Firstly, owning a boat in Europe is just a fantastic experience and adds a tremendous dimension to travelling there, we cannot recommend it highly enough.
We did enormous research, spent hundreds of hours and travelled thousands of kilometres looking at boats, and couldn’t find the right vessel. Then we met Johan Schoppert, who found us the perfect boat very quickly, negotiated a very satisfactory price on our behalf and even gave me several lessons in how to drive it, basic boating rules and tips on insurance, mooring and maintenance.
Johan seems to know every boat in Holland, which ones not to buy, the right pricing and knows what to look for to satisfy different buyers’ particular needs.
Since then Johan has helped me by assessing required repairs and maintenance and reviewing any work, as well as ensuring I have been charged the correct amount.
We strongly endorse Johan as an ideal person to take the risk out of the process, eliminate time wastage and ensure the best outcome. It will be the best investment in your boating future in Europe.
We wanted to let you know that we had a very interesting and memorable experience on our yacht, Sonata last summer 2013.
Our floating home took us on many types of waterways, this was in our opinion the best way to explore the Netherlands. Writing about our trip is our way of remembering the charming and interesting places we have visited so far. Our trip started in Zwartsluis on the canal, Meppler Diep and our first stop was in the quaint town of Giethorn.
The waterways of Friesland are formed by a series of large meers (lakes) which are again joined together by canals – large and small. Wherever we stopped or stayed in a visitor harbour (Passanten) we had a wealth of boating facilities and maritime traditions. Many towns have a network of waterways surrounding them, quay tie ups are very common and affordable. The towns are charming with old houses and buildings from the Golden Age, we were a step away from super or outdoor markets, restaurants and first class museums. Cities like Haarlem, Gouda, Utrecht, Leewarden, Groningen, Amerstfort and Delft are a tourists paradise with lively markets, shopping streets galore and a network of easy transportation.
The Dutch were helpful and friendly and we enjoyed their tidy marinas, cities and network.
The last 2 weeks of our trip we floated from Rotterdam to Maasbracht on the river Maas, calm and wide with huge trees along the water’s edge and with limited barge traffic. We had gone upstream 18 meters above sea level.
Hans and I have become members of the « rivertribe » we are caught in the challenge of the waterways breathing in its life and enjoyments.
After making a decision to travel to Europe to purchase a boat in 2012 and having been advised to go to the Netherlands and not to France Jayne and I ventured into the Boat Show at Blokzijl on a very cold weekend.
There we inspected many boats and after meeting some lovely people we were introduced to Johan who showed us ‘Carat’ which was advertised way above the budget we had set for ourselves.
After inspection of the boat and discovering its many assets, negotiations were entered into and an acceptable price was met and contracts signed. Johan was most helpful during the whole procedure and reassured us of the situation at all times. Johan arranged for us to sail the boat back to Zwartsluis on the Monday and for the boat to be lifted out of the water and inspected. He also had the head mechanic assist us with any queries we had.
Being very new to boating Johan was very quick to impart his knowledge and gave us lessons in boat handling, berthing and managing locks. On our first venture out alone he came aboard and sailed with us throughout the first lock to see that things were ok and then left us to carry on. On returning to the Marina five days later he saw us entering and he made his way to our birth to make sure we tied up safely and mored ok.
At all times I knew that if I had any questions at all I could go to Johan with them and he would assist and with his vast sailing knowledge and handling skills he would be able to help.
Since our purchase in 2012 Jayne and I have sailed the Netherlands extensively for two six month seasons having a truly wonderful time making new friends from all over Holland and around the world.
It has been so enjoyable we will be back again in 2014 for a further five months, this time venturing south of the Netherlands through Belgium and into France.
I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending or using Johans’ services again should I wish to purchase a boat.