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Cockwells Pivots in Covid-19 Cancellation Challenge

With the eleventh-hour cancellation of BOATS2020 – the recalibrated Southampton Boat Show that emerged in an attempt to comply with greater Coronavirus-related safety measures and restrictions – Cockwells remained undeterred and found a new way of sharing their award-winning Duchy Motor Launches with potential customers and clinching sales.

Duchy Motor Launches are classically-designed, handcrafted, semi-production vessels that are created by Cockwells’ skilled craftsmen whose design flair, expertise and exacting standards are beyond compare.

Key personnel from the award-winning Cornish boatbuilders had travelled to Southampton, transported the Duchy 27 and Duchy 35 that they planned to exhibit at the event from their home berths in Universal Marina on the River Hamble to BOATS2020, and spent two days preparing the vessels for viewing.

“The night before the boat show was due to open, the team was enjoying a well-earned meal when a colleague in Cornwall shared a social media link from BOATS2020, announcing that the event had been cancelled by Southampton City Council due to the rising risk of Covid-19,” explains Cockwells’ Sales Manager, Julian Weatherill, who recently joined the company as a result of its acquisition of Hardy Marine.

“Although we had received nothing official from the organisers and felt somewhat deflated after all our preparations, we immediately sprang into action and devised a Plan B. Universal Marina kindly agreed for us to return the Duchy 27 and Duchy 35 to their home moorings, and honour the appointments that prospective purchasers had already booked, with the proviso that we would limit numbers and observe strict Covid-19 regulations to protect marina staff and berth holders, which we were, of course, happy to comply with.”

A new day dawned and as soon as BOATS2020 dismantled their pontoon bridges, an armada of boats headed down Southampton Water, with most of them diverting into the River Hamble.

“By midday, we were ready to welcome pre-booked potential customers on board our award-winning Duchy Motor Launches, in a beautiful, Covid-secure setting without the customary crowds,” adds Julian.

“Although we missed out on the passing trade that a busy boat show brings, we were pleased to boost our order book yet further by clinching sales for one Duchy 27 and one Duchy 35; one Hardy 42 on brokerage, and to arrange four sea-trials as a result of the Company responding to the BOATS2020 cancellation challenge by remaining in the Southampton area, which have subsequently led to two further sales of a Duchy 27 and Duchy 35.”

“These sales demonstrate that the Company continues to achieve sustained growth even in challenging circumstances,” adds Founder and Managing Director, Dave Cockwell. “We will need more skilled boat builders and additional facilities as we look towards the future.”