#humansofyachting – Angus Johnston

Angus Johnston

#humansofyachting – Angus Johnston

Angus Johnston

#humansofyachting

#humansofyachting – Angus Johnston

Fresh off the boat from the St Barths Bucket, the sailor and founder of Ecoworks Marine talks about the superyacht industry’s new eco-conscience.

By Dominique Afacan | 28 March 2018

“I’ve been sailing since I was really young – I started out on the Cotswolds Lakes and later moved to Cornwall, where I’d take part in club racing up and down the coast. I spent all my free time surfing or sailing with the local yacht clubs and I also worked in boatyards, servicing yachts and moving them around. Probably for that reason, the superyacht world was always on my radar and it was easy to make contacts who were able to help when I decided to get a job in the yachting world.

My first proper superyacht gig was based out of Palma on Ranger – a beautiful J Class, one of the most prestigious yachts in the world. I joined as a deckhand and then moved on to become the bosun [senior deckhand]. Quite soon into the job, we took her to the St Barths Bucket, which was one hell of a learning curve. I’d never done a regatta on a boat that size before – it was blowing 25 knots every day, and the sheer size of the sails was a little scary. I loved the whole experience though; the people, the boats, the scenery – it’s a hugely exciting world.

#humansofyachting – Angus Johnston

St Barths Bucket

#humansofyachting – Angus Johnston

St Barths Bucket

Over the following years, I started to take an interest in the cleaning products people were using on board. My father was selling sustainable products on land, so I was familiar with ingredient names and had an inherent interest. It soon became clear that sustainable marine products didn’t really exist in the yachting world and I decided I wanted to do something about it. I had a conversation with my father and we set about finding a solution.

I was still working on Ranger when we put Ecoworks Marine together, but eventually I decided that this was something I really wanted to dedicate my time to. People are getting a bit of an eco-conscience at the moment; they know they have to do something to help – whether it’s just saying no to plastic bags when they go to a supermarket or being careful about the products they choose for their boats. It’s not just the crew that wants to make positive changes; it is the boat owners, too. Social media has played a big part in raising awareness and TV shows like Blue Planet have also had a massive effect.

#humansofyachting – Angus Johnston

Team Clean Seas are using Ecoworks Marine products in the Volvo Ocean Race

#humansofyachting – Angus Johnston

Team Clean Seas are using Ecoworks Marine products in the Volvo Ocean Race

There is a lot of smoke and mirrors where sustainable products are concerned and that’s something we’ve had to overcome. Lots of the bigger brands just create a weaker product to sit within the guidelines and the product ends up being inferior, so people lose trust in sustainable alternatives. All of our products are PH-neutral, phosphate free and don’t use any chemicals; but crucially, they really work. Now, people are starting to trust the brand and we are growing all the time.

Because of Ecoworks, I can’t disappear for too long anymore, but I still find time to sail. I just came back from the St Barths Bucket again, where I was part of the race crew on Unfurled. As always, it was hard work but great fun – the boat has got a great crew and a lovely owner, which always helps. I didn’t know what to expect arriving in St Barths after the damage it sustained during the hurricane, but I was pleasantly surprised. The vegetation will take a long time to get back to normal, but in terms of the services and shops, bars and cafes, everything seemed to be up-and-running. The mood was very upbeat. There was that same great St Barths atmosphere, that’s for sure.”

Get a taste of the superyachting good life at the Monaco Yacht Show from 26 to 29 September or the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show from 31 October to 4 November.