I Loved the Team Windcraft Experience so Much I Bought the Company

18-Jan-2017
When Anthony Bishop saw Team Windcraft was for sale in September 2016 he grinned with excitement. He was an existing customer owning both a Dehler 38 and Axopar 28. He knew Windcraft was Australia and New Zealand’s number one team for importing, commissioning and servicing yachts. He loved the fact that the company was run like a family business. And he could see some wonderful opportunities to take the brand forwards.

Anthony took the plunge and just 4 months later found himself at the helm of Team Windcraft.

A Kiwi who grew up in Christchurch and then Wellington, Anthony first sailed in an Optimist built by his Grandfather. He gathered his racing knowledge doing harbour twilights in Wellington - where it has to be 30 knots before they cancel a race. Anthony also learned to fly small planes in these blustery conditions where landings on the tiny runway are not for the faint hearted. But this family man is equally happy cruising around the Whitsundays with friends and loved ones enjoying a glass of wine or two in a sheltered anchorage.

Career-wise Anthony started out in the IT industry then progressed to helping start-ups get up and running and tackle new markets. One of those start-ups was the accounting software giant Xero where he was the first head of sales in New Zealand and one of the first employees of the company.

In Anthony’s words

“Both flying and sailing excite me - I guess because there are lots of similarities between the two. Both give you the ‘wind in your hair’ feeling and in both cases you have to leverage the natural environment with nothing solid on the ground to anchor you.

“But I guess at the root of it all I love great design. I love boats, planes, cars and motorbikes - but will not buy something that does not move me. It has to look like something you could hang on the wall like a piece of art.​ ​So for me the design passion of the Hanse Group, Solaris and Brenta absolutely tick the box. My Dehler 38 “Rocksalt” is phenomenal in this regard - she sails beautifully and I still to this day love the way she looks.

“When I bought Rocksalt the whole experience was effortless and every little detail was taken care of. I was incredibly impressed that at Sydney Boat Show as well as the knowledgeable sales team, Windcraft had a third generation boat builder Dave Griffin on the stand. Dave knew the key structural differences about the Dehler and could explain why it is very competitive against bigger boats at race meets.

“The whole commissioning experience was a breath of fresh air with the whole process handled in-house by people who really understand customer service.

“The process of buying the business from Peter Hrones has been smooth and shown him to be the utmost professional. We’ve developed a great relationship along the way. I feel like I’m filling some big shoes and I am absolutely delighted that Peter is staying on in a consultancy role for the next few years.”

“As far as my plans for Windcraft go I am passionate about taking Team Windcraft forwards but in the same breath this is the best team in Australia and New Zealand for selling, commissioning and servicing boats. I’d be crazy to change a winning formula. My job is to watch and learn starting with a trip to Europe with Peter. Allan ​Bridge ​will continue to run the business and sales and service will keep doing what they do best. I have some exciting new ideas in the pipeline to discuss when we are ready but in the short term it is business as usual.

“My other consideration is that I have a young family. Some of the best moments in my life are with family and friends in boats and in the same way Peter’s family have grown up with sailing, I want that for my family too. Continuing to run Windcraft as a family business and getting to know all the other owners is a priority for me.​"​

In the words of Peter Hrones

“Team Windcraft is my baby. I’ve spent 18 years of my life building the business and creating a fantastic team and a family atmosphere. It was very, very important to me that the person buying the business will take good care of the team and have the same family values.

“We had well over 100 enquiries about the business sale and Anthony was my preferred buyer right through the process. He is perfect as the new helm of Windcraft. He brings passion, enthusiasm and solid business skills.

“We head off to Europe together tomorrow and I can’t wait to share the factory visits and Dusseldorf ​B​oat ​S​how with him. I’m also delighted to be staying on as a consultant for as long as Anthony wants and will continue to be part of owner events and boat shows.​"

For more information:
TeamWindcraft.com
boats@windcraftgroup.com