RIC HAWKINS - Brand Manager Solaris & Dehler

Ric has been part of the Windcraft family since 2008 and in 2015 took on an exciting new role as the Brand Manager for Solaris and Dehler yachts.

Whether it’s helping beginners with parking their new yacht in a marina berth, encouraging clients to give racing a go, or giving experienced sailors “hands on” help fine-tuning their racing technique, Team Windcraft’s Ric Hawkins loves sharing his passion for sailing.

“I skippered my first yacht at age 15 and I’ve never been far from the water. I was a yacht broker for 10 years in the early days and worked with Windcraft’s Founder, Peter Hrones.

I’ve been involved in almost every international sailing regatta…spent heaps of time in the Mediterranean on racing boats and team boats. I’ve also represented Australia in Admiral’s Cups, and from dinghies up to high performance yachts”.

Hamilton Island is still a favourite. Ric finds it thoroughly enjoyable, even in bad conditions. He recalls a memorable last race of the regatta, when the wind blew up and things became less than simple, but the challenges presented an “awesome way to finish the whole regatta”.

Ric is no stranger to challenging conditions : “I actually sailed through a cyclone, when I was young. I was lashed to the helm for 2 days! It was horrendous… just myself and a friend.. but I know that experience helped us win the 98 Hobart.I believe people learn best through experience”.

Some new owners spend lots of time with Ric, others less, but all they all benefit from the increased confidence in learning from such an experienced sailor.

“…high performance offshore racing is what I love… so if people want to achieve great things in racing, I love helping them achieve that”.

Ric still gets a buzz from competition and teaching the skills involved to a broad range of clients, whether it’s coaching for the Hobart or with members of the Ladies Twilight team. He loves working with different skill levels, young and old, and the close knit excitement of racing; and finds it satisfying to see clients progress. It’s not just the racing for Ric, it’s the people too.

A passion for boats

“I love my role as Brand Manager for Solaris and Dehler.

These are beautiful yachts. Solaris are part of Team Windcraft’s premium range… exquisite Italian sailing yachts that are sculpted for speed.

Dehler are fantastic performance yachts with the best interiors you’ll find in any production racing yacht.

In my new role, I’m part of a team and we are all helping our customers find the right yacht for them. It’s not just a sale, I’m there for the life of the ownership”.

A passion for people

“When someone is thinking of buying a boat, I believe that the more you can help them learn about the boat and sailing, the more they will enjoy their time on the water. I aim to involve everyone in the family and make sure everyone feels confident on the water.

I just love helping people to gain a better understanding of what they are doing and making sailing fun. After a session with me just seeing the confidence and hearing them say… “Yeah, now what’s this boat is supposed to do!” gives me great satisfaction.

Then they’re hooked and that’s it! In a racing team or crew situation I like to get in and make everyone relax, then I work out the personalities and characters and get everyone working as a team. Then the results speak for themselves!”

Improving confidence and skills

Ric is humble about his vast knowledge, but clearly enjoys sharing knowledge. Clients love to hear his tips and tuning tricks. Even those who have been with Windcraft for many years still benefit from an injection of confidence every now and then, and it is these long term relationships with some “awesome characters” that Ric relishes.

The added value is in their usage of the boat, or being less fearful, or giving them more knowledge so they can go ahead and fulfil their dream…. whether that’s going on a cruise and taking off around the world.

The value is also around safety and skills in challenging conditions.

“I’ve taken clients out in horrendous conditions and shown them how to do it. It helps if you are calm and relaxed and luckily that’s my nature”.

Ric enjoys talking to clients late at night or on weekends, because he knows he can help them succeed and do well. Success for him is walking away knowing a customer is happier and more confident in what they’re doing, even with something as simple as parking a boat. He loves seeing the relief in their faces when they master a new skill.

A love for racing

Ric loves the fun and people he meets at work, but when he’s not out with owners he “love(s) to race as a team with the boys.

“We enjoy racing together but I have been known to ditch (Peter Hrones) in a race and join an owner… I once hopped off my boat and joined the owner on a Solaris because they needed me!

I love racing with the boys and I can be quite competitive. It’s never too intense and we always have fun… but I will always look for every little inch that will help us win the race!”

If you are thinking of taking the first step and living your dream, or if you want to get the best out of your yacht, Ric can help you on your way. Here’s what some of his satisfied customers had to say.

“Ric has a lifetime of sailing experience at all levels, and has the unique gifts of being a truly great communicator and a fine sailing instructor”

Nick Robson / Owner

“Ric is just so patient and he explains it in a really matter of fact way…he just has a knack of making it understood. Over three 2 hour sessions, I was sailing the boat…I felt quite confident to be handling the boat.”

Chris Gudgin and Kate Gardiner / Owners