They were very knowledgeable in all facets of boat ownership and were extremely helpful to us in so many ways during the purchase of "Cattitude" and the formation of Blue Water Luxury Charters.
We couldn't have done it without them and they have become great friends.
-Xquisite Yacht 50, "Cattitude"
Christopher came to us for advice on buying a catamaran. The multihulls on his short list were all fine choices but, as far as we were concerned, there was only one catamaran suited for his specific needs. We referred him to his local dealer to buy his dreamboat and he could not be more happy.
This is what Christopher has to say: “I spoke with Stephen at catamaranguru.com and emailed back and forth a few times while I was in the process of making my purchase decision for a new multihull. He was very helpful in letting me know the pros and cons of some of the options I was looking at. In the end, he steered me away from making a couple choices that I probably would have not been as happy with. After a few trips and an almost fully booked charter season, I am very happy with my new Lagoon 42.”
- Lagoon 42 "Water Dragon", Nanaimo BC
Toni and I went to the Miami boat show in February 2016. When we went there we had a very strong desire to own a catamaran and sail off into the sunset, so to speak. We had a boat picked out in our head but we had never seen it before in person. When we got there and we met Stephen, we felt it could happen. So we made sure we went and looked at all the boats and did the research on our own. We sat down and talked to Stephen because the boat we decided on was not the one we had picked out but chose a Lagoon 450 instead. My wife and I very much wanted the boat but were concerned about the cost and being able to afford it.
After sitting down with Stephen we worked out a game plan that we absolutely could afford to get the boat and make it work. It was definitely a plan where we could be having our cake and eating it too! We were very happy with all the help and the pricing that Stephen gave us. After the delivery we had problems with the sail drives and Stephen was right on top of it, helping us with the repair under warranty. I think Stephen's contacts and his clout made all the difference. We are very happy with our Lagoon 450, with Stephen Cockcroft and placing it in a Dream Yacht Charter program.
- Lagoon 450 Sportop
We purchast a 50ft Catamaran 1 year ago with Stephen's help through Dream Yacht, and they have very successfully managed it. We get a percentage of the booking which with all the extra money we get we can most likely pay it off in 5 years instead of 10 years as well as all the Tax advantages we are getting meanwhile. We are also able to travel extensively during our owners time to different locations. So, I suggest that if you are looking to purchase a boat and get it paid for by somebody else, charter is the way to go, just make sure you pick the right company and the right boat and it will pay itself off. I recommend to all to contact Stephen Cochroft and he will be very happy to assist you. We are happy with our decision so far.
- Fountaine Pajot Saba 50 "Alea"
My husband and I engaged Catamaran Guru's help as we began shopping for a vessel on which to run luxury crewed charters. We had several unmovable requirements: one of which was that the boat have a raised helm station instead of a flybridge. Estelle and Stephen shone in their knowledge of the different catamarans on the market. They suggested some models to us that we were not familiar with and had not considered, and we found their guidance in the used boat market to be particularly valuable. Estelle and Stephen are very well connected. They know all the people that you will need to know to live your dream!
- Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 "Allende" www.sailallende.com
I was looking to buy a big sailing catamaran to live on with my family for a short stint before eventually chartering the catamaran. I enquired from the local dealers but was not comfortable with their level of service or the representative’s knowledge of the product. That’s when I found Stephen Cockcroft from Catamaran Guru. It turned out to be the best move I could have made! As an independent broker, Stephen is able to expertly advise the buyer and liaise with the manufacturer to satisfy both parties in some sticky negotiations.
His knowledge of both the product and of sailing catamarans in general are extensive and he was therefor able to guide me through the buying process, from the selection of my new catamaran to the equipment and options. He travelled to the Lagoon factory in Bordeaux to help us oversee construction of our Lagoon 77 and to select options. I value his input and in my experience, this level of service and dedication is above and beyond. From day one Stephen was extremely professional and helpful and answered all my questions along with providing excellent guidance and advice.
- 2017 Lagoon Seventy7
During my search for the dream boat I came across a catamaran listed on yatchworld by Stephen and Estelle. After my first phone call with Stephen I knew I was going to be working with an extremely knowledgeable yacht broker who has your best interest in mind.
Stephen and Estelle understood and listen to the exact requirements we were looking for and matched us with a Bali 4.0 by Catana. The process was made so easy and painless that we sailed off on our new Bali in less than 10 days.
I've been boating for the last 20 years and owned many different vessels, the BALI 4.0 has blown our dreams out of the water! Stephen and Estelle really live up to their company name "Catamaran Guru". Many thanks for making this dream be a reality!
