AlphaGraphics Gold Circle Regatta February 4, 2010
It’s not every day that one gets to meet an Olympic sailor, let alone race with one. On February 4, 2010 in Naples, Fla., AlphaGraphics, the title sponsor of the US Sailing Team, took its sponsorship to the next level with a pioneering GEL event that intertwined world-class sailing with corporate relationship building.
AlphaGraphics brought its top franchisees out to sail and race with GEL and USSTAG team member Graham Biehl, a 2008 Olympian and 2012 Olympic hopeful.
Ninety-five percent of the participants had never sailed, let alone raced, prior to the afternoon on the home waters of the Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club, but tight racing ensued, facilitated by a highly experienced coaching team from J World Annapolis, a sailing school partner which powers many GEL programs.
Participants were divided into four teams on J80s, with each team guest-coached by Biehl during one round of the four races which comprised the regatta.
“Our role as a title sponsor of US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics has really evolved into a greater and greater relationship year-after-year,” said Kevin Cushing, CEO of AlphaGraphics. “Our event was a great example of how the members of the team are more engaged with our franchisees and our franchisees are engaged with them. Graham Biehl was present on every boat giving us tips and having a blast with our franchisees. It was a once-in-a-life experience.”
Added Dan Cooney, Commercial Director for US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, “We were thrilled to have our team-building partner GEL lead our title sponsor AlphaGraphics and their top franchisees through the paces on the water, culminating in some competitive but friendly racing. It serves to deepen and add value to these relationships.”
The day’s outcome? Sixteen key franchisees and AlphaGraphics employees experienced an unprecedented opportunity to compete with and against a young Olympic athlete, and got a glimpse into the teamwork required to battle wind, currents and competitors in the intense world of sailboat racing. Several teams won individual races and the regatta did award trophies, but as Kevin Cushing pointed out, the victories are truly measured in the smiles of the participants and the deepened relationships between AlphaGraphics and its vital franchisees.