South Coast Magazine

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South Coast Magazine
r ecreation
Cape Yachts & South Wharf Yacht Yard,
Resource for the Boating Community
By Gayle Hargreaves
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Photos by Steve Rodgers
South Coast
MAGAZINE ™
Y
ou may have to drive to Padanaram, Massachusetts to pick up “the
prettiest girl at the dance”® but after
that, it’ll be smooth sailing. The belle
of the ball with the shapely lines is the
Alerion 28, an elegant day sailer built
by Pearson Yachts, perfect for singlehanded sailing and modeled after legendary yacht designer, Nathaniel
Herreshoff’s own boat.
The dance partner reference is the
builder’s own slogan, but the
metaphor sounds equally as convincing coming from Dave Nolan, owner,
along with his wife, Jane, of Cape
Yachts and South Wharf Yacht Yard.
Dave has had a lifelong passion for
boats and boating. Twenty years ago,
he gave up a career as an accountant
with Price Waterhouse, (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) to go into the sailboat rental business in Harwich Port,
on Cape Cod Massachusetts. The
focus of the business soon turned from
rentals to sales and today, Cape Yachts
Above, pictured from left are Dave Nolan, owner of South Wharf Yacht Yard and Cape
Yachts along with Richard Barker, Craig Sheard, and Eric Krusell, Certified Professional
Yacht Brokers (CYPB ). Richard, Craig and Eric are three of 12 brokers in offices that span
New England from New York through Maine
Below is the South Wharf / Cape Yachts crew on opening day. Dave Nolan is joined by
his son, Davey, at lower right.
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MAGAZINE ™
has locations in Mamaroneck, New
York, Essex, Connecticut, Manchester
by the Sea, Massachusetts, Harwich
Port and its newest location in the picturesque village of Padanaram in
South Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
Cape Yachts is well-known as the
Northeast’s largest dealer for
Beneteau, Sabre, and Wauquiez boats
but the company also represents
Bruckmann, True North, Robalo and
Alerion. When they bought the boatyard and marina property on South
Wharf in Padanaram in 2006, Dave
and his team were determined to continue the site’s service tradition so they
started a new sister company, South
Wharf Yacht Yard to provide maintenance and repair services to Cape
Yachts customers and the general
boating public.
Since Dave bought South Wharf,
just about every article written about
him and Cape Yachts, has opened with
a reference to local fears that the historic property, which has operated as a
boat yard since 1832, might be converted into a high-end residential area.
Dave insists that nothing could be farther from the truth. “I bought South
Wharf for Cape Yachts and our service
business…it’s a boat yard and I intend
to keep it that way.”
The evidence of his intentions is
everywhere you look on the property.
The sister companies spent months
working on an expensive environmental clean-up with the support of the
Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone
Management. They’ve installed a
state-of-the-art pressure-wash and
storm water management system to
minimize environmental impact. A
new central vacuum sewage system
will allow South Wharf Yacht Yard
employees to handle pump-outs while
boats are still at their slips. There’s
also a new 55-ton remote controlled
marine travel lift on site and work is
underway to give on-site buildings a
much-needed face-lift.
Sitting in his many-windowed third
floor conference room overlooking
the marina on a clear fall day, Dave
seems a little weary of defending his
intentions. What he really wants to
talk about are the boats, the services
and the Cape Yachts/South Wharf
way of doing business.
“We drive the business on four
principles: execution, customer experience, knowledge and presentation,”
says Dave. “Number one is execution.
If we say we’re going to do something,
we do it. Number two is customer
experience…not just customer service.
We believe that anyone who chooses
to do business with us deserves a complete experience… The third is knowl-
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January 2007
edge. We’re committed to hiring people who are equal to or better than our
current knowledge base, which is very
deep…The last is presentation both in
terms of physical property and appearance…We call it NCO: Neat, clean
organized—whether it’s a work space,
the way something’s maintained or
somebody’s desk.”
