Lessons from Starting A Sailing Business

2 Posted by - April 5, 2016 - Learn, Sailing, Salty Times

My My, Summer has come and gone and we find ourselves in the exact same place as we were last year…. hurrying to get the jobs done so we can set sail North before winter sets in. But this year we have 1 page of a to do list not 4 pages.

The other difference is that we have been sailing more than we have been in years. Last year after postponing our voyage North, Base and I had to make some decisions. Keeping our savings account topped up was key to us staying on track to set sail the following year.

JV helm

I run an eco-living business online and it’s a passion of mine…but it wasn’t quite at the point of being able to pay our bills.

Base and I chatted and him going back to his job as a geologist was out! He loves geology, but he loves an oceanic lifestyle more. So he decided it was time to finish off his RYA Yachtmaster and get it commerically endorsed so we could do sailing charters on Charade. This was the start of both of us running our own businesses. It felt like a leap, but one we were both ready to take.


I have been making websites and doing online marketing for about 5 years now. I have taken quite a few trainings and love being able to spread and share a message online. So with the skills I have on computers and in marketing I started my own Online Marketing Business as a Virtual Assistant. This was something to do on the side, but little did I know the demand would be high. A few clients started working with me and then word of mouth spread and I have been fully booked with 6 and up to 8 clients all year. It’s amazing work, and I am grateful I can use my skills to help others grow their businesses.

But let me just paint the picture… we live in 18 sqm of space. Base was studying hard on his yachtmaster, and I was working off my laptop on the boat. It  gets better… when Base had his Yacht Master we started running sailing charters, aka inviting strangers into our tiny home for a visit multiple times a week!

jv at work


So  home, office, place of business, and mode of transportation… Lady C became our world. We have made it work, and Loved it!

Starting the sailing charters we knew it would start slow and take some time to build up our name in the market place. Luckily my experience in marketing came in handy. We aren’t a white shirt,  expensive yacht, champagne glass holding type of charter busines. We love sailing and we want to share it with anyone who’s keen. So we went for that angle. Come out and learn to sail and get a taste of the cruising life. Southern Cross Sailing was born


Of course we had to work to get the word out, but what happened was word of mouth took off. Once we had a few people on charters, they told their mates, and then they came. Trip advisor helped too. Plus linking in with various booking companies online like Viator and Expedia.

We have had an amazing summer of sailing charters. Highlights have been taking people over to Carnac Island Nature Reserve. Overnight Sailing Trip to Rottnest, and a 5 week learn to sail program – Learn the Ropes.

Day Sailing


We know Lady C so much better, we know how she sails, what she likes and doesn’t like ( pointing into the wind is not her thing). We also know ourselves better. We know life on the water is for us, we know we love sailing, and sharing it with others is truly a dream job.

What we also know is that our oceans are so amazing and diverse and spectacular. So we have made a commitment to always be doing more for our Oceans – read more about our Citizen science projects here.


Running our own businesses has been a risk… but it’s be a good one. We have stayed to budget, paid for our living expenses and only slightly tipped into savings, which means we are on track to sail North.

We are a husband, wife team and our first year of marriage will be one we never forget. Working together, Living in a tiny  floating home and always being an arms reach away from each other has made us learn to really love and accept each other for how we are.

We are best friends and we will get through anything together…. of course we have our moments. Life on a boat is like having a personal marriage counsellor with you, Charade helps us through it all.


Our next adventure awaits us. This life of living off the beaten path is not always easy, but it’s sooooo worth it.

Next time you think I wish I could do something like that…. Pause and ask yourself the question ‘What is stopping you?’.

We live such a short time on this magnificent Earth. Get out there and do what you Love and take care of our planet while you do it!






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