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20th April 2020

Conwy

Boatfolk stories: Phil Jones

Boatfolk Hero

I have always lived near the water. I started sailing with my family from a young age and realised boating was a passion of mine, and that has stayed with me. In my late teens and early twenties, I sailed many a race to the Isle of Man and Ireland, as well as lots of sailing adventures in the Med and Caribbean. Having grown up in Llandudno and Deganwy, sailing and all things ‘boaty’ has been an integral part of my life.

I am the Assistant Manager at Conwy Marina, and I manage boat sales at the brokerage. I first started working at the marina at the age of 14 at Mailspeed Chandlers and have remained here in various roles since. I have always felt at home here, and the strong sense of community always brings me back to the marine industry.

I’m a practical person and can turn my hand to most things. I renovated our Victorian house in Llandudno over a two-month period a couple of years ago, with help from family and through learning skills I never knew I had – I can paint, build, tile, and am an expert at cleaning!  I surprised myself by enjoying gardening in our new garden, and my four-year-old son is a great help with pulling out our newly planted flowers!

I love wakeboarding although I haven’t managed to go as much since the children were born – I find myself too busy riding bikes and building forts nowadays. They love the water as much as I do, and we hope to take a sailing holiday when they’re older.

I first got into the marine industry when I started working at the chandlery. At 16, I left school and went into a retail management programme, but I missed the water and returned to the marine industry at the age of 19, selling powerboats. I returned to Conwy Marina in my early twenties and have stayed there since, as a keen sailor, wakeboarder, and member of the crew at Llandudno Lifeboat (for ten years before having to step down due to moving out of the immediate area). I worked in the brokerage for several years before starting as assistant manager at the marina in 2014. I then returned to selling boats alongside my role in 2017.

I have lived my whole life on or near the water, expanding my knowledge and understanding of the sea. I know the waters of Conwy like the back of my hand.

Something that many people don’t know about me is that I was in the RAF… for three days! I stayed long enough to have my head shaved (a look that has been forced upon me by nature in more recent years!) and to realise that the life for me involved the sea as opposed to the sky.

I’m often asked by customers if they can hire me to clean their boats, as I’m known (and at times mocked!) for my meticulous cleaning habits.

The thing I enjoy the most about my job is being around boats all day. It’s my passion and the people I work with are also passionate. It’s challenging, busy, and fast paced, but there’s nothing better than getting people out on the water in the boat they’ve always dreamt of.

When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, walking the dogs, cycling, and getting out on the hills. We’re lucky to live in a beautiful place with mountains, sea and towns nearby.

My ultimate dream is to sail around the world with my family. I’ll have to train them a little first!

Boating isn’t really a hobby – it’s a way of life. It gives you the freedom to see the world from a different perspective and gives you a sense of the beauty and power of the sea. Its an exciting and relaxing activity in equal parts, and I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet.

Boating may be considered an expensive and exclusive hobby – but that truly isn’t the case. There are many ways to get you out on the water that won’t break the bank, and the best way to start is by offering your services as crew.

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