Monday, December 29, 2014

Life Lessons Learned from Sailing ~ by Mike Thoney

Life Lessons Learned from Sailing                             
by Mike Thoney

Those of us who sail have learned many things on a boat besides the names of various pieces of hardware, how to tie knots, and sailing terms used to communicate among crewmembers.  We might not always realize that we have learned and continue to learn beyond the physical boundaries of the boat, but we do, and whether you sail together as a family, or are part of a crew on a race boat, here are some of the beneficial things that happen aboard a boat which can translated to real life experiences and events.   These lessons are fitting for kids and adults alike, and are but a few of the reasons that sailing is a great way to spend leisure time.

Sailing teaches us to be prepared.  Because there are always some unknowns involved with being on the water, we learn to be ready to anticipate and deal with things that we might not experience at home, school, or work.  A prepared sailor will likely be more prepared for unexpected things that pop up in everyday life as well.

Sailing teaches teamwork.  If the crew on a sailboat doesn’t act as a team, the boat will not perform to its fullest potential.  Everyone on a sailboat must work together to make sailing easier, faster, and more fun for everyone aboard, which helps us to learn the importance of working well with others as we go through our daily routines.

Sailing teaches patience.  If you’ve ever been trying to reach a port that is in sight but the wind is dying or changing directions, you know and understand the importance of being patient and dealing with the situation.  Oftentimes in these situations, you learn alternative ways to play the cards you’ve been dealt.

Sailing teaches decision-making.  If you’re in charge of a boat, you will be making decisions for the good of the boat and the crew, and you have to learn to make the right ones so that you can get to your destination safely, quickly, and have fun doing it.  Your crew will appreciate the fact that you are making the right choices, especially in less than ideal sailing conditions.

Sailing teaches communication.  Once you make those decisions mentioned above, it is important to be able to make your crew understand what has to be done aboard the boat to make things work the way they should.  If you can do this on a boat, you can do it at school, at home, or on your job.

Sailing teaches confidence.  There is confidence in knowing that you have made the choices that make your boat move through the water in light wind, or to get you home safely when something breaks or when the weather turns ugly.  You will gain the confidence in knowing that your knowledge of your boat and its environment will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone aboard.

Sailing teaches responsibility.  You, as a captain of your boat, are responsible for the safety of the boat and all aboard, and you are the person to whom they will look when the time comes do anything related to the operation of your boat.

Sailing teaches honesty and the importance of playing by the rules.  There are certain ways to act and things that must be done aboard a sailboat, and even more so aboard a racing sailboat.  There are strict rules that must be followed to be successful, and you have to play by these rules, for there is honor involved, and no one who cheats in a race will ever have the respect of his or her competitors.  This is an important lesson that is learned early by junior sailors, and one that usually stays with them for life.

Sailing teaches us how to deal with the unknown and to operate in a constantly changing environment.  The old saying – “You can’t fool Mother Nature” is especially true on the water, and sailing is a great way to learn that.  We cannot control weather, and we don’t always experience the weather that we would like, so a sailboat becomes an excellent classroom for learning how to handle unexpected situations and changes on the water.  This also flows over to everyday life, because if you learn to confidently and competently handle unknowns on the water, it becomes easier to handle unexpected changes that occur daily.

These are merely a few of the beneficial lessons to gain from our experiences aboard a sailboat, and there are certainly many more if we think about it a bit.  All the more reasons to learn to sail, get aboard a sailboat and start enjoying a lifestyle that is not only fun, but can enrich the lives of your entire family!

To learn more about Mike Thoney.

For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-773-254-0200

Monday, December 1, 2014

Three reasons why selecting Bermuda for the America's cup is a bad decision for the sport of sailing.

Three reasons why selecting Bermuda for the America's cup is a bad decision for the sport of sailing. 