“If I had to roll all the principles up
into one, I’d say we strive to be a
resource for our customers,” continues
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Dave. Experienced boaters and newcomers alike “want to know that
they’re speaking to somebody who
knows the boats, who knows the market and who can give them friendly,
helpful advice.”
Dave goes on to explain that “advising” doesn’t mean you’ll get a hardsell when you come to Cape Yachts or
South Wharf. “We never force feed
anybody... (but) you get what you pay
for. If you cut a corner on your boat
then only you and the sea know…We
try to give people good information so
they can make an informed decision.”
Cape Yachts prides itself on knowing its customers and its boats, so
sales people can help prospective
buyers find the “right fit.” It’s subtle
but you can hear how Dave is tuned
into his customers and their preferences when he talks about a few of the
boats he sells.
“ ‘The prettiest girl at the dance,’
the Alerion—it’s just beautiful,” he
begins. “It has a very technologically
advanced underbody so it’s a very fast,
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“Our competition shakes your
hand for buying a boat from
them. We hold your hand until
you’re ready to go it alone.”
– Dave Nolan, Owner,
Cape Yachts South Wharf
very efficient boat. Part of the challenge of sailing is that it can be very
complicated. The Alerion can be
sailed by one person. You can go out
for an hour or you could take it to
Nantucket for the weekend…the large
center cockpit area is for guests who
don’t get involved with any of the
mechanics of sailing. They just sit
there and enjoy themselves.
The True North is an expedition
style yacht. It’s for people who’ve
made boating part of their lifestyle.
They’re going to have kayaks on the
top, a dinghy. Their kids will probably
be sailing in the yacht club program.
South Coast
MAGAZINE ™
They want to be out on the water
watching their kids race. They want to
take the boat and go to Maine.
The Robalo is a sport fish boat but
in keeping with the rest of our products it’s a very nice sport fish boat.
The builder calls the Robalo an SUV
on the water. Who buys them? Second, third time boat owners who
appreciate that you have to pay more
to get the quality.”
The Alerion, True North and
Robalo are all priced at the mid- to
high end of the market, “…but when
you look at feature for feature construction, we actually deliver the most
for the money,” says Dave. “They all
represent the best value propositions
in their class.”
Cape Yachts continues to act as a
resource for customers after a sale.
The company offers complimentary
boat handling lessons and a full orientation to the purchased yacht and its
systems in addition to unlimited consultation services for commissioning
and outfitting at no additional charge.
“We believe that safety, confidence
and knowledge go hand-in-hand on
the water,” explains Dave. It’s all about
building a long-term relationship with
customers. “Our competition shakes
your hand for buying a boat from
them. We hold your hand until you’re
ready to go it alone.”
That careful attention to the total
customer experience extends to service
after the sale at South Wharf Yacht
Yard. The marina has slips for 85
boats, including room for transient
dockage, accommodating up to 130 ft
yachts and the yard crew can launch
and haul yachts up to 60 feet in length.
The full-service yard offers winterizing and storage, Premium Certified
Yamaha outboard service, service for
Nissan, Tohatsu, Johnson, Evinrude
and Honda, as well as Raymarine
installations. A Marine Store, Parts
Department and Rigging Department
are conveniently located on site.
Dave Nolan looks out the window
at the blue October sky. A light breeze
leaves just a trace of its course along
the water in the bay and mild temperatures give hardly a hint of the coming
winter. It’s been a challenging year but
since Cape Yachts South Wharf
opened officially in August, Dave
senses that the controversy around his
purchase of the property is melting
away. The fall boat season is behind
him but he still has the region’s biggest
show to look forward to: The New
England Boat Show from January 1220, 2008 at the Boston Convention &
Exhibition Center. “We’ll be there in a
big way—with bells on,” says Dave.
Cape Yachts
218 Elm Street,
South Dartmouth, MA
02748
508-994-4444
[email protected]
South Wharf Yacht Yard
218 Elm Street,
South Dartmouth, MA
508-990-1011
Email:
[email protected]
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