about what sort of boat should I buy, there is currently nothing I can recommend that is good value, low maintenance, robust, quick and easy to rig and yet I know these boats exist. I know that that the previously mentioned manufacturers have great boats but can I recommend them when their dealers aren’t at the show selling sailing? What sort of service are they going to offer if they aren’t going to support the industry at a major show like this?

Maybe I’m being unduly harsh on these importers and distributers of these global brands, but if I was at the global head office I’d be asking serious questions as to why their brands and sailing are not being promoted at “the largest boat show in the southern hemisphere”.

Being the only great kids dinghy at the show has limited merit when you can’t be compared to something else.

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