Solaris Yachts Sales broker Richard Baldwin started his sailing life at the age of four on his father’s wooden Folkboat – on the not-so-very-glamorous river Medway, UK. This involved dragging a dinghy across the mud and rowing out to the boat on a swinging mooring. Onwards and upwards!
He writes: “I soon got the racing bug and from 1976 spent the rest of my school years doing the EAORA circuit on half-tonners (for those who are old enough to remember IOR and ‘tumblehome’) and generally handing in my homework very late!
At the age of 34, and having spent 15 years in the construction industry, the urge to ‘paddle my own canoe’ lead me to take the plunge and open my own yacht brokerage business in Hamble Point Marina.
The start was tougher than I imagined (I kept checking to see if someone had un-plugged my phone) but my luck changed when Grand Soleil were on the look out for a new UK dealer in 1999. That was a great break and coincided with a boom time in the yacht market and the sale of 76 new yachts until 2008. Then we parted company due to a change in commercial strategy by the new Private Equity owners of GS.
Having established some great contacts in Italy, within 24-hours, I was soon on a plane to the Solaris Yachts yard, near Venice, and became their first agent.
As Solaris rapidly built up their new range of performance cruiser yachts (now 11 models from 40’ to 111’), it was clear that a professional partner with major marketing reach was needed to promote Solaris to the degree it deserved. Having co-brokered with Berthon International for many years I ran the idea past Managing Director Sue Grant and was delighted that in 2017 they became the official Solaris Yachts dealer for the UK and now beyond.
It continues to be a great pleasure to be a part of the extended Berthon Sales Group family and to work with such a dedicated and professional team.”