- 2016 BALI 4.0 "ALIVE" -Key Biscayne, Florida
As an individual who is relatively new to sailing, purchasing a new boat to be placed into a charter fleet is very intimidating. Fortunately, I found Steve through his excellent site, Catamaran Guru, and began working him shortly thereafter. From that moment on, Steve demonstrated a level of knowledge, professionalism, and patience that is rare in any field, and that allowed me to successfully navigate the purchasing process.
As an independent broker, Steve is able to expertly walk the line between the seller, purchaser, and manufacturer. At times the interests of these three groups are at odds, and Steve’s involvement ensures that all negotiations remains civil and productive. Steve also knows his product very well and thus was able to guide me through the buying process, from the selection of a sailing vessel to the commissioning of all equipment and options.
In addition to his knowledge of the product, Steve also demonstrated a thorough understanding of the charter industry, where he expertly guided me through the process of organizing a charter boat business. From the beginning, I was able to independently verify all of Steve’s information with my own team of experts – not because I doubted Steve in any way, but because prudence requires it. It was through my verification efforts that I gained significant confidence in Steve’s model and methods.
Finally, after working together for over six months, my impression of Steve is one of a hard-working, competent, fair, highly-intelligent individual. I would not hesitate to work with Steve again, and I recommend him without reservation.
- Lagoon 450F "Solicitude"
The relationships established over the years working with these great clients (and now friends), was never more evident than when more than 30 couples gathered on our boat and talked to prospective buyers about working with us!
As a first time boat purchaser I did a lot of research via the web and Stephen and Estelle’s names popped up time and time again always with glowing recommendations. Although I had already been talking with a couple of brokers I decided to contact the CatamaranGuru and see what they could offer. It turned out to be the best move I could have made! From day one Stephen was extremely helpful and answered my never ending stream of questions along with providing guidance and advice when I asked for it. When I decided to step away from one deal Stephen didn’t go into sell mode but instead supported me saying “the decision is yours and only yours to make. I’ll be there when you are ready”. We did eventually find the right boat and Stephen was indeed with me every step of the way. After the deal closed and as I prepare the boat to go into the DYC fleet Stephen is still there, ready and willing to help. I suspect he will always be there for me.
My advice to others, especially first time purchasers, is that the journey would have been easier on myself (and probably Stephen too) if I would have taken their Catamaran Ownership Seminar and gained a better understanding of the nuances around boat selection and the actual purchase process instead of me trying to figure it out on the fly.
-Lagoon 450F "Dali"
Hi All. I received invaluable advice and the honesty I deserve of a catamaran dealer. I am in the same stage as Brian and will want to buy a very good used cat in 5 years. If Stephen and Estelle are still in the game I will purchase through them. Everything I have heard thus far and received from them, including last week has been professional and true. Thank you. Jeremy
Stephen, thanks for responding. When we were at the boat show in Miami everyone was telling us we needed to buy now for tax purposes. I didn't agree with them as a portion if my pay is already tax exempt. We will wait two years, and if you are still in the business we will work through you as you are the first person that has provided information aplicable to us. Very respectfully, Brian.
We did NOT sell this client a boat! Read the story here why we did not make a sale and why you, the customer, should insist on being a valued client, NOT just a transaction!
"We are looking to buy a bluewater catamaran and really needed to get a hands on sense of managing and living aboard a cruising cat. While researching charters, we came across Catamaranguru.com and spoke with Stephen and Estelle. It was quickly apparent that their depth of knowledge and experience owning, cruising, and living aboard would offer better education and exposure than any standard charter could. We took their weekend catamaran intensive and felt it was an extremely valuable (and fun) experience that helped refine our plan and also established a long term relationship with open, friendly, trusted advisors."
As a couple who have become interested in sailing later in life, we cannot recommend Stephen and Estelle Cockcroft’s Catamaran Ownership Seminar more highly. If you have not been around large catamaran sailboats all your life, the business of yacht purchase and ownership is a virtual black box made even more so by the few numbers of units bought and sold in a given year.
Stephen and Estelle graciously host workshop attendees on their beautiful Lagoon 450 and proceed to illuminate all aspects of the “business” while tailoring their lessons to the individual desires of the attendees. They cover the full gamut of topics including boat selection, ownership options, provisioning, financing and purchase while demonstrating the systems and capabilities on their own yacht and serving up non-stop gourmet meals and a healthy dose of the cruising lifestyle.
