Friday, January 6, 2017

Isn't it time for Strictly Sail to be in Michigan?

Related imageNext 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.

Image resultAnd 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?


  1. We attended "Strictly Sail" Chicago many times over the years. It used to be a fun winter getaway. In it's heyday (before the recession) it was an awesome site to see the great hall at Navy Pier completely packed with sailboats and nautical vendors. But sadly the show got smaller and smaller over the years and when it combined with the powerboat and RV show at McCormick Place (in the heart of of Chicago's SOUTH SIDE) we were finally finished with it. Moving the "Strictly Sail" show to Michigan could certainly breath some new life into it. There would be a fresh new appreciative audience from Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario (Hey Toronto!). I wonder if Progressive Insurance (sponsor) has even considered it. Perhaps a few kind letters of encouragement from some friendly Michigan sailors might get them thinking. Chicago is going nowhere.

    1. I concur. Sadly though, I don't know if the sailing "industry" in Michigan is organized enough to support this. I mention this due to the relative lack of sailing vendors at the Detroit and other Michigan boat shows. Progressive is not likely to move it, if there are no vendors to buy floor space. I've been doing my best for 6 years, but I just don't know what it takes.