A few of the marketing companies reading this might be thinking ‘Shut Up and stick to sailing’.
However, my view about marketing is that it’s not exactly rocket science it’s all about making a noise in the right ears and attracting attention to what you have.
I do speak with a modicum of experience as I’m now 50 years old and have been involved in business for a number of decades.
Hopefully you won’t think this arrogant or big headed but I will now give you a PRIME EXAMPLE on how to make some noise!
As many of you will be aware I am moving the sailing operation down to La Linea in Spain. The marina is literally on 5 minutes walk from Gibraltar Airport.
The first cruise will take in the area around Southern Spain, Gibraltar and the coast of North Africa. Whilst sailing around here it is quite common to see dolphins and whales in the Straits and unlike the UK we can virtually guarantee SUNSHINE !
Right, LISTEN TO THIS……. In order to promote the first cruise from our new base I have decided to put an exceptionally good offer on. (MAKING NOISE)
The first cruise is October 4-11th and the price will be at the hugely discounted rate of…..
That’s not a misprint by the way. It really is £285 and will include breakfast, lunch, snacks & drinks throughout the day.
We don’t include evening meal because guests generally want to dine ashore in the local bars & restaurants at the places we visit.
If interested, don’t delay as at this price the places will probably be booked up very quickly.
Hopefully, this will prove my point that if you make the right noise in the right ear you will have success.
Obviously the ‘Muso Folk’ will know it’s a well known song but when September does end Atlas Sailing will be based in la Linea de la Concepcion, Spain.
I’ve decided that the way forward with the business is to relocate. Although the business has continually year on year improved and I am very proud to say I was also THE FIRST to bring International Yacht Training (both practical and theoretical) not only to England but to Lancashire there are a huge number of reasons I need to move base.
Many of the reasons aren’t really for discussion in the public forum but two of them I must mention are the constantly decreasing size of the channel to the marina at Fleetwood which for a yacht the size of Atlas can be somewhat awkward and also when I was once asking to speak with ABP management regarding another matter I was told by a member of staff that I shouldn’t because they would increase my mooring fees which to me felt like they were holding me to ransom.
Not wishing to tar everyone with the same brush, I have nothing but praise for the chaps on the lock head and Simon & Daryl who actually run the marina. They are absolutely brilliant.
As mentioned though the other reasons I’m just brushing aside and focusing as I always do in moving forward with nothing but a positive outlook.
Another factor, unfortunately, is the weather.
I knew prior to starting that the weather would be a challenge and it was part of the territory but this year has been horrendous and I have had to postpone sailings on numerous occasions that were more than the norm.
Being based in Spain the only concern with the weather is to make sure your put enough sun cream on AND THAT is a problem I welcome with open arms.
Why La Linea?
After weighing up my options and the general weather conditions for the year I decided that being based at La Linea would offer very good year round conditions and the cruising options are VERY APPEALING with places like Gibraltar, Portugal, North Africa and the eastern coast of Andalucia places to be included on our voyages.
I also decided that I would concentrate on both the 7 day sailing adventure holidays and the training side of the business instead of general sailing days. The accessibility was also a factor to consider and La linea again came up trumps with 4 flights per week to Gibraltar and a transfer time to the marina of LITERALLY 5 minutes it was an absolute no brainer.
We will be setting sail from Fleetwood in the middle of September ready for our first scheduled cruise at the beginning of October. Although the yacht will be in La Linea permanently I will be flying back and forward from the UK as the schedule dictates so I will be able to still attend many of the networking meetings I attend and still see some of the ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC PEOPLE I have have the pleasure coming into contact with.
The picture above shows in the foreground our marina at La linea with the Rock of Gibraltar to the upper left of it.
Across the bay to the right is Algeciras and to the top of the picture is the coast of North Africa.
I love Lancashire and England but unfortunately as far as the weather goes there is just no comparison.
After recent discussions with the head office of the IYT about how best to offer students a better experience and get them out on the water sailing sooner which is what every student wants of course.
We have put together a new ‘Blended Learning’ for both ICC and Bareboat Skipper courses which allows the student to do an online prep course prior to joining us on the yacht for the practical side of the training. This gives the student the benefit of being able to book a course then work through the online side at their own pace.
We have tested the courses with a selection of schools and the feedback from students has been very positive. As a result this training is now being made available to all IYT schools and students. However, this is just the first step in the process and in due course we will be upgrading the content of the courses to give students a better and more interactive experience.
We decided to base ourselves in The Med because 99.9% of our students have goal of being able to charter a yacht for themselves in The Med so it makes sense to actually do the training here.
For students taking the online part of the course I will of course offer support by either email or telephone. The blended learning is also available for Small Powerboat & RIB and International Bareboat Skipper.
So basically it’s a more cost effective way to train in both time and money.
The total cost to obtain your ICC is £750 and is made up as so:
Online Prep Course £65
Practical Week for ICC/Bareboar Skipper £685
NB. Dependent on experience, to reach International Bareboat Skipper it might be necessary to undertake more training.
View more details on what makes up the ICC Training CLICK HERE
After much deliberation and thought it’s looking like I will be transferring the charter operation of Atlas Sailing to Spain. Initially this will be from October to April where afterwards, depending what happens with the Greek situation at the moment, I will be having the Spring & Summer base doing the Greek Islands.
That is assuming everything is okay with Greece and their economy. My alternative should things not look too stable is to base myself on the coast of Tuscany and that being the case we would have cruising grounds that will include places like Elba, Giglio, Monte Cristo, Corsica, Sardinia etc.
I would honestly like to hear any feedback you may have on if I was based in Italy though.
To change has not been a decision that has been taken lightly but there are numerous reasons and incidents that have made me make the decision. Many of the reasons are not for publication on here but one that has swung it has been the bad weather we have had so far this year.
I have had to cancel numerous training courses and charters due to the very heavy weather we have experienced. It’s a constant worry about having to postpone and disappoint people. At least being based in The Med area I can virtually guarantee that apart from some freak weather we will be sailing.
I go over to Spain next month to finalise details with the marina which will probably be La Linea. I chose this one because there are 4 flights per week available all year round and the transfer time from airport to the marina is ‘literally’ 5 minutes.
In addition to this I can still carry out the training all around the year and even combine it with the 7 day adventure holidays we will be doing so that not only do guests have a totally unique experience but they can also gain some form of qualification with it if they so wish.
In the meantime I will be looking to work with travel agents so as to be able to offer various packages that will involve both land and sea so people can spend a week on exploring places by sea then should they wish have the second week relaxing on a beach or by a pool somewhere.
The decision to change was made easier by the amount of enquiries I received when I first mentioned I might be relocating. There seems to be plenty people wanting to have a week away in the Autumn & Winter to escape the cold, grey British climate.
So around mid September we will be sailing out of Fleetwood and heading south to cross Biscay and start a new chapter for Atlas Sailing.
To promote the first season I’ve put together some pretty attractive rates so whether you’re on your own or have a group you can experience the pleasure of a voyage with us on Atlas. Beware though, you might get hooked !
I won’t however be over there permanently myself. I will be flying out as and when the schedule dictates so you will still see my ‘pretty, little face’ around the various events I attend. I don’t think I could ever give up the networking as I feel many of the people I know through it are more like work colleagues and in many more cases I’d class them a exceptionally good friends and I’d like to think the feeling is mutual.