Boatshed meets.....Andy Topham
This month we have shone the spotlight into the eyes of Boatshed Broker Andy Topham and asked him some questions so that we can all get to know him a little better.
BS: Andy, what was your first experience of boating?
AT: When I was around 9 or 10 years old, we met some people beach here in Abersoch and got chatting. They had a Drascombe Lugger and I went out with them.
BS: Before you became a Boatshed broker, what other jobs did you have? AT: Many things, I've worked for AutoPaints, as a main dealer mechanic, a part sales manager Then I went back to college to study Yacht design and Engineering. From 17 I was looking after and competing on race boats for owners in my spare time. After College I ran a private boat in St.Lucia and then charter boats, both power and sail in the BVI. We then returned to the U.K where I was chief Instructor at Abersoch sailing school and also ran our Caribbean yacht charter brokerage.
BS: What do you like best about being a broker? AT: I most enjoy dealing with boats still, doing the deal, making money, and the degree of flexibility being a Boatshed broker gives to me.
BS: What would you say your typical day was? AT: Well times have changed since I was the business owner, when I was opening up 7 days a week at the office. Now I am more flexible dealing with calls and emails from wherever I happen to be and arranging listings and viewing within our North Wales territory.
BS: What is your favourite sound track when on the water? AT: Into the Mystic by Van Morrison.
BS: Do you have a favourite movie? AT: Top Gun ... reminds me of fun times
BS: What is your favourite food to eat when you are out on the water? AT: That really depends on where in the World I am. In a cold climate curry and rice and when its a really bad cold stormy passage Pot Noddle! . When in a warm climate, chicken roti, fresh fruit, coconut water and rum - then I know I am in the place I should be all the time.
BS: What is your favourite anchorage or sailing destination? AT: That’s a tough one between the Pitons, St.Lucia, Petite St.Vincent Grenadines and a whole list in the BVI - especially Little Harbour Peter Island as it has so many memories. There is nothing shoreside just a beach and trees but it was home on the anchor between charters for many years, as it was for many good friends based there running charter boats.
BS: Share with us some of the best or worst advice you've ever received AT: For the youth... get your courses done early, and go and work aboard while you can build your experience. People who have money have big boats and those owners want sunshine, however they need crew and shoreside services and will pay for the right people to make it happen if privately, and the experience to be right if a charter boat.
You have to be where the money is if you want it to rub off on you. Unfortunately there are less jobs around smaller boats and the rewards are also smaller which is more the case with the U.K. Decent weather generally also makes doing anything to do with a boat mostly 10 times easier. Basically if you want to make decent money and have interesting life around boats you have a better chance somewhere warm out of the waters.
Worst advice I see and hear is people giving opinion on what makes a good blue water cruiser... many don’t have clue.
BS: And lastly, do you have any personal hero's? AT: Shackleton, Bernard Moitessier, Peter Blake, John Surtess
Thank you to Andy for taking the time to answer of questions. The team at Boatshed North Wales can be contacted through their website here.