A couple of days ago, Alan Atterbury called by at the Office for an hour or two. Of course, we talked boats for 99% of the time – and for the life of me I don’t recall what the business purpose of the meeting was!!
Since stopping his Fifteen sailing, Alan has been off in Cherubs and 12 foot skiffs. A bit lonely, I would have thought!!… He has to travel a bit though. I’m wondering if he can be tempted back sometime…
Anyway, conversation fell to the boat market as it so often does. Much talk about Topper, Laser, RS and how to get fleet racing going etc etc. When discussing the K6, the Elite, the SB3 and so on, we wondered how these guys see competing in the market. Alan’s simple analysis was (i) choose a boat segment (ii) build a product in there priced £5,000 below the incumbent (iii) market the heck out of it (iv) five years later, start all over again. Remember the Breeze?? From who was it?? RS??
So is that the way to attack the two man keelboat market – the Flying Fifteens?? We concluded not. When people fork out £18,000 or more for a new boat (or £5,000 for a second hand boat), what are they buying??…. We concluded we don’t in fact buy a “Flying Fifteen”. We don’t actually buy a boat at all…We buy “Flying Fifteen Racing”… we buy the lovely boat, the fleet racing, and the friendships. You cant buy that in a box from Laser, RS or anyone else. That’s why they fail.
I assume it’s the same in Merlins. If you are one of the 500 or so people that have enjoyed Salcombe week in recent years, you have to own a Merlin to join in.
No – the way to compete in the two man keelboat market, is to build a better Fifteen. So we reckon it’s three cheers for Composite Craft and Charles Apthorp for having a go….
An RS Flying Fifteen – now there’s an interesting idea…