A Reflection on 10 Years
It’s always interesting to me when people make remark on how large our company has become. There is a look of muffled surprise sometimes, perhaps that we’ve made it to where we are. That makes me smile. It wasn’t like this at the start.
West Coast Sailing was started on June 13th, 2005, with little more than passion and a vision for wanting to serve dinghy customers in a better way. To be honest, I really had no idea what I was doing at the time. I still remember my family waving and going home on our first day. Who knows what they were thinking. I’d graduated college two days earlier and spent every dollar I had to start this place. I knew I loved sailing and was ready to work endlessly to grow our sport.
Something unique happens when you have no plans and a completely overwhelming amount of work to do - you focus. From one day to the next you step carefully, but quickly, learning as you go. I knew I loved dinghy sailing, college sailing, and that was it. The rest fell into place. I made a lot of mistakes, made them daily. I slept at work when the job wasn’t quite finished. I’d work however many days in a row it took to assist my customers. In the early days when the phone didn’t ring, I was there, ready to help.
I still see that subtle look of surprise, 10 years later. We now sell almost 300 boats a year (all dinghies still, no kayaks, no paddleboards, no sportboats). There are 12 hardworking employees here that bring it every day. We fulfill our customer’s needs by shipping boats and products around the world. I still consider us the underdog compared to our competitors, even though we’re larger than most of them now. Honestly, I like it like that. There is nothing to brag about, even if we wanted to do so. There remains a plethora of work to be done to help our sailors get on the water faster, more easily, and with less hassle. I am personally humbled by what we have accomplished, and absolutely driven to help even more people go sailing.
One interesting aspect of our company is that our staff is almost completely made up of dinghy sailors. Combined experience racing boats is probably over 100 years, and we go to work every day and get dirty. We move boxes, unpack containers, do demos, coach teams and go sailing. We aren’t some suits in a room who don’t know what you need. We are dinghy sailors from top to bottom. Our warehouse has close to half a million dollars of inventory on hand at all times. Our world is constantly in motion. We’ve made our fair share of mistakes and know the pains of growth. When we screw things up, we fix it. When we face challenges we dig deep and apply our skills and management to make sure we’re all pulling together and working towards a common goal.
I want you to know that we are serious about this. We’ve moved into a new facility, launched a new website, and updated our logo and tagline. None of it comes without hard work, long hours, dedication, and a passion for serving our customers, sailors, and friends. We hope that our reputation has you consider shopping with us. If you’re a long time customer - thank you. We know you can shop anywhere, and we’re honored by the trust you place in us to take care of your needs.
I look forward to seeing you on the water,
West Coast Sailing, Inc.
June 13, 2015
SUPPORTING YOUR PASSION FOR DINGHY SAILING
Welcome to West Coast Sailing—where performance drives everything we do. For over a decade, we’ve served the small sailboat community with unrivaled expertise and an unwavering commitment to helping our customers sail smarter and faster.
As the leading source for small sailboats, parts, apparel and accessories, we stock the highest performing products from the world’s top manufacturers. Our knowledgeable staff is dedicated to ensuring that you’re equipped with the right tools for an exhilarating experience on the water, every time.
We proudly stand behind everything we sell and can expertly guide you towards the best products to meet your unique needs. So whether you’re in it for racing or recreation, we’re confident in our ability to help you sail better than ever before.
Get ready to own the water.
- George, Kyle, Chris, Phil, Andrew, Stephanie, Anna, Abby, Kira, Phil, and John
George Yioulos | President/Owner
George started sailing seriously in high school in California. He went on to sail for four years at the University of Oregon. While there, he coordinated the team for three of those years. His senior year he was selected for the Jim Rousmaniere Student Leadership Award and elected to the College Sailing Hall of Fame. George spends lots of his time promoting youth sailing and expanding water access for everyone. As a former coach, he is now a board member for the Columbia Gorge Racing Association and the Oregon Youth Sailing Foundation. He is regularly involved regionally and internationally in growing the sport he loves.
Kyle Eaton | Inventory & Fulfillment Manager
Kyle has worked at West Coast sailing since 2007, when he was pressed into service to fill the increasing mail order business. Kyle is fully active in College Sailing, where he serves as the Northwest Conference Commissioner. He spends many hours volunteering at College and High School races (he's the High School Coach in Portland), and he logs many miles doing so. Kyle is racing Tasars here in Portland and would love to see a Team Racing circuit get started. Kyle is a board member of the Columbia Gorge Racing Association.
Chris Brown | VP of Sales
Chris has been part of the team at West Coast Sailing since 2010. He led the Oregon State University sailing team for four years and in 2007, he received the Pete McKillop Sportsmanship Award and was named to the All Northwest Sailing Team. He has stayed involved with college sailing as the NW Interconference Regatta Coordinator. Chris has taught sailing in Portland and Seattle and he spent a summer coaching youth fleet racing. Chris loves blasting across the Gorge on a Laser and racing Tasars and Thistles. Chris is a board member of the Columbia Gorge Racing Association.
Phil Krug | Marketing Director
Phil made the move to Portland to join our team in June 2011 and is the head of our Marketing Department. A native of Huntington, New York, Phil grew up sailing dinghies on Long Island Sound and the Great South Bay. He went on to sail for Fordham University in NYC where he was a Co-Captain for several years and recipient of the Joseph Sullivan Jr. Leadership Award for his commitment and overall leadership of the team. You can find him sailing Lasers, Thistles, Hobie Islands, J24's, and J70's. He is a member of the Oregon Youth Sailing Foundation board of directors.
Andrew Cannard | Customer Service Manager
Andrew began working at West Coast Sailing during the summer of 2013. Andrew spent much of his early childhood on his family's sailboat and started racing in high school with the Portland area team. While attending The Evergreen State College, Andrew coached the local high school program and raced on a variety of keel boats. His summers were spent coaching on the Willamette or at Columbia Gorge Racing Association where Andrew worked as Sailing Director. During his last two years at Evergreen Andrew lived on his 30 foot Pearson which he continues to own and maintain. Andrew currently enjoys sailing his laser and coaches the local High School team.
Stephanie | Accounting
Stephanie is responsible for all the bookkeeping and paperwork we generate helping our customers. She make's sure we're on track and organized!
Kira | Customer Service Assistant
Kira helps Andrew with our Customer Service needs, answering phones and responding to emails. She is a sailor at St. Mary's College.
Anna | Fulfillment Assistant
Anna assists our fulfillment and customer service teams, keeping our customers informed and solving everyday order issues.
Abby | Fulfillment Assistant
Abby assists our fulfillment team with picking, packing, and shipping orders. She is also a sail numbering guru!
Phil | Warehouse Technician
Phil works with our boat sales team to make sure our new and used boats are rigged and ready to go sailing. He is a former U of O sailor and active Thistle and Tasar sailor.
John | Warehouse Technician
John helps out in our warehouse by unpacking and rigging boats, assembling trailers, and keeping our boat inventory orderly. He is our resident Hobie Cat expert and races a H16.