Anchors Aweigh is a podcast for all boaters, from aspiring to experienced. Featuring in-depth conversations with boating experts and industry leaders, and packed full of tips, tricks, gear, and industry info, boaters of all levels will come away with new skills and knowledge each episode.
Finding Success With Electric Sailing
There have been some extremely exciting developments in the electric boating space in the past year. PURE Watercraft raised over $37million to continue their expansion. Vision Marine had a successful IPO. Torqeedo delivered its 100,000th motor. And a variety of smaller companies are making strong plays as the space grows. While the momentum is exciting, it is clear there is still a long way to go to make electric a widely adopt way to power a boat. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Graham Balch, Managing Broker of Green Yacht Sales. Graham is an avid sailor and joined the boating industry after stints as a consultant, educator, getting his MBA and then shifting course and starting in the brokerage business before launching his own venture. Before striking off on his own, Graham distinguished himself in the brokerage world with a variety of performance awards, including Highest number of sailboat sales out of 300 sales reps nationwide. Green Yachts began in 2019 and is dedicated to supporting the electric boating community on the water by selling, servicing, and advocating electric powered boats. Green Yachts aspires to helping customers who want the benefits of electric propulsion while enjoying inspiring, well-made, award-winning boats. I learned a lot from Graham and love his strategy of making sure people who do go electric are successful with it. This means making sure they have not only the right motor, but the right boat, the right technical skills, and the right expectations. Graham and I discussed what drove him to focus on electric boating, design and technological advances and needs, what consumers can look for in the future, and more. Enjoy!
Giving Anglers the Upper Hand
In the five years I have spent as part of the boating industry, I have often tried to put into words how impactful boating can be for creating memories, sharing experiences, and just spending quality time with family and friends enjoying the beauty of being on the water. In that time, I don’t think I have ever done it as effectively as Jesse Simpkins does day in and day out. Jesse is the Director of Marketing for St. Croix Rods and was recently named the Chairman of the Board of the American Sportfishing Association. You can tell even from this short conversation that Jesse eats, sleeps and breathes fishing, and loves sharing it with others. From conservation efforts to ensure strong fisheries, to improving rod technology making the experience more enjoyable, access to fishing is a major focus for Jesse in both his product and advocacy roles. We discussed Jesse’s first fishing experiences on a farm pond, his evolution into the serious angler he is today, great products coming out of St. Croix (and what goes into them), and some of the important advocacy issues the industry is tackling around Conservation. Enjoy!
Becoming a Better ANGLR
I had a great conversation with Derek Horner, content manager at ANGLR. ANGLR is a fishing intelligence platform built for anglers by anglers that consists of a free fishing logbook, app that syncs across mobile and web devices, optional tracking accessories and community of anglers who are passionate about growing and helping others grow. ANGLRs goal is to empower anglers through measurement, learning, and collaboration using both data and technology, elevating their fishing experience. The app helps plan, record, and relive their fishing successes, and failures, to improve their ability to catch more fish the next time out.
After Derek made the jump from hobby angler to serious angler, he started tournament fishing which led him to Penn State University where he was the Captain of the fishing team. Soon after graduating, he ‘hooked up’ with the ANGLR founders and helped grow the fledgling company to where it is today. We talked about the resources he used to go from amateur to tournament winner, how technology is changing the game in fishing, new things coming from ANGLR in V2 and more!
Investing in the Growth of Boating
It has been a very interesting time to be in the boating industry. Right when we would normally be ramping up and commissioning boats for the spring, doing the boat show rounds, and seeding future sales, Covid-19 hit and we were shut down. Soon after, the term ‘social distancing’ became part of our lives and it became more and more clear that outdoor activities, away from other people, were the safest ways to have fun this summer. Boating quickly saw a surge in interest like we have never seen before and we have had our busiest summer yet! From initially thinking we may lose an entire season of boating, to setting sales records, it has been a roller coaster ride but we are thrilled to see so many new people getting hooked on boating.