The materials they provide during the course are quantitative, comprehensive and followed up with any requested information like the recent asking and selling prices of desired catamaran models. Estelle and Stephen are the consummate professionals, great story tellers, fantastic hosts, accomplished sailors and sincere about helping others obtain the catamaran of their dreams. Try them you’ll like it.
We just want to write a quick note to thank you for a fantastic weekend at your Catamaran Ownership Seminar. Your warm, friendly atmosphere on board allowed us to relax with the other couple and thoroughly enjoy ourselves. The wine and meals were delicious and the preparation together was fun. Most importantly, we now have the support we need to move forward with our plans. Stephen was very honest and helpful regarding his suggestions for our boat options and we look forward to working with him soon. The material presented was comprehensive and the books we took home with us offer a wealth of information. We left feeling we had made new friends and look forward to seeing them again. It's going to be great! Thanks, Jack and Reenie.
Thank you Estelle and Stephen for an outstanding weekend of education, delicious food and great company. Although we arrived skeptical but open minded about the program, the clear and realistic explanation about the pros and cons of performance charter yacht ownership persuades us of the feasibility of doing it. The quality of the construction and finish to your boat Zuri convinced us of the value in a Lagoon 450s even though you both went to great lengths to present an unbiased review of the currently new and used catamarans in the marketplace. The easy conversations with you both and our weekend shipmates, Jack and Reenie, made the evenings fly by even as most (but not all) of us agreed that the future is "going to be great". Thank you again for the extensive resources you included with the weekend.
Bruce & Holly (the democrat)
Hi Stephen, a couple of months ago I bought a Lagoon 450 that is in Guadalupe. I have been using the exchange program and it is working fine. I would like to talk with you to look into an additional program so that we can bring a new boat to La Paz.
- 2014 Lagoon 450
We engaged Stephen in two possible boat purchases over the past 16 months and were very pleased with his support of our quest to secure a catamaran that fits our lifestyle. We first evaluated in detail the option to purchase a new catamaran and place it in charter. Stephen's counsel on the programs available to us was clear and unbiased. We were confident that his focus was making sure we made the right decision for us. He also introduced us to Dream Yacht Charters and through our various meetings with that team and chartering two of their yachts we found them to be, by far, the most professional and well-managed of the global charter companies. In the end we realized that a charter vessel was not right for our sailing plans so we turned our attention to finding a cat in the secondary market that would better meet our sailing schedule. Stephen's experience helped us wade through the myriad of makes and designs available and narrow the list to meet our goals for safety, comfort, performance and value. He guided us through the process of identifying, negotiating, surveying and closing on what we are confident is the right yacht for us and we are thrilled with the results. Through it all, Stephen was highly responsive and professional. We will look to the Catamaran Guru to help us with any future yacht transactions we might consider and recommend you do the same.
- 2005 Voyage 44, "Due"
Here's my experience dealing with Stephen.
1) He responded quickly to my inquiry about buying 40' catamaran and putting with Dream Yacht Charters.
2) He answered all my crazy questions quickly and completely.
3) Followed up with meeting at Annapolis Boat Show. Again, he answered all my questions quickly and completely.
4) Asked him for references. Got about a dozen the next day. Spoke to half of them and got positive feedback from all.
5) I decided to buy a Lagoon 400S. Stephen made the process simple. Always responded same day to my questions and almost always with the 'right' answers (at least from my point of view).
6) My partner and I lined up a couple weeks with DYC in the Caribbean over the Christmas holidays. Trips were great, just as we had hoped and similar to what Stephen had predicted.
7) Boat now launched (ahead of schedule) and ready to head to Annapolis where I expect things to continue to go as planned.
I don't know about other people, but, in my experience, this type of service and delivery is beyond the ordinary.
- Lagoon 400S2, "Silk Pants"
(Dec 10, 2013) Stephen, I briefly met you and your wife in Morro Bay, CA, last July. You got the last RV site and we moved down the road to another park. During our brief visit we talked about bareboat charters and you told me to contact you next time we chartered. So here I am, we were looking in the South Pacific preferably Tonga for the last week of Sept 2014 and first week of Oct. If this is something you can do, what kind of equipment do you charter and in what locations?
(March 4, 2014) Stephen, thanks for your help. Susan and Christine have been great to work with and we booked a charter in Tahiti for the end of Sept 2014. Everyone is excited as Tahiti will be our first cruise in the South Pacific.
(October 24, 2014) Stephen, we just returned from our Tahiti charter. Wanted to say thanks, it was trip of a lifetime. Dream Yacht Charters did an outstanding job. The boat was an upgrade, clean, and everything worked great. We're already planning our next trip, so get ready for a call.
