RCYS The Beginning
In The Beginning
In 2015 RCYS celebrated 40 years of serving our boating friends and families. We have been asked many many times where it all began.
We like to talk about Robert Christopher Yacht Sales being one of the fastest growing Yacht Brokerages in America. But where did it begin? I have been asked this question so many times that I thought I would include a brief glimpse of "Where It All Began. It was this photograph above that early on in life insprired Robert and Edward, our founders, along with endless childhood fishing and boating memories.
Our company history talks about Robert and Edward Milano getting into the boating business when they bought their first marina back in 1975. Two young American Veterans who saw service in the Air Force and the Marines during the Vietnam War. However the seeds of their heritage came from the Milano family, first generation Americans from Italian immigrants. Four brothers all fresh home from WWII, and their love of the water and the sportsman's life, led to this picture above taken circa 1952. Left to right Ben Milano, unnamed friend, Harry Milano Sr. (our Dad) (with his hand against the post), Vic Milano, Vince Toole, unnamed friend far right seated and seated in the fighting chair is Donald Milano (Ben's Son) Alfred Milano is taking this shot. My Dad, Uncles and Cousin. Not shown is my Grandfather Joseph Milano who really started it all at the turn of the (last century) coming to America and also a sportsman. Our family of Sportsman for over a 100 years in America.
They fished the waters off the cold North Atlantic all the way to the tropical waters off Cuba and the Dry Tortuga's in the late fifties. Home from the battlefields of Europe, North Africa and the Pacific, living their dreams. They were true American sportsmen.
It was this photograph that nurtured a love of the boating lifestyle that eventually grew into Robert Christopher Yacht Sales. Please enjoy some of the other family photos that were part of this growth over four generations of our family boating in America.
Robert and Edward aboard the Klondike IV out of New Rochelle, NY. circa 1958. The Klondike's still run today out of the same harbor. Who knew that within ten years of this picture both Bob and Ed would both enlist in the military. Bob first in the US Air Force and be sent to South Korea to aid in taking back of the Spy Ship "Pueblo" and Ed a few years after enlisting in the US Marine Corps.
It was in 1975 that Ed Milano had the idea of coming into the boat business in Westchester County NY. At 26 yrs old, It sounded like a good idea at the time. A local marina became available. A 148 slip facility with launching and hauling capabilities and four acres with room for expansion. So two young sportsman, both avid boaters and fisherman took a giant leap forward. The Vision was born and two young Veterans (just like their father and uncles, back from the war, were out living their dream) Thanks Ed, I owe coming into this great industry to you.
The reality check! It wasn't all fun. A short time after buying the first marina in New Rochelle NY. we came in to find,
No Water!!! Just when you think you have seen it all. Moon tides can do it.
But as young entrepreneurs "We didn't know how much we didn't know." and in the years to come we gained the experiences that all entrepreneurs gain from living in the trenches of business. Recessions, credit crunches, roller coaster interest rates, gas shortages, high gas prices, government intervention,(The Congress passing the Luxury Tax Bill in 1989 which decimated the marine industry and put hundreds of thousands of people out of work) and multiple recessions. Each time we focused on finding a way to survive and move on.
We make our first break into the new boat market. This was our first self sponsored boat show held in the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers NY. No one had ever done a boat show there in what was at the time one of the most successful shopping malls in America. It went incredibly well and some families brought their children back every single day for five days to hang out on the boats and talk with the boat salesman. We gave away balloons, brochures and hats to the children and parents who just wanted to climb around the boats. We like to think that some of those children grew up and went into boating as Ed and I did.
The sales program within one year became incredibly successful and in a short period of time became one of the top dealerships in the country. When Miami Vice introduced the Scarab on network TV sales skyrocketed. The beginning of our journey into yacht sales had its start.
This was our first Scarab delivered to us. It was a high performance blur. We used this often the first summer and it could be seen doing lunch and dinner runs to "Louie's" in Port Washington, Long Island, NY. This boat launched us into the high performance market. We were fortunate to meet such people as Betty Cook who was the first really big time woman race boat driver. She was an incredible person and was star worthy. Always smiling and exciting to be with.
