If you build it...

When it comes to marketing sailing to African-Americans, Paul Mixon says the sailing industry missed the boat. “The sailing industry targets middle-aged white men,” he explains, “but I know everyone can enjoy a sailing vacation, so I market a dream to African-Americans that just happens to involve a chartered sailboat.”Mixon’s dream, known as Black Boaters Summit (BBS), has attracted
Author:
Publish date:
black1

When it comes to marketing sailing to African-Americans, Paul Mixon says the sailing industry missed the boat. “The sailing industry targets middle-aged white men,” he explains, “but I know everyone can enjoy a sailing vacation, so I market a dream to African-Americans that just happens to involve a chartered sailboat.”

Mixon’s dream, known as Black Boaters Summit (BBS), has attracted African-Americans, many of them first-time sailors, to the BVI since 1997 to sail and socialize on a weeklong flotilla. Since its humble beginnings, the summit has grown to a 250-person annual event. As they say: if you build it, they will come.

Black Boaters Summit was born in 1996 at Black Expo in Oakland, California, when Sunsail asked Mixon to help sell charters to members of the National Brotherhood of Skiers. The NBS was—and still is—the largest ski club in the United States, and Sunsail wondered if NBS skiers could become BBS sailors. “Sunsail gave me five boats to fill with black skiers,” Mixon recalls. “I filled 10 and a business was born.”

Shortly after, Mixon met another sailor who shared his enthusiasm: Capt. Bill Pinkney, the only African-American to sail solo around the five capes. With Mixon’s marketing prowess and Pinkney’s celebrity, BBS had what it took succeed. With an affordable pricetag of just $350 for the week (food included), they had no trouble finding participants and the Summit took off.

These days 95 percent of BBS guests are repeat customers or referrals, and the BBS family continues to grow in other ways as well. “Eighty-five percent of guests come single, and we’ve had dozens of marriages arise through BBS, including my own,” Mixon grins.

Though the BBS itinerary has remained largely the same through the years, the boats keep getting bigger. The BBS started sailing on Norseman 44s and now sails Moorings 50.5s, Moorings 4600s, the Voyage 580 and, new this year, an 82-foot crewed catamaran from Dream Yacht Charters. This luxurious flagship will accompany Mixon and Pinckney this August for the 14th running of the BBS. For more visit bbs2011.blogspot.com.

Related

shutterstock_1158262783

A Catamaran Takes on the American Great Loop

After completing the European Great Loop on our 1987 40ft Catalac catamaran, Angel Louise, my wife, Sue, and I sailed home to the States and spent two years sailing up and down East coast between Maine and Florida, like migratory waterfowl. Eventually, though, we decided to ...read more

01-LEAD_Alex_Irwin

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Competition

The Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image competition once again captures the excitement that is sailing from around the world An impressive 109 photographers from 25 countries took part in last year’s Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2018 competition. And while Portuguese photographer Ricarado ...read more

judges2-1024x319-0219-600x

2019 Pittman Innovation Awards

For the past couple of decades, the digital side of sailing has become increasingly important, to the point where it’s now almost inconceivable going offshore, even aboard a daysailer, without at least a modicum of electronics onboard—a trend that has been very much in evidence ...read more

Nathan-Bates-San-Diego,-CA

SAIL 2018: Reader's Photographs

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? If so, we’d love to see it. Send your sailing photos to sailmail@sailmagazine.com And don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter. Check back for updates! I took this shot from Cooper Island Beach Club as my ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Fall in line In the days before GPS, the best trick outside the book for finding a harbor in dense fog went like this: if it’s surrounded by rocks, forget it; if not, in you go, but never try to hit it ...read more

190115-Mark-Slats-Golden-Globe-Race2048x

Photo-Finish in the Golden Globe Race 2018

With less than 1,700 miles to go to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, second-place Mark Slats of the Netherlands has cut another 393 miles out of the lead held by French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede in the Golden Globe 2018 race.  Jean-Luc aboard the Rustler 36 Matmut ...read more

06-Heineken-1-R2018_1March_©LaurensMorel_LMA5965_p

Post-Irma Heineken Regatta

Even more than a year and half later, the scars from Hurricane Irma are still all too visible on the island of St. Maarten. But if Irma couldn’t prevent the famed Heineken from taking place in the winter of 2017-18, you can bet it’s not going to put a crimp in either the racing ...read more