About Us

Ed and Christine – in our mid-50’s and proud to be unconventional in most things we do! Ed is Dutch nationality and Christine has both Dutch and British nationality – but we travel constantly and make our home wherever we are. We met in 1996 while working together on a project in the Netherlands and have been inseparable ever since.

Our passion has always been boats – starting with a small speed boat, then various motor cruisers before learning to sail in 2012. Our objective in life has always been to save up to buy a trawler style yacht to live aboard and cruise the world.

We mix business and pleasure – in principle we will be cruising the world from late in 2020 until we are too old to live on our boat. We hope that will be many years to come. However, we still need to earn a living and we’re too young and motivated not to keep our minds busy – whatever our intentions might be some days, doing nothing has never been in our song book. We have sold the business which kept us tied to one place with a timetable and a lot of stress! Our priority now is to follow the lifestyle we have promised ourselves since the day we met.

Our careers have been an opportunity for us both to develop a wide ranging set of skills – separately until 1996 and since then, always working side by side in all our ventures. Our skills are complimentary and between us there isn’t very much about a small business we can’t tackle. We have run our own successful companies in France, the UK and the Netherlands. We have also worked for large multi-national companies and household name brands.

Our portfolio of business interests now includes:

  • a business advisory company helping small businesses start up and grow, helping them overcome specific projects and challenges or just providing an extra pair of hands in a crisis
  • a marine services division helping private small boat owners with technical projects, liaising and project managing new boat builds
  • a web development division providing web design and hosting services to private individuals and small companies
  • property management companies handling commercial property leases for the ski industry in France, property maintenance and sales

Everything we do is carried out remotely for the most part – we are pioneers in homeworking and remote offices. We have been constantly moving between locations and working from our motor-home or our boat since before most people even heard the word homeworking. Today’s technology makes that so much easier. We work using video conferencing, screen sharing applications and internet telephony – if you work with us, you won’t even know we aren’t in the office next door. Of course there are times when a personal visit is needed – such as when we manage a boat build and we have to check quality at the factory. No problem there either.

Ed van Zadelhoff

Ed started his career in the Dutch military service where he served 8 years in Germany in the logistics corps, running the spare parts and maintenance support function for front line military equipment of all types

After discharge, he started work with Exel Logistics in the Netherlands – one of the largest worldwide third party logistics companies.

He joined as a temporary warehouseman at the bottom and quickly worked his way up the ladder. By the time he left in 2002, he was working at a senior management level running large multi-national supply chain networks for brand name companies with worldwide procurement and distribution. He has managed teams of hundreds of people, mostly in critical start-up situations. He was also responsible for the procurement function of all Exel facilities in the Benelux. Over his time with Exel, he worked at a senior level with clients such as Apple, Food Express, The Gap, NEC, Motorola and Hewlett Packard.

Since 2002, in all our own business ventures, Ed has been the one responsible for all things strategic, operational and technical – the man with the vision and the person to get things done, whatever it takes. He is hands on and works alongside the real people doing the real job but equally gained respect in his role of Managing Director through his natural leadership skills. He leads by example and over the years has been the maintenance man and a driver at the same time as taking control in a crisis and driving the strategy of the companies we created.

Qualifications:

  • Dutch higher level school education in commercial management (MDS)
  • Cranfield University UK – Certificate in Advanced Logistics Management
  • CPC Passenger Transport International Operations
  • French “permis d’exploitation” for a bar and restaurant
  • Dutch “horeca diploma” for a bar and restaurant
  • French professional drivers’ licence/carte professionelle to drive passenger vehicles
  • HGV truck licence
  • RYA Coastal Skipper and Yacht Master Theory (expected 2020)
  • RYA Day Skipper Sail – Tidal Waters
  • VHF SRC certificate
  • RYA Powerboat Level II
  • ICC Power and Sail, Coast and Inland Waterways
  • Dutch “Kleine Vaarbewijs” skippers licence
  • 40 years of experience on the water with boats of all sizes and types

Skills

  • Vision and blue sky thinking – identifying opportunities and sensitive to trends
  • Operational management of any sort
  • Contract negotiation and procurement
  • Logistics and warehousing
  • HR and people management
  • Crisis management
  • Project management
  • Systems development and technical support – hardware, servers and networks of all types
  • Advanced IT skills across a range of platforms and technologies
  • Practical and technical solutions to challenges
  • All types of machinery specifications, installation, maintenance and repair

Languages

  • Dutch (mother tongue)
  • English (as native)
  • German (fluent)
  • French (intermediate)

Jointly Since 2002

In 2002, Ed and Christine moved to the French Alps and bought the small ski tour operator, Ski Amis. The company had just three chalets and was a lifestyle business. At the same time, they also purchased two property management companies and created a third, building another chalet which would be leased to Ski Amis.

