Ruby on Rails development team for a boating marketplace


"The quality of development is excellent."

Nicolás Alfin
Director of Product

About Rightboat

Rightboat is a recreational boating marketplace from Lee-on-the-Solent, United Kingdom. They advertise the boats for sale and put the sellers in contact with potential buyers. We’ve been working with them since December 2022 modernizing their application stack and infrastructure, improving the performance and user experience, and adding new features to the platform.

The Challenge

When we were introduced to Rightboat, they were searching for a skilled Ruby on Rails team to maintain and extend their application. Being in production for over 10 years, Rightboat’s platform worked, but it had a handful of technical challenges:

On top of that, over 10 years, a lot of teams and developers passed through the application, which meant different cultures and design philosophies living together in the same codebase. And a lot of technical debt accumulated over time.

By the time we joined Rightboat, the product team had an ambitious and tightly packed agenda:

Last but not least, all these changes and improvements needed to be done using a phased, well-planned, zero-downtime strategy.

The Solution

The first thing this project needed was a carefully thought-out plan to address all these issues while keeping Rightboat’s commercial team and users happy. To accomplish this, we divided the work into 5 main epics: redesign, infrastructure, search engine, optimization and performance, and SEO.


The old Rightboat site was built with an old templating engine, old frontend tools, and a decade-old style. We decided a redesign was due and paired up with DHNN to create a design system that would serve as the base for the new Rightboat user experience. We started with the most impactful user-facing screens.

From the technical perspective, we seized the opportunity to modernize the frontend tech stack: we dropped the jQuery + plugins approach in favor of React and Tailwind.


When we started working with Rightboat, the Ruby on Rails application ran on a virtual machine in AWS, with its database and SolR service, all in the same virtual machine. While this isn’t a problem per se, it was causing some performance issues. Moreover, this virtual machine hasn’t been updated for a long time.

We upgraded the virtual machine Operating System of all the servers to their latest version and properly separated different services on their virtual machines.

We also updated the database management system to its latest version and migrated all the data to the new database, which now lives in a managed database service, thus reducing the maintenance burden on the team.

Search Engine

The next step was to upgrade the old SolR instance that was deployed on the same server as the application. Similarly, it was not possible to upgrade in the old server due to version incompatibilities, so we decided it was a good opportunity to migrate the search engine to a managed Elastic Search cluster.

This was a huge upgrade of the most crítical feature of the whole site, and we did it using a phased deployment with no downtime.

Optimization and Performance

As a first step, we set up monitoring and profiling tooling to properly assess the situation and investigate the root causes of the performance issues the application was having. As usually happens, several aspects were impacting the performance of the application. The most evident one was the frontend stack, so we took the redesign as an opportunity to also drastically reduce the amount of JavaScript and improve the performance of the rendered pages. There were also several slow queries and slow backend actions. To fix these issues we used a mix of caching and background jobs to make the backend able to respond to the most critical requests under 500ms.


In the initial assessment, a document with over 100 initiatives to improve the SEO of the site was produced. Patiently but without pause, we started tackling one by one those initiatives. Some were quick wins, but others depended on the new Elastic Search functionality and curated and migrated data.

screenshot of the app

"Project management has been outstanding. Fernando and the team are very professional and responsible. We haven’t had complaints; they’ve never missed a deadline or stopped doing something they’d committed to."

Nicolás Alfin
Director of Product

The Outcome

Since December 2022, we have become a key partner in Rightboat’s success.

At the time of writing this case study, we managed to:

And we are going for more!

screenshot of the app

"One of their most positive traits is their flexibility; SINAPTIA adapts well."

Nicolás Alfin
Director of Product


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