Which boating enthusiasts were most influential on Twitter in 2014?
Social media isn't always a reliable source of information. However there are some exceptional individuals in the boating and sailing community whose Twitter feeds reflect a genuine love of all things boat-related, and deliver powerful insights into the sport of sailing and the wider marine leisure industry. The best tend to Tweet regularly, relevantly and with the ability to let their own personality and individual passion for the subject shine through.
We’ve looked back over the past year and considered who really stands out in this respect. The list we’ve come up with is by no means comprehensive, (and is not in order of importance) so feel free to add your own suggestions. But our feeling is that for a rounded understanding of sailing events, interesting reactions to the latest industry news and gossip, insights into equipment innovations, and for sheer entertainment, these eight are fantastic Tweeters, and will be well worth following in 2015.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston - Learn from his vast experience
@SirRKJ – 3,240 followers
Sir Robin is the Chairman and Founder of the Clipper Race. He was the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world, and according to his Twitter profile is “always seeking another adventure”. As well as clocking up thousands of nautical miles, this legend boasts 3,200+ Twitter followers, largely because his raw passion for sailing comes through with every single tweet.
Despite being in his 70s, Sir Robin remains a world class sailor. He finished in third place of Rhum class in the 2014 Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. Achievements during a truly action packed life have ensured he’s still got fascinating insights into sailing today.
Iain Percy - Building momentum for Bart’s Bash
@IainPercy – 7,670 followers
High profile Brit sailor Iain is a double Olympic Champion and currently skipper of America's Cup challenger Artemis Racing. This year his lively Twitter feed has been a vital channel of information for the growing number of supporters of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, which Iain founded in 2013 in memory of his close friend Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.
Iain did a great job of using Twitter to push out exciting news updates of Bart’s Bash which united the international sailing community for a record-breaking sailing day on September 20th. The event was so well publicised and supported that it proved to be a massive high point of 2014 in the world of sailing.
No doubt we’ll enjoy Iain’s Twitter alerts next year as he heads into the 35th America’s Cup and builds towards ‘Bart’s Bash 2’.
Shirley Robertson OBE - Insightful thoughts and helpful shares
@Shirleysail - 4,478 followers
We’d recommend receiving the official tweets of Shirley Robertson OBE – the first British woman to win consecutive Olympic Golds at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. Her outstanding sailing career has also led her to become a TV presenter and commentator, which is why her knowledge on Twitter is invaluable.
Shirley continues to present and produce CNN’s monthly sailing TV programme ‘Mainsail’ and is kept busy with speaking engagements and charity work. A generous re-tweeter, she religiously follows the leading lights of global sailing and shares really useful nuggets of information, to the benefit of a fast-growing audience.
Simon Shaw - Inspiring and informative
@shawsailing – 25,700 followers
Simon Shaw’s sailing successes range from America’s Cup to the World Match Racing Tour, from the Maxi Worlds to the Tour Voile. As a sailing Champion he has a strong voice on Twitter which explains his mega following.
Today Simon offers his services for racing, professional training and coaching, project management and design consultancy through his company www.simon-shaw.com. Simon’s twitter feed always includes dramaticimages from sailing events around the world, but his personal views and encouraging sentiments come across very well too.
Sir Ben Ainslie - Views from a sailing legend
@AinslieBen - 67,000 followers
Well he’s widely considered the most successful Olympic sailor of all time, so it’s a pretty safe bet that Sir Ben will be a useful source of sailing info on Twitter. This Olympian began with a silver medal, and went on to win consecutive gold medals at the next four Olympic Games.
Knighted in January 2013 Sir Ben is at the epicenter of global sailing, from his involvement with the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, to campaigning for Portsmouth to host two America's Cup World Series (ACWS) events in the run up to the 2017 America’s Cup. Tweets from Sir Ben will keep you in the loop next year, not least because of his role at Team Principal and Skipper for Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) - the British challenger for the 35th America’s Cup. With his hectic schedule we don't know how he finds the time to Tweet, but we're very glad he does!
Laura Harrison – Glimpse into the world of Sunseeker
@Laura_ssl – 836 followers
Laura is PR and Marketing Director for Sunseeker London, and her enthusiastic Twitter output gives a tantalising glimpse into the world of superyachts and glamorous Sunseeker parties.
This year we have loved her flow of images and posts from around the world during #sunseekerseason– from the Sunset Party in Corfu on Sunseeker Yacht 75 Finezza, to living it up at Monaco Yacht Show.
Not many of us have cause to mention #superyachts #Claridges #Mayfair #polo #Cannes in our tweets, but Laura manages to do so with clarity and charm, reflecting her own fun personality and the Sunseeker brand in equal measure.
Toby Hodges - Knows his boats and equipment
@TobyHodgesYW – 383 followers
Toby is an experienced sailor, and a talented technical writer. He has been writing about boats and sailing for many years, making use of his own travelling and sailing experiences in his current role as Test Editor at Yachting World. His articles are widely read and his tweets and retweets provide useful news and insights for the time-poor.
If you love boats and want to know more about the latest models and innovations in sailing gear and equipment, Toby’s feed is an excellent choice.
Peta Stuart-Hunt - Never a dull Tweet!
@PRPeta - 3,781 followers
Where have you been if you don’t already follow Peta the Tweeter? She’s a prolific, witty, switched on Twitter addict, who has clocked up 25.2k tweets and a highly influential following since joining the network in March 2009. Being extremely well connected in British sailing and the wider marine leisure industry means Peta is quick off the mark with news and reactions to the issues of the day.
Her observations on the world of sailing, and life in general (Downton, the dog etc) make her feed a must read for anyone in the marine industry. Peta runs her Lymington-based PR company with aplomb with clients including Round the Island Race and Hudson Wight no doubt benefiting from her mastery of social media.