By Nick Ward.
It’s been a strange year one way and another – very strange indeed.
Just as the boating season was about to swing into glorious sailing voyages, we were shut down and could only stand by and watch the perfect sailing weather from our homes.
I have been working and playing on the Solent for over nearly 50 years, and for the first time did not see any boats large or small during a walk on Cowes seafront, not even in Osborne Bay.
Boat maintenance was on hold and decks were going green with algae, anodes were rotting away and needed replacing, there was nothing we could do about it. Having said that, Harbour staff were more than helpful – reporting to owners if their boats needed attention and, in some cases, re-adjusting fenders and covers themselves.
As soon as the lockdown lifted, I was off to a flying start, engine serviced, boat cleaned, winches greased and, in my case, coach-roof painted. Some marinas were offering very good low-cost rates for berthing and I took advantage of the luxury of a walk-ashore, power and hosepipe.
My sailing season was a good one: I almost made Weymouth on one particular trip but with winds on the nose, I decided to sail back to Cowes south of the Island, anchoring in Sandown Bay for a very pleasant night then jumping on the next tide up the eastern Solent.
The Waypoint Yacht Brokerage is a different story. If you lock a boating person up during a pandemic, they will hit the sailing channels on YouTube and then they will move on to the brokerage listings. We saw boating enthusiasts busy on their laptops looking for the dream boat. Our enquires increased above and beyond all records, both through the websites we use for marketing, and in telephone calls.
As the travel restrictions were lifting so we were able, under government guidelines, to show boats to potential buyers. In some cases, the use of video telephone calls was a great help with a guided tour, in real time, discussing the boat during the tour. This way, people were buying boats having not seen them themselves.
We have sold more boats between April and September this year than last year and at one time the Folly office was processing nine transactions simultaneously. In many instances we were achieving the full asking price and sometimes above. This rise in the popularity of getting on the water could be because people are not keen to travel with the world now fighting the Covid pandemic together with the travel restrictions and the risk of quarantining.
If boats are selling, some for the full, or close to the asking price, then now is the time to sell.
If you are considering selling then Waypoint Yacht Brokerage can advise on the value of your boat, take you through the selling procedure, find a new owner and complete the transaction smoothly and comfortably for both the vendor and buyer. We are the largest independent brokerage on the Island and are fortunate enough to have a Client Holding Account protecting clients’ funds throughout the selling process.