I highly recommend Stephen Cockcroft for a purchase of a catamaran and for placement in charter. Stephen was constantly available and always answered his phone and e-mails promptly. The knowledge that Stephen has regarding catamarans and the charter business is the best I have experienced. His contacts in the industry are deep and seasoned which allows him to makes things happen with least amount of bother for the buyer.
Now that I own the vessel, Stephen is still readily available to assist and answer questions. He does not disappear after the deal is done like some other brokers. If you are considering a catamaran purchase, do yourself a big favor and contact Stephen.
- 2015 Lagoon 620, "Aquatopia"
I would like to thank Stephen for all the help he gave us over several years of looking at Lagoons. To me, it was his patience and understanding that you may not buy a boat of this value the first time you look at one.
Several friends and I started chartering catamarans many years ago. We discovered the Lagoons with a flybridge and never strayed. A few years later we meet Stephen at a boat show and spent an hour discussing Lagoons and Dream Yacht Charters. He was casual, knowledgeable, and, in fact, told us it usually takes a while to select a boat and a program. We got to know him and met him at a few more boat shows and traded emails on the pros and cons of the venture.
In 2013 Lagoon introduced the 52, and we fell in love. It still took us over a year to put together a group of partners and realize that this was possible.
Stephen was there to not only help but handle the purchase, ordering, contract options, finance and insurance of our new Lagoon 52. He was more than fare, made good recommendations, helped with all the problem issues and I can say he has truly become a good friend. He kept his word on every issue that had to be resolved and every promise that was made.
I would highly recommend to anyone that is thinking of purchasing a boat to own and charter, to take some time to talk to Stephen. I feel you will find like we did, that he is as good as it gets.
Our new Lagoon 52, "AZZURRA", is 1,100 nautical miles away from the Tortola as of this afternoon. Come try her out in BVI's....
When we thought about moving from our Beneteau 523 to a catamaran, Stephen was the first person we contacted. His reputation as the catamaran expert preceded him. We found Steve to be both extremely knowledgeable and helpful in our research of what cat to buy, what company to buy from and what charter company to use. He went above and beyond by travelling with us to inspect boat models and to the FP factory to help us oversee construction of our Sanya 57 and select options. Even after we purchased our catamaran, Steve is always there to offer sound counsel and advice on all aspects of yacht operation and ownership. We can't imagine a better resource to assist catamaran owners in the purchase and charter operation of their boats.
- 2014 Fountaine Pajot Sanya 57, "La Vandalay"
Got to know Stephen & Estelle when we became new owners of an Island Spirit 40 over 10 years ago. Most recently, I turned to him first when the time came to sell her. His advice and guidance was very helpful. Through out the selling process he responded quickly and completely, a true professional. Buying or selling, you won't lose if you contact Stephen
-Island Spirit 40 "Youwarkee"
"We became friends with Stephen and Estelle long before we had ever dreamed we would own our own boat. They showed us that through chartering it is possible to have our own boat at minimal costs. They guided us through our purchase of a 2012 Jeanneau 37Ft and they are still always available to us with their knowledge and support.
This summer we managed to take a 3 week vacation with our 2 boys, an 8 and 5 year old. We started in Dania Beach Florida and sailed to Westend Bahamas, Mangrove Cay, Grand Cay, Fox Town, Moraine Cay, Alan Pensicola, Spanish Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Marsh Harbour, Hope Town, Little Harbour , Spanish Wells, Harbour Island, Great Harbour Cay Berry Island, Bimini and back to Dania Beach Florida. Certainly a vacation of a lifetime and we remind our children how lucky they are. Thank you Stephen and Estelle for helping us and for your constant support. Your Friends, Craig and Hannah".
- 2012 Jeanneau 37 "Big Sky"
Stephen and Estelle were our first sailing instructors, some nine years ago. Years later, they helped us buy our first sailboat, a lovely Passport 40. After three years of living aboard full time - and over 10,000 miles of sailing - we decided to sell it and move back to land.
Being first-time boat buyers and then sellers, it was a big comfort to us to know our brokers were highly experienced and competent. We had many questions and concerns, and Stephen and Estelle knew how to handle these. They were responsive at all hours. They gave us really good advice and even better perspective.
Bottom line: we got a great deal when we bought the boat, thanks to Stephen's excellent negotiating skills. And we ended up selling it in just three months, which made us really happy. We can definitely recommend the Catamara Guru team!
- S/V Thalia; Passport 40
"Stephen- Thanks again for making this happen and ALL of your "after the sale" service. Larry checked in with me yesterday regarding bookings to date and we were pinching ourselves with the realization that we've essentially covered our first year's expenses with value of confirmed bookings already!