That year we erected our first service center and began rigging outboards and all types of vessels. Also began doing some restoration work on boat trades. Within two years of opening our doors we were Nationally well known in the new boat market. Yacht brokerage was still an amazingly small business. Computers and the Internet were still a ways off for the marine industry.
We sell our first brokerage boat and are amazed that we can create a profit on a vessel that is not on our property. This was the year that yacht brokerage came to our sales program. The Future had arrived!!!!!
My brother Ed Milano and Marie Cameron our next door neighbor at our first marina.
Cameron's Bait and Tackle. Also where Harry Milano senior took his young sons,Robert and Edward, to do their first fishing trips off rented wood row boats and off the pier at Fort Slocum Dock, New Rochelle, NY. The Cameron's bait shop was built on a sunken barge and they had about sixty slips.
The Milano family purchase's Cameron's Bait and Tackle. The following year we purchased the Cameron's business and Harry began running the tackle shop. At 6 am in the morning of St. Patty's Day (opening day of fishing season) local fisherman would line up in the dark to be the first to be out on the water. Cameron's was a local landmark.
The Milano Family purchases the Hudson Park Bait and Tackle at the New Rochelle Municiple Marina. This was a landmark. It expanded the existing marina operations and now became the third location. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Boat sales expanded and besides new boats the yacht brokerage business began to expand. We also began expanding into the performance boat market, and Miami Vice made Scarab a household name.
Ed and Nancy Milano at a boat dealers meeting in Florida, 1980. It did seem like living the dream. What could be better than working and living in the boating business.
Harry Milano Sr.around 1980 (yes there is a Jr. and he was also seen dockside and fishing with the "Big H"), began spending winters in Fort Myers Florida. He loved the three months each winter that he spent fishing in and around Sanibel Island with his wife and our Mom Anne. He became well known and loved by the locals. Unfortunately he passed away two years after this picture was taken in his beloved South Florida Fort Myers after a perfect day of fishing and dinner with his family. Dad your loved and missed.
In the late 80's and early 90's came the next generation of Milano's into the boating world. Alissa and Robert pictured here on Long Island Sound. And we also had Mathew, Ed's son. All loved the water and boating. Mathew went on to professional race cars. Robert passed his launch operators license at 15, and another generation of our family began to love the water and the boating lifestyle.
It was around this time we began working towards strictly yacht sales and yacht brokerage and put marina operations behind us. The dawn of a new day.
Robert and Alissa dockside next to the family motoryacht "Humidor". The family never far from the water.
The Stamford Landing Marina in the mid 90's offered a new direction with a Sales Office Dockside, two restaurants and a boardwalk. Easy access to Long Island Sound and a wonderful place to grow a new generation of the family business.
Boating had arrived to a new generation. The children of the Baby Boomers began buying boats along with their parents.
RCYS Becomes an early adopter of the Internet in yacht sales, realizing the potential that this medium presented. RCYS has their first online presence. www.robertchristopheryacht.com was born. We soon came to realize that this single strategic and tactical event would change our business forever. Today we can see over 20000 clicks a day from all internet sources. Amazing!
Rob at 15 just after passing the Capts test running a 30' Wellcraft Scarab. Rob an avid sportsman like his father, Grandfather and Uncles also played Jr. PGA golf, football and wrestling, now a Firefighter. And most recently could be seen running a 27 Sea Ray on Long Island Sound for a friend.
Bob comming into New York Harbor around 1997 on the bow of "Humidor" Notice the Twin Towers in the background.It would be the last time I would see it from New York Harbor.
Bob and Rob boating on Long Island Sound onboard the "Skyline" compliments of Skipper Jerry Karr. It was official. Four generations of our family had cruised and fished the waters on Long Island Sound.
Our Sales and Dock office that hosted many open house and boat shows.
