Meet the Team

From Shipwrights, Engineers to Boat Builders and highly skilled GRP Specialists

Meet the team

The Team at Willett Built

Andy Willett

Managing Director

Allow us to introduce Andy, the driving force behind Willett Built.

Andy’s passion for craftsmanship and the marine industry has shaped his remarkable journey from humble beginnings.

Andy’s story began when he received a set of tools from his Grandfather and Father, continuing a tradition that still thrives within our company today. With these tools and a gift of “The Penguin Book of Sailing” from his parents, Andy embarked on building his first boat, a dinghy. He taught himself to sail in these vessels during family holidays in Poole Harbour.

Even at this early stage, the seeds of an entrepreneur were sown, although Andy remains modest about his innate abilities.

Over the past 30 years, Andy has become a respected figure within the marine industry, specialising in managing high-end and complex refits, ongoing maintenance, and operational support for some of the world’s finest yachts.

At 16, Andy started his journey at the Boat Building College in Woolston, shortly followed by an apprenticeship at Berthon Boat Co in Lymington, renowned for its esteemed refit boatyard. Driven by his unyielding passion for continuous improvement, Andy moved to Southampton Yacht Services (now known as Oyster Yachts), which constructed luxury sailing yachts.

However, a mountaineering injury in the Swiss Alps temporarily halted his work with tools. Fortunately, Piers Wilson, the Managing Director at SYS, recognised Andy’s potential and facilitated a move into management. This pivotal moment marked Andy as the first tradesman within SYS to transition to a management role, an opportunity he remains grateful to Piers for.

Andy’s role expanded as he worked alongside Kit Williams as Assistant Project Manager, overseeing the construction of new build yachts ranging from 62 to 66 feet.

As time progressed, he became a Project Manager in his own right, leading refits and handling his own projects. SYS’s growth led Piers to approach Andy with the idea of establishing an external refit department. Andy and his trusted team provided exceptional customer care to Oyster Yacht owners worldwide. Under Andy’s guidance, notable projects included prestigious yachts such as Velshedsa, Copihue, Craftsmans Art, and Dalvina.

After 11 successful years at SYS, Andy charted his own course in 2011 with the unwavering support of his wife, Rachal. Willett Marine Limited set sail, and the business has thrived ever since.

The company has never relied on traditional advertising methods thanks to a loyal client base who passionately recommend Andy’s business acumen to their yachting networks. Known for their transparent and honest approach to projects, where each one is executed with meticulous thought, precision, and a personal touch, Willett Built emerged as the next natural progression.

Although Andy has mostly recovered from his Alps accident, he now exercises caution and limits his exposure to physical tasks. As an active father, he enjoys spending time with his family on their yacht or embracing the tranquillity of their woodland retreat.

Andy’s commitment to quality craftsmanship and dedication to delivering exceptional results have earned him a stellar reputation within the yachting community. He continues to steer Willett Built towards new horizons, guided by a vision encompassing integrity, precision, and an unwavering passion for the marine industry.

Rachal Willett

Financial Director

Meet Rachal, Andy’s wife and company FD and WISE Service Manager.

With a wealth of experience and a passion for finance, Rachal has played a pivotal role in the growth and success of our business.

Rachal’s journey began as a trainee bookkeeper at ARC Marine (now Hanson), situated by the River Itchen, just down the river from Shamrock Quay.

Eager to expand her knowledge and skills, she later joined the renowned global corporate company BAT. During her time at BAT, Rachal not only earned her AAT qualification but also achieved CIMA certification, solidifying her expertise in the field.

Over the course of her career, Rachal navigated through various finance roles, excelling as a management accountant. Her dedication and commitment were evident as she dedicated over 21 years to BAT.

However, an opportune moment arose when a restructuring process led Rachal to embrace voluntary redundancy. Serendipitously, this aligned perfectly with the needs of both her family and our business.

In May 2020, Rachal officially joined Willett Built, supporting her husband, Andy, within the office. As the backbone of our company, Rachal handles the management and organisation of our WISE Service arm.