It's just like you said, once people realize how profitable this boat is going to be, the last share will sell itself, and in fact I'm getting a little greedy about who we even offer it to, wishing I could justify the second share!
Thanks again and looking forward to getting together in Annapolis."
"...Stephen has been an absolute pleasure to work with! His enthusiasm for catamarans and the charter business is contagious, inspiring us to take the plunge in a big way. To usher a group of 8 "Newbies", some with little to no previous experience, through the partnership, purchase, finance, and now delivery process required unbelievable amounts of patience, confidence in his product, and optimism, all of which he supplied in abundance and with good cheer. It's been a pleasure working with Stephen and he's truly the only reason why the eight of us are now proud owners of "Azzurra" a Lagoon 52!"
- 2014 Lagoon 52 "Azzurra"
With Stephen's expert and patient assistance, I was able to move rapidly from just considering charter yacht purchase to now eagerly awaiting the imminent delivery to BVI of a new 2014 Lagoon 400 S2. His advice has been impeccable...from which boat to buy and how to outfit her, to help with advantageous financing, and tips on setting up my own charter LLC in affiliation with a management company.
The boat is already booked for 11 weeks - and she is not even there yet! It's a good thing I reserved the first couple of weeks for myself and friends! LOL I can't recommend Stephen highly enough - he really, really knows all the ins and outs of catamarans and the charter business. Without his help, I would probably still be chartering someone else's boat this year - instead of using my own!
- 2013 Lagoon 400 "Rendezvous"
We've been doing a lot of research and appreciate the information provided on your website. We're interested in purchasing a catamaran to run ourselves as a charter business...
- Ross H, S/V "One White Tree" - Island Spirit 40
- you were always available by email, phone or text any day any time. Conversations were never rushed, and you took particular care in appeasing our doubts and fears which come hand in hand with these sorts of transactions. They are definitely overwhelming for first timers like us - your technical and procedural knowledge - your overall professionalism in communicating with us and everyone involved in the transaction - your vast network of recommended marine industry professionals (loan, insurance, repairs, etc...). When we tried to pick people out of the blue, it really felt like shots in the dark. Having a couple or more references for each field was very useful and effective - and the extra mile you put in did not go unnoticed (i.e. bringing our boat to the LMC).
Voila! We would recommend you both any day. And we are looking forward to a long relationship the way you both intend it. It's a nice philosophy.
- Alex and Avi (Leopard 47)
Dear Stephen and Estelle, I've spent many hours at your site over the past several months. It has really helped to focus my thoughts on purchasing a catamaran.
- Nick C
We worked with Stephen and were extremely pleased. FYI, he’s sold quite a few L 40’s and works like a dog bringing quality buyers to sellers and vice versa. Don’t know if it’s okay to give out this sort of info on this forum but if not, I apologize. We’re just so happy with our purchase yesterday and wanted to share how hard this guy worked for us…even flying to St. Martin with us for the survey. And I know that he KNOWS the L40 inside and out as well as everyone in the cat biz. I’m sure he would help you net the most $$$ for your boat.
- S Kuhn/Fort Lauderdale (Leopard 43)
Happy New Year! I wish I would have found your website months ago. Nice work!...
- Curt J
I have been dreaming forever that one day I would be leaving on my sailboat to go around the world. But every time I would think loud about it, my wife, Suzanne, would look at me and simply say, "We will talk about it later!" A few years after retiring, I decided to follow the courses of the Blue Water Sailing School and take them at Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. Surprise, surprise, Suzanne agreed to come with me. We finally made it to Marsh Harbour and went straight to the Harbour View Marina to be told by Stephen that it was too early and had to come back later. That bizarre welcome allowed us however to discover a bit of the local cuisine.
The following week made us forget that moment very rapidly. While Estelle's smile, cheerfulness, and creative cooking made us feel at home right away, Stephen's navigation courses, sails and boat handling, tests, etc. kept reminding us that we were not and had to work hard and learn fast.
In short, it was a very intense week, with a lot of adventures, work, tests, discoveries and wonderful time and days passing, and more particularly during our discussions at sunset, Estelle and Stephen became our friends.
The results of that week were spectacular. I decided to buy a catamaran and Suzanne accepted to risk it all with me! During the following months, with the help of Stephen, I found a St. Francis 48" cat, Radical Innovation, located in Tortola in the Virgin Islands. Stephen acted as our representative and negotiated very skillfully the purchase of the cat and even accepted to be our Skipper for the 7 day trip back to St. Augustine, FL. That was a memorable trip but it will be part of my next book. In conclusion, Estelle and Stephen were not only our teachers, instructors, mentors and negotiators but they also became our friends.
