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In 2004 Richard Pierpoint saw the potential to establish a viable ‘boat share membership’ company due to the emerging widespread availability of broadband. He became the first UK adopter of the concept in Spring 2005 through the licensing of an American system. Richard, assisted by his wife Sue, wanted to create an integrated approach for access to quality boats with skill based training and a fun social programme as a complete sailing solution. As a result, FlexiSail was built to create a relaxed, supported environment in which members could enjoy yachting and catamaran sailing which is flexible, affordable, and fun. Whilst catering to all levels of sailors, they wanted to encourage new people into sailing to enjoy this very special pastime.
They rapidly developed the FlexiSail Team, incorporating their RYA Training Centre, FlexiSail Training (Solent Nautical College Ltd), into the largest and most successful yachting boat share membership Company in the UK with bases in the prime locations of Hamble, Lymington, Poole and Woolverstone on the East Coast.
The completely unique aspect of FlexiSail is that they provide the ‘ownership’ experience without buying. By this they mean that members have personal and exclusive use of a highly specced yacht or catamaran that is shared by just a very few other members whilst simply paying an annual membership fee. The quality of yacht ensures that members have the best possible experience and develop a real pride of ‘ownership’.
How we started
Richard and Sue are without a doubt Europe’s most experienced and knowledgeable experts in ‘boat share membership’ yachting. They created the model by which others follow. In 2010 they rebranded their business as FlexiSail in order to be able to give greater personal identity to their business and to be able to continue to develop their leading concepts.
In the same year they launched the iCalendar, the world’s leading and most sophisticated ‘boat share’ booking system in recognition that ensuring a ‘fair share’ of usage was fundamental to any truly successful ‘boat share’ business. At the same time the iBosun, an electronic embark and disembark system, was introduced.
FlexiSail have continually increased the choice and range of boats with monohull yachts from Dufour, Jeanneau and catamarans from Fountaine Pajot, growing the business every year.
With the cost of new boats and running costs increasing every year, membership through FlexiSail makes so much financial sense.
Founder and Director
Sue Pierpoint was almost born on a boat, living her early years on a Thames barge yacht and later on a converted pilot ship before finding dry land! Prior to meeting Richard and joining the FlexiSail team full time, she worked for a specialist skiing company for 10 years, organising and arranging bespoke ski holidays.
Sue brings great passion and organisational skills, attention to detail and an ability to involve others, which makes events happen and which are always great fun. Sue is both Company Secretary and Director of FlexiSail. Her other interests include skiing, which has been a life long passion, and her family.
Founder and Director
Richard Pierpoint came to the yachting industry from architecture where he was Principal of his own award winning architect's practice, which he established, built and ran for 16 years. Richard is Managing Director and founder of FlexiSail, and Managing Director and Principal of Flexisail Training (Solent Nautical College Ltd).
He is a commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Offshore, and a Cruising Instructor. Richard has sailed since childhood. His other interests include tennis, regularly representing his local club, and skiing which he took up as a young man of 47 years and has been hooked ever since!
Member Liaison and Training Manager
Paula joined the FlexiSail team in the spring of 2018 as FlexiSail Member Liaison and Training Manager. Coming from a background of working on-board Superyachts within the interior department and latterly working for private houses as a Personal Assistant, she comes with a wealth of client customer service and great organisational skills.
Having completed in various sailing regattas, Round The Island Race and having a J80 within the family, she is familiar to all sizes of yachts. When not at FlexiSail Paula enjoys being outdoors especially when the sun shines!
Sam joined the FlexiSail Team in August 2017 as office manager. Sam comes to FlexiSail following a long career in Brand Marketing at Nationwide HQ taking on a series of senior management roles within the group. Sam's varied career also includes working for EMI Music, and as a trust manager for a charity where she managed a small office, dealing with volunteers, staff and suppliers.
Having recently moved to the area Sam and her family are keen to enjoy spending more time on the water, something that they have never had time to do until now.
Toby joined the FlexiSail team at the start of the 2018 season as the FlexiSail Fleet Manager helping to maintain our growing fleet of yachts and catamarans. Toby oversees all of our management systems and manages our maintenance team with great skill and enthusiasm. He has a fantastic hands on approach and is always prepared to go the extra mile to ensure the yachts are operating smoothly.
He has vast experience having worked for a while as a rigger and then went onto Discovery Yachts commissioning new builds. In May 2010 he set up and ran a yacht management company for four years, working worldwide maintaining yachts for private and corporate owners.
Toby is a very experienced skipper having commercially sailed all over the world logging more than 60,000 miles on yachts up to 67 feet, and is a commercially endorsed Ocean Yachtmaster. Apart from sailing or being with the family when not working, Toby finds time to play the cornet in two brass bands!
Adrian has been part of FlexiSail as their Chief Instructor since October 2014. He joined the Royal Navy at the tender age of 16 and enjoyed an active and challenging 33 years in the Submarine Service. During that time he was fortunate enough to learn, and later instruct, sailing across all three Armed Forces and is now an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor and Examiner.
Between 2011 and 2014, he was able to combine his passion for sailing with the need to earn an income, by cruising around the Mediterranean with his wife Giselle, onboard their yacht ‘Banyan’ during the Summer, and examining and instructing in the Winters in between.
Fleet Maintenance Assistant.
Will has joined us as our Fleet Maintenance Assistant responsible for helping to maintain our fleet as the best in the Solent. Will is an RYA dinghy instructor, a safety boat skipper and had been working as a club bosun at the RAF Yacht Club in Hamble. In his spare time Will is a Sea Scouts leader helping to introduce youngsters to the fun and enjoyment of sailing.
Will is responsible for the presentation of the fleet and is the Fleet Manager's right hand man to ensure that maintenance is always as good as it possibly can be.