After a busy session of networking, over 130 guests were very well entertained at the MAA press lunch (Friday 17th May 2019). This year’s event – the eighth annual press lunch – featured keynote speakers such as Sir Robin Knox-Johnston(Clipper Ventures), Leslie Ryan (SailGP) and Matt Sheahan (TV producer and freelance journalist).
Matt Sheahan reflected on technical breakthroughs: “I’m blown-away by watching boats foiling and the technology in them. SailGP has really caught my eye; those boats are stacked with technology. On the outside they’re blisteringly quick. But the control systems are really impressive inside.
“These breakthroughs are going to have repercussions way down the line. New technology is allowing sailors to do things that weren’t possible before. For leisure cruisers, auto pilot could reduce rolling, making the ride much more comfortable.”
Leslie Ryan (SailGP) underpinned Matt’s comments about technology and talked about the new global race series. “We’ve got five events this year, in iconic locations. It’s nation versus nation. We’ve been to Sydney, San Francisco, New York and we’re heading to Cowes in August – we’ll be showcasing how great Britain is at putting on these engaging sports events. And it is the best sailing I’ve ever seen as a spectator.”
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston reflected on the past 16 years of Clipper Ventures being located in Gosport and the affects that’s had on the region. Employing 70 people, Sir Robin reeled off an impressive list of figures including injecting an estimated £7m per year into the economy. “We’ve trained 5,000 people to do the race,” he explains, “with 40% never having been on a boat before. But they stay in sport. They take it up. They’re enthusiastic. It’s our job to cash in on that enthusiasm and teach them to become good seamen.”
Other speakers included Mark Jardine, editoryachtsandyachting.com, highlighting his site’s online webinars to encourage participation in sailing, and John Gillard from Oarsome Chance talking about the wonderful opportunities the charity offers.
MAA’s press lunch, organised in conjunction with Dean & Reddyhoff owners of Haslar Marina, brings together an exciting mix of businesses from the marine sector as well as the press. The annual lunch is the perfect opportunity for networking with expert industry and regional news journalists.
Mike Shepherd, Director of MAA, says: “This is one of my favourite events in MAA’s calendar. There’s such a buzz in the marquee as people catch-up on old friendships and forge new ones. As an agency we’re delighted to be at the forefront of the marine industry, creating opportunities for our clients and working closely with the press.”
Mike set up MAA in 2009, since then the company has enjoyed continued strong growth. MAA was named Best Marine Company to Work For at the British Marine awards in March 2016 and is now firmly established as one of the foremost agencies in the marine industry.
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