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Interview :
A New Course
at North South
After Dave de Eyre died suddenly in November, 2007, the assets of his well-established
Canadian yacht brokerage, Clift’s Marine Sales, were acquired by Angus Yachts.
The stars didn’t line up, however, and the enterprise foundered within six months.
With some of Clift’s other brokers, de Eyre’s long-time general manager, Mike Burns,
launched a new brokerage, the North South Nautical Group, and early results are
promising. In terms of listings, it’s already one of Canada’s largest yacht brokerages.
YachtWorld.com magazine’s editor, John Burnham, interviewed Mike shortly after
they met at the annual conference for the Yacht Brokers Association of America, of
which Mike is a board member. North South is also the first brokerage in Canada
to earn YBAA’s distinction as an “Endorsed Brokerage” of its Certified Professional
Yacht Broker programme.
Mike Burns
how did you start off in the marine industry, and when did My client base grew, and I did quite well. I got to know Dave de
you first get into yacht brokerage? eyre, president of Clift’s Marine, as my office was located close
I grew up around boats, managed a charter-boat operation to his. Dave approached me in 2001 and asked me to become
briefly, and then started delivery work. I delivered power and his general manager. I politely declined, but a year later when
sailboats throughout the Great Lakes and then took a 48-foot elco I began exploring working for another brokerage house, Dave
from toronto to Florida and back via the “Great Loop” – down the again approached me. In hindsight, going to work for him was
Mississippi and tennessee-tombigbee Waterway and back up the one of the best decisions I have ever made, both career-wise
eastern seaboard. Later, I became involved with a company on and personally. Dave became a good friend and mentor and, as
toronto’s waterfront and, in the winter, managed the operations they say, the rest is history. Collectively, we worked to grow the
of Canada’s largest artificial outdoor skating rink. I obtained a company, and at one point, it boasted six office locations and
refrigeration operators Licence, which led me to manage a new more than 400 listings.
hockey facility at a local university with six rinks – five nhL-sized
and one olympic-sized ice surfaces. It was a unique opportunity, What were Dave’s key reasons for success over the years?
but after a few years I realised that my real interest lay with the I’d say his keys to success were relatively simple: work hard,
boating industry. It was great to try something else and then surround yourself with good people, and treat people the way
realise where my passion was. you want to be treated.
When did you become a yacht broker and how did you how old was Dave when he died, and
come to work with Dave de Eyre? what were the circumstances of his
In 1999, I became an independent yacht broker for a relatively death?
small brokerage in port Credit, ontario, about 15 minutes west Dave was 55, and he died of a heart attack.
of toronto – coincidentally, the same place as my current office. he had had previous heart issues (a valve
MAY 2009 YACHTWORLD.COM 37
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