Over the course of a 15 year period they grew the business exponentially and the company became one of the most successful small chalet operators in the area. In 2015, the company won the “Best Small Ski and Winter Sports Tour Operator” at the British Travel Awards – a credit they won again in 2017.

The business grew 10 fold over this time in terms of revenue and became a very profitable venture with consistent success. Ed and Christine sold 100% of the shares in December 2018 to a private buyer and retired completely from the company, in order to focus on cruising plans, building their boat and setting up other more flexible business ventures.

Unfortunately the new owner was unable to properly manage the company which resulted in a spectacular failure after just four months when he declared voluntary insolvency. Fortunately, the business was saved by a last minute buy-out from the administrators by the previous management team. The business has now returned to previous success in their first year and despite the huge challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit still to come, hopefully the company will continue to trade successfully into the future. We have been providing management coaching services to the new board over their first year of trading.

Christine van Zadelhoff

Chris left school with good results and chose to follow further education at college where she qualified as a bi-lingual secretary.

Her first work experience took her into the transport and distribution industry where she was assistant to the depot manager and learned to turn her skills to any task needed in fast moving demanding environment.

She moved through several sales and customer services positions, spent a period of time after maternity leave as an office temp where again she learned to be flexible and adaptable – working as a legal secretary undertaking conveyancing work, a Volvo car dealership, an advertising and graphics design agency then in a financial services company in London.

She joined Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) as secretary to the IT Director in 1989 and moved quickly through the ranks to become the Divisional IT and Finance Manager, supporting 300 consulting staff. The firm sponsored her to follow a part-time degree course and after gaining her Masters Degree in Supply Chain and Management Studies in 1992, she transferred to the professional staff as a management consultant.

As a management consultant Chris worked for Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte (now PwC), Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and ran her own consultancy companies in the UK and the Netherlands.

Her work has included complex data modelling, risk analysis, environmental impact studies, office systems design and implementation, change management and business process re-engineering. She later specialised in supply chain management where she managed projects and developed pan-European supply chain strategies, centralised distriubution networks and warehousing.

Her clients have included the Ministry of Defence, Wessex Water, British Rail, Aberdeen Service Company, First Data Resources, Atomic Energy Authority, Athens Sparta Airport (Greece), SmithKline Beecham, Burton Group Distribution, Imperical Tobacco, Exel Logistics (France), Roche Pharmaceuticals (France) and NEC Europe.

In 1996, she was asked by NEC Europe to join them as European Logistics Manager, based in the Netherlands, where she was responsible for implementation and management of the outsourced European Distribution Centre which formed part of the strategy she had written for them as a consultant.

Since 2002, Chris has been the “back office” behind all of our business ventures. Initially we ran our businesses alone with no support staff – Chris has therefore covered all aspects of business administration, company secretarial work, sales and marketing, office systems and IT, finance and accounting, HR and recruitment, legal and planning. Chris is equally as determined as Ed to get the job done no matter what it takes – if it can be done with a computer system, then Chris can find the right system, at the right price and do the job.

Qualifications

  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Travel and Tourism
  • MSc University of Westeminster London – Management Studies and Transport Economics (modular)
  • Post-graduate Certificate in Management Studies – business economics, management decision making, systems analysis and design, information processing
  • RSA Secretarial Duties (typing to a high speed, shorthand, office procedures) with French and Spanish
  • Cranfield University UK – Certificate in Advanced Logistics Management
  • CPC Passenger Transport International Operations
  • French “permis d’exploitation” for a bar and restaurant
  • RYA Coastal Skipper and Yacht Master Theory (expected 2020)
  • RYA Day Skipper Sail – Tidal Waters
  • VHF SRC certificateRYA Powerboat Level II
  • ICC Power and Sail, Coast and Inland Waterways
  • 20 years of experience on the water with boats of all sizes and types
  • Multiple vocational skills training courses and technical IT certificates

Skills

  • Sales and marketing including digital marketing
  • Financial management and accounting – year end statutory accounts, management reporting, VAT (including TOMS) under UK, Dutch and French systems
  • Business strategy – market research and evaluation, business plans
  • Office management
  • Graphics design, web design and development
  • Technical IT support – PC and cloud based systems, VoIP telephony
  • Systems analysis, software selection and implementation – on-premises and cloud based
  • Procedures, processes, manuals and training
  • Technical design and documentation of marine systems – electrical systems, marine electronics, data networks, security systems, ships monitoring systems

Languages

  • English (mother tongue)
  • French (fluent)
  • Dutch (fluent)
  • German (very basic)
  • Greek (very basic)
  • Spanish (very basic)