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Former First Mate Helps Captains and Crew Declutter

30 September 2021By Laura Shaughnessy
Pexels/Norma Mortenson

Written by

Laura Shaughnessy

Laura Shaughnessy has been the managing editor at Dockwalk since February 2018. Having grown up among the cornfields, she is ecstatic to be among the boats in the yachting capital of the world. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in journalism, 15 years of experience with newspapers, magazines, and the online world, Laura has joined a great crew. When not writing about superyacht crew, she’s hanging out with her husband and their German Shepherd, working on house projects, or binging on Netflix.

After spending six years as crew, former First Mate Nick Fryer started his own business in July. As owner of Yardsail Marine, Fryer first became inspired while active in the industry.

“The conceptualization of the business didn’t take very long, as it was easy to recognize that storage, hoarding, and waste is an obvious pain point in the industry, and I have seen this problem on almost every boat I’ve worked on during my six years as a crewmember,” Fryer says. “The most time-consuming part of the process was gaining knowledge and understanding of how every department functions on board a yacht and growing a valuable network of contacts in order to operate my business with credibility and have a client base to reach out to.” He started working on opening the business at the beginning of June.

Fryer knows that time prioritization is the biggest challenge, especially with tight deadlines and extensive travel itineraries.

With so many other minimalist companies and lifestyle brands out there, it’s easy to lump Fryer’s company in with them. However, he brings a few new things to the table, especially since he constantly had to deal with minimal spaces when first mate.

“Firstly, I think my personal experience as a crewmember allows me to communicate with my clients from a place of common understanding and identify with them on a relatable level. Yardsail Marine’s main focus is to make the process from turning all those unwanted valuable new/used goods into cash as simple as possible,” he says.

Knowing first-hand that free time is a scarce commodity for captains and crew while working aboard, Fryer knows that time prioritization is the biggest challenge, especially with tight deadlines and extensive travel itineraries.

Sparing Crew the Hassle

“Storage units and dealing with valuable unwanted/unused goods is usually a low-priority task and often left forgotten. It can also be very time-consuming and more challenging by not being in one location long enough to attend to that problem. Our services are to take that task almost completely out of their hands and return that unlocked value to the client, giving them the time to focus on the things that matter most,” he explains.

They work with project managers and shipyards during refits to collect all items being replaced on the vessel and get the sales process started immediately without the need for additional storage. This lets captains, crew, and boat owners get paid without having to deal with any of the negotiations or logistics of the sales process. All items are collected on a consignment basis and relocated to one of their storage facilities. Fryer explains that clients get a much higher return than any other competing resellers who typically look to purchase the items at a fraction of the value and then look to make hundreds of percent in profit. He offers free pickup and delivery and caters to multiple locations.

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

“We work in an industry that allows us to have first-hand communication with some of the most successful and influential people in the world. Take the opportunity to listen, ask the right questions, and learn what they did to achieve their success,” he says.

Fryer adds that, due to the risks of starting your own business, crew should use their free time to do research on their business idea, develop a business plan, test the market, and build up a nest egg until they’re comfortable enough to go out there and start their own business.

What's Next for Yardsail Marine

“I have new clients contacting me every week and as a new business, my core focus right now is building brand recognition and trust in the industry,” Fryer says. “I want captains and crew to know my business exists and the value it offers them.”

Currently building his online presence, Fryer is developing the website into something exciting and easy to use as an online marketplace for potential buyers. “The next natural progression from this would be a mobile app with new features and offerings to the yachting industry,” he says. “So stay tuned!”

This column is taken from the November 2021 issue of Dockwalk.

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