Written by: Lou Sandoval

In the next 24 hours, if the 'tea leaves' are correct, we will hear an announcement that the 2017 America's Cup will be held in Bermuda.  If there was ever a clearer lead-in, granting the AC World Series event for 2015 to Bermuda is a clear indicator that San Diego is most likely not in the running. 

Many outside the sport might shrug this off as something you would expect.  Sailing after all has the perception of being a sport of the rich and famous.   A past-time reserved with those who 'have the means'.   

As an industry we don't do much to dispel those perceptions.   Certain aspects of the past time benefit from enhancing the perception, highlighting the high cost of participation and the luxury or exclusive aspects limited for the wealthy.  Moving the venue to Bermuda, while a tax benefit for the current winner, does serve to place some obstacles that further the outreach that the marine industry has been working on over the past five years through initiatives at US Sailing and the Recreational Boating Leadership Council. I'm sure there are some well thought out and valid economic reasons for why Bermuda was selected.  Enclosed is my take on how these barriers might be bad for the growth of the sport overall. 

1. Exclusivity: Placing the sport in a remote location, means that only those that follow the sport will watch it on web relay and tracker.   While the 34th AC revolutionized this via the wizardry of Stan Honey, it presents a very one-dimensional appeal to the sport.

2.  "Too rich for my blood": The remote location of Bermuda furthers the perception that you have to be someone special (albeit wealthy) to travel to participate and watch the sport.  A rich man's playground if you may.   After the last AC, I was amazed at the number of 'non- sailors' who got caught up in the final races.  People in "car washes" recognized Team Oracle gear.  Comments on how picturesque the San Francisco backdrop was for the race were echoed by many 'non-traditional' fans. 

3.  "Sailing is too god-like":  The distance of a remote island and accompanying perception seek to further alienate the engagement of a younger diverse generation. 

The problem with that "island" approach is that it is generational and very limiting as it only seeks to appeal to those already in the sport.   You see as the 76.4 Million baby boomers (born 1946 -1964) edge towards retirement at a rate of 10,000 per day they leave a participation void.   Behind them the engagement and participation rates for the sport of sailing among the over 50 million Generation X (Born 1965-1980) and over 56 Million Millennials (Born 1980-2000) toils in the single digits for historically mainstream participants.    The National Marine Manufacturer's Association reports overall participation rate for 18+ year olds at 26-32% .  This figure includes small craft and power boats as well.  

Coming off an exciting finish for the 34th America's Cup in 2013, the sport of sailing could have used this momentum to engage a whole new generation of American youth in the sport. 

I fully understand that there are far smarter people than I making these decisions and people with a far deeper legacy in the sport.   Coming from someone who was exposed to the sport in my youth , but learned to really love it in adulthood, I see the move to Bermuda as one that may undo the work that many of us have been engaged in - exposing a whole new younger bloodline to the sport of sailing.   Engaging a new generation of sailors who look and think much differently than those currently in the sport. 

This task seems to be a bit out of reach for now, far away on an island. 

Lou Sandoval is the Co-Owner/Co-Founder of Karma Yacht Sales, the Midwest dealer for Beneteau, C&C and Alerion boats.   He was exposed to sailing at Boy Scout Camp in his youth and after a 17 year career in the biomedical industry he took on the role of entrepreneur and business owner by purchasing the boat dealership based in Chicago.  He is active in the leadership of the sport of sailing and serves as an opinion leader in the marine industry serving on several boards that seek to expand the participation of sailing and boating. 

For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-773-254-0200

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Why We do the MAC

2014 Race to Mackinac from Froeter Design Company on Vimeo.

If you are a third coast sailor like many of us, you know like the sun will rise in the morning that each July you will find yourself on a boat in the middle of Lake Michigan with a group of your best friends and family.  You will be doing the "MAC" as it is endearingly referred to.   Mike Wolf, owner of a 2009 Beneteau First 10R named "CHIEF" came up with this very well done video call "THE MAC".   