Stamford Landing Marina offered a variety of venues in a new and upscale location. Yacht World came into existance and once again the yacht brokerage landscape changed forever. RCYS began expanding it's staff and operations and opened offices in a number of states which included brokers working at distance. We were one of the very first to use this new business model and the first we know of to offer vessels for sale on the internet that you could first negotiate the price and then come and see the vessel. At the time innovative, now very mainstream.
And Robert Christopher Yacht Sales began having Open House Boat Shows dockside. Bob is pictured here with Kate and Miranda at one of our inwater boat shows.
Some of our staff at one of our RCYS Open House Boat Shows.
We were fortunate enough along the way to help develop a number of great brokers. Here with Bob is Capt. Keith Able, one of the finest brokers to ever come out of RCYS. Capt. Keith went on to marry Katie pictured above and can also be seen running many of the boats in the Albin catalogs.
As our staff grew we became increasingly more aware of the need for an ongoing training program. Formal training begins along with written policy guides and "Yacht Brokers Rules of the Road." Every effort is made to keep them aware of changes in the industry and in the new client landscape as we began selling larger and larger boats and yachts around the world. Here we are seen at one of our training sessions. These are called "Brokers Forums." Everyone participates and everyone has a voice. We are also developing our own "In House" Certification Program. And we offer all staff coaching and mentoring. These began many years ago on the back of boats and have now come into the board room.
As Robert Christopher Yacht Sales grew we realized that this was no longer just a family business. Ed had moved to Florida where the winters were less harsh and went on to other endevors. It became apparent that RCYS required professional management for a vision that started so many years ago.
As we turned the corner of the Millennium we seemed to be growing faster than we ever expected. The Internet had changed the complexion of the industry and the globe became a very small place. Import and export became quick and easy. MLS Internet systems were everywhere and new skill sets were needed for day to day functions. We began to develop strategic partners, new boat lines and our staff and infrastructure grew.
We were fortunate enough to have Don Long, USMC Retired and formerly with Mercury Marine Lake X come on board and within a short period of time Don became Senior Management, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer and in charge of our new Florida brokerage program. This may have been the single biggest difference in the transformation of the now very much newer company. Don was the first officer of the corporation outside the family.
Don also made one of our most obvious discovery's, the value of the American Veteran. And opened the door to Veterans here at RCYS. Their ability to "get the job done" became apparent. And we actively hung the sign out, "VETERANS WELCOME HERE." If your a Vet and are looking for a career change contact us. Today we have had Veterans from each branch come to RCYS and have found the Welcome matt and a home.
Don has been a great friend and professional partner. I and my family thank Don for staying the course through both good times and those challenging years.
As we are acknowledging and thanking Don we were then fortunate enough to have our now very own Capt. John Hotte come on board as our Charter Manager. (I didn't know we had a charter department until John told me so) So yes we can put you on a 4 hour booze cruise to nowhere or on a 150' yacht in the med.
Capt. John. Many many thanks. John is also now a Vice President.
During this time we were also fortunate enough to partner with the legendary Albin Marine which is over 104 years old. They make a great downeast style yacht and the President of Albin Fred Peters was responsible for bringing trawlers in from Taiwan and the downeast concept to mainstream boating in America all the way back in the 1970's. Fred is one of those well known industry figures and is still active in running the company and bringing new ideas to the marketplace. Featured here is the Albin 45 Command Bridge.
And YES, Albin is in business with new models and a new streamlined approach towards their boat and yacht line. They still build the Albin 28 but just recently we launched the newest in their line the 46 Albin TE featured here. And we are also introducing a new 50 and we are talking about a 65 and an 85.
However most likely what has really changed the complexion of Robert Christopher Yacht Sales in the last twenty years was the involvement in the yacht and Mega Yacht Market world wide. Featured here through our partnering efforts around the globe is the incredible 165' Mangusta. The inclusion of Mega Yachts into the RCYS program has been the single largest change to our product line. And we anticipate this growing in the years to come and we are now active in the custom build business. And we will not stop there. What could be ahead of that??? We do have ideas but you may have to wait just a bit.
