Next week, the annual "Strictly" Sail event will be conducted with the Chicago Boat and RV show at the McCormick Place complex in Chicago. Although in previous years, Strictly Sail meant only sailboats or sail-powered craft, financial/attendence reasons have caused it to be folded into a show with other attractions, thus no longer "strict". Strictly Sail is actually a regional sailing-themed event, sponsored by Progressive Insurance, held around the country. For some reason, the Midwest offering of this event has been anchored in Chicago.
Having attended the show a couple of times myself, I will go out on a limb here and say enough is enough, it is time for this show to be held in Michigan. The event can be stand-alone or in conjunction with the Detroit Boat Show or other suitable event.
Let's look at it from a Michigan perspective and assuming it would move to Detroit:
Detroit is associated with Great Lake sailing and is home to notable historic yacht clubs. Although Illinois is associated with 1 Great Lake, Michigan is associated with .... hello?.... 4 Great Lakes (with Lake Saint Clair to boot). Detroit is considered to be a burgeoning destination location with new development and vitalization. Chicago is .... well .... hmm ..... just turn on the news. Detroit/Michigan would draw internationally from Canada as well as from other Great Lake states. If that is not enough....
- Michigan serves as the destination for two of the longest freshwater sailing races in the world.
- Michigan serves as the home to the manufacture of several one-design classes.
- Detroit is home to the DN iceboat class.
- More Michigan colleges have sailing teams in the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association than Illinois colleges.
- The number of yacht/sail clubs in Michigan outnumber those in Illinois by at least 3:1.
- Michigan tourism, supported by the Pure Michigan campaign, is second to none.
And let's face it, if it came down to a battle between the Tall ships in each state...... Michigan wins again! So what do we do about this? Well, SailMichigan can't pull this off (we are but "poor and humble pirates"), but what about Bayview Yacht Club?, the Michigan Boat Industries Association?, Pure Michigan?, the collective voices of collegiate teams and other yacht and sail clubs, the collective voices of boat manufacturers and dealers??
Strictly Sail DETROIT 2018? What do you say?