One of our favorite quotes from the narration of the short film sums up why we jump on a smelly boat each Summer for 2.5 days.  "It's an annual ritual, a reunion, a test of skill, of boat handling and navigational judgement and once in a while, sanity. When it's all said and done it's about relationships, stories and the greatest of memories."

It is the Mac, It is what we do! 

For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-773-254-0200

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Learn About the NEW Beneteau CARBON EDITION FIRST Series boats

The New Beneteau CARBON EDITION FIRST Series boats come with some fast amenities such as sprits, Carbon fiber Spars and popular upgrades that will have you looking good and winning Races.   Download the CARBON Series brochure and contact us for more information.

First 35 Carbon Series

For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-773-254-0200

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Power Reaching in the New C&C 30 One-Design

What is the new C&C 30 One-Design like under Sail?  Take a look at this video and see.  We are booking trips for prospective Owners this September to Newport to sail the C&C on the bay.  Contact us to be added to the list and to receive the NEW C&C OD catalog. 

For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-773-254-0200

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Tips: Winch Preventative Maintenance

We thought we would start a series of DIY Posts called "Tuesday Tips"  that walk you through some of the most commonly asked questions we receive on our service desk.  This one is a recent one from one of our owners that called and asked about how to disassemble, check and lube his Lewmar Ocean Winches.

While the specific disassembly might vary from brand to brand- the essential components of the winch are similiar and the routine maintenance should be done routinely (i.e. seasonally at minimum or if you race the boat perhaps on a bi-seasonal schedule).

We thought that we would start with winches because it's often one of the most used, yet most neglected part of the sailboat.  When the fail (eg. lock or jam) it is usually because of a few reasons:

1. Lack of routine maintenance
2. Palls break. (fatigue due to low lubrication (see #1)
3. Excessive dirt/grime build-up (see #1)

So at the end of the day, by spending a few minutes this Spring, you might save yourself a bigger headache or worst yet, a failure when you need them most.    Spare parts can be ordered from Lewmar or Harken or obtained through your local ship store (eg. West Marine).

Bring in a photo of the winch (smartphones are great for this) and know the size (usually stamped on the head of the winch. 

Some other supplies you will need before you start:

1. Polyvinyl gloves 
2. Shop rags
3. Plastic bin to hold the parts
4. Winch lube

The videos we've enclosed here breakdown the process for each of the major brands of newer winches.  You tube has an assortment of other makes models etc. 

Have fun! 

For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-877-KARMA-Y-S (527-6297)

Friday, April 11, 2014

St. Barths Bucket Regatta

For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 773.294.3180

I recently spent a week in St. Barthelemy (St. Barths) in the French West Indies, performing as crew on a 112 ft. ketch-rigged Alloy Yacht (Ron Holland-designed) named Blue Too.

This was the third year I have been lucky enough to crew on this boat for 'the Bucket', and it is still a bit surreal to spend a week in March racing in a Superyacht regatta, surrounded by some of the largest sailboats ever made (Maltese Falcon, Panthalassa, Seahawk, Zenji, Hyperion to name just a few) alongside some of the best, most prominent sailors in the sport.  It is truly a week of fantastic sailing. 

What I love the most about this week is the reminder that sailing is completely a team sport and that camaraderie is something that sailing breeds better than most sports I have ever played.  When you race sailboats larger than dinghys, you quickly get used to the fact that not much can be accomplished without good teamwork, acting in concert with one another.  When you are on a 112 ft. boat that has all of its power supplied hydraulically, takes almost 2 minutes to complete a tack, and requires five  crew 30 minutes to 'wool' a spinnaker, you become aware of how important each member of the team is, and that each 'job' has to be completed in order for the boat to accomplish anything, and has to be done nearly flawlessly for the boat to perform well.

We on Blue Too have done very well in this regatta each year. In 2012, we ended up Third overall (2-6-2); last year we had to drop out of a race when a crew member was injured (he was injured but is now OK), but still finished Fourth (1-13-2). This year, the expectations were high, and we didn't disappoint-coming in Third (8-3-1).

