Peter Hrones Managing Director
Team Windcraft Pittwater
What drives a young Australian to spend 18 months travelling around Europe, USA, Canada and Africa in a campervan visiting 22 boat building factories? For Peter Hrones the driving force is passion. Passion for performance, great design and build quality. Once Peter starts talking about boats his face breaks into a smile and his eyes shine. Here’s a man who clearly loves his work. It all started when a very young Peter and his Dad built a Sabot sailing dinghy.
They customised the little boat to fit into the cockpit of their 22ft Timpenny trailer sailor – (it had to be a Timpenny because Peter’s Mum loved the self-tacking headsail)…more about how Peter’s passion for top yacht design led him to the Hanse Group
As a commercial skipper and successful marine business operator in his own right… Allan brings a wealth of industry knowledge and corporate experience to Windcraft.
Allan set up and developed the Windcraft Service Centre and now spends around 50% of his time overseeing service and commissioning.
Allan is also in charge of systems at Windcraft and makes sure sales and after-sales work in harmony. He ensures the smooth running of Windcraft.
More about Allan’s role at Windcraft and his journey from dinghies to large sailing yachts.
Mary Bickley Hanse Brand Manager
Team Windcraft Pittwater
Mary’s passion for sailing began with windsurfing on the south coast of England and Portugal while at university. One of few ladies participating in the relatively new sport Mary relished all styles from wave jumping to long board racing. It was the emerging marina scene in Portugal that provided the introduction to yachts. First boats were a Hartley TS 16 raced from Bayview’s BYRA, followed by a Boomeroo 22. Then came a Northshore 370 and the discovery of Ladies Tuesday night racing from the RPAYC.
Since joining Windcraft’s yacht sales team in 2004, the Hanse 400 has been one of Mary’s favourite models. A six month cruise up the east coast of Australia with her family is a highlight of Mary’s sailing career. This was the achievement of a long held dream and has proved invaluable in helping prospective Hanse owners realise their own dreams.
Team Windcraft New Zealand Manager
Dominic Lowe began his sailing career at the tender age of 5. He had no choice as he was surrounded with boat enthused family and friends! So the seed was sown and the draw of the ocean would always be there. There aren’t many ways to get out on the water that he hasn’t tried, owning various vessels over the years. From wakeboards to surfboards and kayaks to yachts.
He owned his own boat at age 21, a marine ply yacht bilge keeler. After hours of dedication, blood, sweat and tears it was up to speed and became the first of many boats he subsequently bought and sold… more about Dom here
Team Windcraft Melbourne Manager
Nick started sailing at 12 and progressed from pulling spare ropes on a Cavalier 350 SL, a Northshore 38 and a Farr 12-20 to doing a couple of seasons on the foredeck of a Northshore 369. When he left school he worked in a computer lab for 4 years – but he really craved being outdoors.
He cut his teeth in the yachting industry at Pittwater Yacht Charter helping to maintain the charter fleet and briefing charter customers. From 2004-2013 Nick’s role at Windcraft was in customer service and then in 2013 he relocated to Melbourne to take over from Roger as branch manager. More about Nick’s role in as Melbourne Branch Manager
Solaris and Dehler Brand Manager
Team Windcraft Pittwater
Ric has been sailing since he was 8 and skippered his first yacht as a professional when he was just 15. His passion is performance sailing and he has been involved in a number of regattas in Australia and also overseas including the U S, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Denmark and England. Along with racing, Ric spent 10 years as a yacht broker. He’s been Team Windcraft’s Technical Sailing Advisor since 2008 and in 2015 became Brand manager for Solaris and Dehler.
Ric loves to help buyers choose the right boat that suits their lifestyle and needs. He also helps new owners have more fun with their yachts… everything from very basic advice on setting sails to technical help to win races. He builds lasting relationships with clients and enjoys joining owners for cruising and races… Read more about Ric here
Service Centre Manager Australia
At the Windcraft Group Service Centre, Robert runs a tight ship, ensuring your yacht is serviced quickly and to the highest standard.
As a keen sailor who doesn’t like to be far from the water for any length of time, Robert makes it his priority to get your boat back out on the water as soon as possible.
His outstanding management skills and love of boating combine to ensure you are looked after every step of the way.
More about Robert’s role at Windcraft and his sailing and professional journey
Andre Huebner Service Coordinator
Team Windcraft New Zealand
Andre grew up around boats and water. But it was in Greifswald, Germany – the home of Hanse yachts where his career really began as a boat building apprentice. A real highlight here was learning to sail on a big schooner.
Already a familiar face, Andre’s been working on Windcraft yachts for over 4 years as part of the shipwright and boat building team. At the 2016 Windcraft Owners’ Rally it became clear he had a fantastic relationship with the owners and in turn they warmed to him immediately.
“Through my boatbuilding career in Germany I was very aware of Hanse, the build quality and performance. I was hopeful that one day my career would take me closer to this marque! It’s a pleasure to be given the opportunity to grow my relationship with the owners from the initial launching stage of their boat, handover and into the future. On handover day we always have a toast to many happy years sailing ahead and it is great to be the one to assist them with this”
Andre is highly respected in the NZ marine industry with an eye for detail and uncompromising strive for quality. He’s known for his never failing high spirits and his can do attitude.
Advisor and Shipwright
Dave Griffin is a third generation shipwright and qualified marine surveyor. Boats and boat building are in Dave’s blood. He’s travelled all over the globe with his job… and recently he’s come full circle and is back to where he started… constructing boats on the shores of Pittwater.
