Ellie Fennell has been a valued customer of Val Wyatt Marine for more than 10 years – purchasing two boats over that time period. We sat down with Ellie to learn more about her journey from boating novice to the proud owner of a new Interboat Intender.
Hi Ellie. Have you always been into boating?
No, not at all. In 2011, we took the decision to move out of London and we bought a house in Henley-on-Thames. The house sits upon the river, so we were keen to explore the possibility of getting a boat and mooring it at the bottom of our garden.
At that point in time, we had absolutely no idea about boating, so we were in desperate need of some expert advice. Thankfully, Val Wyatt Marine is just two miles down the river, so they were one of our first ports of call (excuse the pun!) once we had settled into the area.
How was your first visit to Val Wyatt?
We turned up very “green” at Val Wyatt, however, we were left impressed by just how knowledgeable the team was. They gave us proper advice and helped us to better understand what kind of boat we should be looking for.
We had a budget we were working to, and they worked hard to find the best possible solution for us. We purchased a second-hand Interboat 19 and named her Doris. The boat offered fantastic value for money, and it wasn’t too old. In terms of finding the right simple day boat for our family, she ticked all of the boxes.
For instance, the water level at the bottom of our garden is pretty shallow, and the Interboat had a small draft (the distance between the waterline and the deepest point of the boat), so that worked well. The upkeep of the boat was relatively simple and not particularly expensive, compared to other models.
So once the purchase was complete, did you use any of Val Wyatt’s additional services?
Yes, indeed. Every year the maintenance team at Val Wyatt looks after our boat. They come over to our house every autumn, drive the boat back to the marina, and carry out maintenance, before lifting her out of the water, and winterising her ready for the winter. When spring arrives, the vessel is dropped back to our mooring spot at the end of the garden – it is very sweet of them!
Fantastic, so what boat do you have currently?
Well, we had Doris for ten years before deciding to upgrade to a newer model. We now have a 23 foot Interboat Intender 700. We really wanted to stick with Interboat, and we opted for an Intender because we were drawn to the seating and swimming platform at the rear. Now the children are older, this gives them ample space to relax in, as well as using the ladder to get safely in and out of the river when it gets too hot.
Our brand new Interboat Intender (named Doris II) was also purchased via Val Wyatt. We ordered it a year before it arrived and we opted for all of the mod-cons. Funnily enough, we booked mooring for the 2022 Henley Festival for the very first time, and we were hoping she’d arrive in time. After a 12-month wait, on the morning of the festival, we got a call from Val Wyatt to say she had arrived. Therefore, we were able to christen Doris II at the festival as the champagne flowed. It was a special occasion.
And what happened to the original Doris?
Once the new Interboat Intender arrived, Val Wyatt sold Doris on our behalf. I cannot recommend the team enough for how they managed the entire process. The boat brokerage is excellent. After so many years, it was sad to see Doris go, but we are looking forward to all the exciting adventures we will now have on Doris II.
The Val Wyatt team are not very “salesy” in their approach. There is no pressure. Instead, they take the time to understanding your exact requirements and take great pride in finding you a boat that is the right fit for you and your family. We actually recommended Val Wyatt Marine to a friend last year, and she used the team to buy her first boat too.
Even outside of the sales process, they are happy to speak to me on the phone if we ever experience any issues or need advice.
So, what is next for you, your family, and Doris II?
We are really looking forward to the summer of 2023 and enjoying our first full season with Doris. We have five children in total, so I’m sure Doris will get plenty of use. If we experience another long and hot summer, we will be using Doris II as much as we can. We all love swimming in the river, whilst enjoying a picnic and glass of Pimms onboard. There is something very serene about boating on the Thames. It is very idyllic – and we love sharing those experiences with our friends too.
We live just north of Marsh Lock, so we like going up Shiplake and down the Loddon. This route, you can enjoy a two-hour jaunt without having to go through a lock! It is very unspoilt and picturesque, whilst there is a fun rope swing and paddleboard area for the kids.
Thanks Ellie. Enjoy making those new memories onboard Doris II.
If you’d like to know more about the Interboat range, visit our website or you can call our team on 01189 403211
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