What this regatta offers a Lake Michigan sailor like me is a great deal of perspective; perspective on how different but how similar a boat three times the size of my own can be; how the camaraderie of our sport so easily transcends language, bodies of water, and level of experience - as most sailors are just great people, wherever you are. 

I consider myself lucky to have 'found' sailing, as it has provided me many memories, opportunities, successes, and even failures.  This is exactly why I am in the business of helping others 'find' this sport/lifestyle, too. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

KYS Launches Facebook Social Media Experiment on April Fool's Day

April 3, 2014 
By KYS Editor

On April 1, 2014 Karma Yacht Sales set out to accomplish a few things in the form of an April Fools 'joke'.  The 'joke' was launched in the form of a mock Press Release laced with Google Analytics to track the results and to measure to what level 'followers' on Facebook and Twitter would go.  It sought to verify what they were liking or following and to what degree followers would read the 'prank' link.  It was also a guerrilla marketing tactic as one of the outcomes was that it lead to increased web traffic originating from both social media channels - Facebook and Twitter. 

The post went live at approximately 10:32am on April First with the heading " PRESS RELEASE- this news broke late yesterday. Boat Entrepreneurs expand offerings. Karma Auto Group to Open May 1st." #getbusydriving #getbusysailing" 

The post was placed on Facebook and cross-posted to Twitter.  The results were varied over the first two hours of tracking the post:

In the first 2 hours  there were 800 clicks on the link out of 2300 views. 47 likes. 4 shares 12 comments. 10 comments without clicking on the link to read. 

Breaking down the Statistics:  65% of social media traffic resulted in views only.  A smaller percentage (35%) actually took time to read the press release itself.  83% of the individuals that commented on the post did so without clicking through to read the content of the release. 

The post was amended at 5:49 pm that evening to reveal the April Fools prank with corresponding Facebook /Twitter posts.  

The 'prank' was the idea of Karma Yacht Sales Co-Owner Lou Sandoval who manages the marketing for the boat dealership and serves as the social media manager. 

"It was a bit risky- but in the end it reflects the light hearted nature with which we operate.  We try to not take ourselves to seriously."  said Sandoval "I got the idea from listening to an NPR story that morning.  You really wonder if individuals really read what we put on our social media outlets." 

While the group is not looking to make any conclusions or correlations- it does provide an insight into what 'followers' activities might mean. 

To see the original Post/Prank
For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-877-KARMA-Y-S (527-6297)

Friday, February 14, 2014

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum
Changing the Dynamic- My impression of the Inaugural US Sailing Leadership Forum

By Lou Sandoval , Co-Owner/Co-Founder Karma Yacht Sales

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” unknown

I’m a huge believer that nothing happens to us and people don’t come in to our lives that aren’t intended to provoke a situational awareness and produce an intentional break in our way of being and thinking.   I had one of those experiences in route to the Inaugural US Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego this past week.    In what started as a day that dumped six inches of snow on Chicago and a hustle just to get to the airport, I was pleasantly surprised when I had a gentleman with a sailcloth folio take up the seat next to me.   “Are you a Sailor?” I asked “Are you going to the forum?” – “I am” he responded on both accounts.   That dovetailed into an exchange of ideas that lasted almost one half of the four hour flight to the West coast.   My “seat neighbor” was Jim Spiegel the Executive director for the St. Joseph Junior Foundation in St. Joe’s, Michigan.   Like most sailors- we shared a passion for the sport and a genuine interest in making sure that generations beyond ours continued to enjoy it.

