The SA ISAF regatta title sponsor West Marine speaks up…
While most sailors today know West Marine for the ubiquitous presence of its stores in virtually every popular boating locale in the country, it didn’t start out that way. In fact, according to West Marine’s president and CEO, Geoff Eisenberg, “It’s never been our goal to be the biggest. That’s just kind of something that happened along the way.”
West Marine got its start when Randy Repass began a part-time business selling rope out of his Silicon Valley garage. Eventually he figured his fellow sailors might respond favorably to a place where it was easier to shop for the stuff they needed than the typical marine chandleries of the day (1968). He took the plunge and opened West Marine’s first store in Palo Alto. The rest, as they say, is history.
The founder and the first employees of West Marine, several of whom, including Eisenberg, are still with the Company today, were avid sailors who’d come to know each other through racing. They also turned out to be at the geographic ground-zero during the birth of a revolution in boat types – the ULDB – that were the precursors of most of today’s sportboats. It was in Santa Cruz that Bill Lee, Ron Moore, George Olson, the Allsberg brothers and other innovative designers and builders launched a new kind of boat based on the idea that, “Fast is fun.”
So it’s only natural that West Marine has an affinity for a regatta like the International Sportboat Anarchy Festival, and why the Company has come aboard as the title sponsor.
“Boats like this and sailors like these are what gave us our start. And besides, being part of a regatta like this is a blast!,” says Eisenberg.