#humansofyachting – John Courtney

John Courtney

#humansofyachting – John Courtney

John Courtney

#humansofyachting

#humansofyachting – John Courtney

The managing director of superyacht toy maker FunAir on his love of the ocean and the destinations still on his family bucket list.

By Dominique Afacan | 19 September 2018

“I’ve always had a love for the ocean. I’m a keen diver and my second passion is design so the yachting industry is a perfect fit for me as it allows me to combine both. Fun is paramount to superyachting and I’m noticing yachting lifestyles continuing to evolve to become more experiential and active. The yachting lifestyle of yesteryear was a lot more about dining and entertaining – there’s still a huge portion of that that goes on of course – but we are seeing a lot more activities and on-board sports than before.

#humansofyachting – John Courtney

The wreck of RMS Rhone

#humansofyachting – John Courtney

The wreck of RMS Rhone

I am very fortunate that I do get invited onto superyachts on occasion. In fact, I’ve just got back from a friend’s boat in the British Virgin Islands. It is great to see the recovery in process over there. The people are so resilient and the diving was fantastic. It seemed as if the stir of the hurricane had reinvigorated the sea life. I had the opportunity to dive several wrecks but I have to say my favourite was the RMS Rhone just off the coast of Salt Island; a true wreck lost during a hurricane in 1867. It is amazing to see how she is preserved in the coral. It should be on every diver’s list for the BVIs.

There are plenty of extreme sports that are popular on yachts now, but there’s often a degree of training or skill involved – you don’t just take up kite-surfing in a morning, for example. Our inflatable toys are challenging and fun so they don’t get boring, but the benefit is that anybody can participate. Families are a unit and we want them to form bonds and memories together – that’s why we don’t want the inflatables to be ‘just’ for children or ‘just’ for adults.

#humansofyachting – John Courtney
#humansofyachting – John Courtney

Part of the popularity of our products lies in their flexibility. My kids are avid rock climbers, for example, and being able to take the Climbing Wall everywhere we went on a yacht would be a huge advantage. My personal favourite though, is the Floating Island. It has six detachable loungers centered around a dipping pool. You can tether it to the yacht and use it out on the water or you can use it on the beach instead of dragging heavy beach furniture out there.

Our Yacht Golf is very popular, too. Historically people hit golf balls off yachts, but usually they were just plopping into the sea. We modelled golf green targets after some of the most famous holes in the world – and added real golf flags for visibility. This means guests can actually compete instead of just hitting balls. We partner with a company who make eco-friendly golf balls; they are made out of compressed fish food and they break down very quickly and feed the fish. Win win!

#humansofyachting – John Courtney

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

#humansofyachting – John Courtney

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia

The Whitsundays down by the Great Barrier Reef are still on my family bucket list – one of my dreams is to be able to take the family down there for a week. I love Australia and the people and it would be a dream to give my family the experience of a lifetime there on a superyacht. The plan would be to dive the Great Barrier Reef, then get our toes in the sand at Whitehaven Beach and explore the coastline. Most importantly, we’d be spending quality time together.

I do find it exciting to be part of an industry where there is so much innovation going on – as a design lover, I particularly like the new explorer yacht configurations that are coming out now – beyond their remarkable structures, they tend to draw attention to new and exciting destinations and activities too.

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