Our conversation covered everything from our start in the sport to the state of the sport and our vision for how we might change the dynamic.   I learned a bunch from my new found friend, his perspective and the great passion that he has for sharing sailing with youth that might not otherwise have a chance to get out on the water.  He shared the challenges that he is up against and we shared ideas on how he might approach those challenges. 
Looking back at the week, it truly set the tone for what US Sailing was looking to accomplish with the forum- collaboration.    In looking at the age of the attendees and the number of women that attended the conference, it renewed my hopes that the sport is not going away easy.    It takes these moments of sharing ideas for us all to get the successes that have worked in other parts of the country.   In the opening session, keynote speakers Ken Read & Gary Jobson charged each attendee to come away with five new things.

For me personally, I would categorize my ‘Top Five take-aways' as follows:

  •  KEEP SAILING SIMPLE:   As Sailors, we have a tendency to drink too much of the proverbial ‘Kool-Aid’.   Because we are passionate about the sport- we expect everyone to see things through our ‘passion point’.   This isn't always the case.   In attracting a broader audience- we need to understand that someone with no sailing background is lost in the technical jargon that we so easily use to describe the sport.  This key observation came when my fellow presenter Jason Thompson, stated that  he found it ironic that the video that we showed of the America's Cup campaign looked interesting- but because he had no background in the sport, many of the ‘isms’ were lost on him.    In this same category comes the fact that we focus way too much on sailboat racing.   You have to walk before you run and often and there is a huge push to race before we truly get why sailing is special.   Things change on the water.  Getting people to “get” the lifestyle is important before we start complicating things with a whole new range of terminology and ‘rules’. 

  • Control our own Narrative:   I’m cheating a bit on this, but this has been a pet peeve of mine for some time.   If you open any sail publication – you will see a focus on the uber expensive and ‘out of reach’ boats.    The ‘ooh –aah’ factor is “full on” and in play.  What this portrayal does is further the narrative that sailing is exclusive, expensive and for the ‘select few’.    How many times have you opened a business publication and seen a financial services ad with an old retired couple sailing into the sunset?  It furthers the thought that sailing is so expensive and you can only do it when: a. you have a retired person’s schedule and b. have accumulated wealth.  Nowhere, is there a discussion of the ‘spectrum of participation’ (more on that later).  I would add to this that the imagery (i.e the advertising photos we use to depict the sport) we utilize to "tell the sailing story" needs to be consistent with the portion of the demographic we seek to attract.                         Simply put, we need to continue to show more women in the sport and more diverse participants.  We know older participants are in the sport- that is great, but our story should show families using boats to commune and children on boats doing what kids do best- have fun. This is everyone's responsibility, but especially professional media and all industry stakeholders.  We, the participants of the sport, need to be the ambassadors that talk about the lifestyle in simple terms.  The fact that sailing is sensory stimulation that you can feel (wind in your hair; warm sun on your face); hear (turbulence of the water) and see (all the great scenery there is to see of the land from the water).  It truly is one of life’s greatest experiences and in a way- a very therapeutic one where you forget whichever stressor you might be undergoing in your ‘on land’ life.

  • STEM is the Way:  I’ve been preaching this in my circles for some time.  I have to say that very few of the sexagenarian and septuagenarians of the world ,don’t get this.    The terrain in our country has changed from a production based economy to a consumption based economy.  I read once that American school kids rank in the bottom fifth of industrialized nations.   We currently import foreign talent in allied health sciences and computer technology because not enough of our own children take up the science disciplines as a course of study.   A ‘sailboat’ is the world’s best science ‘wet lab’.   As a science geek myself,  I get this and personally, it pains me that many don’t understand that utilizing programs such as US Sailing’s REACH Program or the curriculum established by the National Sailing Hall of Fame Consortium (NHSHOF) are a positive for the sport.   If community sailing centers are able to engage the application of STEM education and partner with public school systems, they will make sailing relevant again.    The sailing part can augment a STEM based after-school program and be the laboratory that provides the practical application of geometry, calculus, applied physics, biology.. The list is endless.   One reason, kids struggle with Math and Science is that they don’t see the relevance to their daily lives.  If we use sailing and being on the water as the way to personalize Math and science, what might be otherwise ‘boring’ subjects in classrooms- become real and practical.   They become relevant and sailing does also!    It also allows us to take sailing to a whole new generation of sailors of diverse backgrounds that we aren't serving today.

