What services does Mainstay offer? “Our specialty is the diversity of jobs we will do on your boat from basic maintenance, antifouling, polishing, indeed all the nasty bits that an owner might not want or have the time to do. We look after boats all year round particularly for owners who can’t get to their boats often and we can look after both sailing and motor boats. We currently work on at least 30 boats regularly throughout the year as well as undertaking many ad hoc jobs on others.”
What sets your work apart? “We have an awful lot of experience of working on boats but often it is down to the hard graft and preparation we can bring to all jobs. There’s more skill in polishing than people realise. To anti-foul a boat properly also requires alot of preparation and attention to detail – bad work stands out. That’s especially important when you’re varnishing woodwork.
People use Mainstay because they trust us. Whilst we don’t work on engines or sort complex electronics problems, we do have the experience to work out what may be wrong for most problems that occur on a boat. We can then recommend and organise those who might fix it. We work well with others on the river – our networking means we know the right people to sort any problem. Owners value our integrity knowing that we are reliable, competent and won’t over-charge. We can also work on most boats whatever their size.
If you’re an absent boat-owner, we’ll also prepare your boat before you visit, even topping up the fuel tanks, maximizing the time you have to use the boat. We’ll do the basic housekeeping, valet the boat and even fix the toilets if necessary. We’ve got many years’ experience of handling all sorts of boats from small to very large. If you need us to move your boat, perhaps organising its lift-out, then you can rely on us.”
What area do you cover? “We work on the River Dart up to Dittisham. We work reguarly at Darthaven, Noss and Dart Marina’s.”
What maintenance do you recommend boat owners should do? “Boats should be polished once a year – it’s always harder if you allow grime and pollution to build up and, anyway, it protects a boat’s value. Sails should be properly winterised and put away dry inside the boat or taken off the boat altogether. Ideally, you should take down and store every rope even those that run inside the mast. If you’ve a motor boat and you’ve kept your old canopies then it’s best to use these over the winter. Again, put all the cushions away dry into the boat. Try and do this all before the weather turns – such care will always save you money in the long run and Mainstay can organise all this for you.”
How did you come to do this?
Steve: “I’ve been mucking about or working/racing on boats for most of my life. I’ve skippered both private and charter yachts and sailed anything from dinghies to super yachts. I’ve got a Yacht & Boatyard Management Diploma and an Ocean Yachtmaster, Commercially Endorsed. I worked for some years commissioning new boats such as Beneteau, Fairline, Etap and Grand Soleil yachts. I’ve done ARC’s, 9 Atlantic crossings, once through Panama canal to the Marquesa’s and helped run World Match Racing Championships, looked after a fleet of First Class Racing Europe racing yachts and spent 15 years crewing 50’ to 100’ yachts as mate or skipper. I was skipper and project manager on the build of a 100’ carbon fibre sloop in France. I was also lucky to race as foredeckcrew on the famous J Class yacht ‘Valsheda’.”
Tracey: “I have also grown up with boats. My father is a boat builder and my childhood was usually spent either working in his boatyard learning how to varnish etc or family cruising the Solent, West Country, France. I have done many yacht deliveries, been involved with running activity sailing holidays and worked for many years with Ancasta, Hamble becoming their first lady yacht broker - quite something in the marine world in the 80’s!! I eventually relocated with Ancasta to Dartmouth 18 years ago. Since then I have worked on superyachts, where I met Steve and for some years worked for Yachts of Dartmouth. Nowadays, my life is much quieter!”
“When we decided to settle here and raise a family, it made sense to buy Mainstay in 2004, which had been started in 2001 by Gilly Tucker and Jude Gillo. They had offered a basic boat maintenance service and we’ve built on that since. Jude still helps out part-time and we also have Jules working with us in the periods around the start of the season when it gets busy.”
Tracey still helps out but is responsible for the office, book-keeping etc whilst looking after their young son – “He’s only 4 but we’ll have him anti-fouling, doing the low bits, before he’s seven!”
What do you do when not working? “We’ve just moved house and have got a lot of DIY ahead of us but are looking forward to cruising and racing our Excalibur 36, Tancree this season. We feel very privileged to be able to work and live in Dartmouth!”
First Published March 2010 By The Dart