YATCO’s Broker of the Month series examines the influences and catalysts that brought these brokers into the world of yachting, who influenced them, and what they seek to change in the industry.
- How did you get your start in yachting?
- Is there anyone in particular who influences you – someone in the industry that you look up to, and why?
- What do you enjoy most about the yachting industry and what do you wish you could change?
- Do you have any advice for someone wishing to join the yachting industry?
- What are some of the challenges you come across at work, and how do you approach them?
- Tell us about your greatest accomplishment.
- What is your favorite yacht currently for sale and why?
How did you get your start in yachting?
I was originally a dinghy sailor from a young age, sailing on local lakes to my home in Nottinghamshire, UK (not known for its sailing!). I then decided to try sailing on yachts with a flotilla holiday in the Ionian Sea with Neilson Active Holidays. The next year, I was working for them as a flotilla skipper and yachting instructor, having spent the winter getting the appropriate qualifications.
I spent a few years with Neilson, eventually becoming the resort manager overseeing the activities and the yachting program in Türkiye. I then crossed the Atlantic on a 50ft sailing yacht and when I arrived in Antigua, I did the dock walk and got myself day work and experience before landing my first role as a deckhand and then moved my way up to Chief Officer and relief captain (passing by second engineer).
Is there anyone in particular who influences you – someone in the industry that you look up to, and why?
There are quite a few but a good friend, Captain Simon Johnson stands out for me – he has been in the industry longer than I have been on this earth and his knowledge of boats, crew, the industry and most importantly seamanship is second to none.
He is always willing to assist others and better them, one example is that he went out of his way to speak with the RYA chairwoman to ensure that new talent is being nurtured to create new crew and eventually captains. During Atlantic crossings, he encourages all crew to learn Astronavigation and will teach those who are interested, he is a strong believer in sharing knowledge to better the industry.
What do you enjoy most about the yachting industry and what do you wish you could change?
I am a sailor first and being at sea and therefore with yachts feels like my natural habitat, the benefits of travel, luxury yachts and networking are a bonus but what I benefit from the most now and what I enjoy about being a broker is assisting those interested in yachting to realize and purchase their dream yacht. I would like to see more openness and sharing of knowledge which is why I chose to join Ocean Independence.
Do you have any advice for someone wishing to join the yachting industry?
Whether in a shore-based role or on the water as deck or interior crew, is to get on the water – whether it be a sailing dinghy or the competent crew course, learn the basics of seamanship to better your own understanding and more opportunities will open as you progress. When working on boats the interior crew would enjoy getting on deck to assist with fenders, which created a great team, and I would tend to the turndowns whilst dinner service was ongoing. This has all benefited my understanding of not just interior work whilst being onboard but now being a yacht broker, I understand the complexities and requirements for the interior, deck and engineering teams.
What are some of the challenges you come across at work, and how do you approach them?
I joined Ocean Independence from a smaller yacht dealership and brokerage having looked after Hanse Yachts for the UK, Privilege and HH Catamarans. There are a lot of similarities in the processes and standards but getting myself up to speed again has been an enjoyable challenge.
The saying, “every day is a school day” could not be truer. Every day you must learn something, I enjoy learning the engineering aspects as much as anything else; I will also hold my hand up when I don’t know something but going to find the answer is half of the fun.
Tell us about your greatest accomplishment.
This is a hard one but outside of the yachting sector I would choose that I cycled the length of Vietnam for charity – this was an amazing experience I signed up on a whim and I spent a year in training, and it was worth all the pain.
I saw some amazing sights and met some truly inspiring people in the remotest parts of Vietnam who had lived through the war. It was also the awakening I needed to leave my steady land-based marketing job in Sheffield, Yorkshire and work on flotillas, thus starting my yachting career.
What is your favorite yacht currently for sale and why?
I am being biased but as it is my first CA, I have to choose the BOLIDE 80 which is the fastest superyacht in the world having achieved over 73+ kts, with over 6,000 hp over three engines and entirely made of carbon fiber – she is a true masterpiece inside and out and is delivering fuel efficiency through speed. We left Monaco Yacht Show straight after the horns sounded at the end; for how many yachts were there I was amazed at how many people were taking photos and videos of her exiting Port Hercule.