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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 04-25-2006
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I'm buying a Sailing School

I have not sailed for more than 22 years. I stopped sailing my Hobie 14 when my wife swept me off my feet and we were married. I sold the Catamaran and the plan then was that we would buy a Pirate 19(?) and sail her on a nearby dam on weekends. That never happened, as we soon became parents.

Our sons are now 20 and 21 years old and seeking their fortunes, but have not found them yet. Where we live now, employment opportunities for them are scarce to non-existent. My wife's business, which she runs from home, is no longer profitable as the competition now imitates what she has done for several years and the market has become diluted. My career is also not going anywhere as I have reached the point where any further advancement is unlikely.

I suggested to my wife that we sell up everything and sail around the world a few times. She took me seriously and actually liked the idea. We are now in the process of buying a sailing school. The boys are very excited about learning to become Ocean Yacht masters and help Mom and Dad run the sailing school. (Wife and I will also be equipping ourselves with the same qualifications.)

The school offers ASA and RYA sailing courses and has developed a very good reputation over the years since the late 1970's. We decided to embark on this radical change in our lives because my passion for sailing has been suppressed for too long and my wife and I decided to pursue our dream on the understanding that it should pay for itself and sustain us at the same time.

The neighbors think we have lost our minds or just going through a mid-life crisis or something.
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Old 04-25-2006
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sailingfool will become famous soon enough
Nic,

Quite a story and very exciting. My normal comment to someone considering buying into a business with which they lack expereince, is to suggest that they work for someone else for a little while to learn the ropes, so to speak....That otherwise sage advice doesn't fly here because you lack the experience that would be a pre-requiiste for an entry level employee. BUYING the business gets around that barrier, but it presents a situation where somebody will be in water over their heads, literally and figuratively...

So best of luck, chase the dream, and most of all, keep the board posted on the adventure. Often threads like this quickly go dead as certain laws of nature and experience assert themselves...

I for one certainly envy this oportunity, the only thing finer than messing about in boats is introducing others to said messing about...
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Old 04-25-2006
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nolatom will become famous soon enough
Your neighbors are jealous. It's a serious undertaking, but you'll rise to the challenge.

I've taught sailing as a sideline gig for a few years, both at the club level and for the ASA basic keelboat facility here. It's equal parts sailing and teaching, but very rewarding when you see how the students react.

Where you located? And best of luck.
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Old 04-25-2006
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San Diego???
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Old 04-25-2006
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What a great opportunity to earn a living doing something you really enjoy! From your post, it sounds like you're buying a going business, so you'll probably have experienced teaching staff who'll want to stay with you. While you're managing and promoting the business, you and your family can develop all the sailing expertise you'll need. Before the seller sails off into the sunset, you can probably get a lot of valuable information and ideas from him if he'll sit down with you and let you "pick his brain" about how he runs the business. You'll probably bring your own new ideas to the business, but you might be able to benefit from his experience, if he'll share it with you.
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Old 04-25-2006
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remember one thing- ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP PLAN.

the market for anything boat/sailing related is very elastic- it reacts extremely to changes in the general economy.

economic recession/depression? first thing people do is sell their boats, or stop using them- much of the boating industry dies (pearson, cal, and others bit the dust 15 years ago in this manner) as does boating related services...

people stop vacationing, or vacation more economically (i.e. weekends trips to the shore to walk on the beach, and may not want to drop more money on luxurious getaways)

i don't want to sink (no pun intended- well, maybe, but i couldn't resist) your dream.

It's an awesome idea- beating the rat race, and doing something most upper-middle-management schmoes. just be sure you have security, and can weather the (proverbial) storm.

get some good boats- sturdy, low maintenance practical ones- and provide a quality service. you can't go wrong- your lifestyle will be priceless.
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Old 04-26-2006
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I think a little "plug" is in order.
What's the name of the school, and where is it located?
Best of luck
Gord
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Old 04-26-2006
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Gee, thanks everyone. What an amazing response to this thread and what a lovely bunch of people you all are. My resolve to exit corporate life is being reinforced every day.

When I first posted here, I certainly anticipated the wise words of caution, which I welcome, as well as the encouragement from everyone. I'm indeed very grateful for the warm and friendly spirit in which you, the community have received a newbie such as myself.

At this stage, my wife and I have had the opportunity to meet with the owner and have learned that he is a very accomplished yachtsman and is also highly respected in the local yachting world. He most definitely is still going to be available to have his brains picked and it is a condition of the sale that he will guide and assist us to the point where we can continue to run a sound business and maintain the good reputation of the Sailing school.

As for the backup plan, I have been in IT for 27 years and will continue to keep myself abreast with Business Information Systems and Technology, probably until the end of my days. Just another passion of mine that turned into a career, way back when.

For those of you who are inquisitive, the school is not located anywhere in the US. Forgive me for not disclosing this now, but I will do so, once I have completed the Due diligence and satisfied myself with the outcome of surveys on the boats and all the formalities are finished, signed and sealed.
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Old 04-26-2006
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
Perfectly reasonable, but do keep us posted on the progress, and if you do get the place, let us know where it is.
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Old 06-06-2006
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Cool Sailing business

Sailingfool -
What type of sailing-related business would you suggest for a retired gent who enjoys sailing (in any weather) and is still eager to learn more about all aspects of sailing. I have tried to join a broker to sell sailboats but the nearest city has few brokers who know anything about selling sailboats. I do not wish to move up to Puget Sound yet due to the cost of living expenses. Plus they are saturated with sailboat brokers per population.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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