#humansofyachting – Jimmy Carroll
“I’ve always been a keen yachtsman and I did a lot of sailing when I was in the army, but my first real experience of superyachts came when I joined Winch Design. As a voyeur who would previously just gawp at the size of superyachts from the sidelines, seeing first-hand the attention to detail and learning about the superyachting lifestyle came as a welcome surprise. At Winch, I was able to witness up-close the craftsmanship and design that goes into every yacht. The level of detail is just unbelievable.
I was fortunate enough to see people’s yacht usage change a lot during my time with Winch, particularly the growing popularity of explorer yachts. In my view, this type of travel shares some similarities with the military operations I learned about in the army – where you build a forward operating base in a remote region. With a yacht, that operating base is your boat. You can sail to a remote area where there is no infrastructure, spend time exploring and then come back to the sanctity of the yacht where you have all these incredible levels of service, spa treatments, world-class food and everything else. There’s nothing better than seeing someone getting out of the ocean, or coming back exhausted after a day’s heliskiing, and collapsing onto a comfy chair on board while a crew member brings them a drink. For me, that is a true yachting experience.
The yacht expeditions work really well for multi-generational families. We are working with someone at the moment who is taking his parents away, along with some other friends and their children. A lot of charters can involve three or four expeditions a day to accommodate all of the guests’ different tastes and levels of fitness. I always think it’s a shame when people say, ‘this is going to be our last family holiday’ simply because the children have grown up – but with superyachts you can design something that suits everyone, at any age. Clients even bring tutors on board so that young children can learn and keep up-to-date along the way.
Part of the educational side has evolved into conservation now and lots of our clients are interested in learning more about the places that they travel to. We work closely with the Blue Marine Foundation – they are very dear to me as I set up the fundraising London to Monaco bike ride for them a few years ago. It really pulls the superyacht community together. The idea wasn’t taken very seriously at first but eventually, we made it happen and now it is in its fourth year and is raising over £250,000 for charity every time. The shipyards are now far more conscious of the environment too and are actively trying to make things more sustainable during the build process.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
I’ve been lucky enough to get out to a lot of superyachting destinations and I have a bunch of favourites. Svalbard is one of them – thanks to its incredible wilderness and selection of activities. I also love Papua New Guinea where you get that sense of tribal immersion – we recently set up for a client to meet with a tribesman who used to be a cannibal! The beauty of the destination is that the infrastructure is still pretty non-existent, so it reduces the number of people going – that is perfect for anyone visiting by yacht because they pretty much have it to themselves.
I was also in Raja Ampat earlier this year – that whole area of islands is incredible and the sea life is amazing. On land, climbing the limestone stacks and getting into jungle environments is really exciting. There is brilliant caving there too – we took everyone paddleboarding through some of the caves, lighting them up as we went, and you could see these huge fruit bats flying around. The boat we were working with very much helped with the local area too – they were building a community centre and that was a really important part of the trip. Rather than just going there and viewing it, they wanted to make a difference.
The Northwest Passage is still on my bucket list, which probably harks back to my Canadian roots, but I’d also love to do the Kuril Islands and Kamchatka off Russia. In winter there is brilliant heliskiing – and in the warmer climates there is the most incredible vegetation, plus volcanic hills for climbing and great diving.
If you can’t afford a superyacht in these remote areas, there aren’t many other similar options available other than crowded cruise ships. That’s why we are opening up superyacht charters on a cabin-by-cabin basis so that the price is greatly reduced but the experience is largely the same. You would be sharing with a handful of other guests, but it would still be a superyacht experience in every respect. It seems like a no brainer.”