#humansofyachting – Rose Damen

Rose Damen

#humansofyachting – Rose Damen

Rose Damen

#humansofyachting

#humansofyachting – Rose Damen

Rose Damen is managing director at Damen Yachting, a family-run Dutch superyacht builder.

By Dominique Afacan | 22 January 2020

“Our Amels and Damen yachts are built by the yachting division of our family business. The house where I grew up is about ten minutes from our headquarters on the River Rhine, so as a kid the shipyard was my playground. In a way it was unique, but it was also just a normal and happy childhood. We often travelled internationally to see clients and I would go along when I was young and hang out, playing with their children. Many of those clients are still clients today! I think I was only six months old when I first experienced sailing. We would go for a long summer sailing break every year, so I guess it’s in our blood.

When I was 10, we embarked on a round-the-world sailing trip as a family. We didn’t do it all at once though; we staggered it over a period of about eight years. We’d do about three months every year and I would be homeschooled from the boat for that time. I was very disciplined so it was fine for me, I am not sure you could say the same for my brother! It was good to get school work done in the morning and then help out or play in the afternoon. I have really good memories of that. To be able to travel around on a yacht as a family is amazing and meeting different friends is super easy in a marina when you’re young. We went to really amazing places: Galapagos, French Polynesia – a long stint in Australia, South Africa, the list goes on.

#humansofyachting – Rose Damen

The Damen shipyard in Vlissingen, the Netherlands

#humansofyachting – Rose Damen

The Damen shipyard in Vlissingen, the Netherlands

When I grew up, I didn’t go straight into the company; I wanted to do my own thing, so I got an MBA from INSEAD and spent a good few years working for an institutional investor instead. I think it was really important to step outside of the company and do some things based on my own merits. I am really happy that I did.

In 2008, I joined our family business as a non-executive board member and since 2015 I have led our yachting division. I am proud of what we have achieved as a company, and especially proud of the people that work with us. There’s a perception that we are very competitive in the superyacht industry – of course, that’s true to an extent, but we have a good relationship with other shipbuilders, with plenty of friendly engagement between us. We work together in sustainability and other areas to become better as an industry.

I have noticed a few changes in the superyachting world in recent years. For starters, we are slowly seeing more women in the industry – although there is room for more. I think we are also making steps in sustainability; people are looking at the bigger picture when they buy things now. Yachting is also changing in the way that owners now want to give something back. Our clients don’t have much time and they like to make the most of that time and spend it with family on the ocean; they realise that if they want to enjoy the oceans, they have a role to play in saving them.

#humansofyachting – Rose Damen

Rose Damen with her father Kommer Damen

#humansofyachting – Rose Damen

Rose Damen with her father Kommer Damen

What do we sell as a company? I think it’s time. And in particular, time with family. One of my clients said that one thing she likes so much about holidays on a yacht is that nobody can really get away – that is quite nice for families! I’ve been lucky enough to experience a few charters with my own family and I think what makes it really amazing is the crew. They play with the kids, help out and even teach the kids. There’s also the opportunity to show children other cultures and destinations which may not be the same in ten years’ time.

One of my most memorable yachting moments was sailing in the Pacific at night. Being on watch outside on my own under the Milky Way – I have never felt so little. There are lots of places I still want to go to! We are building an explorer yacht in the Netherlands right now – it will be going to go to Kamchatka for heliskiing – so that is definitely on my bucket list.”

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