- Suzanne et Pierre André, S/Y "Radical Innovation" St Francis 50
I spoke with Stephen on the phone a couple of weeks back about an Island Spirit 40 that I have an offer on. First I want to thank him profusely for his time. It was a huge help...
- Travis W
We decided we wanted a more simple lifestyle and we sold our house and all its contents to move onto our 42' Fountaine Pajot catamaran. Neither of us had done any sailing so we were pretty anxious about taking such a huge step and knew we needed some real hands-on experience. After looking at the various sailing schools out there we decided on Blue Water Sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lucky for us, the Florida class was changed and we went to the class in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas on a 40' Island Spirit with Stephen and Estelle Cockcroft. We were totally immersed in every aspect of sailing and living on board a catamaran, which is what we needed. The Cockcrofts went above and beyond "teaching" us. They provided us an understanding of catamarans that would have taken us a very long time to discover on our own - that experience is invaluable for novices. When we went home we knew we could handle whatever was thrown at us i.e., how to manage the sails, how to live comfortably on board, and what to expect with all the systems on board. We can't say enough about the incredible experience we had with them. We highly recommend sail school and if you're lucky enough to get a couple like Stephen and Estelle you won't regret it.
- Dave and Peggy King from S/Y "Simplicity" (Read their blog)
Stephen and Estelle's ongoing willingness to provide us with practical guidance has been phenomenal. Their 20+ years of cruising experience and being in the yachting business is a great source for novices like us. Through their Active Yacht Ownership Program, they helped us set up our Sea School Business in the Bahamas three years ago which is still going strong. If you are in the market for a boat these Yacht Gurus can make it a pleasant long term experience.
- Deon & Janine Rae, S/Y Kanina Prout 45 www.kaninasailing.com
We first met Stephen and Estelle when we enrolled in the Blue Water Sailing "Sea School" (BWSS), Marsh Harbor, Bahamas in 2007. We had planned on attending another sailing school, but thankfully decided on BWSS at the last minute. We made our decision based on the amount of time BWSS courses spend on the water versus other programs that have you cooped up in a classroom for hours a day and require you to spend your evenings in a hotel. We were happy to learn that the entire BWSS "Sea School" would be spent aboard a beautiful 43'catamaran and that the class size was perfect: two couples and Stephen and Estelle traveling through the Abacos. From the start of the class, we knew we had made the right decision.
Both Stephen and Estelle introduced us to life as live aboard cruisers. Estelle took us through provisioning for the trip and establishing a level of "comfort" while aboard and Stephen introduced us to the "single sheet" per person use of the head. Each day we would work, learn, and sail the boat as if it we were ours and we were making our own passage. Having a destination for each day made the learning fun and challenging.
Each of the four students received hours of hands on experience at each sailing position and the learning and confidence gained was invaluable. During the course, we all were given ample time to earn our "Plonker" status and the constructive reinforcement from Stephen and Estelle served to further our confidence that we could handle ourselves safely on the water. Anyone who has the opportunity to spend time with the Cockcrofts knows that their experiences as blue water cruisers are worth the price of the course. We have stayed in close contact with the Cockcrofts since attending our first BWSS course and today, we value the Gurus as some of our closest friends. We have learned so much from them and are looking forward to working with Stephen and Estelle as we prepare to purchase our own yacht and begin our life with our family on the water.
- Marc & Brandi Murphy
A number of years ago my wife and I decided that retirement in the Caribbean may be an option and living on a catamaran was also a possibility. So first things first, take a catamaran school. After much discussion about which school to take we ended up in the Abacos with our instructors Stephen and Estelle. This was a great experience. We not only got a sailing school but the complete package, how to live aboard and the introduction to the cruising lifestyle. We bought our yacht through them and we have shared many good times together on board. We won the Caribbean 1500 Rally on 'R & R', skippered by Stephen, another great learning experience! More helpful and knowledgeable people you would be hard pressed to find.
- Reg & Rita Noble from S/Y "R&R" Prout 50 - Proud winners of the Caribbean 1500 Rally
Looking ZURI over, we met Stephen Cockcroft, (and his lovely wife Estelle), who sat down and reviewed our needs with us. Based on our financial situation, Stephen introduced us to the Active Yacht Ownership concept, and explored ways to make that happen.
He was the consummate knowledgeable professional, and introduced us to many other experts in finance, charter, and even Boat technical services and repair.
