PlainSailing.com is a recently launched online market place for hiring yachts in the UK. Unique to the marine industry, PlainSailing.com allows users to compare charter boats and locations, and upload sailing qualifications online, in a simple and straightforward process.
Adi Togs is the co-founder, along with his brother Tommy, and Blue Sheets had the opportunity to find out more…
BS: What was the main reason behind starting PlainSailing.com?
A: My brother and I love sailing, but we found it’s not always possible to get out on the boat all the time – and no one wants their boat to be moored for weeks on end. Similarly, keen sailors often don’t own a boat as they’re not always around to go sailing – so like to be able to “borrow” or loan a boat from someone else. The whole process can be awkward and very time consuming. So we set up our business, and a process whereby users can book to go sailing on someone else’s boat for a week or two, book all their catering on board and upload their sailing qualifications – all in one easy and simple location – PlainSailing.com.
BS: What’s your career history? How did you come to set up PlainSailing.com?
A: After completing a degree in Economics at Durham University, I got my first job in recruitment and then started my own recruitment business – specialising in finding and placing construction workers. During the recession, I started another business creating, designing and optimising websites, and helping clients with their Digital Media and Web queries, and managing search engine optimisation campaigns. Having spotted a gap in the market, with my brother, we created PlainSailing.com with the mission to make it easier for sailors to find yachts.
BS: What is so special about PlainSailing.com? What makes your business different?
A: We think the whole process should be as simple as booking a hotel online, and there’s so many benefits of using PlainSailing.com. Gone are the days when you have to fax your sailing qualifications to the charter company or boat owner, with PlainSailing.com you can simply scan them in and upload them. In addition, and more importantly, PlainSailing.com allows users to compare charter boats and locations, different boat features, available dates and even swap between locations.
BS: Why should other sailors and boat owners use PlainSailing.com?
A: We know that many boats are only used for a couple of weeks a year and PlainSailing.com gives owners the opportunity to make money from other sailors chartering their yachts. It also ensures the boats are maintained through regular use all year round and costs are kept down by not having to pay mooring fees when the boats aren’t in use – it’s practical, logical and makes the boat owners money! Pretty much, “Plain Sailing!”
Something also pretty special about us is that we use a reviews and ratings system, whereby you will be able to read what other sailors thought of the boat and the Yacht Charter company before you book with them – so you can be safe in the knowledge that you are dealing with a professional company, and the yacht is in good shape.
BS: What countries do you cover?
A: We started in the UK and have expanded to cover Greece. The next destination to come online is Croatia and watch this space as we open up more sailing opportunities.
BS: Why did you start in the UK first? What’s so special about it?
A: The UK has some of the most beautiful locations to sail in, around the world. We live in the UK and love sailing in the UK. It made perfect sense for us to scope out some of the best locations, boat owners and charter companies – and we wanted to share them with fellow sailors.
BS: How are you getting involved in the marine industry, and getting the PlainSailing.com name out there?
A: We have some exciting plans for arranging cruises in company and regattas. We’re also about to embark on our first Bart’s Bash, under the PlainSailing.com name – we’re really looking forward to it and will be joining more than 360 other registered venues from around the world, setting sail on 20 September. Check out our blog post-race and we’ll let you know how we get on. We are also delighted to have recently joined British Marine.
BS: What’s next for PlainSailing.com? How will you grow this market?
A: Booking bareboat or skippered yachts online is a big step forwards for the industry, and we’re receiving great feedback so far. However, we want to make the process even more streamlined with the addition of real-time availability for yachts and the ability to book provisions online in advance – features which will be coming soon. Our hope is that PlainSailing.com becomes the ‘booking.com’ of the sailing world. New yachts and locations will continuously be researched and added to the site. We also plan to introduce real-time availability for our yachts. We’re also thinking about a PlainSailing.com yacht where you can book a single berth, instead of having to try and find five friends and book a whole boat!, and setting up a forum online for sailors to meet and greet each other, share contacts and routes they love.
BS: Where’s your favourite place to sail?
A: Scotland – we absolutely love all the coastal sailing experiences available particularly around the Isle of Skye.
Keep an eye out for the forthcoming article where we test the PlainSailing.com site and book a boat online.
For more information about PlainSailing.com, please visit: www.PlainSailing.com.