Her keen eye for detail and proficiency in finance are instrumental in keeping our operations running smoothly. In addition, she takes charge of office administration and finance, ensuring that everything operates seamlessly behind the scenes.

Outside of work, Rachal is also a busy mum to her two daughters. When she’s not immersed in financial matters or showcasing her culinary skills in the kitchen, Rachal enjoys some well-deserved downtime. You’ll often find her stretching her legs and exploring the scenic parks of Southampton with Ruby, their beloved dog.

Rachal’s expertise, combined with her warm personality and dedication, make her an invaluable asset to the Willett Built team. We are grateful to have her lead our financial endeavours and contribute to the overall success of our business.

Dave White

Lead Shipwright

Introducing Dave, our Lead Shipwright at Willett Built. Dave is an invaluable team member with a wealth of experience and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Dave’s professional journey began with Moody’s, where he started his employment. Then, during his time at what was known as Southampton Yacht Services (now Oyster Yachts), he crossed paths with Andy, forging a professional connection that would endure for over 18 years.

As a company, we are fortunate to have Dave’s expertise and skills at our disposal.

One of Dave’s defining qualities is his unwavering pursuit of perfection. This trait has earned him praise from clients who recognise his meticulous attention to detail. With Dave at the helm, our clients can rest assured that their ‘pride and joy’ is in the hands of a true craftsman who prioritises quality and precision.

When Dave isn’t hard at work, you can often find him out on the water, indulging in his passion for boating. He also enjoys working on his MG, immersing himself in the world of automotive craftsmanship. Of course, family remains a priority for Dave, and he cherishes moments spent with his wife and teenage daughters.

Dave’s dedication to his craft and commitment to delivering exceptional results make him an integral part of the Willett Built team. His expertise and unwavering pursuit of perfection ensure that each project is handled with the utmost care and precision.

We are grateful to have Dave on board, contributing to our mission of providing top-notch services to our valued clients.

Toby Goyder-Shanks

Senior Boatbuilder

Toby is a seasoned boatbuilder, bringing a wealth of experience to Willett Built.

Toby’s professional journey kicked off at Rival Bowman Yachts before he moved to Southampton Yacht Services (Oyster Yachts today), where he honed his skills.

His passion for craftsmanship and adventure took him to Spain, where he undertook the unique challenge of building and running his own beach bar.

Toby returned to Oyster Yachts before venturing into eight years of self-employment. During this time, he worked on an array of projects, including the beautiful Spirit yachts along with the prestigious Robbe & Berking yachts in Germany.

One of Toby’s remarkable talents lies in his ability to transform wood into functional and aesthetically pleasing creations. His love for this craft is evident in the meticulous detail and quality he brings to every project, making him a standout artisan in the field.

Outside the workshop, Toby finds joy in the simple pleasures of life. He is a family man who cherishes spending time with his wife and two dogs, Humphrey and Bogart. Whether it’s exploring the outdoors or simply enjoying a quiet evening.

Within the team, Toby is not just recognized for his exceptional skill but also for his quick wit. His sense of humour and camaraderie contribute to a positive work environment, making him a valued team member.

Toby’s journey and passion have made him an integral part of Willett Built, where he continues to contribute his expertise to projects that reflect the highest standards in the marine industry.

Matt Sweed

Operations Director

Meet Matt, our Operations Director at Willett Built.

With his extensive experience and passion for managing projects, Matt plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation and success of our company.

Matt’s journey with Willett Built started back in 2013 when he initially joined the company. After gaining valuable experience, he left in 2017 to pursue an opportunity with Aquapark Group, the UK’s leading aquapark company.

In his role there, Matt held management positions where he successfully set up and operated seasonal aqua park sites across the country. Additionally, he became the group’s trainer of lifeguards and managed health and safety protocols.

In May 2022, Matt rejoined Willett Built, bringing his expertise and skills to the team. Initially taking on the role of Boat Shed Manager, his dedication and proficiency quickly led him to the position of Operations Director.

