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post #1 of 8 Old 03-29-2007 Thread Starter
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Partner track

I am an attorney in New York with a background in small business planning, labor law, and management science. I have been working on a plan for a sail training academy for over a year and think I am ready to find a friend/partner/boat nut to work on it with me. I am a classic boat nut (Fife, etc) and a racing nut too. I have determined that I will end my rather unsatisfying career as a lawyer and pursue this new business in roughly two years. Between now and then, I'll need someone to conspire with, and none of my sailor friends are inclined to drop their careers in two years to pit their skills against the possibility of failure (80% of all new business fail in the first 3 years). But I'm in for keeps.

If your interested in talking about what I'm doing, let me know. I'm on a partner track of a different kind. Believe me, I'm willing to share in the fruits of our labor. I'm not looking for an employee, but another potential principle.
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-29-2007
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Originally Posted by jamesblack
I am an attorney in New York with a background in small business planning, labor law, and management science. I have been working on a plan for a sail training academy for over a year and think I am ready to find a friend/partner/boat nut to work on it with me. I am a classic boat nut (Fife, etc) and a racing nut too. I have determined that I will end my rather unsatisfying career as a lawyer and pursue this new business in roughly two years. Between now and then, I'll need someone to conspire with, and none of my sailor friends are inclined to drop their careers in two years to pit their skills against the possibility of failure (80% of all new business fail in the first 3 years). But I'm in for keeps.

If your interested in talking about what I'm doing, let me know. I'm on a partner track of a different kind. Believe me, I'm willing to share in the fruits of our labor. I'm not looking for an employee, but another potential principle.

Please re-write your thread.....

Here's why:

New York, Attorney, lawyer, business, labour law....all these words together show you have no friends!!

Good luck in your effort...
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-29-2007
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James-

You don't say what your sailing background or experience is. A sailing school is a very capital intensive business... as you will need to get at least one boat, as well as dock space, classroom space, etc. In the US, it would require you to be USCG licensed—do you have a USCG Captain's License??

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post #4 of 8 Old 03-30-2007 Thread Starter
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On the right track

I've been sailing my whole life. I moved inland almost three years ago due to career considerations, family, etc. I had three daughters in as many years, and my boat (S&S designed IOR 38 footer) has been on the hard for the duration. But before my wife and I had kids, we raced on the east coast as much as possible. In fact, we met because she crewed for me on a distance race. We loved the distance races (Bermuda, Vineyard, ALIR, Block Island, etc.) and the "classic" yacht races the most. Cruising too. All of it. We've never been weekenders - almost lived aboard. But life gets in the way of your passions sometimes, and early decisions sent me on a path away from the water. About a year ago we decided to change that path. After deliberating for a LONG time, we finally figured out what we would do if we could do anything we wanted to do. And the business plan began.

I'm not licensed. I'm looking for someone who is (or could be). I will be eventually, but sea time is hard to come by on a dirt farm in the middle of the tundra where I currently reside. However, credentials are less important than passion and ability.

As far as capital goes, you are quite correct in observing that any sailing school requires significant up front capital investment. How much and for what is what the plan is all about - and ultimately where you go to get it. I've got plans....

What about you?
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-30-2007
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A couple of things I would recommend you do.

First, work on getting sea time in, and get at least your six-pack and STCW95.

Second, get ASA/USAA certified as a sailing instructor, basic keelboat at least.

It also might be worth looking at buying an existing business to give you a base to work from. Starting one from scratch is much more difficult and has the additional problem of having to create/build a client base. If you can't find a sailing school business for sale, then the next best thing to do is buy a small marina in an area that has decent sailing conditions.

The reason I recommend buying a small marina as the next step, and there are usually a few for sale in magazines like Latitude 38 or Points East, is that it would give you a physical base for your sailing school, along with a place to store/slip the boats, as well as a possible customer base and some income while you are trying to get the school up and running.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #6 of 8 Old 03-30-2007
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The basic plan outline sounds exciting with potential for success. If I wasn't so anchored to my Newport, RI architectural practice, I'd give you a call.

At the very least however, if you're interested in this fine sailing area as a base for this academy, I wouldn't be interested in being a principal partner, but could offer my proven architectural skills.

True Blue . . .
sold the Nauticat
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-30-2007 Thread Starter
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No need for an architect today, in that capacity! But if ever I am building something in Newport I'll be sure to look you up.

I don't plan to teach sailing... check out www.macyacademy.com.

The plan has changed somewhat from what you see on the website due to input from my underwriters, but it gives the basic flavor. I havn't had the chance to update the site due to heavy litigation calendar.

Most, if not all, sail training experiential education programs struggle and depend on either fundraising or a relationship with a governemntal or educational benefactor whose fate or whim controls the destiny of the sail training org. Bad business model....My business model is built to avoid these traps.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-30-2007 Thread Starter
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Whoops! Macy site is way out of date. But some of the basics are there.
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