Fast forward out of the slower 2014 market and into 2015. RCYS saw a major expansion involving several areas. The first was our efforts to revitalize the Albin Brand and create an entire new functioning division, Albin Yacht Sales. Albin Yacht Sales is dedicated to the expansion of Albin Boats and Yacht both new and Pre-owned. Its a marketplace where Albin aficionados both here in the US. and worldwide can have access to the New Generation Of Albin Boats and Yachts from 26 to 120'. Yes, the largest Albins ever conceived. And buyers and sellers of some of the greatest Albin brokerage boats become available through a factory direct type outlet where our focus is exclusively on Albin Yacht Sales. You can visit our Albin Division at http://www.albinyachtsales.com/ We are both proud and excited about continuing the great Albin heritage.
2015 Also saw an expansion in our Florida program with the addition of new brokers and the anticipated opening of our RCYS Fort Lauderdale office. This is a major market and RCYS is fully licensed by the state of Florida. Our Senior Vice President and Director of Florida Operations Donald Long, USMC Retired and former Customer Service Manager at Lake X Brunswick Corp. takes pride in running a tight ship and has world class Customer Service and Support on all boat and yacht sales in the state of Florida.
2015 and Social Media. OK, we get it. The Millennials Love social media. And we responded with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr and of course Linkedin. And our social media presence grew overnight for all our boating families and friends, buyers and sellers; with fresh content on a daily basis. All listings can be seen on our social media sites. Making the experience fun and exciting.
2015: RCYS Is A Veterans Owned Company. We are most proud of our newest section on our main website dedicated to our Veterans. And we have made an aggressive effort to spreading the word to thank a Veteran today. We are doing everything possible to offer a career in yacht brokerage and yacht sales to any and all Veterans that may be at that crossroad in their life. Visit our section on our homesite dedicated to Americas greatest treasure; the men and women who have defended our country. https://www.rcyachtsales.com/a-veterans-owned-company.html
Yes, 2015 was a most exciting year and we look back with the proud distinction that, as we say here at RCYS,
Unfortunately in January of 2016 we lost our very good friend Fred Peters, President of Albin Marine and industry giant. Freds love of the water and the boating lifestyle made a significant contribution to the boating industry and brought the ever popular "Down Easter" style of boat and yacht, along with fast trawlers to the boating world. Fred will be missed but not forgotten.
The next addition to Robert Christopher Yacht Sales came with our strategic partnership with PowerPlay Catamarans. A world class powercat and a new friendship with James Dewing, founder and designer of Powerplay. Powerplay builds yachts from 43' up to and over 75'. RCYS created its newest division "PowerPlay USA" and became the North American distributor for PowerPlay Power Catamarans.
2016 and Beyond:
Robert Christopher Yacht Sales is the fastest growing yacht brokerage in America. Chances are you have an RCYS broker near you. We have a global presence and our brokers receive ongoing support and training every week.
RCYS created the finest training program in the brokerage industry with their "Gold Cup Training" which can transform non experienced sale applicants into functioning yacht brokerage competitive with their industry counterparts within their first year.
It is one of the most aggressive brokerage and sales programs in the industry. We help our clients buy and sell and we forge long lasting relationships. With one of the largest inventories in any brokerage site in the world we are proud to offer some of the finest small, midsize and large yachts and megayachts world wide.
This has become possible because of the courage of our family four generations back, a wonderful heritage, work ethic and many friends and co-workers that we met along the way. Without the efforts of not only our family but brokers like Don Long, Capt. John Hotte and the entire rest of our staff both present and past, we would not have the success's that we have.
Now our Vision continues. What's ahead?? Stop back and see and I hope we can add to this section of
"Where It All Began."
I hope you have enjoyed this pictorial history of our company. And we look forward to seeing you dockside under blue skies, sunshine and warm Summerbreezes. Thanks again.
"The Best Is Yet To Come."
Robert Christopher Yacht Sales