Posted Nov. 12, 2016, 2:30 p.m.


Let’s keep It Rolling

By Norma Trease


(This complete editorial can be found at: Edition 30)


Wealth, power, technology, creation, influence, communication, art, voyaging, construction, are only a few of the many words which describe the potential of the yachting community to impact the world. As seen in leading publications, novels, in film and on television, yachting is viewed as the ultimate refuge of the ultra-rich, with a reputation and image that is definitely negative, with whiffs of corruption, and abuse of power. For those of us who work in the yachting industry, it represents excitement, work and career opportunities, yet all too often we are confronted by frustration and questions about our ability to control the environment around us.

Nothing is more obvious as a symbol of ultra wealth than owning a yacht and yet what many do not realize is that many yacht owners are concerned about the health of the waters that they cruise and enjoy and more than most they see the problems within them. The statistics on the decline of coral reefs, the decimation of fish populations and the enormous floating islands of pollution are frightening and on a global scale and yet yachts are not responsible for any of this.

In recent years, the yachting community has geared up to exert its influence to help benefit the world around us – by creating a raft of charitable organizations with events targeting everything from helping needy children, cleaning up the environment, to fighting disease and saving communities from natural disasters worldwide. The obvious power of yachting to positively impact our world and create a dynamic new image of yachting by helping our blue planet and those in need everywhere is growing in scope and influence. From yacht crew members to dedicated associations and businesses, the power of yachting to do good continues to expand.

Recognizing the perils to our seas and seeking to learn more about them, the International SeaKeepers Society was formed 20 years ago by a group of dedicated environmental warriors who happened to own yachts, including names of fame such as Paul Allen, Denise Rich, and Roy Disney. They have been active in ocean research through data gathering aboard member yachts and sponsorship of many valuable scientific exploration voyages. Their primary outreach is the Discovery Yachts program, comprised of scientific expeditions, educational outreach and Drifter instrument deployments which gather data on ocean conditions worldwide. Recent deployments have included several from the yacht Defiance in Florida and NE US waters, under the command of Capt. Sandy Yawn and her partner Claudia Potamkin, who have also created SeaKeepers Kids, promoting youth education. Yacht Evviva dropped a Drifter on the equator as they were recently headed towards NZ, whose captain Ken Bracewell reports that their Drifter “has boogied right along toward the West ever since.” Their glamorous annual Founders Dinner and Bal de la Mer events bring together yacht owners, yacht businesses and individuals who support their scientific efforts in locations including Fort Lauderdale, Monaco, Barcelona and Singapore. Seakeepers proudly boasts their ability to deliver a significant volume of the world’s weather data to universities and NOAA.

Today, SeaKeepers are leading the charge towards Cuba, hoping to encourage responsible yachting in this unspoiled marine environment, through their E3 Cuba program “Ecology, Environment and Education”, working with Cuban nationals and scientists. Following the initial E3 trip to Cuba aboard yacht P2 in late 2015, which gathered valuable data, and inspired amazing photos, this June, the Stuart Sailfish Club, are organizing a SeaKeepers E3 expedition to Cuba, which will bring sixty yachts and “aims to advance and support the efforts of scientists in Cuba through a collaborative agenda.” They each year recognize the achievements of various leading environmentalists, including “Her Deepness” Dr. Sylvia Earle, Walter Cronkite, filmmaker James Cameron, and in 2015, Fabien Cousteau was honored in a moving speech by his father Jean-Michel Cousteau, himself a recipient of this prestigious award. Memberships are available starting at $100, and active participation in SeaKeepers activities is encouraged.

One of the SeaKeepers founders,  Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, also founded the Living Oceans Foundation. His ‘Golden Fleetincludes several superyachts and support vessels, featuring full science labs. Since 2000, the Golden Fleet has travelled all over the globe, hosting scientists and environmentalists dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the seas.

