A new type of conference made its world debut on the weekend when Multihull Central hosted the first 'SEAbbatical Summit' in Brisbane, aiming to help professionals and business owners enrich their lives with an adventure at sea cruising onboard their own boat, before retirement.
On Saturday, more than 70 people packed the auditorium at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Brisbane where eight speakers presented on five subjects including Planning a voyage, Purchasing the right boat, Profiting from charter boat programs, Preparing skills and life, and Prospering on return with an exit plan.
The highlights included Eric and Pam Sellix who crossed the South Pacific recently, and Craig and Kerry Margetts who circumnavigated Australia with their children, providing incredible real life examples and stories on their adventures.
Then on Sunday participants boarded a range of luxury catamarans to experience what it is like on the sea on different types of boats built for different types of voyages, including the Seawind 1160 LITE and Outremer 45 sailing catamarans, plus an Aquila 44 power catamaran. Even strong winds and rain didn't dampen spirits, with the boats running sea trials all day long showing their comfort in bad weather as well as good.
Promising to inspire, educate and give an experience to these aspiring cruisers, the summit blew away all expectations with 88% of participant survey responses indicating the event was either 'Excellent' or 'Very Good'.
"The event was outstanding and it really fills a big gap of information to help people like us try and work out how to go cruising," said John Loydell a participant at the event, "It has really inspired us and we can see how it is now possible".
"The speakers were fantastic and it was great to hear about their real life experiences," said Ian Wilson, another participant at the event, 'It was really exciting".
The SEAbbatical summit is based on the information and research presented in the recently published book 'SEAbbaticals' by Multihull Central's Managing Director, Brent Vaughan, where he provides a structured approach for someone with little or no experience, to make a cruising adventure at sea a reality.
"After selling cruising boats for some 20 years now, I have noticed that there is a gap in our industry to actually help people go cruising", said Brent, "People start by coming to boat shows, falling in love with a boat and trying to work out what they are going to do with it with little or no support from there".
"I have always been frustrated by how many people fail to launch because they end up with the wrong boat, are scared or ill-prepared for life on the sea, or simply can't work out how to escape."
"Cruising is then pushed back until retirement, but as age catches up, many don't get the most out of the trip and regret not doing it sooner."
"But yet there is no education really out there. You can do a 'Learn how to sail course' or you can go charter a boat, but there is no 'Learn how to cruise' course. So this is our mission to provide the full package and help people make this adventure possible and then bring their new experiences and energy back into their working lives to bring a new level of fulfillment and self belief as I have seen so many customers do over the years."
Sponsored by Club Marine Insurance, the next SEAbbatical Summit is planned for Sydney on the 13th and 14th of August at the Middle Harbour Yacht Club at the Spit. Limited tickets are now on sale for $49 per person.