In his current role, Matt’s primary responsibility is overseeing projects and providing support to the lead team members whenever necessary. He ensures that clients are consistently informed about the progress of their projects, guaranteeing a seamless and satisfying experience.

Outside of work, Matt enjoys indulging in his hobbies and spending quality time with loved ones. He has a passion for cooking, relishes the thrill of camping adventures, and appreciates a good cup of coffee.

When he’s not exploring his culinary skills or embarking on outdoor escapades, Matt cherishes moments spent with his girlfriend, Kat and their adorable puppy, Elvis.

With his exceptional project management abilities and his warm, outgoing nature, Matt is an integral part of the Willett Built team. His commitment to excellence and his dedication to client satisfaction contribute significantly to our company’s continued growth and success.

Gareth Lloyd

Boatbuilder

Meet Gareth, our Boatbuilder at Willett Built.

Gareth started his career as a print manager for NewsQuest, where he successfully managed multi-million-pound printing machines.

However, in 2020, he faced redundancy, which prompted him to explore new avenues and re-skill in the boatbuilding field. Gareth’s eagerness to learn and embrace new challenges has made him a valuable team member.

His previous experience in colour matching from his printer days has translated well into his role, as he has become skilled in gelcoat repairs. Gareth’s attention to detail and dedication to achieving a flawless finish led him to become our go-to varnishing expert. He invests considerable time and effort into ensuring that each varnished surface receives a top-class finish.

Outside of work, Gareth enjoys playing football and attending rock festivals with his wife and three children.

Tom Stride Apprentice Boatbuilder

Tom Stride

Boatbuilder

Tom’s journey began at London Metropolitan University, where he earned a First-Class Honours Bachelor’s degree in Guitar Making. Although he initially pursued a different path, fate eventually led him to the boatbuilding world.

Tom embarked on various job opportunities, honing his skills and gaining invaluable knowledge along the way.

It was during his time at Custom Yacht Works that Tom truly found his calling. For five years, he worked tirelessly on Fairey motorboats, showcasing his meticulous attention to detail and dedication to his craft. This experience solidified his commitment to the boatbuilding industry and paved the way for his current role at Willett Built.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Tom and his wife are kept busy with their young son, and they enjoy spending time camping and paddleboarding.

Will Harrison Boatbuilder

Will Harrison

Apprentice Boatbuilder

Will is a dedicated Apprentice Boatbuilder and a Trainee Wise Hoist Engineer at Willett Built, bringing a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to the team.

Currently pursuing his education at Southampton City College, Will is in the midst of his three-year program in Boatbuilding. With a desire to excel in his field, he eagerly immerses himself in the coursework and practical aspects of the program, constantly striving to expand his knowledge and skills.

Will’s journey with Willett Built began after completing a week of work experience as part of his college course. Impressed by his dedication and eagerness to learn, the team offered him an apprenticeship, recognising his potential and enthusiasm for the industry.

In addition to his boatbuilding skills, willingness to learn and interest in engines, Will is also training as a Wise Hoist Engineer. We will provide him with exposure to learn through building new machines and maintaining and servicing WISE equipment.

Beyond his academic pursuits, Will naturally leans toward tinkering with engines. He finds joy in working on his beloved blue Lupo, where he hones his mechanical skills and explores the intricacies of engine maintenance. He also values spending quality time with friends and appreciates sailing from his previous family sailing holidays.

He is keen to learn and take on new tasks to develop his skillset further.

Ruby & Elvis

Wellbeing Support

The new recruits of “Wellbeing Support” for Willett Built, Ruby (adopted by Andy & Rachal) and Elvis (adopted by Matt) are cocker spaniel siblings who are always willing to give a cuddle and tummy rub to the team at breaks.

No matter the challenge - we like to say...

“Where there is a Willett, there is always a way”

Whatever your requirements, we will manage your project in such a way that it keeps you informed throughout the process and deliver an end result that will meet and, where possible, exceed your expectations.