With a recent record turnout, the conviviality reached new heights at yesterday’s icebreaker reception while the first day’s presentations made this year’s opening conference day one of the best in recent memory. The mayor of Charleston, The Honorable Joseph Riley, Jr. kicked us off with recognition of the historic connection between Charleston and the sea while highlighting both recent ASTA Tall Ships Challenge successes while predicting the best ever event next summer. CAPT Chris Sinnett kicked off the theme of this year’s conference, “Measuring Success,” with a learned, useful, and highly entertaining opening key note address. After a lunch that provided an enjoyable opportunity to complete the annual business meeting, Brad Van Liew, executive director of the South Carolina Maritime Foundation, knocked the audience’s socks off with a video and discussion of his Around the World singlehanded victory aboard the Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. From that, he deftly transitioned into looking at Spirit of South Carolina’s future and the benchmarks his team is using to guide them towards a successful sail training program. Stay tuned to the ASTA Conference Blog for continuing updates from the Low Country!