2018 in review
Without getting political, this has certainly been a turbulent year with many questions left hanging in the air, not only about the immediate future of the yachting markets but also the country as a whole. Our general feeling however is that the political climate has not affected us as much as we feared it might and indeed it has been a successful year from a business point of view. We have compiled a short video with many of the boats we have sold this year which can be viewed in the following link:
It seems the traditional seasons for buying and selling have blurred somewhat, and in 2018 the usual cold dark months of January and February when most people should be thinking about warm fires and pub dinners proved to be exceptionally busy and caught us rather by surprise.
Our explanation for this sudden explosion in business is down to the superb, if short lived, summer of 2017. Many people without boats realised they had missed a great season afloat so set out to ensure they had a boat for the 2018 season, and once Christmas was out the way it left them only a matter of months before the sun pushed through the clouds and they wanted to be on the water. Buying in the middle of winter is often a good time as it allows enough time to fit the new boat out before spring but it can sometimes require some imagination to see through the heavy winter covers, condensation and frosted windows. After the incredible summer of 2018, we are hoping the new year will bring a similar rush to the start of 2019 and this time we are far better prepared, no leaving the office for ski holidays until March at least!
Business started to tail off through April and May and on into the early part of the summer but this appears to have been a trend across the board, however once the sun really came out we found ourselves handling sale after sale of small motor launches, sailing dinghies and rowing boats. These small boats are an affordable and simple way of getting the family afloat, and our Small Craft section of the web site has proved very successful as one of the only places offering a specialist advertising board for traditional small boats. It may not be big commission for us, but it all adds up and even the 8′ punts need a new home occasionally so we are happy to oblige and match dinghies with their new custodians.
On a personal level it has been a successful boating year as we sold our Camper and Nicholson yacht, Zircon, after 6 happy years of sailing out of Dartmouth with her. We were delighted to hand her over to the deserving new owner and are looking forward to welcoming both boat and owner back to Dartmouth in 2019 for the biannual Classic Channel Regatta. The replacement for Zircon was a Nordic Folkboat built in Sweden in 1954 called Wilma. She is a little beauty and is currently undergoing a refit in preparation for next season, another little project which keeps us busy in the evenings and weekends. The Folkboats are a joy to sail and will enable us to take part in many of the classic regattas as well as enjoying those sunny weekends on the Devon coast. As well as Wilma, Peter has his beloved Vertue Caupona which he sailed to the Scilly Isles this summer and took part in the wonderful Sea Salts and Sails Festival at Mousehole, a superb event which feels very much like the early festivals in Douarnenez.
Our sales pontoon in Dartmouth has been a big success yet again this season with a good turnover of yachts from various parts of the country. It provides a fantastic spot from which to show off yachts for sale and get potential buyers aboard boats which they would not otherwise travel to see so we are excited to see what boats we will bring to Dartmouth next year.
The big change on the horizon for us will be an updated web site coming in the next couple of months. Our current site was first launched in 2013 and with a few alterations has served us well and receives much praise, however even the wooden boat world must move with the times so we are having the site overhauled with a fresh look and hopefully some clever changes to make the photos easier to view and in a larger format.
We are looking forward to an exciting 2019 season and hope for some more superb summer weather so we can enjoy many of the classic regattas and are hoping to see many of our happy new owners out on the water.