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28 February 2020 | Leisure

Unique opportunity on the west coast of Scotland brought to market through Christie & Co

Specialist business property advisor, Christie & Co is delighted to bring to the market Alba Sailing in Oban, the only significant yacht charter company on the west coast of Scotland.

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The business comprises of yacht charter, chandlery and rigging services, with the core offering being yacht chartering – mostly bareboat with less than 5% being skippered charter. There are currently 11 boats in the fleet, six of which are owned outright by Alba Sailing and five which are managed on behalf of separate owners.
The managed boats are booked for approximately 20 weeks per annum, mostly for one week at a time, with an increasing number of two and three week bookings. Most people sail in an area within 60 – 100 nautical miles of the business’ base, whilst the longer bookings often sail around the top of Scotland, visiting sites such as Orkney and Shetland and returning through the Caledonian Canal.  Demand is very strong and has grown year on year for the business, with a very significant proportion of income achieved through returning clients and consistent forward bookings. 

The chandlery is very well stocked and additionally serves as a ‘cost price’ spares department for Alba Sailing-owned boats. The shop has a great reputation for customer service, free advice and competitive prices.
The rigging services is a recent new addition and is largely run by the Fleet Manager, who has 30+ years’ experience. This is highly profitable, easy to run and provides a good income stream for the months when the yachts are out of the water.

The business benefits from a near-perfect location at the entrance to the Sound of Mull, making it easy to sail north, south or west of Tobermory in a one-day sail away. All Alba Sailing yachts are on finger pontoons making embarking and disembarking very easy and the business is well supported by sailmakers, electronics engineers and mechanical engineers due to this prime sailing location.

There are a variety of options for customers to access the site, including plenty of free on-site parking, regular train and bus services running from Glasgow and Edinburgh (the nearest airports) and the business also has an arrangement with a luxury transport company for airport transfers. Oban town centre is just four miles away, offering a good range of supermarkets.

Current owner, David Banks, comments, "Prior to 2007 I taught the RYA Day Skipper and Yachtmaster theory courses and at the end of each course I asked the groups of students if they would like to go sailing off the West Coast of Scotland. The uptake was virtually 100%!  I chartered over 30 weeks, all from Alba Sailing, to facilitate these groups over a number of years – usually two boats twice a year.  In that time, I witnessed some of the most stunning scenery on the planet.

"In 2007, as our children flew the nest to University, I realised that Alba Sailing was being advertised for sale.  In the words of ‘Victor Kiam’ I liked the company so much that I bought it!

"My wife, Julie, and I decided about 12 months ago that as we are both of retirement age, that the time was right to consider selling the business. We bought the business via Christie & Co over 12 years ago and we were delighted with the support, assistance and professionalism offered to us (and to the vendor) and once we made the decision to sell, we really didn’t consider using anyone else."

Mark Lavery, Business Agent at Christie & Co who is dealing with this sale comments, "It is very rare that an opportunity such as Alba Sailing arises – it is a unique business, extremely profitable with flourishing year on year sales. With a healthy order book growing fast for season 2020, the business represents a fantastic opportunity for the right buyer.”

Christie and Co are seeking an asking price in the region of £1,200,000 for the long ground leasehold interest.
 

For further information on this press release, contact:

Fiona Fieldhouse, Head of Corporate Communications

P: 020 7227 0793 or E: fiona.fieldhouse@christie.com

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