  •  Diversity “What we look like today is not what we will look like tomorrow”:    As someone who never ever thought they would end up on a sailboat, much less owning a company in the boating industry, this is very near and dear.   Add to that, that I have two daughters and I harbor hope that the world they grow up in will be vastly different "than the one in which I did"- IS my driving force.    I can revisit the statistics, but I think the picture is clear.   For sailing (and boating in general to stay alive) it is imperative that today’s participants make the sport as inclusive as possible.    The ‘low hanging fruit’ is at minimum meeting the statistical numbers on gender.   More women active in sailing is good for the sport both now and in the future.   Fast forward fifteen years… the girls in sailing programs or going on family sailing excursions today will someday have families.    There is a greater chance that sailing will be a part of their stable of activities if they are engaged in the sport today.    Short-term benefits and long-term benefits abound in this strategy- but it takes everyone promoting this.    Extending the reach of the sport to ethnic groups that might not be predominant in the sport today- is also very healthy for sailing.  

Trust me,  I’ve seen the ugly side where participants want to keep sailing as exclusive as they can for the privileged few.    I’m realistic enough to understand that this group may be around, but it is slowly becoming the minority itself.    Nature has a way of leveling these things you know.   I’m confident after seeing the participants at the forum that the future of sailing is bright and inside of the stodgy old ‘network’, a new era of leadership is emerging- one that is younger and vastly different than those that came before them.    This group will stand on their shoulders as they stood on the shoulders of those that came before them.   Again- it will take every participant in sailing becoming ambassadors for this cause- ask someone new out to sail.   Share your passion!

  • Sailing Participation is a Spectrum:   In some segments of the industry there is a zero-sum mentality that prevails.  Charter & Fractional sailing companies mystify the cost of participation at the expense of the sport.   New boat sales compound the brokerage market in hopes of deferring used boat sales and redirecting towards new boat sales.   What many of these groups have in common is that they operate out of scarcity and a dwindling market.   They seek to carve up the “pie” vs. baking more pies.   In order for sailing to grow (and boating too) they have to look at the market as a ‘delicate ecosystem’ in the words of NMMA president Thom Dammrich.   The spectrum of participation is much like that of home ownership.   There are apartments that people can rent, or condos that they can buy until they are ready for the ‘house’.   It’s all dependent on what phase of the cycle they are in; how spontaneous they want to be (on a scheduled number of days or free to go when you can) or their time and availability.    This spectrum has a place for everyone and at every price range for different budgets.   The thing to remember about sailing is that you don’t need to own a boat to participate.  It is in participating that you learn to love it and that may lead to becoming a greater stakeholder.   This mission is a responsibility of everyone in the ‘ecosystem’- yacht clubs, outfitters, brokers, sailing centers, charter operators, fractional lease companies.   Everyone needs to strive for new participants to achieve a quality experience at all levels.  

At the end of it all- it is important to move the sailing community past the awareness phase and into a phase of acting on our new knowledge.    So the follow-up to this forum and action items will be most the most critical steps coming out of the San Diego forum.    I have my list as I’m sure many attendees have theirs.   It will be important for each participant to take their list to the local level and get busy.    I’ll do my part.

If you didn't make it this year- put the next SLF on your calendar.  I challenge you to become part of what sailing is yet to become. 

To learn more about the ‘Forum” visit:


Stay Up to date on your KYS info- "Like" us on Facebook. For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-877-KARMA-Y-S (527-6297)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

WING Sails- Are Not just for America's Cup Boat's Anymore!

We thought you might find this video from the French Sailing Site Voile et Voillier (trans: Sailing & Sailboats)

For More Information Ask Karma Yacht Sales by email  or call 1-877-KARMA-Y-S (527-6297)