What we learned from the YBW Ask Me Anything session with Nick Burnham (aka. AQUAHOLIC)

On February 8, the man behind AQUAHOLIC Nick Burnham was our first special guest in a new series of Ask Me Anything sessions on the YBW forum. Here are just a few of the stories he shared...

Whether you’re a boating magazine aficionado or a YouTube yacht tour junkie, chances are you’re familiar with the wit and wisdom of Nick Burnham.

One of MBY’s longest-serving and most prolific contributors, Nick set up his own YouTube channel in 2016 after fulfilling a lifelong dream to drive the original Miami Vice boat.

AQUAHOLIC has since gone from strength to strength, racking up roughly 4 million views per month and attracting a loyal following of more than a quarter of a million subscribers who can’t get enough of his access-all-areas tours, which cover everything from humble cuddy cruisers to 60m superyachts.

So who better to kick off our new series of Ask My Anything sessions over on the YBW forum?

Nick joined us on the forum on Monday February 8 from 19:30-20:30 (GMT) to answer questions about his career, getting into boating journalism, sea trialling boats, judging the annual Motor Boat Awards, boat ownership, and of course, the secrets of his runaway YouTube success.

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Here are some of the best bits…

Nick’s marina picks

As a man with many miles under his hull, it’s hardly surprising that forum member MikeB wanted to know where Nick recommends for cruising adventures. His top three picks near his native Torquay were Darthaven “a lovely spot”, Brixham “because we have a lot of friends there” and Mylor Yacht Harbour “a beautiful place”, but Nick also had some good general advice for picking a marina.

“Facilities, location and cost [are the most important thing] obviously,” he advised. “But also check how exposed it is in bad weather. Some people only visit when it’s nice and have no idea what kind of a pounding (or not) it’s getting in bad weather.”

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Sportscruiser or flybridge?

Nick’s covered a wide range of boats on AQUAHOLIC, but one debate keeps resurfacing – what’s better: sportscruiser or flybridge? This time is was finchtimr who posed the big question, and here’s what he had to say on the matter:

“For me, sportscruiser [wins] every time as I like the feeling of speed you get from being close to the water, it’s more sheltered than a flybridge and the cockpit is bigger/better. But maybe if I had a boat in the Med where it’s hotter and I wanted better accommodation I’d go flybridge.”

Boating set for a post-lockdown boom

The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster for the boating industry, with cancelled boat shows and a surge in interest from first-time buyers looking for a COVID-safe hobby. In response to a question by Rum_Pirate, Nick commented that “demand for 20-50ft boats is absolutely off the scale!

“It seems the pandemic has refocussed disposable income and leisure time towards more self-isolated pursuits, and it doesn’t get much more self isolated than aboard a boat. A family can turn up at the marina, load up and head out, have a fantastic time together and not go near anyone else if they don’t want to.

“Every broker I spoke to last year said sales were through the roof, and every one I’m speaking to this year is complaining that they can’t get enough boats because they sold them all last year!”

Talk about after-sales service!

Before breaking into marine journalism, Nick spent 20 years working in yacht brokerage, and LBRodders was keen to hear about Nick’s favourite sale, which turned out to be a particular highlight of the evening:

“About 30 years ago a chap wandered into my office,” Nick recalled. “He and his wife had a holiday flat in Brixham and they fancied a little boat to get out onto the water. I sold him a Fjord 21.

“He was such a nice chap that I gave him a lot of help and advice with it, and he was such a nice chap that he eventually gave me a set of spare keys and told me to help myself whenever they weren’t using it.

“It became such a great set up (I completely looked after the boat – he paid for it) that we moved up to a Princess 266 Riviera and then a Fairline Targa 33 that we had lots of adventures on.

“He’s been out of boating for 15 years now, but he’s still one of my very closest friends and now he comes out occasionally on my boat.”

Not all plain sailing…

Like most seafarers, Nick has had his fair share of scary moments. FlowerPower asked for his scariest moment and here’s what Nick had to say: “Losing an engine due to a fuel supply problem on a lee shore in strong winds and knowing that the engine that was still going was being fed from the same fuel tank… Fortunately it didn’t stop!”

Thanks to Nick for his time last night – if you missed out on your chance to ask a question, don’t worry, you can still read all the replies over on the YBW forum.

Watch this space for more Ask Me Anything Sessions in the near future…


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