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15.06.05
Cornish sailing company navigates overseas markets

Steve Southcott (left), UK Trade & Investment's international trade adviser and Golden Black's Managing Director, David TriggsA small Falmouth sailing business is set fair to more than double both its turnover and export revenues from leisure and tourism this year, with help from UK Trade and Investment and Business Link Devon and Cornwall.

Reporting a 120 per cent increase in bookings compared with the same date last season, Golden Black Sailing, based at Port Pendennis, is a yacht charter company that hires yachts to experienced sailors and holidaymakers alike. The firm currently manages seven yachts, all between 38 and 52 feet in length and maintained in superb condition. They sail the waters of the English Channel off Devon, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the French coast.

Managing director David Triggs started the business with his wife Nicky in 2001 and initially targeted the UK market, but it quickly became apparent that overseas clients were showing interest. As a first step, Golden Black wanted to attract custom from Germany, as many German tourists visit Cornwall each year, so in 2002 he enlisted the help of Steve Southcott, UK Trade & Investment's international trade adviser based at Business Link Devon and Cornwall.

Under the Passport programme that helps companies to export, Steve helped David with developing a strategy, including translating his website via the Regional Language Network at Exeter University (www.rln-southwest.com) and supporting market exploration visits to Germany.

Business Link also provided training in managing overseas agents and distributors, facilitated the establishment of a multi-lingual email enquiry reply service and supported the company's attendance at London International Boat Shows. Thirty five per cent of visitors to the shows are international customers and David made many more new contacts due to his presence there.

As a result of the passport scheme, Golden Black's trade with Germany rose by fifty per cent in its second year of trading and by more than one hundred per cent in its third year. David said that although this only amounts to a few extra customers per year, for a small company like his, it means a recognisable increase in turnover. "The translation work really helped to boost the business. We are now getting many more bookings from Germany and we have had enquiries from Holland, Sweden, Spain and other foreign parts,” he added. "After we appointed an agent in Dusseldorf we received tips and training on how to manage the agent effectively. It was also invaluable for us to learn about sailing legislation in different countries, as they all differ from each other. Steve was even able to advise us on planning for exchange rates and pricing so that we could choose the best currency to advertise our rates.

"Quite apart from the financial assistance, Steve is so useful to us that we consider him part of our business management team. He encourages me to take a step back and look at the company objectively, so that I can see the best way to develop it. To that end and as a result of our redesigned website, we are now setting our sights on clients from further afield, for instance Dubai, Australia and India.”

Steve Southcott said: "It is a pleasure to work with a company with such drive and enthusiasm. David is increasingly confident in his ability to secure new overseas business and I look forward to seeing the company grow over the coming years. This is an excellent example of how a small company can really unfurl its sails!”

Looking to the future, Golden Black, which is a member of South West Tourism and was a finalist in the RLN-SW regional Business Language Champions competition 2004, plans to expand its client list from the current Germany, Spain and the USA. It has received serious new business enquiries from Australia and is also investigating arrangements with similar companies abroad so that they can market Golden Black's products and in return, the Cornish firm will market theirs. For example, the company has just set up an exciting new reciprocal deal with a yacht charter business in Norway.

Golden Black Ltd provides four main products: a Bareboat Charter to hire out yachts to competent sailors; a Skipper Charter, for which the company provides a friendly and experienced skipper; a Share-a-Yacht hire, which allows singles or couples to rent a cabin while a professional skipper manages the sailing; and this year, it became a Royal Yachting Association approved training centre.

To accommodate the growing demand for Golden Black's products, the company has now taken on its first employee and has sights firmly set on even further growth in the future. More information about the company can be found at www.goldenblack.co.uk, or by calling David Triggs on 01326 319319.

For further information please contact Lisa McGowan of The Marketing-PR Company on 01566 771860 or email: lmcgowan@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link Devon and Cornwall through the Developing Business Support Network project with the European Regional Development Fund.

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Editor's notes:

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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