Yacht owners are not the only very active yacht industry members creating charitable groups. Now celebrating its ten years of amazing charitable work worldwide, YachtAid Global (YAG) has proven that yacht crew and businesses geared towards them can dramatically and positively impact our world. Founded by Capt. Mark Drewelow, YAG proves that the idiom ‘think globally, act locallyis a valid concept. YAG organizes yachts to do a variety of good works and have accomplished tremendous projects, such as delivering books, medical and educational equipment to needy communities in Central and South America, Alaska and many others. They have ramped up their projects by helping their partner yachts participate in hurricane and cyclone relief, delivering medical equipment, making fresh water and food for desperate communities. Both Capt. Drewelow and his partner yachts have won numerous well-deserved awards for their achievements, including two ISS Distinguished Crew Awards, most recently in 2015, when yachts DragonFly and Umbra were honored for their hard work standing by the islands of Vanuatu and helping save islanders with food, water and medical assistance after the devastating Cyclone Pam – all organized, of course, by YAG. Yachts including Ice Bear, Timoneer, Lady Lola, Qing, Nomadess, Vivid and dozens of others have joined YAG in their simply amazing efforts, proving that the YAG mantra “Changing the World Without Changing Course” resonates with caring crew worldwide. Staying modern and relevant, they are now launching a CrowdRise fundraising page to further ramp up their global charitable efforts.

Islands where yacht crew congregate to work and retire have become havens and examples of the power of yachting to do good, and none are more active than the yachting mecca of Palma de Mallorca. Captains Phil Wade and Anthony Just have both enjoyed long and fruitful yachting careers, and they coincidentally both attended the same maritime college in their native South Africa, although twenty years apart and under different maritime-organisations - merchant and blue-navy. They only met for the first time in Mallorca a couple of years ago, and after sharing tales of their good fortunes in yachting, were inspired to found “Marine Inspirations”, an initiative with the primary goal of providing Empowerment, Opportunity, and Experience in the maritime field for less-advantaged youngsters the world over. Working closely with 'General Botha Old Boys Commitee', Lawhill Maritime Centre, and 'Sail Africa' in South Africa, and with hands-on support from yachting colleagues and friends in the BVI, Antigua, the U.S.A, U.K, Spain and the rest of Europe, they select and sponsor young less-advantaged maritime students to fly to Europe and the Caribbean, where they are introduced to yacht career opportunities in a structured and mentored way. The student-sailors sail in prestigious regattas in Spain and on the West Indies circuit, participate in blue water deliveries on super-yachts, visit vessels and shipyards and industry companies and meet with captains and industry leaders. The eighteen student-sailors who have participated in the initiative so far have become enthusiastic ambassadors for this type of inspired maritime education and mentoring in their home countries and have in turn inspired ongoing donation-support for higher maritime education from industry companies including Master Yachts, Astilleros De Mallorca and commercial Vancouver based tanker-shipping firm 'Teekay'. The aptly named 'Marine Inspirationsholds their main annual fund-raising event in Mallorca, properly appropriate to the community which supports it, with the “Big Bottle of Wine Party Event” held annually in Palma, which in January of 2016 hosted over 130 yachting supporters and raised more than ten-thousand Euros on the night.

Environmental activism truly flourishes on Mallorca, where networker extraordinaire Lars Molin and Palma Yacht Crew regularly organize Limpiezon, a/k/a Asociación Ondine Dos Manos beach clean-up events. In February of 2016 over 120 yacht crew collected more than 500 kilos of waste, most of it plastic pollution and they hope to export this worthwhile event to other yacht ports soon. Three years ago Brad Robertson founded Asociación Ondine, an environmental conservation and research group providing positive solutions for negative issues,by concentrating on MPA´s (Marine Protected Areas) in the Balearics and eradicating plastic pollution. The waters of the Balearic Islands are some of most pristine bio-diverse environments in the Med, and through Brads development of positive relationships between business and ecological awareness groups, they have recently been named as Mission Blues first Hope Spot in the Mediterranean.

