Paul Tomes (founder of HopYacht) began sailing in his early teens in Northern Ireland, racing dinghies and keelboats in the Irish Sea. Paul is a past Commodore of Hout Bay Yacht Club, in Cape Town, South Africa and still actively races Hunter 19s at the club.
Over the years Paul and his wife Mary-Clare have chartered yachts in Greece, Croatia, Turkey and Australia. It was after a trip in 2019, chartering in Southern Turkey, they decided to host a presentation at HBYC, to introduce other club members to bareboat yacht charter.
The presentation was well attended and during the Q&A session afterwards, what emerged was how many couples would love to charter a yacht, but didn't feel confidence especially if only one of the couple was a proficient sailor. Even if both were reasonably proficient sailors, they were still anxious about sailing short-handed.
Reflecting back on many of their trips, Paul also realised that for many people chartering is much more about the quality of the holiday experience, than it is about pure sailing. Comfort and value for money were features hard to find in typical small charter yachts, especially if sailing just as a couple. Charter yachts are by nature designed to pack people in. So you end up having to charter a 4-6 berth yacht for just two people, and even then it is still cramped! It was against this backdrop, that Paul sketched the first ideas for the HopYacht. Paul claims he started by drawing a full size double bed and then drew the boat around it! Throughout all the subsequent design meetings, he would make the point that just because Hopyacht is a small catamaran, doesn't mean it can't have the same comfort as a hotel room!