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Success!….and we are already looking forward to next year

Posted by Tall Ships America on November 18, 2009

Now that the post-conference flurry has subsided somewhat, the ASTA team is back in the office and racing full steam ahead, planning regional meetings on the coasts and Great Lakes, a board retreat in the spring, and a naval attache reception in DC thrown in for good measure, all while working on next summer’s Great Lakes United TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®. Once again, we are left with the warm and fuzzies after spending a week conferencing with our fellow sail trainers and tall shippies, discussing what the future holds and how we can improve the sail training experience.

This year in Cleveland, we decided to maintain the  schedule that we picked up last year in Halifax working on our joint conference with Sail Training International. There were fewer sessions this time around but the speakers were knowledgable and engaging, and the sessions informative and relevant. There was also more time to network, Lori having scheduled in morning and afternoon coffee breaks that allowed time to gather one’s thoughts or continue a discussion.

Over the course of two days, the 137 attendees were welcomed to Cleveland by the head of the Conventions and Visitors Bureau, regaled with sea stories from a documentary filmmaker, learned how to ask for money effectively, heard about exciting and promising new programs within the industry, thought long and hard about the three-hour daysail, learned how to put on a good tall ship event, and even how to prepare for a medical emergency at sea.

But it was not all Powerpoints and coffee, attendees were able to leave the hotel and headed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a reception sponsored by Allen Agency. If you listen to music, then the Rock Hall is the place for you. It was an awesome time and we even had the place to ourselves to oggle, exclaim, watch and listen. The music theme continued to Friday night with a live Beatles tribute band, The Backbeats, who got people on the dance floor and singing along to the classics. No conference would be complete without a late night tea party and we raised our glasses high to Captain Lane Briggs.

For other presentations, PowerPoints and video, go to the conference blog at www.tallships.wordpress.com. And, just to remind us where our hearts really lie, which is not in a windowless hotel ballroom but out at sea, there was some good old fashioned shanty singing courtesy of Hank Kramer from Grays Harbor Historical Seaport– see video below…

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