Every year for nearly three decades, the International Superyacht Society has recognized outstanding achievements in yacht design and construction. Over the years, the industry organization has added further awards, to draw attention to individuals and companies shaping and changing yachting for the better. At the just-concluded Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, several received accolades for their contributions, in the Leadership Awards categories.
Specifically, those people and companies are:
Leadership Award: Martin Redmayne. Like many in yachting, Redmayne made the transition from sea to shore. Best known as the chairman and editor-in-chief of The Superyacht Group, he acquired the then-known magazine The Yacht Report and expanded it. Today, the Group organizes events such as trade seminars, publishes books, compiles data and statistics, and more. Redmayne himself has spent time on more than 1,500 yachts and visited more than 120 shipyards around the world—and counting.
Technology Award: Hull Vane. This award recognizes an achievement that has had a significant impact on yachting, including how owners enjoy this treasured pastime. The winner, Hull Vane, created an apparatus, a fixed foil, that sits below the stern and greatly improves fuel burn and seakeeping. Several commercial vessels as well as superyachts feature the foil and, depending on their LOAs and other factors, have seen fuel savings between five and 20 percent.
Business Person of the Year: Mohammed Bin Hussein Al Shaali. Al Shaali (above) is the chairman of Gulf Craft, as well as its founder. The son of a sea captain, he has a lifelong love of the water, and fishing. In Gulf Craft’s early days (established in 1982), Al Shaali concentrated on small fishing boats. He’s grown the UAE-based yacht yard since then into megayacht territory. In fact, today, Gulf Craft offers the Majesty 175 and Majesty 200, among others.
Artisan Award: Gavin Rookledge. New for 2018, the Artisan Award recognizes an individual few owners ever meet, yet someone central to every yacht’s success. Gavin Rookledge runs Rooks Books, which hand-crafts leather-wrapped books and other decorative items. Rookledge personally selects the leathers, as well as beaten metal, wood, fabric, and additional materials, for each decorative piece. The approach lends every item its own character, style, and appeal.
Fabien Cousteau Blue Award: Kjell Inge Røkke. A Norwegian businessman and philanthropist, Røkke made international headlines in announcing the REV Ocean Project in 2017. It involves building the world’s largest research and expedition vessel, 597 feet (182 meters). REV should be ready in 2020, from Vard. The REV Ocean Project further involves creating the World Ocean Headquarters, a facility in Norway where researchers, businesses, and others can come together to share knowledge and find solutions to save the oceans. Finally, the REV Ocean Project will see the creation of the World Ocean Data Platform. As the name states, the goal is to bring together existing data from multiple sources in one central, globally accessible database.
Distinguished Crew Award: Capt. Mike O’Neill. When Hurricanes Irma and Maria leveled parts of the Caribbean last year, O’Neill (above), in charge of the superyacht Katherine, leapt into action. He contacted the yacht’s owner to see how they could help the people of the region. Via YachtAid Global, Katherine delivered much-needed aid. One trip saw the yacht carry 5,200 jars of baby food, for Anguilla. Then, O’Neill called numerous industry contacts, from fellow captains and crew to yacht agents and more, to mobilize further aid. It worked: Dozens of yachts and crews came forward to pitch in, as did industry reps. It led to an effort called the Superyacht Aid Coalition, which worked closely with YachtAid Global to continue to meet the Caribbean community’s greatest needs.