Since 2008, Calibre Yachts has been helping boaters bring to life their dreams of exploring B.C.’s beautiful coastal waters. As a boat brokerage priding itself on building long-lasting positive relationships, Calibre’s goal is to ensure that their boats and their staff are both a source of pleasure and a lasting investment in developing and nurturing ongoing successful personal relationships.
“It’s not just about the boat,” explains Richard Evans, owner operator of Calibre Yachts. “It’s a lifestyle. Our company motto, ‘Trust, Integrity, Lifestyle’ is not an empty slogan but a promise that we put in writing.”
Calibre Yachts incorporate numerous processes and systems and relies on facts and figures to accomplish its goals. This juggling act requires logic incorporating the latest in research technology and a lot of in depth interviewing of the customer through correct questions and keen listening.
Calibre Yachts’ cozy waterfront home office is a well-known fixture at The Creek Marina & Boatyard. Besides this North Vancouver location, Richard owns two other locations, in Nanaimo and Maple Bay. He has worked consistently as a boat broker for the past fifteen years, and he has experienced the usual joys and challenges of working in an industry that is often reliant on the vagaries of the economy. The severe financial downturn in 2008 had a substantial impact on his business. Today, however, the company is enjoying unprecedented growth with a recent hire of another salesman, and 2 more currently being interviewed to open 2 additional offices.
‘Our bread and butter is and will continue to be brokered boats, and we have trouble getting enough inventory,’ Richard explains to offset this was for Calibre Yachts to become Western Canada’s representative for Tiara, a line of beautiful luxury powerboats. The result of this has enabled the sale of new 50 as well as being very close to selling our inventory 44. In addition to this, Calibre has enjoyed people with Tiaras now coming to us to sell their vessels.
Richard came to B.C. from Toronto in 1990 where he previously enjoyed a successful career in high tech sales. He became involved in the boat brokerage business in 2001, working first for four years at Westerly Yachts and then for two years at Grand Yachts in Coal Harbour. Richard first met and became friends with Donny Mekilok during their time at Coal Harbour. After Grand Yachts, he felt confident to launch Calibre Yacht Sales and followed Donny to Mosquito Creek Marina where he was hired as manager.
‘Mosquito Creek was our first choice of location when we started Calibre Yachts in 2008. The potential under Donny’s management was the primary driving factor combined with the exciting upscale development of Lower Lonsdale. The experience has been highly rewarding. The Creek Marina is an important partner to us.’
When asked what advice he would give a newbie boater on buying their first boat, Richard does not hesitate: ‘Interview a number of brokers. Line yourself up with someone with experience and with the professional designations—BCYBA (B.C. Yacht Brokers Association) and CPYB (Certified Professional Yacht Broker)—so you know they are truly qualified. Once you have established a trusted relationship, follow his or her direction to find the right boat. There are a lot of brokers out there and you will find uneven quality in service. Remember, a good broker is paid by the seller but ensures that the deal is fair and equitable to both buyer and seller.
Richard enjoys getting people out on the water to appreciate British Columbia’s marine waterways, which honestly can boast some of the best boating in the world.
‘B.C. boating is about as good as it gets. The local charter companies have people coming from all over the world. When I was young, our family lived on Sardinia where my father was posted while in the air force, so if you ask if there’s another place where I like to boat, I would say the Mediterranean. It holds historical as well as personal significance for me.’
When he looks into the near future, Richard hopes to be semi-retired by 2017. ‘I am mentoring my staff and developing what is going to be an awesome leadership team. I know that they will be great, but they have told me clearly to not be too semi-retired, they want me around for a few years to come” he says with a laugh.
Of course, if his own fondest dreams come true, his staff will have to cut him a little slack to enjoy three new pastimes.
‘I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano. I have the piano now and have set up some lessons. Also, I want to become fluent in Spanish,’ he says.
Learning Spanish will definitely be an asset as he sets out to fulfill his third fervent dream: to walk The Camino de Santiago. Formally called Santiago de Compostela Camino, this pilgrim’s trail comprises a nearly 500-mile trek through Spain, across highways, mountains, valleys, cities, towns and fields.
Throughout history, countless pilgrims, from Charlemagne to Chaucer, have walked the Camino, a 30 to 35 day hike ending in Santiago where the body of the apostle St. James is entombed. A Hollywood movie The Way starring Martin Sheen recounts a touching story of a father who walks the trail in memory of his son. Richard says he has watched the film twice.
The energy of the Camino was well known in ancient times to foster self-reflection and self-knowledge. It also requires good shoes and sturdy legs. In order to prepare for the Camino, Richard has been doing the Grouse Grind once a week and this summer plans to do the Sunshine Coast Trail. His face lights up as he talks about walking the Camino and experiencing this ancient and allegedly enchanted pilgrimage. The only water Richard will most likely encounter will be streams and little lakes along the way and the cool, clear water of town fountains.
Over the years Calibre Yachts has successfully helped numerous adventurers realize their dream of exploring and enjoying B.C.’s waterways in their own boats. In a few years, Richard hopes to actualize his own dream along the sacred pathway of the Camino.