Nick Jones - Branch Manager, Melbourne

After spending 8 years at the Pittwater office as head of the Service Centre, Nick transferred to Melbourne in 2013 to take on his exciting role as branch manager, and continue to put Windcraft’ s core values of exceptional customer service and care into practice. Nick is responsible for new sales, brokerage and after sales care. Having Nick in Melbourne also creates consistency in the owner experience across Australia.

From a computer lab to the great outdoors

Nick started sailing at 12 or 13 when he began racing with his dad. He 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 the pull of the outdoors, the ocean and the freedom offered by boats got the better of him and he made a career change.

He started out in the yachting industry at Pittwater Yacht Charter helping to maintain the charter fleet and briefing charter customers. After a couple of months travelling in Canada he headed home and in 2005 started work at the Team Windcraft yacht Service Centre. Nick learnt in that role as in his current role that it’s important to get to know all his customers and their yachts.

“I enjoy the fact that I build trust with our customers”

In the early days of Team Windcraft, the role of the Service Centre grew, and the guidance and support they offered were paramount. Every boat is treated as a project from the sale, the commissioning, and the after care. Every one is taken seriously.

Today, Nick particularly enjoys the boat handovers. As well as being part of the christening ceremony, he spends a whole day going over every inch of the yacht with her new owners.

Every detail is important to Nick in ensuring new owners are comfortable – teaching them to berth for example can make the difference between good day and bad day. Windcraft continues to give owners the tools to enhance their experience, and as technology evolves and innovation abounds in the industry, it’s important to keep up to date.  

“We look at all the factory and locally installed equipment and instruments and we go for a sail and make sure the owners are comfortable with how everything works”.

Nick finds it rewarding dealing with customers and developing long-term relationships, helping them get onto their boats and get the most out of them, understanding their timelines or goals. He likes to help his customers realise their dreams – nothing is too grand.

He is also proud of the unique ongoing support offered to owners… “for example if it’s really windy when an owner comes to collect their boat we’ll help by driving it off the marina berth for them”.

“When you’re dealing with people’s leisure time, it’s important to get it right”

Nick likes the approach at Team Windcraft – the focus on the owner experience and acting with integrity. He aims to have the productiveness and foresight to arrange service works to ensure people are back out on their boats in no time. His measure of success is a happy boat owner and having been with Windcraft since 2005 he feels part of that successful approach.

“They know that if they leave their yacht with us for service one weekend – they’ll come back the next weekend and everything will be done. We act in a pro-active way – if we see something needs doing – we do it”.

Getting people out enjoying their boats is key for Nick. Attending Owners’ Rallies and the Geelong Festival of Sails are great ways to connect with owners.

At Geelong, onboard a Hanse 385, Nick taught hands on practical skills that owners could put into practice in a racing environment, assisted with maintenance issues and provided advice… All very satisfying.

In Nick’s words:

“We had an absolutely fantastic weekend. The weather was perfect and the event was the ideal way for some of our new owners to test their boats (and themselves) in a supportive environment. It was great to see new friendships forming at the after race drinks and we are all really looking forward to the Safety Beach Sailaway next month.”

Some work and some play

It’s not all work and no play for Nick. He loves test sailing the boats and he has “also been lucky enough to do the Coffs race on a Hanse 370 and a couple of deliveries from Townsville and Airlie to Sydney”.

The 2014 Sydney to Hobart along with the Team Windcraft gang on a Moody Boys, was a memorable experience for Nick. That was his first Hobart,  and produced a mix of emotions from excitement to anxiety to extreme enjoyment! A great boat, along with a great team made it feel more like a cruise than a race, and he puts this down to knowing how to work well in a team and get along, in the same way they do back at work.

Sailing a Hanse 505 from Melbourne to King Island with Windcraft’s Allan Bridge was a unique experience in that without a hint of a breeze, conditions were very frustrating. They managed to get there in time for a steak sandwich so all was not lost!

The importance of family and community

The Windcraft office is at Brighton, and Nick lives on the Mornington Peninsula, so he is well poised to look after the area. There is a very close sailing community and as in Sydney, owners become part of the Windcraft family. Nick doesn’t see himself in a sales role, it’s more about getting to know the customers and helping them love their boats and being out on the water.

Nick’s kids are expected to get involved with sailing – “no pressure!”. And although he fears he may  have lost his son to power boats he is glad that the kids enjoy going out sailing in races with him.

Nick attributes Windcraft’s success to being an approachable, easy company to deal with. They have the best products and the best backup from their fantastic Service Centre.

Nick aims to work by 2 main principles:

“…Firstly… if you can see a way to do something better… then do it better. And secondly… there are no problems… only solutions”.

Judging by the number of cases of beer and bottles of rum Nick gets from his customers he must be doing a great job.

But don’t just take our word for it… here are some testimonials below from our new yacht owners.

“I know a lot of work went into the event, especially by Nick who I think is doing a wonderful job down here. I would also like to thank you for coming out with us and imparting some much needed knowledge on sailing with the gennaker”

David Donaldson / Owner

“I have been exposed to many great after sales managers in my time relating to non marine based companies and have been exposed to some not so great after sales staff in all walks of life. I say without reservation that the level of service and professionalism that Nick Jones presented to me was simply exceptional”

Allan Sparkers / Owner

“We have been fortunate enough to have Nick Jones, Windcraft Melbourne Manager, come out with us a couple of times to give us a few pointers. Nick is doing a great job down here and nothing seems to be too much trouble, whether it be a bit of advice, a small repair or a helping hand”

David and Jennie / Owners