Dear International Sailing Media, Clubs, Classes, Family and Friends,
Welcome, officially, to www.sailingillustrated.com.
We’ve made it. Our target launch date of May 15th is here, and we’ve docked out.
We’ve already put up more than 100 posts, the number of visitors (over 13,000) and subscribers (several hundred) are going steadily north, potential sponsors and advertisers are calling, and we’re getting nice feedback from those who have been already following the site in beta.
Our launch news release follows in this post. There's a PDF version that you can download from my Dropbox here.
That Dropbox folder also has pictures of Chris, Max, Meg and myself, along with a photo of how well the site renders on mobile.
Any questions please email Meg or myself at email@example.com.
Thanks very much for your interest and support!
CEO and Editor-in-Chief
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 15, 2017
SAILING ILLUSTRATED brings a fresh new look to yacht racing coverage in the USA
SAN FRANCISCO (May 15, 2017) – The launch of SAILING ILLUSTRATED, the new online publication at www.sailingillustrated.com and its related social media channels, brings a fresh and exciting new perspective to the sport from a crew of top sailing journalists and commentators.
Founded and edited by former America's Cup executive Tom Ehman, SAILING ILLUSTRATED is already posting up-to-the-minute news and original content about regattas, clubs, events, issues and, most importantly, the people who make it fun and interesting.
“SI is a celebration of yacht racing,’’ Ehman said. “Some prefer to call it competitive sailing. Either way, that’s what we’re about. From Optis and Sunfish to Maxis and the J-Class. And I should say, Corinthian yacht racing. Sure, we’ll be happily covering pro events and sailors, but our focus is on North American clubs, classes, events and Corinthian racing sailors.”
SAILING ILLUSTRATED will have an editor on watch 24/7 to cover a sport that doesn’t follow bankers' hours in only three time zones, and is even busier on weekends. Readers will find regular updates about the America's Cup catamarans skimming above the waves of Bermuda's Great Sound, the Volvo Ocean Racers pounding through remote oceans, as well as coverage of the Vendee Globe, Olympic sailing, and the world’s other big regattas – especially where North Americans are racing or are keenly interested, such as the Fastnet and Sydney-Hobart.
“We will also focus where too few other sites and pubs do these days – important local and regional regattas, the great clubs and classes that run them, and the often larger-than-life personalities,” said Chris Bretschger, a top sailor and noted young leader in Southern California sailing who is SI’s marketing and social media guru. “SAILING ILLUSTRATED will bring the latest word from the docks and club bars about developments and issues on and off the water.”
“In the few weeks that we’ve been building the new website, our team has posted over 100 articles with cool photos, videos and insider info,” noted Meg Ehman, head of client services and deputy editor. “A serious editorial approach, but we will not take ourselves too seriously. Rigorous reporting but with a twinkle in the eye. As our slogan says, ‘Sail Fast, Have Fun.’”
Each new post is forwarded to SAILING ILLUSTRATED’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sailingillustratedblog) and pushed out via SI’s new Twitter feed (@sailillustrated), both of which will go live Tuesday.
“Another small but important service,” Tom Ehman said, “is that when we put up a new post it is automatically emailed to SAILING ILLUSTRATED subscribers. Already several hundred have subscribed, with dozens more signing up every day. Our subscribers don’t want to wait for the news, but get it as soon as we post.”
Ehman continued, “In just a couple weeks we’ve had over 12,000 unique views. Sunday alone, normally a slow day for online media, we had 2,500 visitors, and we are just docking out.”
Bretschger said that he’s thrilled with another important metric. “The average time per visit is almost four minutes. That means our content is engaging and bodes well for the future, especially for sponsors and advertisers.”
“We are particularly excited about our mobile site,” said Max Moosmann, head of content strategy and a contributing editor. (Max penned one of the most popular SI posts to date – “The westside revolution” on the new Pac52 Class.) “SI renders beautifully on a phone or tablet. Clean, uncluttered and easy to read. I wanted our parents and TFE to be able to read SI easily on their phones,” Moosmann quipped. “Mobile is no longer the future, it’s here and now. Our mobile strategy is paying off. In the past week mobile usage has surpassed desktop by 25% and continues to climb.”
Concerning other websites Ehman said, “We aren’t trying to compete with anyone. I just want fresh, upbeat reporting that will attract and stimulate sailors and non-sailors alike. We even put links on our front page to other popular sailing sites. As JFK famously said, ‘A rising tide lifts all ships.’”
A simple, user-friendly SAILING ILLUSTRATED Forum has gone live to accommodate reader- generated comments, photos and videos. The Forum is divided into visual, easy-to-navigate sections – America’s Cup, “Buy Sell & Swap,” Class Racing, Collegiate, Handicap Racing, Offshore Multihull Association (by request), Olympics, Pac52, Volvo Ocean Race and “Yutes.” The latter category, named in honor of the 1992 cult-classic movie “My Cousin Vinny,” is for junior, high school and other youth sailors. Kiteboard sailors have asked for their own section; it will be added shortly.
“All constructive comments are welcome, whether below individual posts or in the Forum,” Ehman said. “But as I found with my personal Facebook page, readers appreciate not being bombarded by name-calling, personal attacks and coarse language. This will not be permitted on SAILING ILLUSTRATED, and perps will be politely but firmly excused from further participation.”
Ehman concluded, “We are fortunate to have a number of esteemed, veteran editorial contributors including Bob Fisher (GBR), Kimball Livingston and Bernie Wilson already onboard, along with a newbie – 15-year old high school sailor Jeffrey Petersen. We’ll be announcing others in due course. In the best tradition of American journalism, others are writing unfettered under nom de plumes, notably The Fifth Beatle, F. Leeward Bailer, and Nautilingus. As we said, a serious editorial approach but with a twinkle in the eye.”
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See our two-minute introductory video at www.sailingillustrated.com/mission.
Read more about our team at www.sailingillustrated.com/about.
Chris Bretschger, Meg and Tom Ehman, Max Moosmann.