We worked together for 8 months to bring our dream into reality. We will always be grateful to Stephen for making that happen for us... But that is not where the story ends. The real test of a Broker and his commitment to the customer comes after the sale, particularly if there are problems with the vessel, and after all, don't all boats have a few problems?
Ours turned out to be much more significant than what was detected during the survey. And yet, Stephen engaged with the manufacturer on our behalf and had them resolve a number of costly repairs.
Further, as we wanted to enhance and modify our boat to our needs, Stephen consulted with us on the best ways to do the work and recommended numerous contractors to select from. He also periodically dropped by to visit the vessel and inspect the work in progress. And yes, he even kicked some ass from time to time to keep the work moving and up to the quality he demanded on our behalf.
Through all of this, we worked together, and Deb and I found something even more important to us along the way...two great new friends. How many people can actually say that after their deals are completed? We highly recommend Stephen as one of the most knowledgeable brokers that you could ever work with. If you are considering Stephen, give me a call anytime to discuss our own experience in detail.
Sincerely, Bob and Debra Rainford from S/Y Persistence
When I decided to purchase my first sailing catamaran in 2008 I knew very little about the boat purchasing process but luckily I did know the "Yacht Guru", Stephen Cockcroft. The decision to work with Stephen as my broker was an easy one. Stephen's vast knowledge about boats, the boat industry and the cruising lifestyle was made very apparent to me when I attended a sailing school he instructed a year earlier. I knew that the purchase process would go smooth working with him and I was very impressed with his dedication and helpfulness. Starting with locating and inspecting the boat, establishing whether it was worth pursuing (before I ever bought an airline ticket to see it myself), to spending a day sailing on the boat with m-e after the purchase to ensure I understood all the systems and that it were all working properly.
After the purchase Stephen helped me locate and vet a company to do some restoration work to the boat before I picked it up. Stephen even stopped in to check on progress few times when I could not. The final results were amazing. To this day I still rely on Stephen to answer questions about my boat and sailing in general. Typically I find that he has "been there and done that". So thank you both, Stephen and Estelle, for your guidance that helped me achieve my dream of open water adventure!
- Mark Callender from S/Y "Stray Cat" Island Spirit 37
...Through all of this, we'd been looking at the three cabin version of the Lagoon 380. We'd always thought the galley was too small (we are foodies and both love to cook!). But with Stephen and Estelle's wise advice that "every boat is a compromise" ringing true to us, and with positive input from him about the quality of these boats, plus lots of talk and pictures from Lagoon owners concerning galley improvements, we began to see that this was the boat for us.
We found a suitable Lagoon 380 for sale in our area in the fall of 2009. In February 2010, Stephen acted as our broker for the purchase of our 2003 cat, now named Mirador. She's waiting impatiently for our house to sell so we can slip the lines and begin our adventures. Thank you, Stephen and Estelle, for helping us nurture our cruising dreams. See ya out there! Read their story here.
- Sarah & George S/Y Mirador
UPDATE ON SARAH & GEORGE: Their Lagoon burned and they have had to look for a new boat quickly after becoming live aboards just a few weeks before the tragic incident. We found them a great boat, a Leopard 40, and they are "back on the horse"! This is a reply from George to a blog post on cruisers forum:
A word from George: I have known Stephen since meeting him at an Annapolis show a number of years back. He was selling the Island Spirit catamaran at the time. My wife and I were interested in purchasing one, but wanted the chance to sail it first. We then joined him and his lovely wife for a sea school on his Island Spirit in the Bahamas. He is a very good sailor, by the way. We were convinced that the Island Spirit would be a great boat after sailing it for a week. We gave Stephen a deposit check for a new Island Spirit. Unfortunately, the factory in South Africa went belly up prior to our getting the boat. Stephen worked diligently to get our deposit back successfully. He even flew to South Africa at his own expense to help another client whose boat had been started but not finished.
I was so impressed with his integrity as a broker and as a human being that when the time came for me to find another catamaran, I enlisted his help as a buyer's broker. He was an immense help at that time (saved me a LOT of money). Unfortunately, after owning that boat for a year, we lost it at the dock due to a fire. I didn't let this upset my wife's and my cruising plans, though. We purchased another boat two months ago, again with Stephen's help. He was instrumental in finding the right boat for us, finding an honest and thorough surveyor, and helping us get the boat at a good price.
I have met several other clients of his while interacting with him these past years. All respect his integrity and honesty. If anyone would like to know the names of some individuals in the catamaran business who are less than honest I could name a few that I have met along the way.
