I love the sea and I can never stray far for too long. The fresh breeze, the play of the waves, and the way it makes me feel good about simply being. My adopted home of 20-odd years in Jersey. A wonderfully pretty little island just off of Brittany surrounded by Atlantic waters. Many of us are into some form of maritime leisure pursuit, all for their very own reasons. However, one thing connects all of us, the ocean and love for it. I am not fully worth my salt as a sailor but am keen for it! The ever-changing sea is great, of course, especially when you approach it with a team. The way sailing really shows someone’s mettle in such a short space of time is an effect few other hobbies can have, making great and lasting friendships. At times it feels a bit like running a small company, where nobody is indispensable and each person’s actions are crucial to get the best out of the whole.
Like so many startups, KaterBlue (Cah-ter Blue) was borne of necessity. As an economist, I have noticed multiple inefficiencies in the current market. There is an abundance of committed sailors of varying degrees of competency, as well as a multitude of vessels, with problems with current agencies and websites leading to many missed opportunities, with apprentice skippers trying to build the required sea miles to sit the RYA Yachtmaster or MCA Master exam, skippers unable to find crew, friends purchasing yachts with expensive flaws and impacting their finances further on an already hefty purchase–had they chartered the boat for a week before committing to a purchase, they might not have had these issues. Recently qualified skippers with little experience and thereby little confidence will sometimes want to buy a boat but just can’t feel safe without another skipper by their side for their first few voyages. Not finding yachts for charter at a reasonable fee (rather than the typical daylight robbery of some local agencies in cities around the world!), searching for a charter for precisely the days one is searching for on the more reasonable websites, and then having to pore through endless boats just to find out they are not available during the requested time can really get to some people. I thought I could do better for the industry, and because I had been looking to do something that suits Jersey and that suits me (I spent a lot of my working life in India and the Middle East) and working on KaterBlue might let me spend more time in Jersey. In traditional startup style, I grabbed my laptop, put the kettle on, (being a self-confessed tea addict!), and immediately started brainstorming ideas. I was very interested and have been following closely the attempts by our local States of Jersey government to foster another economic pillar for Jersey in the wake of the offshore finance business getting a bit of a beating. One of those efforts resulted in the creation of “Digital Jersey”, the government’s push to make Jersey a digital destination for a global audience. A fantastic goal, but so hard to achieve without digitally groomed & nurtured manpower and startups!
KaterBlue is my attempt to address these inefficiencies in a small way. The KaterBlue platform not only allows the holidaymakers to find a boat suiting their requirements for their next holiday but also allows a skipper to find the crew necessary to do a particular passage. It is also efficient for prospective yacht purchasers to search for a boat with defined specifications and within their budget. They can agree to a charter with our without a skipper and/or crew for a trial period and without the obligation to buy. The Sellers in turn can list their boat on KaterBlue for free and publicize it to a worldwide audience. If they don’t sell their boat it still has made them money for them through the charter. In fact, some boat owners find that they have made so much money through their charters that now their boat is effectively working for them, keeping the wolves from the door and allowing them to still enjoy it without worrying about having to sell it due to wasted funds.
Those who need to build RYA sea miles or other qualifying sea miles might wish to find a boat looking for the crew as close to them as possible to fit in with their work or family commitments. Others more adventurous and with time on their hands seek yachts all over, and KaterBlue makes this possible.
I will keep working on improving the platform but of course, a marketplace is only as big as its members, the more that join, the better the platform becomes for everyone.
KaterBlue is for you; the lover of the Big Blue!
Founder of KaterBlue