Yacht Club Monaco, Port Hercules
YPY Conference Held at Yacht Club de Monaco
The theme of the event, which started in Fort Lauderdale and holds its first meeting in London this week, was founders of yachting and as the evening unfolded, it was clear among the panel of yachting veterans that despite being part of the digital age, much of their enduring success is down to good old fashioned methods of communication and strategy.
Jonathan ‘Joff’ Beckett joined Burgess’s Monaco office at 23 and now runs the company, which has 11 offices worldwide. He regaled the audience with stories about his start in yachting following a childhood spent on the Norfolk Broads and a year sailing in the Caribbean. ‘In 1982 a Feadship called Kalinga was for sale, which had been built for the president of Philippine Airlines,’ he recalled. ‘We had a client who wanted to look at the boat in Holland. We couldn’t afford a flight so we drove a Peugeot 305 from the office in Monaco to Amsterdam, shaved, washed and changed at Schiphol airport, showed him the boat and drove back!’
Jonathan urged entrepreneurial spirit to the audience, a point which was echoed by Peter Insull of Peter Insull’s Yacht Marketing, who started the first crew agency in the world. ‘I started working on yachts at 18 as a steward and deckhand in Beaulieu,’ he said. ‘I opened my first office there and started helping people out and got to know lots of yachts and crew. When I went ashore, people would use me to find crew out of friendship, and that led to me issuing invoices. We were the first crew agency in the world, since then about 1350 others have had a crack at it! It’s very satisfying work and that is still one of our cornerstones; we don’t do management.’
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