Stephen knows catamarans and the charter markets very well. His advice has been extremely valuable to me on multiple occasions. I would definitely say he is an expert at boat purchasing and at evaluation of a vessel in a charter fleet or for that matter of purchasing a vessel and putting it into charter. He is very familiar with all the legal nuances involved as well.
So, if you choose to work with him, I really don't think you could do any better.
- George Hanson, 2007 Leopard 40, 'Mirador'
I have known Stephen and Estelle Cockcroft since 2004. I contacted them the first time looking for advice on buying a catamaran. At the time, the choices for cats were limited. Most were slow and would not perform and I wanted something that would tack through less than 100 degrees and had some get up and go. I called Stephen as well as many other brokers and had a long chat with each one. It was clear that Stephen knew cats and cruising. I found the ones who spend the most advertising multihulls - simply want to take your money - they are not interested in what I need - only about what they can fleece from my pocket.
We made arrangements to meet the Cockcrofts at the Annapolis Boat Show in 2005. From the moment we meet Stephen and Estelle we were comfortable and able to communicate clearly. They made it their business to understand what our needs were and helped us to make the right selection.
As it turned out the cat we picked was built by a company that had financial trouble - which no could have known about. In the end, the builder went into foreclosure. I had paid for most of the boat and had title, but that meant I needed to go to South Africa and rescue the boat from the clutches of some very greedy folk. It was Stephen who flew to South Africa with me - at his expense - and helped me rescue the boat, helped get it ready for transit and helped get it to Houston. Without his help I would have probably lost the boat and all my money. I do not know another broker who would have done what they did for us.
So, yes I can tell you without reservation that Stephen and Estelle are honest and forthright folk - who standby you through thick and thin - no matter what is going on. They have my complete trust. When I buy another cat, my first call will be to Stephen and Estelle Cockcroft. 'nuff said.
- Dennis & Cindy Frakes from S/V "Kewl Breeze"
I want to voice my appreciation for all the time you've put in on this over the past two months and your patience in helping me to get my husband to feel comfortable with the sail drives. You sending the email about DYC [Dream Yacht Charter] to the MOG was a godsend. I wanted the boat, but wasn't happy with the other charter companies in the BVI because they didn't have the reciprocal privileges with so many bases and they didn't have the guaranteed income. DYC's guaranteed income may be less overall, but I don't have to worry about that, or the maintenance........Knowing your name and history with the MOG gave me the confidence to make this deal. It would have been difficult to do so with a stranger. I have read your posts over the years and even downloaded some of your tips on boat handling from Sail Online. I appreciated your integrity to fully disclose on the MOG that you were a yacht broker and I wish you continued success with DYC. I hope we get to share a cocktail sometime in BVI.
- Arlene Huber, Lagoon 400
I wanted to thank you for all the time and energy you gave Nancy and me as we searched for boats. You remained loyal and objective to us the entire time and we appreciate that. More importantly, it was good to get to know you personally as you are an interesting fellow and a smart business man. Anyway, thanks again for all your help. We hope to see you at the boat show.
- Mark J
Michel worked with us for nearly 2 years. He was knowledgeable, professional, compassionate, and intuitive. Michel found us the perfect boat. We were delighted. The boat was exactly what we wanted. However, the purchase proved to be a complex transaction. Michel was incredible. He worked so hard and so long to get us that boat. We contribute the success in getting the boat to Michel's negotiation skills, knowledge of the industry, international sophistication and bilingual abilities. Ultimately, our most important discovery was Michel's intense loyalty to his clients. If you have the insight to choose Michel as your broker and if Michel chooses you as his client, we believe you will be blessed with the boat of your dreams.
- Fred L, Sacramento, California
We used Michel, former MOG Commodore, to sell the boat. Michel knows the boat brokerage process very well and did a fabulous job for us. In addition, given my travel schedule at work, we "hired" Michel to attend the phase out survey and sea trial and appointed Michel as our "hand over" representative with the Moorings. This worked extremely well for us as owners.
- David & Lynda
Would like to thank you for your perseverance and determination to get the deal through. It was a long process. Thank you very much.
- Cameron & Anneliza
All along Michel displayed phenomenal understanding of the market, conducted himself as a super professional, displaying knowledge combined with integrity, while protecting our interest as his customers was always paramount. The last six months were exciting, turbulent and rewarding. Our comfort level at all times while working with Mr. Benarrosh was tantamount. To conclude, I value my experience with Mr. Benarrosh highly. I shall always recommend him as a fine professional broker and there is no doubt that he is a great asset to your organization.
- Sam and Eileen