If you love the smell of oranges then you would have loved my childhood. Like so many of my generation living in rural Turkey I spent my early years on my grandparents’ citrus farm. But grandad could turn his hand to many skills including repairing marine diesel engines.
“My childhood was spent learning about boats”
When not on the farm you would find me in grandad’s machine shop watching him make propellers and shafts, and as I grew a little older, I found myself helping out with simple tasks such as straightening nails, and even cleaning lathes.
After the restrictions of schooldays, I loved going to the workshop to discover what kind of project my grandfather was working on. During school holidays I was always there learning how to repair marine diesels as well as farm machinery.
School was getting more interesting, though, partly because I became proficient at volleyball. The team I belonged to was very successful (we were to become the national champions). I wore the coveted No. 8 shirt.
Before I knew it, I was 14 and this found me in secondary school. I moved to the larger town where the school was located, where basketball was added to my volleyball skills. Like so many who are good at sports, this gave me confidence to tackle academic studies at which I also began to shine.
It was around this time that my own father began to play a more prominent role in my development. He was impressed at the way I had taken to mechanical engineering with my grandfather, as well as my successes at school. As a result, he invited me to join him at work in the family business in Gocek, where the H.Q. is still located today.
“A happy community”
Father taught me how to fix engines and other technical equipment on commercial boats. I was paid for this work and so began to appreciate the value of both labour and money. I also met a number of other workers who depended upon boat repair in order to support their own families.
We were, and still are, a happy community. Even today, if I find myself stressed by some business, or other concern, I’ll go back to the yard and spend a few hours working with craftspeople whose sole concerns are to do their jobs well and take home the wages that support their partners and children.
Father (and I) opened a chandlery. I spent lots of time there learning about engine parts and sailing equipment. I ordered stock and, since I could now speak English, spent much of my time advising foreign yacht people who were in need of help to repair their vessels.
Those years weren’t all spent working, though, because I was still playing basketball and volleyball. I also began to become aware of the opposite sex.
“Paying my way through university”
My university years were spent on Cyprus where I studied marine engineering. Despite being businesspeople, we weren’t wealthy. I was determined, therefore, to find some way to pay my way through college.
Fortunately, working in the chandlery had provided me with a sufficient number of customers and business contacts that I was able to obtain expensive parts for yacht people, sourcing many from overseas at better prices than these boat owners could obtain them.
This is how I paid my way through university. If every student could find a means to pay for their college education, whilst studying, they might be so much more fulfilled as well as making sure that what they are studying is relevant to what they will do in life. Many more would gain the secret of happiness through this. It would be a positive for all
Suddenly everything seemed to fall apart. It was 2010 and I was newly graduated. I had completed some internships the year before when my future looked rosy. Little was I to know what lay ahead.
I was walking with my wife behind a group of sailors from a superyacht when I hear one remark to a colleague, ‘I am now going to show you the best chandlery I know’. He turned the corner but was dumbfounded to discover that ‘his’ chandlery was now a supermarket.
And that was because my father’s lease on the shop where we had been located had expired and so we had been forced to move one street behind it, but it was a location where few people passed.
My father had few ideas about what to do. But if you should ever find yourself responsible for a failing business the very worst thing you can do is lose hope. Instead you must step out in a new direction. This is exactly what I did.
I always liked the look of Amel sailboats. They represent excellent value, and they’re sufficiently fast whilst being rugged and safe for the family sailor. I started to look out for contracts to repair these. In 2011 Amel provided us with a services shipment to speed up this process. This went so well that by 2012 we had become an official Amel service point.
Then, quite by chance, fortune seemed to fall upon me. Mr.Rudi Peroni (the beer magnate) asks me to sell his Amel 54. I had never done anything like this before yet the transaction was a success and now, I had a taste for brokerage.
All my years with grandfather, and later my father, were paying dividends as were those years studying marine engineering. This experience is what differentiates a used yacht sold via Channel.R Yacht and most other people. I can tell very quickly if a boat is ‘right’.
But, I am jumping ahead of myself. In 2012 I sold 10 preowned Amel yachts and the manufacturer was sufficiently impressed to grant me a licence to sell new Amels the following year.
Refitting these yachts continues to form a major part of the business yet, back then, I discovered that not all seafarers like to sail. Many are motor yacht people. This gave me another idea. If I could sell Amel’s to sailors, then maybe I could sell motor yachts to this other group of prospective customers as they approached me.
This is how I came to work with Nordhavn, at first servicing their trawlers before soon becoming an official agent. Sargo, Cruiser’s Yachts, Pursuit and Fleming all followed. Each of these brands addresses different yachting requirements, so each is attractive to a specific class of individual.
“I decide to help people explore remote locations around the world.”
I have sold over 100 boats over the past 8 years and, as a result, have refined a process that makes us one of the very best brokers for the types of vessel we know. Our contact network stretches far beyond the Mediterranean, and grows each year. We have marine lawyers, surveyors, professional captains and crew members, as well as a host of craftspeople on speed dial in various ports around the globe.
Over the years I became part of hundreds of stories. I still everyday get emails from people who are in desperate situations because they need to buy, sell, or refit their yachts yet have little idea of how best to go about it.
Today, Channel.R Yacht is becoming a preferred destination for yacht people who appreciate straight talking and stress-free communication when buying, or selling, a boat.
These are not easy days for sailors. The impact of technology and scrambling to innovate cutting edge yacht designs as regulations tighten causes confusion and erodes the trust customers have in yacht brokers, yet I am an eternal optimist.
You need proven people with the innate courage and optimism to serve you effectively and embrace innovation whilst ensuring that it works to your advantage rather than the opposite. You need to be dealing with others like you who are inspiring and will support you in a spirit of love and trust.
I created Channel.R. Yacht Lifestyle to be a reputable worldwide authority for long distance cruising yachts and their potential owners.
How may I help you?