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Sailor’s Day at the Toronto International Boat Show

Jan 31, 2024

Louisa Bobyk, part of the panel discussion at the inaugural Sailor’s Day

Photos courtesy of Alex Byczko and Louisa Bobyk

Last Saturday (Jan 27) the 2024 Toronto International Boat Show marked the first year for Sailor’s Day at the Enercare Centre.

The day was held in ‘Sailfest’, where many types of boats were on display including monohulls, Hobie’s, WASZPs, kitesurfing, windsurfing, wing foiling and more. There was apparel, gear, water toys and many booths lining the walls full of information of all things sailing.

Reversing the trend

It has been noticeable that the sail footprint of the Toronto boat show has been reduced in the past several years.

The idea for Sailor’s Day came from Alex Byczko.

“After participating in the show with Fogh Marine and speaking on behalf of Ontario Sailing for several years, I noticed that the sailing section was shrinking each year. The sailing community needed something more to entice them to attend the show. We needed to help rekindle the excitement for sailing.,” Alex explains.

Louisa Bobyk of North Sails was part of the planning process. “I spoke with Alex and we flushed out the schedule, kicked around ideas on individuals who we thought would be great to contribute and voila, the first sailor’s day was born.”

And it was a great success. The day was filled with eight seminars and close to 200 people filled the seats over the course of the day and that doesn’t even account for the standing individuals or show goers passing by and stopping in.

Since the sailing community is so diverse and age varied, the seminars were aimed at reaching a broader crowd. Of course, sharing the stoke of the sailing world was important, but also including other topics such as tech tips, foiling, Canada SailGP, AC Teams and more.

The panel discussion

Alex Byczko was the MC and the list of speakers included:

Agustin Ferrario – WeCANFoil 
Kirsten Neuschafer 
Dave Anderson – Youth and Women’s America’s Cup Team Canada 
Louisa Bobyk
Daniel Sheedy 
Diane Reid 
Geoff Wright
Tate Howell 
Hugh Beaton – North Sails 
Cam Copeland – Fogh Marine
Debbie Fogh – Fogh Marine 
Mark Goodyear – Raymarine

“It was an awesome first day and I think it’s something the show should do every year moving forward.,” said Louisa. “It was a terrific way to showcase what’s happening in and around the Canadian sailing community both locally and globally while also highlighting the latest advances in sailing tech.”

There’s high anticipation that this becomes an annual event. There are already several speakers in mind for next year as well as some other fun ideas being thrown around. They’re planning for bigger and better things!

To keep up to date with the latest news, you can follow Alex Byczko on Instagram @grandfromage33.

Allegra Smith-Herriott is the Associate Editor of Canadian Boating. She is a Sport Media graduate as well as an active sailor and power boater on Georgian Bay. She can be reached at asmithherriott@kerrwil.com.

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