Year: 2019

09 Oct 2019

Interview with the President of The Catamaran Company

An Interview by Jennifer Irving

The Catamaran Company is one of Reliance Yacht Management’s oldest clients, with a partnership spanning over 20 years. We interviewed the company’s president, Hugh Murray, to discuss what that relationship has meant to them over the years, as well as gain a deeper insight into the workings of the world’s largest catamaran dealer and charter company.

What are the origins of The Catamaran Company and how did you come to be a part of it?

The Catamaran Company was founded in 1989 and grew into the largest retailer of new and used catamarans in the world. I invested in the company and became President in 1996 – a role I continue to this day.

Hugh Murray
Hugh Murray,
On The Catamaran Company website, you claim to be ‘the worldwide leader in all aspects of the catamaran market.’ What is the key to The Catamaran Company’s success? 

We only do one thing and we do that better than anyone else. Most companies try to sell anything that makes them money, but we are solely about catamarans and catamaran experts. We focus entirely on catamarans and offer sales, charter, service, financing and insurance exclusively for catamarans.

How did you come to hear about Reliance Yacht Management and why did you choose to work with them? 

Originally, we imported and sailed all of our boats from France using our own inhouse delivery teams. In the late 90’s we were approached by Nick Irving, the owner of Reliance, who offered to provide a complete delivery service to us. He highlighted that while we concentrated on catamarans, he concentrated on delivery and he was the expert at getting our boats from A to B. We agreed to give him a try and that has continued for over 20 years and Reliance are our exclusive delivery company.

Reliance has recently started working with The Catamaran Company in organising shipments of catamarans to California. But I want to ask, how important is Reliance’s captain-based yacht delivery service to The Catamaran Company’s operations?

We discovered many moons ago that we need to focus on what we do best and to use experts to do the rest. Reliancealways provided us with the best captains and crews for sailing deliveries so when he had to start freighting cats to California it was a whole new ball game. We had the actual shipping companies handle the first few deliveries ourselves to get a feel for it and quickly found out what it entailed and decided we needed someone we could trust to do it for us, so we immediately turned the task over to Reliance. They now provide all shipping services for us, whether on the vessel’s bottom or on a freighter.

You offer a wide range of services for your clients, going above and beyond charter and sales. What effect has the long-standing relationship between The Catamaran Companyand Reliance had on what you are able to offer your clients?

Business is all about trust so when you know you have a “partner” you can rely on; it makes the job a lot easier. It allows us to concentrate on our strengths and know that Relianceare taking care of their end. Their communication with us is exemplary. When problems arise, as they have a habit of doing, we are informed quickly, efficiently and with proposed solutions. That’s people working together, not simply trying to blame others or to cover their asses.

As I previously mentioned, Reliance has been involved in shipping more catamarans out to California for The Catamaran Company in recent months, what is next for you?

I wish I knew…. but I can promise it will be exciting!

 

Find out more about The Catamaran Company at: https://www.catamarans.com

Read more about Reliance’s new California deliveries for The Catamaran Company here and here

01 Oct 2019

LA Harbor Boat Show

The fourth annual LA Harbor In-Water Boat Show this September was held at the Cabrillo Way Marina in the heart of Los Angeles Harbor and was by all accounts to have been a great success.

It was satifiying to see the yachts we delivered from France to be on display and attracting a great deal of attention. The Catamaran Company had 3 yachts on display, a Gemini, the Astrea 42 from Fountaine Pajot and the Nautitech Open 40

Reliance Yacht Management provided the end to end logistics required to get the yachts from France to California on time, in budget and looking good.

All the best to the Catamaran guys at the show, Monte, Dave, Jonathan, Tom and Brent

Catco LA Harbor

LA Harbor

30 Sep 2019

Yachts Delivered Video

A short video made by the guys in the office of some of the boat delivered this year. Apologies to those clients whose yacht is not included.

30 Aug 2019

Astrea 42 Arrives in San Diego

The beautiful new Fountaine Pajot Astrea 42 arrives in San Diego from France. The multi modal delivery included trucking from the factory to La Rochelle, crewed delivery to Antwerp, Ship to San Diego and finally the transfer from ship’s side to marina for the handover to client. A very happy client.

29 Aug 2019

Upcoming Boat Shows

Reliance will be attending the following boat shows this year:

Cannes – 11th to 15th September

Southampton – 13th to 22nd September

Annapolis – 3rd to 6th October

We look forward to seeing clients, past and present, as well as meet new contacts. If you would like to arrange a meeting during any of the boat shows, please get in touch. All contact details can be found here.

See you there!

