How an old wooden yacht, one successful business venture and one beloved New Zealand tourist attraction all came together

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Have you ever had a dream of a holiday on board a yacht, just cruising along and leaving your worries behind you?

We most definitely have, and especially right now, when the summer holiday season is in full swing. Now imagine if you could do this every single day of your life and you even get paid for it. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

This dream has become a reality for one man, Ray Shoebridge, who managed to build a successful business with his own yacht.

Life on board a yachtstiahnuť (8)

Ray arrived in Akaroa NZ, sailing and living in his own yacht. Since he liked this place, he decided to stay.

Getting down to business

Ray felt that there was a niche in the tourism market for a sailing cruise around the harbor. So he started sailing and looking for potential business.

“Initially it was pretty tough. I started off by making a website and joined the local information center. Then I designed some brochures and had them printed. I went around and placed them in motels, hotels and backpacker hostels around the town.”

It proved to be quite a challenge to find customers.

Popular tourist attraction

It’s been 5 years since Ray established his sailing business. What is it like now, 5 years on?

“Now, five years on, my daily routine kicks off by checking my internet for online bookings first thing in the morning. Then it’s just a waiting game down by the wharf, where the pickup point for my customers is.”

Manutara yacht

Manutara yacht


Ray is a great example of how to turn your hobby into a real job. Because, as the famous saying goes: “If you love your job, you will never have to do a days work in your life again.”



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