Simon J Web site

23rd April 2020


Boatfolk stories: Simon Jackson

Boatfolk Hero

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a harbourmaster and live just across the loch from the marina. I was born in the area and my father ran the local boatyard in Helensburgh as well as chartering boats from Garelochhead and Kilmelford. He then set up the first chandlery ‘Arden Yacht Spot’, on site at Rhu Marina when it was built in the 70s. I have sailed all my life and have taken my yacht racing to national and international level, competing in two world championships.

When and why did you choose to work at our marina?

I started in 2016, I love sailing and working with customers and this job is a great way of achieving my work/life balance.

Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you?

I enjoy using a sewing machine and designed my own sails for my boat.

When and how did you get into the marine industry/boating?

I have pretty much lived my whole life in the marine industry. My first paid job was working at Silvers Marine boatyard during my school holidays for 50p an hour!

What is a typical workday like?

Always varied, no two days are ever the same! I arrive at office and do first rounds of checking the boats, and then I update the PC[LLA1] . Depending on the time of year, you then lift/launch boats and put up or remove masts, dispense fuel, send out invoices, carry out general maintenance, run the launch out to moorings and look after customers’ daily needs.

What’s a common question you get from customers?

“What is the code number for the toilets?”

What do you like most about your job?

Discussing customers’ requirements and helping them achieve their goals.

What’s been your fondest memory as an employee of ours?

Having a nice long chat with Princess Anne about the marina when we were awarded our Four Gold Anchors.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

You can find me sailing, skiing, going for a drive, or tinkering on my boat.

What is your biggest achievement to date and why?

Helping my daughter achieve her goal of getting into the Scottish Ski Team, giving the time and assistance where needed, both practical and emotional, to get her to training or events and also keep her equipment up to date and in top condition for racing.

What is your ultimate dream/goal?

Spend my retirement cruising the West Coast of Scotland.

What is the one thing that makes you feel the most alive?

Depends on the time of year, in the winter it is ski racing, in the summer it is out yacht racing in windy weather.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

You must not do yourself down, you can achieve what you set your heart on.

Would you recommend getting afloat to a friend or family member and why?

Always! It is the best place to relax and take my mind off day-to-day life. When out sailing my mind is only on the boat, company on board, wind, sea, and tide.

Boating can be deemed an expensive hobby/sport, what would your tips be for someone who is looking to get afloat?

Don’t worry about starting in a nice flashy boat. Start small and spend as much time as you can just messing around. Small boats are easier to man-handle when mistakes happen, and they will, and if you can enjoy life on the seas in a small boat, the bigger boat can come later if you choose to upgrade.   

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