28 Aug 2019

Travel the World Like Greta Thunberg: Tips on Crewing and Boat Hitchhiking

Greta Thunberg, the teenage environmental activist, is due to arrive in New York today for the Climate Action Conference, after battling the Atlantic waves for two weeks. Thunberg had committed herself to carbon-neutral travel, following her train tour around Europe this summer. The yacht is state of the art, with underwater turbines and solar power; the emergency engine has been sealed off to ensure complete carbon neutrality. However, Thunberg has attracted a lot of criticism for her efforts to find greener forms of travel, from the trip’s lack of practicality through to personal attacks calling Thunberg ‘deeply disturbed.’

While the ethical debate rages on as to whether Thunberg should try and achieve as much as she can as an individual or showcase accessible but imperfect solutions for all (bearing in mind that perhaps we shouldn’t hold a 16 year old girl with autism to such a high standard, or take her actions as gospel). We suggest that Greta’s journey, although not entirely explicable, highlights how sailing can be a simple, sustainable and ultimately adventurous way to travel.

Boat hitchhiking, boat-hiking, or crewing,  is a great way to travel while reducing your carbon footprint. Sailing is not perfect – fuel reserves are always needed to account for changeable weather conditions and safety – but some of its downfalls can become its greatest gifts. Slower travel allows you to enjoy the wonder of the journey itself, as much as the destination. You learn a new sport, as well as test your team working skills with people who come from all walks of life. You can take a job that is just a day, a few days, or even a transatlantic passage. The world is your oyster!

Nonetheless, here are a few things to consider before you embark on your crewing adventure:

Get the WHY clear
  • Do you want to crew to improve your sailing skills? To travel the world and get from A to B? To experience something new and a different way of life? Or to simply relax in beautiful bays? Search accordingly and be clear about what you want.

 

Reliance crew
Be confident or start small
  • Sailing requires trust and confidence, and you need to be honest with yourself, your captain and your fellow crew as to whether you are ready to complete an ocean passage. There are many other smaller opportunities out there as well – at Reliance we regularly conduct deliveries between France and Greece, Croatia and Turkey. There are even smaller jobs available sometimes just along the coast: France to Antwerp; Kent to Poole. Keep your eye out for something you are completely confident on.

 

Research and learn
  • At Reliance we do not turn away crew if they don’t have formal qualifications; experience is preferred above all else and beyond. Nonetheless, it is always the captain’s decision whether they decide to take you aboard. You may not know how to sail but learning about the specific passage you would like to take, the seasons, weather and the basic parts of a boat will not only make you a more competent crew member but will help you feel more confident and safe on board.

 

Be flexible with time, money, and place
  • Unlike hitching on a car or a ferry, crewing is not simply an easy way to get from A to B. Sailboats deal with seasons, routes, weather, breakage, people, all sorts of variables. You must be flexible on time and place – go where the wind takes you so to speak! For example, currently in August, and through to September, its hurricane season so yacht delivery is quite quiet, while the end of the summer, October time, tends to be the busiest time for transatlantic and American-centric deliveries. In the Med, charter companies like to have everything in place by Spring. Nonetheless, Reliance is largely moving yachts all year round, responding to clients and whenever boats are ready out of the factory. Unlike private boat hitchhiking, crewing with Reliance does give you more certainty about where exactly you will land, nonetheless, we cannot guarantee that it’ll be exactly next to the airport.

 

Reliance crew
Be 100% happy with the people onboard
  • It is always hard to foresee but sometimes captains and crew do not get along, its one of the many hazards of working with people. At Reliance we provide space for our captains to find crew but ultimately it is up to them who they choose to sail with. Once you are in touch with a captain, message them and communicate clearly; ask lots of questions and leave nothing to presumption. Don’t let your eagerness to sail override your instinct and judgement; do not get on a boat that you are 100% happy about. At Reliance we guarantee the professionalism of our captains and your safety. However, that does not mean that friction and disagreements are completely avoidable.

 

Be clear on intentions, expectations and agreements
  • Crewing for Reliance means delivering a yacht for a client, it means getting from A to B in the most efficient way possible. It does not mean cruising or having a holiday. If you would like a more relaxed experience, then please look at the many crew websites that are available online. Be clear of your intentions and what you expect from a crewing experience before embarking upon one. It will make it easier for you to plan, anticipate and avoid misunderstandings.

 

Pack light and thoughtful (personal safety gear)
  • Ask your captain what you might need, and they will give you a list based upon the expected weather conditions and the equipment already aboard. With yacht delivery we are often working from a blank canvas, while it is the captain’s job to source equipment, it is your job to provide your safety gear. Pack lightly and don’t forget a sleeping bag!

