Owners retire: Dream $385k Yeppoon business up for sale
HANS Helderton and his wife Dianne have decided to drop anchor and retire peacefully in their home in Farnborough, north of Yeppoon.
After 23 years of running their successful cruise business, "Funtastic Cruises”, off the coast of Yeppoon, the couple have decided that the time has come to enjoy the spoils of their exciting and by-coastal career.
"The time has come for a new young couple to take over and enjoy what we absolutely loved,” Mr Helderton,69, said.
And they have certainly made the most of it, setting off for year to Europe and stopping in on many places along the way.
The couple took the"Funtastic” to Vanuatu, New Caledonia, the Meditteranean and spent two-and-a-half years in Greece and the Greek islands.
Mr Helderton was no stranger to the sea-life when he decided to go into the cruising business.
"I have maritime history,” Mr Helderton said.
"I was an officer in the Dutch navy and I worked on boats in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi. So when I came to Australia, I found the area of tourism industry and the area of operation extremely attractive.”
After pencilling a design, and seeking out Brisbane designer, Roger Simpson, Mr Helderton and his wife, 67, then spent four years building the catamaran vessel on Hindmarsh Island.
For a year, the couple operated cruises off Victor Harbour in South Australia, but soon realised that the weather and sea conditions were too rough for passengers.
"After a cruise we had somebody write in to us; 'thanks for bringing us home alive',” Mr Helderton said.
"Our daughter was a chef in a local hotel in Yeppoon and we told her the story that we copped a 12-metre swell and 45 knots of wind, and she said 'why don't you come over here? It's like sailing on the lake. It's flat, the islands are very close'.”
The move to Yeppoon also provided closer island destinations than Victor Harbour, cutting down sailing distance by nearly 50 miles.
Very soon, "Funtastic Cruises” was racking up regular customers; some of them hopping aboard the vessel for their 30th time.
The cruising company is a Capricornia landmark, and over the years has developed into a popular tourist attraction.
The couple have also been members of the local tourist information centre for many years.
Every year, the"Funtastic” has hosted an array of Christmas parties, engagement parties, bucks' and hens' celebrations, and in the winter, has catered to many caravanner pensioners.
There has also been an increasing interest in whale sightings in recent years, with the popularity during whale season growing rapidly.
There has been a lot amount of interest in the catamaran, and Mr Helderton assures potential buyers that he will remain on board to help the new owners where needed, and to help set up shop.
Mr Helderton told the Morning Bulletin that he and his wife will be handing over the "Funtastic” as a complete running business, although there may be interest in purchasing it for private use.
"Everything that's on the boat: the mast, the snorkels, the towels, refrigeration, everything goes with the vessel when they buy it,” Mr Helderton said.
"The only thing I'll probably take off the boat is the picture of my mother-in-law, because I'm sure nobody wants that.”
Mr Helderton hopes the retirement will allow him start work on a new project, a Venetian water boat, and for his artistic wife to get back into painting.