These days, of course, it’s not building from scratch but rather putting together our Hanse, Moody and Dehler yachts once they arrive here from Germany. He’s still travelling as well. The Windcraft Group often send Dave interstate to work with local labour and oversee the assembly of our larger yachts. Dave’s also still playing on Pittwater – racing his Adams 10 in the twilights and social sailing at the RMYC on Pittwater with his partner Rosemary. More about Dave and the Griffin shipwright family here.
Ross Turner is in charge of commissioning and pre-delivery. Ross takes care of your yacht from the time she arrives in Australia to handover.
Ross started sailing when he was 4 on a Topper and continued to sail throughout his school days on Lasers. He progressed into yachts at 17 and enjoyed racing out of Cowes, Plymouth and Brighton on Beneteau Firsts, Mustang 30s and an X-40.
He’s also enjoyed cruising around Plymouth, Greece, Croatia, Turkey and Italy. After studying Biology, Psychology and Marketing at the University of Bath, Ross worked in print media in the UK for a few years… but the pull of sailing was strong.
Ross completed his Yachtmaster exams in early 2011 and joined Windcraft shortly afterwards. More about Ross and his role overseeing commissioning at Windcraft
Hayden’s love of boating and being on the water fishing was the inspiration behind his change in career, from a domestic electrician to a specialist marine electrician.
A northern beaches local, Hayden brings a wealth of experience to the Windcraft Group, which includes five years with a marine electrical company and a six-month stint working on superyachts in Florida.
“My first job as a marine attendant at the Royal Motor Yacht Club basically led me to being an electrician on boats,” explains Hayden.
When a new boat comes in, Hayden first role it to commission it, making sure the electrics comply with Australian standards, before it heads to service for a final check.
The Windcraft Group’s boats’ standard and optional navigation and electrical devices, including SIMRAD, Lowrance and B&G, are all installed and serviced by Hayden.
Hayden is also on hand to provide a personal, one-on-one service to owners.
“I’ll often talk to owners directly and, for those who are interested, I give tutorials to teach them more about the electrics so they can operate everything better and get the best out of their boat,” says Hayden.
Having an expert who specialises in the boats’ unique wiring and branded electronic instruments makes perfect sense; it means you get the best possible standard of work on your yacht.
Service Centre Support
Iain started sailing at the age of 10 on the chilly lochs of Scotland. He raced high performance dinghies and quickly developed sailing passion. By the time Iain was 14 he was teaching others though the RYA scheme. He went on to study sports coaching in Edinburgh.
In 2006 Iain headed to warmer climates to run sailing centres in Greece, Egypt and the Caribbean working for Sunsail and Mark Warner. Along the way Iain gained his RYA Yachtmaster and commercial and powerboat instructor qualifications.
Iain also enjoyed racing in regattas around Europe the highlight being part of the winning team at Cowes week regatta in the Etchells class. Through 2011 he was based in Monaco working as a deckhand and head of water sports on a 65m Superyacht.
Iain joined the Windcraft Group service team in 2012 and provides an expectational level of support to the team. He still enjoys onshore and offshore racing when he can fit it in.
In Iain’s own words
“From an early age I have known sailing is what I was going to do and that New Zealand and Australia was where I wanted to do it“.
Service Centre Assistant
Kirsten joined the team in early 2016. After three years working as a rigger, her dream job at Windcraft came up.
“I’ve always wanted to work for Windcraft,” she says, “They are so organised and professional“.
Growing up around her father’s boats, Kirsten has had plenty of experience both in Australia and further afield.
She has cruised around Europe and crewed at regattas like Hamo and Port Stephens.
A super keen sailor, Kirsten currently sails 3 or 4 times a week on a variety of yachts – racing on Mondays and Tuesdays and sailing a Titan 36 on Fridays.
Kirsten’s role at Windcraft is varied and she enjoys helping out where she can, that could be anything from ordering new parts to moving boats around the marina.
Sue Rogan joined Windcraft in 2011 – a new position created as the Windcraft Group continues to expand.
Sue supports the sales and service team and ensures the smooth running of our busy head office.
She spent 11 years working for Boral Ltd as executive assistant to the Chief General Manager of Building Products.
Then for the past few years Sue has worked in a more customer service focused environment.
Sue lives locally with her family and loves the superb natural environment of the Pittwater area.
She loves being able to see the water from her desk!
Sue joined Windcraft in 2014.
A qualified management accountant, Sue has 20 years experience in accountancy roles in various industries in the UK and Australia.
Her role at the Windcraft Group is huge managing the accounts across Team Windcraft and eyachts both in Australia and New Zealand.
Sue lives locally in the Pittwater Area and is a member of Avalon Sailing Club and active support crew for her children in the flying 11 regattas!
Cathy spent her first years of professional life as a pediatric nurse at the world renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London. Cathy then travelled to Australia and decided to make Sydney home. When asked about her affinity to the sport of sailing, Cathy describes her passion in her own words. Over the years I have had the privilege of sailing in the Pittwater twilight races on various models of Hanses, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
In 2009 I was lucky enough to go cruising up the east coast of Australia on the Moody 45DS ‘Cool Change’. Our family has great memories from the trip and the kids (and us) often wish to be back on the Moody. As I no longer have to hold onto a baby whilst sailing I would love to become a more productive crew member in this year’s twilights on the Dehler 35 ‘Coco’.