Sometimes only the consumers can see the problem and the solution – in this case it’s for specialist sailing classifieds.
Victorian sailor Rob Hartnett is very much immersed in the sport of sailing.
He started at age of eight. He has sailed one design dinghies, Etchells, J24s, sports boats and offshore yachts.
He sailed the Sydney - Hobart at 19 and won the Melbourne Devonport at 23. He has won a number of championships in Minnows, Tasar’s, J24s, and inshore keelboats. He was J24 World Champion in 1994 sailing with US sailor Ken Read, a long time friend.
These days he is a Laser Master but spends a lot of time travelling on the youth regatta circuit with his family who are racing Optimists and Lasers predominantly.
And as a sailing consumer he found a problem and has a solution.
Rob explains ‘As our family sailing grew, things that were needed such as good second hand boats, practice sails, rigs, multi-rack trailers and the like were really hard to source. Also we had spares we no longer needed from classes we had outgrown or gear the boys had outgrown such as wetsuits and life jackets. We found there was no market place to reliably source and sell these things.
‘Our own experience buying and selling sailing equipment trawling through eBay or Trading Post or those general classified sites was frustrating. We also found many yacht club and association web site classifieds horribly out of date especially in the off season.'
Ben Hartnett at the Laser 4.7 Worlds. Photo: Claudio Cambria - Sailingshack
‘We realised we were not alone, there were lots of people who wanted to sell what people wanted to buy but there was no vehicle to make that happen.
‘We also saw great boats lying around yards and beach houses. We saw double trailers we couldn’t get hold of, all the sort of stuff that as a sailor you want to buy at some point'
‘Involved in sailing across a wide spectrum as we were, we realised there was a real gap in the market - classifieds...really focussed ... on sailing. So rather than complain about it we decided to do something and with the help of fellow sailor and web designer Mark Gray we launched SailingShack.com.au.
‘It was a solution that sprung from our frustrations, it’s a meeting place for buyers and sellers, at its core is a full on classifieds focused on sailing.
'Sailing Shack covers boats and equipment, from junior sailing, to one design racing and even cruising. New boats and equipment providers are welcome too and we have suppliers such as Rooster & Magic Marine who market their range of new equipment already on the site. All classified advertising is for free and we will also help you if you don’t know what your boat or gear is worth.
'Apart from the classifieds we run a blog, video channel and information on clubs, classes, coaching, skills and speed tips. We also have content sharing with people like SAP and North.'
The site is designed to be very interactive. You can upload and modify your own ad’s and yacht clubs and associations can upload their information on what their club or class offers. We even offer a page for sailing coaches and those clubs that offer coaching to upload their details.
‘Right now it’s all about connecting up with buyers and sellers at www.sailingshack.com.au and to keep the sport we are passionate about thriving.’
10 year old Lachie Hartnett in his Optimist. Photo: Leisa Hartnett - Sailingshack
by Brendan Maxwell
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10:41 PM Wed 8 Aug 2012GMT
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