After eight years owning their own boat, Ruth and Angus Ross-Thomson have decided to sell, and give us an insight into their experience

We are returning to our cottage in Hampshire to spend a few
years gardening and exploring the UK via campervan. There is a plan to do more
cruising, but not for 10 years – too long to have Do It sitting unused in a south coast
marina. I know I shall shed more than one tear when we sell her, but for a blue
water cruiser
to be tied to a marina dock is akin to keeping a wild animal
in a cage.

Preparation for the big sale

We have always maintained Do it in good condition, but wanted to
make sure she looked her absolute best when she hit the market, so preparation
for her sale started in the Caribbean in January, where we had the topsides
professionally re-sprayed. First impressions count.

We knew that we would need a series of photographs when we
advertised Do It online, so spent a sunny day in St Lucia de-cluttering the
boat and taking plenty of pictures from all angles. We are not trying to sell a standard production boat, but
rather the “dream” of a blue water cruiser. The dream looks more tempting with
turquoise water in the background.

Over the course of our circumnavigation we maintained a website,
to which we added a new “For Sale” section detailing the systems &
inventory, and containing all those lovely pictures we had taken. The advantage
of this is that the wider website provides all the “traveller’s tales” to tempt
someone to head offshore, but conversely also gives the “warts and all”
accounts of when things go wrong.

With a few days to spare in Antigua, we created two bright
red “For Sale” canvas signs which can be attached to the guard wires or

The advertising campaign

On our arrival in the Orkney Isles in mid-July, we were
interviewed by the local BBC radio reporter, which led to the first serious
“expression of interest” from a listener to the show. Radio advertising was one
option we hadn’t considered.

Our first thought when deciding where to advertise Do It,
was to place an advert in Yachting Monthly and we opted for the 1/16th
page advert with the online option. The September edition hit the streets on 22 August, so we spent the
following days with the phone always to hand. The October edition generated two

In order to widen the reach of our online advertising, we paid
for a “featured” advert. In the past month, this has generated
two contacts from organisations seeking to advertise Do It in their
publication (for a further fee) and one genuine contact.

When we arrived in Premier Southsea Marina in mid-September,
the staff allocated us a berth with the best advertising potential. We are tied
alongside a dock facing the marina office, and overlooked by the café &
restaurant. The canvas “For Sale” signs were promptly secured, and whilst we
have not attracted a buyer, word of mouth advertising never hurts.

Admitting to ourselves that our online advertising may not find us a buyer, we decided to also engage a broker with the hope of casting the net a little wider.

Options for the future

Whilst at Southampton Boat Show, I spoke with to a company who
offered a “fixed fee” approach to brokering, with an up-front payment to be
listed on their website and linked to many others, followed by a conveyance fee
should they find you a buyer. This is an option we may explore next month if we
have not attracted a buyer.

Check back for updates on how the sale is going.

Ruth and Angus Ross-Thomson
have been keen sailors since they were children and their love of boats is what
brought them together. After eight and a half years of enjoying everything this
steel blue water cruiser has to offer, they’ve made the tough decision to sell
and spend a few years on dry land here in England.