 

Make it meaningful
  • While a crewing experience can help build up your nautical miles and experience, it is important to look at how your journey can benefit this world beyond yourself. When we plan, prepare and make conscious decisions, we can minimize our negative footprint and maximize the benefits for the places we visit and for the planet as a whole. Find out how you can make a more climate-conscious yacht delivery.

 

Don’t buy a return ticket
  • Although yacht deliveries aim to be as efficient as possible, they rarely go to plan. Avoid stressing the captain and don’t book a return flight. While Reliance can sometimes cover your travel costs, we recommend you follow that newly caught travel bug and keep going.

 

Reliance crew

While there are many forums, websites and agencies that specialize in boat-hiking and crewing opportunities, these are not your only or even best option. Forums and private messaging can lead to scams, and travel companies often require an upfront fee. At Reliance, you will be taking part in a professional delivery so there are no upfront or hidden fees. Your captain will be transparent with terms, and Reliance will cover onboard and often travel expenses. While it will feel less like a holiday, you will  work hard and become fully immersed in boat life. You will gain invaluable skills in sailing, seamanship, teamwork and communication, besides memories to last a lifetime.

While Thunberg’s carbon-neutral journey is awe-inspiring, consider crewing and sailing as a practical alternative. If you are well prepared and informed, sailing can not only be an alternative form of travel but a wondrous journey in and of itself.

21 Aug 2019

Astrea 42: so much love for such a little boat

Later this week, one Astrea 42 will be gliding safely into port in San Diego, Ca. after covering nearly 8,000nm. It was not through the power of its own sails, but on the deck of a 38,000 tonne cargo ship. Reliance has been collaborating with shipping companies to get this little boat all the way from La Rochelle to California.

Astrea 42 in the slings before being lifted onto the ship in Antwerp

Due to the sheer scale of the job, we agreed with the client that shipping was the most efficient way to deliver the yacht. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the importance of the human effort on either side of this mega journey. Captain Andy needed to pick the boat up from the Fountaine Pajot factory in La Rochelle, France and sail it to Antwerp, where it would join the ship. Now Captain Justin will be taking care of the final leg of the journey, delivering the boat just around the corner form the main port to its new harbor home.

This delivery has been the product of much collaboration and hard work. But also hopefully the beginning of a long partnership as we bring many more yachts to California along this route.

Check out our past post on this Astrea 42’s journey.

20 Aug 2019

Where Are They Now: Mike Stewart

Mike Stewart is a delivery captain and former SAS officer who lives life to the fullest and at the world’s most extreme edges. With over 30,000nm under his belt, Mike specializes in high-risk sailing in extreme and unforgiving environments. However, he finds himself especially drawn to the icy seascapes of the Arctic, whether it’s taking scientists on an award-winning expedition to East Greenland, or participating in The Polar Ice Challenge, which raised awareness for climate change through completing the never-before-achieved circumnavigation of the Arctic in 2016.

Mike talked to us about the importance of risk assessment, cowboys, formula one, and how Reliance gave him an outlet for his need for the extreme.

What are you up to currently? Tell me a little bit about what kind of work you do now.

Professional Captain of long-range expedition vessel specializing in Arctic climbing, extended remote treks and the like. Mainly for experienced clients who want something different and extreme. High-risk sailing, limited chart support, very little logistics support, inclement unforgiving environment and weather ice negotiation, etc. etc. East Greenland Arctic mainly. Also, freelance deliveries, and security professional in high-risk areas.

How did you first meet Nick, or start working for Reliance?

Around 5 years ago, I took on a specialized delivery that needed my skill set. Nick was very supportive and professional. He has vast experience and guided and supported me to the successful completion of the task.

How long did you work for Reliance, and what work did you get up to?

Deliveries of all types – mainly the more difficult or challenging ones, including repossession of occupied yachts and recovery. Anything a bit different and challenging. Still on the books and want to remain that way. Probably never stop working for Reliance they are probably the best.

Do you have any highlights?

That first job! Bank repo of yacht physically opposed by clients and captain. The yacht was successfully returned to the client in another country; it was undamaged and safely alongside in the time frame we set – a challenging job.

Captain Mike in East Greenland

Why do you think you are drawn to these ‘challenging’, high-risk opportunities, is it one of the reasons you got into sailing in the first place?

Challenging, well… I was an officer in the SAS, in a prior existence. After a lifetime in that area, I now look for difficult, hard, horrible jobs that no one else will take because it reminds me of my service; you get used to doing that hard stuff – achieving the mission and getting the job done – it’s kind of ingrained, anything else is a bit boring, to be honest. It’s kind of like being a formula 1 race driver then having to drive the number 45 bus… just doesn’t cut the mustard. Lots of our guys find life after their service difficult  and the coping mechanisms can be destructive, I just stay busy and hard at it.

