Hello Edouard and Benjamin, can you introduce yourselves?
Edouard: I’m Edouard Fiess, co-founder of Navily, I manage the development and marketing side of Navily on a daily basis.
Benjamin: My name is Benjamin Rousseau, I am also the co-founder of Navily. I oversee the Sales side of the company with our great team of Country Managers!
How did you get into the boating industry?
Edouard: I fell in love with sailing about 15 years ago, thanks to my friend Benjamin whom I met at business school: Porquerolles, Port-Cros and la Côte d’Azur for a week with my friends on my family boat… 10 years later I started sailing with Benjamin. We had the idea of creating a cruising guide built with the help of the boating community. We left our respective jobs and started Navily.
Benjamin: It’s a family tradition! Summer holidays have always been at sea since I was a child. On Mediterranean cruises we’d travel far depending on the time of the year. We’ve been all over the Mediterranean. I like boating and life at sea. I learned how a boat works when I was around 13 years old.
Today, every time I get on a boat, I’m very active: I enjoy moving forward as quickly as possible and the challenge involved when we encounter problematic winds.
What advice could you give to our community to quickly improve their knowledge of the nautical world?
Edouard: I’d recommend reading Bernard Moitessier books. They give a great history on the origins of sailing. Simple lessons, humility, adventure and a host of good information. On Navily we also give good advice! There’s more than 120,000 people on the app who offer their experience and advice. No matter where you are you can find helpful recommendations on harbors and detailed reviews on the quality of anchoring spots.
All this kind of advice can be obtained in several ways: spending hours at the bar or harbour dock asking different people, or just by opening Navily. Navily has essentially digitized this “dock talk.” It gives a great base for someone who doesn’t know the area and asks important questions such as: Is the anchorage protected? What’s the seabed type? What do other people say about this spot? What is the mooring rating?
As far as navigation is concerned, sailing on other people’s boats, that’s always when I learn the most.
Benjamin: While at sea it’s essential to always be thinking one step ahead. Never go out unprepared. Where should you go? What are the weather conditions? Navily answers these questions. Regardless of whether you have a sailboat or a motorboat, the sea can be dangerous. Of course it’s ideal to start out with good weather, but equally important is to not be afraid of bad weather. The key is to be prepared psychologically and know how to react.
Understanding how to make the boat safe in the event of a storm, especially if there are children on board, for example. Anticipation and knowledge are really the two most important things at sea.
From all your sailing experience, where is your favorite place?
Edouard: The Best place I’ve been… Florence, Italy. I lived there for three years. I love Tuscany, the food, the wine, the people, the amazing countryside.
Benjamin: Sardinia is quite nice! It’s an island larger than Corsica, and the north of Sardinia is very touristy. However if you travel south you’ll be met with more of a relaxed local feel. It’s very beautiful and not that far by boat from where I live in France!
A new version of the app is coming soon… What new features can we expect?
Edouard: On the booking side we have improved flexibility. We’ll allow our boaters to make requests based on the information that’s important to them: dates, duration, far in advance: the objective is to put fewer barriers between boaters and their request.
Communication between marinas and boaters has also been improved. Marinas wanted a way to create customized offers to boaters, beyond simply changing their request dates.
On the mooring side, we’re introducing a weather forecast function that was very highly requested: a rating, protection of the anchorage spot… It is a step forward towards helping boaters when choosing an anchoring spot. We’re working on creating a protection score based on the current and forecasted weather conditions.
The entire app is getting a pretty nice facelift. This includes updated design for an improved map display, harbor profiles and anchoring spot reviews.
Benjamin: Offline mode is also a brand new feature. To be able to view anchoring spots and marinas within the app without internet connection is huge. At sea networks can be spotty so this new feature will aid boaters in terms of safety and convenience. This feature will be apart of Navily’s Premium service.
Edouard: To quote Benjamin, the offline mode is something that our users have been asking us since the very first version of the application in 2014.
Thank you for your answers! Any surprising facts about yourself you’d like to share?
Edouard: Here’s something people wouldn’t imagine – I don’t have my boating license! I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s been on my list for years now… maybe by the end of 2019?