#humansofyachting – Alice Widdows

Alice Widdows

#humansofyachting – Alice Widdows

Alice Widdows

#humansofyachting

#humansofyachting – Alice Widdows

Alice Widdows is the industry’s go-to guru when it comes to superyacht regattas.

By Dominique Afacan | 1 July 2019

“I grew up in Mallorca and as a small child, I was racing sailing dinghies out of the Club de Vela in Port Andratx. It was idyllic. I carried on sailing when I went to school back in England and then after university, I decided to go and do my Yacht Masters down in Australia.

It was supposed to be for three months but I ended up staying a year, as I kept getting invited from one boat to another, racing all around the country in different regattas. When I got back to Europe, I realized I could use my marketing skills and my sailing training to start working in the industry.

#humansofyachting – Alice Widdows

THE SUPERYACHT REGATTA IN PORTO CERVO. PHOTO: CARLO BORLENGHI

#humansofyachting – Alice Widdows

THE SUPERYACHT REGATTA IN PORTO CERVO. PHOTO: CARLO BORLENGHI

I walked the docks, knocking on doors, until I found an Australian sailing yacht owner who liked the fact I’d just come back from his home country. We got on really well, so although I got on board as crew, I ended up taking on more and more. He trusted me implicitly with the management of the boat and I would help sort out entries for regattas and all sorts of other things. I got to know the other side of yachting; the owners, not just the crew ­– and after five years on board, I had built up a little black book of who everyone was, where the regattas were and who the organisers were in every location.

That’s how I do what I do today ­– I’ve been headhunted to organise regattas all over the world, from the Loro Piana Regatta to the America’s Cup. Relationships are everything in the yachting business. The boys I sailed with who were nippers in the late 90s are now skippers of J-Class yachts. An owner who I took the time to look after at a regatta ten years ago remembers that connection today.

#humansofyachting – Alice Widdows

The Superyacht Cup

#humansofyachting – Alice Widdows

The Superyacht Cup

Regattas are essentially intimate gatherings of like-minded friends and families in a relaxed and sporty setting. I believe one of the greatest joys owners gain from superyacht racing is time offline and camaraderie with their peers participating in a sport they enjoy. They tend to have a real social element and they are great for families, who both compete and spectate.

For me, Les Voiles de St Tropez in the south of France has a special air. It’s at the end of the season, so it’s seen as a closing party of sorts. It has a magical feeling to it, as it combines both classic and modern yachts and it’s open to the public so there’s nothing elite or private about it. It feels like it’s somehow sprinkled in fairy dust.

#humansofyachting – Alice Widdows

White Islands Classics Regatta

#humansofyachting – Alice Widdows

White Islands Classics Regatta

The regatta world is actually really inclusive and there’s been a real push recently to bring new owners to racing. A new class has been set up that is specifically for first-timers – so there’s no need to hire a really expensive race crew; you can just come in and sail with minimum effort. It’s all about showing new owners that they shouldn’t be intimidated by the existing competition.

I don’t get back to Mallorca enough anymore, but I have so many recommendations on where to sail. One of my favourites is Cala Deia, which is always busy with yachts at anchor. During the summer months, the restaurants are all open and you can swim ashore, as the water is crystal clear. I’d recommend eating some great seafood sitting under the bougainvillaea at C’as Patro March, the restaurant made famous by the BBC TV series, ‘The Night Manager,’ which was filmed on the island.

On my bucket list, there’s still a bit to do. I’d like to go back and do New Zealand properly – and I still have Antarctica to tick off – with the right clothing!”

Get a taste of the superyachting good life at the Monaco Yacht Show from 25 to 28 September 2019. Get your tickets here.

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