In June 2016 you were the skipper on the 4th leg of The Polar Ice Challenge, aiming to raise awareness about climate change by circumnavigating the Arctic for the first time in history, what was it like to work on such a unique project?

The Polar Ocean Challenge was right up my street – a very late crossing of the Atlantic, enormous seas, 9 meters at one stage, underage kid on board and inexperienced crew – the exhibition leader, Sir David, was a good support at home, and we had fun and did the job – everyone home safe. That’s the kind of job I like, no one else would take it on, but I’m used to assessing the risk and putting in place proper safeguards and doing the job. I’m willing to take on the risks because I have the confidence to do the task, and I’m willing to take responsibility…. these days it’s a rare thing, I think. I’m definitely not a cowboy, most of the risk mitigation is backed up by detailed planning and preparation. And some luck, but you make your own luck.

Did you ever feel a touch of irony about the Challenge? It was an incredible feat to have achieved, circumnavigating the Arctic, but in turn, achieving it ultimately meant that climate change was real and incredibly serious. What were your thoughts at the time?

Yes, the arctic is melting which meant much more ice was actually in the water, ice that was broken off bergs etc. and floating – very dangerous and unstable – so it was a bit dodgy. For sure there is a big melt on!

We are going back there in 2020, and we have just bought a new boat. I’ll fly the Reliance flag this year for you. We will be doing another bigger, better polar ocean challenge to East Greenland.

Watching polar bears from a safe distance

Thank you, we would be honoured! What skills have you brought forward into the current work that you developed while working for Reliance?

Professionalism, understanding the importance of procedures, and SOP [Standards of Procedure], looking after the client, some difficult clients, looking after the vessel especially new vessels, which need a particular skill set. Dealing with unruly or less than competent crew; relying on Nick to deal with client issues when at sea – very helpful and responsive – Nick was always there for you if needed.

How did working for Reliance help you get to where you are now?

Developing client base, contacts, and mentoring from both Nick and other skippers. The dynamic and communications between the office and crew work well, Nick has great experience and people skills. Always there for advice or will direct you to sound advice from other staff captains. Nick takes the time to look after his crew and captains, very good.

What influence did Reliance have on your career?

Highly Positive. Provided Contacts and credibility. I felt supported by Reliance, no matter how challenging the role given to me, they were there even when things did not go to plan – which sometimes happens. Very supportive and professional. Back office functions well and no issues with administration. Professional is the word that comes to mind. Good leadership. Good bloke.

 

For more of the Where Are They Now series, check out interviews with Dùghall Maclachlainn and Conor Fogerty

19 Aug 2019

Owner Assisted Passages

Among the many services Reliance offers, owner assisted passages are perhaps the most popular. Clients can take part in the delivery of their yacht, alongside a professional Captain and crew.

An owner assisted passage could be the perfect answer if you are enthusiastic to start sailing, but not quite ready to complete a passage alone. If you feel qualified and confident however, it is also the ideal way to get to know a new boat or visit a new cruising area.

If you are a newbie boat owner who needs help relocating your vessel to another destination, Reliance Yacht Management can help you

An owner assisted passage can be a fantastic opportunity and experience: the perfect way to learn more about a new purchase and benefit from the skill and experiences of a professional yachtsman. As passionate sailors, we are always keen to help our clients get the best from their yachts and maximize their enjoyment. We can help you get the experience and confidence to carry on without us.

Fountaine Pajot 60 delivery, the captain (far left) and owner (far right), along with his two son’s

There are many reasons why an owner assisted passage can help you. Whether you have upgraded to a larger yacht or from a monohull to a catamaran, having an experienced captain on board can be invaluable. For your first overnight passage or maybe you want to sail across the Atlantic, a captain with thousands of miles of experience can give you that essential peace of mind.

 If you are studying towards sailing qualifications, our captains can sign off your passage, adding to your logbook.

 

Recently assisted passages include

Leopard 46 Puerto Rico to Jacksonville

Saba 50 – Guadeloupe to Florida

Lagoon 450 France to the Caribbean

Prestige 500 Italy to Greece

Balance 526 Crete to Cannes

Fountaine Pajot 60 – La Rochelle to New York

 

Contact us about owner assisted passages. Tell us about what you want to achieve. If your schedule is limited, and you are unable to complete a whole delivery, then consider joining for part of the passage. We are flexible and committed to helping clients enjoy their boats.

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