Robin HobsonBoatshed Martinique
About Robin Hobson
I first learned to sail whilst at boarding school, on Grafham Water at the age of 14.
This led to me racing an assortment of dinghies and then becoming a sailing instructor at the now long defunct Felpham Sailing School to foreign teenagers in the fabulous summer of 1976. '77 was almost as good! At the time, I naively thought my life would continue like this.
Life then took me in and out of sailing, I was a professional deck crew on a 95' Fife ketch called Sumurun for a memorable six months in 1980, I continued to race dinghies and crew and race friends yachts for the next 30 years before I finally finished my Yachtmaster qualification in 2010,exactly 30 years after I passed my theory. 2010 was a bit of a transformation year following a difficult few years in my personal life and I ended up sailing for over 16 weeks. That included my Yachtmaster, charters, cruising in Brittany, taking part in 2 world Championships, 2 National Championships, various regional championships etc. with a fair degree of success. Racing is still my passion and I recently competed in the Finn Masters in Barbados in 2017 (having just chartered a boat and my first ever Finn race being the practice race at the worlds). In 2019 I hope to return to the UK to take part in the Osprey Nationals as some kind of swansong.
In 2012 I had had enough of life in the UK. My marriage had ended in 2008 and my sons were grown and settled (ish), my eldest as an officer in the Royal Navy and my youngest in IT security and so I caught a trip sailing to the arctic from the US. This led to an attempt to buy a boat to circumnavigate, a dream from teenage. That dream got truly corrupted by the Caribbean, I was having too much fun just to head off into the sunset! One day, soonish, I will cross the Pacific but I now have no distance-sailing ambitions much beyond that, I don't require the T-shirt any more.
Buying a boat was actually way harder than I could believe. For starters I was trying to buy in Panama. The rationale (actually advice) being, find a boat that had arrived for the same dream but where the owner has backed out. Great theory, not so easy in practice, misleading on the websites! I then flew to Florida (more than half the boats advertised were not just sold but long sold and the remaining American prices were out of my budget). I then flew to Trinidad where I nearly got caught by a scam but was rescued by an excellent surveyor who I share a beer with each time we meet up. At this point, I was fed up and flew to St Lucia to see friends. There, hidden away, was a Catalina 42 that I ended up having 4 very happy years on before crossing to the dark-side and buying a project boat, a Fountaine Pajot Bahia and here you find me, normally located in St Lucia or Martinique.
What have done in the Caribbean? Visited almost everywhere including Colombia, Cuba,Windward's, Leewards, Virgin Islands (Spanish, US and British),Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, US, Puerto Rico... In that time I have skippered charters, done deliveries (including a Swan 68 to Azores),raced in multiple Regattas and learned the meaning of Limin'.
Andy Topham, having known me for a while out here, then approached me to work with him and set up Martinique and here I am, excited to be aboard.
One of the appeals of Boatshed to me, is that it allows the prospective buyer to avoid wasting their time, energy and money in the search for a boat. The formula is right! The volume of determined photographs and videos,always current, stops the prospective buyer from wasting their time.No one wants to go on a dating site and arrange a date that does not look like the photo on the page, it is pointless, expensive,embarrassing and demoralising. All parties need to be up front and Boatshed as the matchmaker does that in a thoroughly professional manner.
From personal experience, I wish Boatshed had been out here whilst I was looking!