This year Red Sail Sports Grand Cayman marks its 25th anniversary as one of the world’s leading resort watersports operators. Low-key celebrations and observations are planned, but the primary goal for Red Sail Sports this year is to refocus its commitment to quality customer service and community involvement – two things that have been key in the company’s success since it was established in 1987.
‘The Cayman Islands as a destination and the dive industry as a whole have gone through a very tough time in recent years because of Hurricane Ivan and the global economy,’ said Red Sail Sports Operations Manager Rod McDowall. ‘Many companies worldwide did not survive, but Red Sail Sports is growing, expanding and continuing to improve. That is a direct result of the way we do business and the way we service our customers.’
In 1987, U2 released its ‘Joshua Tree’ album. Nirvana appeared on the music scene. Aretha Franklin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. ‘The Last Emperor’ won an Oscar for Best Picture. Lance Armstrong became a professional triathlete. And Red Sail Sports opened its doors at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman and Britannia, a resort covering some 90 acres including Jack Nicklaus Golf Course, tennis, spa, golf villas and luxury hotel which was managed by the Hyatt. The Cayman Islands dive industry became a formidable force on the world dive scene, and the small watersports operation was the new kid on the block.
‘Red Sail Sports started with two dive boats, a few beach toys and about 20 enthusiastic staff members,’ said McDowall. ‘Over the next 25 years, we built a reputation as one of the world’s leading resort watersports operators. Our philosophy has remained the same throughout the years: Give the customer the highest quality service possible.’Sadly the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman was a victim of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, but the resort’s beach club is currently operating as the Grand Cayman Beach Suites.
Rod McDowall has remained a constant in the company – he’s been Operations Manager since the first dive boat went out. During his tenure, operations have grown to encompass four luxurious catamarans, 8 dive boats, and 6 full-service dive shops and watersports centres at all major beach resorts on the West Side, East End and the North Side of Grand Cayman. In addition, Red Sail Sports operates an impressive range of resort retail boutiques.
Because of its partnership with the island’s major resorts, the company has also created a Destination Management department to serve corporate groups and incentive travel.
McDowall has also been a steady presence in the island’s tourism and dive industries, having served in several leadership positions through the years. In that time Red Sail Sports hosted a long list of celebrities such as NBC weatherman Al Roker, NFL star Marcus Allen, Fox Football sportscaster Howie Long and TV personality Regis Philbin.
‘The Cayman Islands offer some of the best scuba diving in the world, our waters and beaches are fantastic, we are easily accessible by air from the mainland U.S., and Cayman is one of the safest destinations in the world’ says McDowall. ‘We believe in what we have to offer here and we are committed, so being involved in promoting our home is a natural thing for me.’
To honour this milestone anniversary, Red Sail Sports will continue to do what it does best, provide top-notch service. The company is undertaking a training program to enhance customer service. Red Sail Sports also remains committed to community service as evidenced by its strong support for the Special Olympics program for the Cayman Islands.
‘Red Sail Sports has been here for 25 years and we plan to be here for another 25 years setting the standard and being a contributor to our community,’ said Rod McDowall.