The Principality of Monaco is yet another hot spot of environmental and charitable works. His Serene Highness Prince Albert II, following in the ecologically forward footsteps of his father, who founded the Musée Oceanographique together with the Cousteau family, in 2006 initiated his Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, focused on climate change, biodiversity, and providing access to clean drinking water.  In the decade since the Prince has been a fixture on the international environmental conference scene, providing his passion and power to his heartfelt causes, and created partnerships with the World Wildlife Fund, and the Mediterranean Science Commission. In 2010, he was given the International SeaKeepers Award. On behalf of the superyacht industry, the iconic Monaco Yacht Show very generously supports both the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies, a locally-based childrensmedical research foundation.

Many yachting businesses and associations sponsor events as a way to promote their pet causes. The Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue serice (ABSAR) works with the international Association of Yacht Support Services (AYSS) to support the great Wobbly Club Build Your Own Boat Race (BYOB) that raises thousands for local sailing schools. Various large-yacht regattas contribute generously to the communities which host them including the St. Barths Bucket, the Antigua and Palma Superyacht Cups, the ISS Regatta in the Solent, Les Voiles dAntibes, Les Regattes Royales, and so on. The publisher of this magazine, Colin Squire, several years ago began the Captains Soiree, an exclusive evening closing out the Antigua Yacht Charter Show, which has donated over $100,000 to local schools.

The lovely Antonella della Pietra, who runs BWA Spain manages to find enough time to organize several successful charity events annually in Barcelona, including the concert for OAfrica held in mid-March and her annual Crew Penthalon that supports the local children’s charity, the Joan Cruff Foundation. Marina development and management giants IGY benefit their charities each year by organizing “Party for a Cause” community service initiatives at their many locations worldwide. In February, over 300 volunteer yacht owners, crew and IGY marina teams helped with hands-on improvements benefitting seven non-profit organizations across six countries.

No article on yacht-based charities would be complete without mentioning the behemoth annual Pinmar Golf tournament. This event, the largest amateur golf tournament in Europe and going strong after more than twenty years, provides mega-fun and raises mega-funds for a variety of local sailing, educational and environmental groups by entertaining the yachting community while draining their wallets over three days of golf in Palma.

Singularly important and totally awesome on the yachting charitable horizon is Cogs4Cancer. Begun by Adrian Long of Inter-Nett in the South of France during 2013, teams of bicycle riders and a raft of dedicated volunteers, including yacht captains, spouses and businesses, organize, participate and raise both personal and corporate donations as they ride hundreds of kilometers throughout France, Italy, and Spain. To date, over 700,000 euros - 100% of every centime raised - have been given to cancer prevention research in the UK and France; plus Cogs4Cancer donations renovated the desperately needed Family and Childrens rooms at the main hospital in Nice, lArchet, now very near completion.  This group effort is incredibly impressive, they are all to be congratulated. But a few of the long-time volunteers have included Sunseeker Superyachts Management, Gourmet Deliveries, Marine Medical Antibes, and captains/crew from yachts including Rahal, Virginian, Twizzle and many, many more. The list of sponsors and supporters is simply too long to even start, but needless to say, such a dramatically successful charitable activity could never happen without the support of the entire global industry.

So, its BRAVO and Hats Off to the yachting industry for making so many fantastic efforts to help the world around them. There are many more organizations, events and companies that are too numerous to mention, but you get the point. The power of yachting to do good is limitless and growing fast and proves that whether you are a yacht captain or crew, a yacht or business owner – you can positively impact those in need all around you by working together with your yachting colleagues, while at the same time inspiring others to do the same.


Websites: (Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation)


Author Norma Trease, YM Editor-at-Large, believes passionately in the power of yachting to do good. She has volunteered for Pinmar Golf, SeaKeepers, Yacht Aid Global, ISS and helped organize charitable fund-raising events worldwide.