All boat owners share the same two desires when they haul out:
- Get your stuff done
- Get back in the water
Boatyards are pretty much a means to an end and certainly not a place to linger if your psychological or financial health are important to you.
So when we hauled out at the boatyard in Vava’u, we were surprised to find that once we had got the essentials done (new engine and antifouling) that we were in no desperate hurry to get back in the water.
Sure, we were not going to dawdle there forever (after all, there are no free days) but the people who run that boatyard had made the experience so pleasant that we found ourselves in the rare position of not actually being desperate to leave.
The Boatyard Vava’u in Tonga is owned and run by two couples – one Brit and one South African – and despite being open a mere 2 years is certainly the nicest boatyard we have ever hauled in.
Set on a lush green lawn in the lee of a mountain, the idyllic setting is complimented by a good little chandlery and that rarest of boatyard beasts, the hot shower.
For those that prefer not to get dirty, there are great services here too – mechanics, carpenters, painters, sanders and fibreglass experts. But what makes this little corner of paradise truly special is the helpful nature of everybody there. Not once did we even get a hint of the ‘don’t bother me’ attitude that is increasingly common in such places.
The secret of their success lies in their background. The owners (Joe, Kate, Al and Bo) all arrived here under sail – their boats are hauled out in the yard. Their previous experience as boatyard customers means they know exactly what a sailor needs and the conditions we are operating under. While landlubber tradesmen might lose patience with the inevitable barrage of questions that arrive with every new sailor, these guys have not forgotten what it is like to be constantly attempting the impossible in an environment so unfamiliar you don’t even know where to buy a pencil.
So a big thank you to Vava’u Boatyard for introducing us to a rare experience – being slightly sad to go back in the water.
Click below to watch a short video of us hauling out in Tonga.