Considering buying a boat and taking part in the Yacht Ownership programme? If so, read on to find out more about what makes the SUNSAIL Yacht Ownership programme stand out from those you may find elsewhere, namely the size and professionalism of its Owner Care Team and the fact that you will become part of close-knit yachting fraternity.
1 PERSONAL TOUCH – CONTACT WITH THE TEAM WHO WILL TAKE THE TIME TO GET TO KNOW YOU
SUNSAIL pride themselves on the know-how, personal skills and language skills of its team members. Skippered by the Nice-based Sigrid Verhoeven, the team also comprises three local representatives who speak your language when you pick up a phone to make enquiries. The size of the team means that you are never left with your problems or doubts: they pride themselves on their capacity to solve issues quickly and efficiently.
Just in case you haven’t met them yet we’d like to present you the team, and allow you to put a face behind their names and find out about one or two intriguing and “untypical” issues they have had to deal with!
SIGRID VERHOEVEN, TEAM COORDINATOR BASED IN NICE
Bonjour! I have been working in this sector for 20 years. In lots of different jobs: preparing boats, dealing with bookings, customer care…I love the job as it suits my personality (outgoing and lively) and I enjoy working with like-minded people.
My favourite destination: Croatia!
The people are so friendly and you always get a nice welcome, especially if you learn a few words of Croatian beforehand. There are loads of places to sail to in just two or three hours and many beautiful, secluded bays where you can anchor for the night. That’s how I had my first encounter with a loggerhead sea turtle when I was sailing on a Sunsail 404 catamaran: « magique”! On the gastronomic level, make sure you try the local speciality which is lamb roasted under a sort of bell! Their cheeses are delicious, too.
My biggest scare: A sea storm. While sailing between Nice and Palma de Mallorca we hit some very bad weather. We had to reroute because the sea was too rough and the winds too high. Even worse, the skipper was sea sick so I had to take command without really knowing if we were going to make it.
My most remarkable memory: probably when an owner asked me to organize for his boat to be baptized by a Greek Orthodox priest! Or maybe the time when I had to assist an owner who had been thrown into prison for anchoring in a forbidden area which hadn’t been mentioned on the charts!
Claire Perkins In charge of English-speaking owners, based in London
Hi, I have been the UK Owner Care representative since 2013. I don’t come from a sailing background but since joining the company I have had the wonderful opportunity to learn how to sail and now get to enjoy my own family holidays out on the water. This is quite amazing considering the first time I tried to get into a dinghy on my training I sat on the dock and cried.
When I’m not out on the water you will find me sitting on a beach with a book in hand or spending time with my beautiful granddaughters. You will find me rather bubbly and a little bit crazy.
My favourite destination: Dubrovnik, the food, the people and scenery is just out of this world.
My most remarkable memory: perhaps the time I was asked to organise an Owner’s on-board wedding but, unfortunately, we had to decline as that was a step too far for even me!
Marie-Céline Richer In charge of French-speaking owners, based in Paris
Bonjour! I have been working in this sector for 30 years, initially in the booking office and more recently as part of the Owner Care team looking after our French-speaking participants.
I regularly help them to organise their cruises on both the admin and logistics levels. They have come to rely on me to from A to Z, from making their initial booking right up to deciding what to put inside their sail bags! Many owners say that it’s like we are part of the same family, that I look after their holidays and make sure nothing goes wrong and that I’m “sort of a Tinkerbell”!
I love travelling, the sun, the sea… just like them, in fact!
My favourite destination: French Polynesia, especially in July during the local festivities period. The landscapes are fantastic, the seabeds are so rich and the locals are so warm and welcoming. I love the music, the smells and absolutely adore the food, based mainly on raw fish and the heavenly coconuts. And, if you do go there, don’t forget to try the Tiki cocktail!
My most remarkable memory: whilst out snorkelling in the Grenadines (Tobago Cays) I came face to face with a shark! According to my friends, I suddenly turned into an Olympic-level swimmer!
Raphael Moons In charge of German and Dutch-speaking owners, based in Frankfurt
Gûten Tag! I joined the company in September 2018 and have been part of owner care since February 2019.
Previously, I worked as a fisherman, sailing on the high seas between Iceland, Greenland and Norway. After that, I began to work in in the quality control department for a shipyard building mega-yachts. We built the largest yacht build in the Netherlands at that time, it was 99 metres long.
My favourite destination: the Seychelles. The natural beauty there is absolutely stunning and best admired from the sea on board a catamaran. Sailing between the islands gives you time to fish, which usually means you can always have fresh produce for dinner. Those are the best dinners and the ones you will remember.
My funniest memory: This one time on the fishing boat, we had our own cook who mostly prepared typical German meals (lots of potatoes, meat/fish and vegetables). One day I asked him if he could make spaghetti Bolognese. Unfortunately, the cook mistakenly served it up with coconut powder instead of parmesan cheese. The whole crew ate spaghetti Bolognese with coconut powder without saying a word. But you could tell they were all thinking he should just stick to cooking potatoes!
By the way, for those based on the of the Atlantic, let’s not forget that there is a dedicated team based over there too, comprising John Keyes and Jenn Andre.
2 BELONGING TO A COMMUNITY
Being a participant in the Yacht Ownership programme automatically gives you access to Owner events and outings.
Each year you are invited to attend one, two or more events in order to meet the team and mingle with the other participants. These events regularly include cocktails, river cruises and flotilla events, organised at one of our bases and specially designed to take you “off the beaten track”.
This year’s flotilla event will be in autumn and will take you to Greece. It’s a great opportunity to sail with other boats, take advantage of local know-how thanks to the daily briefing sessions and get to know both the SUNSAIL team and other like-minded sailors. It’s also a good time to have fun together and enjoy the selection of leisure events that SUNSAIL organize for you. These include going on visits to vineyards and historical sites and taking part in hilarious competitions (the best cocktail, the best funny poem…). If you are interested in registering, then please get in touch with your team contact person as soon as you can.
To get a better idea about all of these events click on this link to listen to comments made by participants at a recent event in London