----- Original Message -----|
Sent: Saturday, January 04, 2003 7:27 PM
Subject: link to sailboat page
Just saw a reference to your site in Latitude 38; so as the owner of 7 Seagulls I went immediately to the page! I am delighted to have made the acquaintence.
A couple of years ago I started two sites focused upon two specific types of sailboats. These sites are http://www.kettenburgboats.com and http://www.bearboats.com
Please check them out. I would be honored to place your site on our "links" section as I know that I am not the only owner of a Seagull who visits the sites with regularity.
Ron Battiston wrote:
Thanks for your email and kind words! I visited your sites and they are both excellent! I especially like the clean web design and the content is great too!
Its been a lot of fun to operate the seagull business. As a small business I am sometimes overwhelmed by the responses and emails especially the volumes. We get several hundred emails each week and over 100,000 "hits" a month on the various webpages on the site. There was a time I could answer each enquiry personally but now I've had to go to an FAQ page and sometimes run a backlog on email replies.
On our site we try to provide several free services and thats one thing we may have in common. An experiment I tried was placing the paypal "donate" button on a couple of the free pages to allow visitors to support those pages. This seems to work well and it might be something that you might consider in addition to the Trust idea which looks good too. I find that there are quite a lot of services that I provide that you can't charge for and the problem is that with a very limited amount of time available I can't meet all my expenses and help all the owners in the world out with their seagulls. I maintained a telephone answering machine on the office phone and then had to disconnect it when on mondays it was overloaded with messages from all around the world asking for info.
In the old days when seagulls were in production the service level was legendary but that was paid for out of new motor sales and now with parts service only the dealer network has shrunk to only a very few people and it makes it difficult to maintain that level of service. Thats where the magic of the internet comes in and from our small warehouse in Victoria and the parts support from British Seagull in England, we have been able to provide round the clock support all around the world with the info on the website. Its ironic isn't it that modern technology is allowing us to support ancient technology - both older vessels and older engines.
I have also found out that seagull people are just excellent. I have never met a nicer bunch of people and they seem to come from all backgrounds and occupations too. When you own a seagull you also are a member of the seagull community and when we get together there are all sorts of interesting stories that go back and forth. Seagulls are well designed, well built and they work!!! So the owner loyalty is well placed.
One other thing that I noticed was the virtual nature of the internet and websites. Often a website is totally dependent on one person and should anything happen there - poof! its gone. I noticed this with several really excellent Navy sites that I had linked to and then checked back a year later to find over half of them had dissappeared. This is one of the reasons I have linked all the seagull sites I could find to my seagull links page. Its a way of trying to establish a online community independent of just one site. All of this costs money and the warehouse, five computers, various equipment and time translates into several thousand dollars a year. I've had to operate the site on a business footing to pay for these expenses but it might be possible to offer a reduced site on a hobby basis too. Again the magic of the internet!
Thanks again Steve and best wishes for you with your websites. There is nothing more fun than working in a field that is fun. I guess its a lot like playing!!!! I took an early retirement last March ( age 54) to do this full time and have just loved it!
British Seagull Shop
mail (warehouse by appointment only please)
1315 Miles Street
Victoria, BC Canada V9A7G9
Mail in the USA
136 East 8th Street, Suite 252
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Many thanks for your most thorough and informative response to my inquiry. I would like to post it to my sites so as to provide our visitors with some perspective upon what both the obligations and benefits of enthusiasm really entail!!! I appreciate your ideas about "paypal". The Kettenburg and Bear sites have been maintained totally at my own out of pocket expense (my and visitors ideas/content, another person is paid to maintain the sites as I am not computer conversant and am rarely at the terminal).
I was most impressed when I saw that you had linked to other Seagull sites. I too am a believer in such a mentality of abundance as you express and practice. Our world needs a little more of us engaging in enlightened rather than myopic self interest.
Thanks again for your efforts on behalf of Seagulls and Seagull owners.
Sure thing Steve if you think it will help. Our leaders in Seagulls include the present owners of British Seagull, Sheridan Marine in the UK who continue to provide an excellent parts service, John Williams of Saving Old Seagulls in the UK who I think has the best seagull site, Frank Valentino- the Birdman in the Cape Cod area, Sean in SanFranscisco and our band of Seagull racers in Bermuda and New Zealand. Don Meyer in Victoria, the previous owner of the British Seagull Shop and a good friend is completing a book on the Classic British Seagull that we (Battiston Publishing) are publishing in April 2003. Frank the Birdman has helped with the technical edit and John Shea a retired teacher has completed the grammatical edit. There are many others with expertise in Seagulls and the internet is one way to meet and share ideas and information. I find that many owners are very knowledgable in fact one in Florida actually took apart a Villiers Coil and counted the number of winds on the primary and secondary windings!
Thanks Steve and best wishes with your pages!
British Seagull Shop