I recently spent some time chatting with Skip Sorenson with this as a backdrop. Skip started his career as a fourth-generation shipbuilder and since has achieved proven value creation results for both public and private equity companies. He has been involved in multiple restructuring and process improvement initiatives as both a CEO and CFO. Sorenson has been involved in a multitude of M&A transactions during his career, selling and purchasing both private and public companies. He was awarded "CFO of the Year" by DCEO Magazine in 2011.
Skip launched Anchors Aweigh Capital in 2013. Anchors Aweigh Capital is a boutique investment banking firm formed to pursue the buying and selling of maritime related businesses, including shipping, tankers, and ship and boat building companies, as well as industrial, alternative energy, and technology companies. Since the founding of the firm, AAC has investigated and facilitated multiple boat and shipbuilding transactions, including the facilitation of the acquisition of Intrepid Powerboats, a major, center console boat brand. The firm has recently been hard at work acquiring notable boating companies, including Century Boats and Vanquish Boats. Skip is also hard at work building membership in the Club Yacht Charter business, making luxury yacht charters more accessible through fractional charters.
Skip and I discussed growing up in a boatbuilding family, the recent M&A push in the boating industry, how the pandemic has affected boaters and boat companies, the impact technology is having on boating, and more, enjoy!
Boating to the Rescue!
Boating to the Rescue
Boating has long been thought of as a great way to enjoy nature, spend quality time together with loved ones, and disconnect from our busy lives to get away from it all. Now, more than ever, those qualities of boating are the reason it is positioned to be the perfect social distancing activity in our Covid-19 world.
We, like many, have been homebound for a month plus. All social engagements and activities for our kids have been cancelled. Cabin fever is real. And now, with warm weather approaching, along comes boating! We know that boating is going to look different – for example we won’t be inviting anyone outside our immediate family on board any time soon – but it remains the number one thing we are looking forward to doing over the next several months. And, we are happy that marinas have been considered essential so that we can work to provide the same relief to others!
In this context, I was able to speak with David Gee, Editor-in-Chief of Boating Industry Magazine, to discuss his life on the water and the current state of the boating industry. David has tremendous enthusiasm for boating and particularly watersports, and his optimism about the future of boating as a family pastime and as an industry where we make our living is highly encouraging! As he said when discussing how boating is positioned to meet the need of the moment, ‘Boating to the Rescue!’
Enjoy and stay healthy!
Bringing Generations Together - The Waketoon!
Bringing Generations Together With the Waketoon
What do you get when you combine two of the fastest growing segments in boating? The Avalon Waketoon! Combining all the elements that made pontoons popular – space, comfort, increased power, and extra amenities – with the ability to surf behind the boat led to an NMMA Innovation Award at the recent Minneapolis Boat Show and lots of headlines after. The waketoon does not use ballast to accomplish its surf wake, providing many benefits including time savings and limiting the transportation of invasive species.
Jim Wolf is the President and CEO of Avalon & Tahoe Manufacturing. Jim grew up boating on lakes big and small throughout Michigan and still enjoys many of those same bodies of water today.
Jim has grown Avalon from 70 employees to over 400 while increasing sales revenue almost 20x since purchasing the company in 2002. Jim and I spoke about growing up as a boater, how he ended up at Avalon, and some of the key engineering innovations behind the waketoon. Enjoy!
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great podcast and great way to promote boating
Helpful and Entertaining!
This podcast is a great listen, even for a non-boater like myself. The host (Mr. Matt O'Hara) does a wonderful job of interviewing a diverse range of experts within the boating world. This podcast is informative and entertaining. A must-listen-to podcast for anyone interested in boating.
HIGHLY recommend this podcast to any boaters or anyone interested in learning about the fun and exciting world of boating. I've been boating all my life and learn something new during every episode. Love the range of guests and topics!!