Meet The Team – Mark Cameron

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Over the coming days and weeks, we thought it would be nice to introduce ourselves in a little more detail. The Grabau International team is a close-knit group with many decades of experience between us. We all have an interesting story to tell about how we got here and what we get up to away from the office, so we have put 10 questions to each of the team.

In this instalment, we talk to Grabau International Scotland’s – Mark Cameron.

1.) What is your position within the business?

I operate Grabau International Scotland. As part of the Grabau International team, I focus on the brokerage of sailing and motor yachts with my primary focus being on those yachts lying in Scotland and northern England. I also take time to travel around the major European boat shows to network with other brokers and ensure I am up to date with the latest developments to offer our clients the best possible service.

2.) When did you first get into boating?

I don’t think there was actually a point where I ‘got into boating’. Although my parents are not sailors in the wider family my grandparents and uncles all sailed. Getting out on the water was just something that we always did during the summer, either sailing or fishing in a small motorboat which my grandfather bought as a bare hull and fitted out, she is still part of our family today and my children are enjoying the same experiences; we are very lucky to have her on a mooring at the foot of our road.

3.) Your favourite yachting moment?

I have loads of great memories from a life of sailing with family around the coast of Scotland, without a doubt some of the best cruising grounds in the world. I think my favourite moment is also possibly my worst. After two years of duress pressure, I joined the family team to compete in the Scottish Islands Peaks Race. Billed as the best adventure race in the world it’s a weekend of madness. A mixed crew of and mountain marathon runners leave Oban to sail between 3 Islands; rounding the Mull of Kintyre to finish in Troon. On each island, the runners run mountain marathons. It’s a true test of stamina and determination with crews often getting little or no sleep over the course of the 3 or 4 days of the event. We finished the event in 2019 2nd in class two and in the first six finishers, not bad in a Westerly Storm 33!

4.) How did you get into the yacht brokerage industry?

Brokerage was a bit of an accident. After school, I completed various qualifications in Boatbuilding and Repair before completing a degree in Yacht Manufacturing and Surveying in Southampton with the intention of becoming a surveyor. Following graduation, I returned to Scotland and found employment with a large boatyard and marina as Assistant Workshop Manager. During the following 17 years, I progressed through the company; acquiring a huge amount of knowledge in all aspects of boat repair and maintenance along the way, serving as general manager and inhouse yacht broker for the last 8 years. In my role as general manager I became a director of Sail Scotland in 2011, Scotlands marketing body for marine tourism; I have continued in this role working to promote all Scotland has to offer visiting sailors. In 2018 I set-up Mark Cameron Yachts serving the local brokerage market and became part of the Grabau International team later that year. I joined the ABYA (Association of Brokers & Yacht Agents) committee in 2019 to represent the interests of members operating in the northern part of the UK; I have found this to be a great way of keeping in touch with other brokers based in different areas of Europe.

5.) What would you do if you weren’t a yacht broker?

If I wasn’t being a broker I would either still be running a boatyard or perhaps I would have continued along the intended career path to becoming a surveyor.

6.) What sailing/boating are you doing at the moment?

Due to the rapid expansion of the business, my sailing has been limited to some regattas with family and a few short delivery trips at either end of the seasons. I do enjoy taking part in some of the unique local events such as the Round Mull Race or West Highland Yachting Week. With the family motorboat on a mooring visible from our house, we are spoilt and during the summer I do spend afternoons and evenings on the loch with the children, fishing and visiting a stunning lochside restaurant to enjoy some of the fantastic local seafood.

7.) What do you get up to away from the office?

Running a business of your own is a massive commitment and keeps me busy. I do try to always save a Sunday as a day away from the business. With two young children, there is never a quiet moment. I am not someone who likes to sit still and I always have projects on the go around the house or in the garage; working on dinghies for the children or repairing Land Rovers.

8.) If you were to ‘sell up and sail away’, what boat would you choose?

Not an easy question to answer. I am a big fan of the early Frers designed Hallberg-Rassy’s, an HR46 such as ‘SISSI’ would be lovely to head off to the sunshine. However, with my better half not being a keen sailor I think for harmony in the household we would have to look at something along the motorsailer or motoryacht line. A Nordhavn 57 would be a great way of seeing the world and living life afloat.

9.) Pick five of your favourite current GI listings and tell us why?

I can spend hours of my day looking at the listings. One of the driving forces behind joining the Grabau International team for me was the diverse range of boats which pass through the company; its very different to your normal yacht brokerage. Number one at the moment is the all-carbon minimalist Latini Marine Farr 85 ‘ROMA’. Quiet simply stunning in a modern way. Completely unique and very much a head-turner wherever you were sailing. After ROMA, I guess I would choose the Baltic Yachts 73 Pilothouse ‘NEURATH’. If you’re going to sail the globe this would be the ultimate machine on which to do it I think. I love the extremes of sailing and the pilothouse set-up would be ideal for enjoying places such as Iceland and Northern Norway. Next, I would choose the classic De Ruiter de Vries Lentsch 19m Navetta ‘MEDISTAR’. In my previous employment, we maintain a smaller sister of this classic design. I love the classic styling; who wouldn’t want their own little ship to sit in the wheelhouse of. Sticking with classic designs, like many of the Grabau International team, I have a real soft spot for Sparkman & Stephens Swans, so I would pick the Nautor Swan 47 MkI ‘GRAMPUS’. This boat was also based in Scotland for many years and was always a boat I admired on the water. A boyhood dream if you like! Lastly, and moving back to more cutting-edge designs, I would choose a real cruiser-racer such as the Italia Yachts 13.98 ‘SOFIMA’. Cruiser racers are always a trade-off between the extremes of lightweight racing and heavy comfortable cruising designs. I think Italia Yachts have really hit a great compromise with this design and they are building some of the best performing IRC designs at the minute. I look forward to seeing more Italia Yachts in Scotland in the coming seasons.

10.) What is your plan for the rest of 2020.

Plans for 2020 have changed a bit for everyone in the past couple of months. I think it’s now vital we all follow government guidelines and stay safe. Where possible I will be continuing to sell boats and assist client looking to buy boats in the UK and abroad; looking forward to 2021.

If you would like to discuss your Northern UK and Scotland-based 2020 and beyond yachting plans, Mark would be delighted to hear from you. He can be contacted at mark@grabauinternational.com or tel +44(0)7988 763254.

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