Sailing Industry Giants Gather to Reflect at St. Petersburg Boat Show

Business and Professional

December 5, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG, FL December 5, 2012 On November 29, the start of the 2012 St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show, an incredible gathering of early sailing industry icons in Pinellas County came together at the Renaissance Vinoy for a "Golden Keels & Rudders" luncheon to celebrate the tremendous achievements that they contributed to the sailing industry. "There was so much history and talent at this gathering," reported Bob Johnson, President of Island Packet Yachts. "The warm feeling between everyone was indicative of the mutual respect and admiration shared by all."

The group included industry pioneers who began their own companies decades ago, resulting in hiring thousands of employees some who generated spin-off companies and realized their own individual successes. It is estimated that more than 200,000 yachts were built by the turn of the century.

"I was so fortunate and honored to serve these great icons during the 70's and 80's when they were at the height of their ambitions, manufacturing the most diversified yachts and sailboats in the world," reported Tom Casey, Regional Ad Director of Blue Water Sailing Magazine. "Pinellas County was the mecca of the sailboat industry for over twenty years, bringing huge benefits of employment and unlimited economic strength to the county and state. Thousands of sailboats from 16 feet to 65 feet were marketed and enjoyed all over the world, thanks to these few gifted entrepreneurs," he said.

"These Pinellas County based sailboat builders have been responsible for the creation of tens of thousands of local jobs over the last 60 years," reported Bill Bolin, VP of Sales & Marketing for Island Packet Yachts. "A good part of the US fiberglass sailboat industry's entire history is represented by this group of sailboat industry icons," he added.


Included in the group Standing, from left: Pat Reischmann, Manta Catamarans; Ted Irwin, founder of Irwin Yachts; Bob Johnson, founder and President of Island Packet Yachts; Brad Lazzara, President of Lazzara Yachts; Jopie Helsen, President of Sailors Wharf; Gerry Hutchins, Com-Pac Yachts; Frank Butler, founder and President, Catalina Yachts; Larry French, French Enterprises/JSI; Charley Morgan, retired founder of Morgan and Heritage Yachts; Gerry Douglas, VP and Chief Design Engineer, Catalina Yachts; Vince Caulfield, Senior Sales Mgr. of General Ecology; Sharon Day, VP and National Sales Director, Catalina Yachts; Dick Lazzara, VP Lazzara Yachts; Rich Hutchins, Com-Pac Yachts; Bob Vincent, President of Endeavour Yachts; and Max Hazelwood of Welmax Marine.

Front row, left to right: Bill Bolin, VP of Sales & Marketing, Island Packet Yachts; George Day, Publisher/Owner, Blue Water Sailing Magazine; Rich Mastry, President of Mastry Marine; Tom Casey, Regional Ad Director, Blue Water Sailing Magazine; and

Ron Frisosky, Sales Rep for Catalina Yachts.