ASA at the 2021 U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis

By: American Sailing Association

Annapolis. When one thinks of classic yachting epicenters on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, just a handful of places come to mind. One of them is beautiful, historic Annapolis, Maryland, known as “America’s Sailing Capital”. The 51st annual United States Sailboat Show was held there 14-18 Oct 2021 and ASA had a large, splashy presence. The 157-foot, three-masted schooner Arabella, easily the largest vessel in this year’s Show, served as ASA’s “booth” and base of operations. Despite a couple of days of high winds and a line of squalls, just over 5000 people braved the weather and made their way to tour Arabella and to learn about ASA and its affiliated schools. Arabella was owned originally by actress Kelly McGillis, of Top Gun fame, who built her in 1983 to cross the Atlantic. Thirty years later, Michael Fortenbaugh, owner of ASA Affiliate Manhattan Yacht Club, bought her to serve as the school’s clubhouse. ASA Chairman Lenny Shabes was “thrilled that ASA could provide priority access to this majestic yacht for our Instructors, Members and Students, as well as to all attendees of this year’s Annapolis Sailboat Show”.

ASA had other offerings at the Show. Over at the Annapolis Yacht Club, Bill Gladstone, North U Director, creator of North U Seminars and Webinars, and author of ASA’s newest textbook, Advanced Cruising and Seamanship, held a live seminar on sail theory, sail trim, close-quarter maneuvering, and night sailing. After a catered lunch, two life-long sailors and highly respected ASA Instructors, Lisa and Andy Batchelor, presented most of  the necessary skills for sailors to become independent cruisers including navigation, steering, how to optimize boat power systems, space, and boat resource planning. After that, there was a Q & A Panel where attendees had opportunities to ask questions about topics covered in the seminars.

ASA also had two major announcements to make. One was made on the evening of Fri 15 Oct where the New York Harbor Sailing Foundation held a special cocktail party, sponsored by Mt. Gay rum, the Gowrie Group and ASA in the large salon aboard Arabella.  The gala was hosted by Michael Fortenbaugh, Commodore of the Manhattan Yacht Club, who announced the acquisition and restoration plans of the most famous racing yacht in American history, the 12-meter “Stars & Stripes 87”.  The winner of the 1987 America’s Cup was badly damaged in 2017 by Hurricane Irma in Saint Maarten. ASA’s co-founder Peter Isler was navigator aboard “Stars & Stripes” when its crew, many of whom were present at the party, brought the America’s Cup home from Fremantle, Australia in ‘87. Isler thinks that “Stars & Stripes 87” represents everything that America can accomplish at its best. The New York Harbor Sailing Foundation hopes to raise the funds needed to restore “Stars & Stripes” to her former glory by reaching out to the people in the yachting community.  Isler says, “If anyone can help raise funds to restore this historic yacht and turn her into a floating museum, it’s the American Sailing Association”.

The other major announcement made by ASA, at Sail America’s Annual Industry Breakfast, was the introduction of  American Sailing Association’s new logo and the simplification of the organization’s name to “American Sailing”. Having now taught well over a half million people how to sail at over 400 affiliated academies, clubs, schools, and charter companies since 1983, ASA is the premier and largest sailing education authority in the world. And the more prominent a company or an individual becomes, fewer words are necessary for identification. So, we have dropped the word “Association” from our brand name, but the American Sailing Association will still collectively refer to “American Sailing” and our 420 active teaching Affiliates. 

Tradition lives on in Annapolis, and it is especially alive at the U.S. Sailboat Show, one of the largest and most prestigious boat shows in the world. It is a pleasure to walk around the Show, to visit with boat manufacturers, sales managers, boatwrights, sailing instructors, sailing school owners, yacht skippers and their crews who are always welcoming, knowledgeable, and very accommodating. All of them devote themselves to the spirit of sailing and imbue their spirit of dedication to anyone who steps aboard a boat in Annapolis.