GE and Sail America launch new conference

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. – GE Capital Solutions and Sail America, the trade association for the U.S. sailing industry, will present the inaugural “Growth Through Innovation” Sailing Industry Conference and Regatta, June 11-13 in Newport, R.I., at the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS), they reported in a statement today.

The conference is designed to help companies that provide sailing-related products and services achieve success in today’s tough market environment, according to the two organizations.

The “Growth Through Innovation” business-oriented conference will bring together over 100 industry owners, sales and marketing managers, and other sailing industry professionals for a full day of educational seminars, keynote speakers, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and networking events, reported GE and Sail America.

“Proven leaders from the worlds of business, economics, technology, marketing, and sailing will mix and mingle with conference participants to discuss future trends and best industry practices,” they stated.

GE Capital Solutions, the conference’s title sponsor, said backing this conference is part of the company’s overall vision to support new sailing industry progress and advances.

“The time is right for the entire membership of Sail America to come together and reach for the next level of expertise,” said Jerry Clark, GE Capital Solutions vice president-Marine Manufacturing Relations.

Sail America Executive Director Jonathan Banks said, “The Sailing Industry Conference will focus on business-building strategies for achieving greater success through creative and innovative business practices and techniques. We believe the attendees will go home renewed, re-energized, and equipped with an array of ideas they can implement to advance their businesses.”

A full agenda

The conference and regatta opens on Wednesday, June 11, with a welcome reception. Dean Brenner, U.S. Sailing Olympic Chair, will make a special presentation on the 2008 summer Olympics.

Sail America President Bill Goggins will kick off the conference on Thursday, June 12, with a message about Sail America’s future plans. The rest of the day will be dedicated to a series of keynote presentations, breakout sessions, and panel discussions.

Keynote speakers will focus on economic trends, new product development, managing business in a down market, and key sailing demographics. Breakout sessions will focus on three major areas: Sales and Dealer Management, Best Marketing Practices, and General Business Management. The conference will finish with a panel discussion on the trends and opportunities in sailing.

On the evening of June 12, conference attendees will have an opportunity to network and socialize at a Gala Dinner with live music, an auction, and an after-dinner speaker.

Open exclusively to Sail America members, the inaugural Sail America Regatta will take place on Friday, June 13 at Sail Newport, with teams sailing a fleet of identical J-22’s. There are a limited number of boats, so teams are encouraged to sign up early. Sail America members will receive shortly information and entry forms. The first 12 teams to sign up will compete for bragging rights, T-shirts, prizes, and a custom-designed Regatta trophy.

Along with, the title sponsor, GE Capital Solutions, Gill North America is a presenting sponsor. There are several sponsorship opportunities for Presenting Sponsors, General Sponsors, and Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner sponsors. Any company or person may also donate items valued at $100 or higher for the Gala auction.

For further information regarding the GE Capital Solutions and Sail America “Growth Through Innovation” Sailing Industry Conference, contact Kimberly Tuchon or Jonathan Banks at 401-841-0900 or visit

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