International Women’s Day 2020 – just some of the inspirational women on the Asian yachting scene!

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we caught up with some of Asia’s leading female yachting industry figures. They shared their personal experiences about how they got into the industry and why they are so passionate about it.

BEATRICE BARALDINI, FERRETTI GROUP

Tell us a little about what you do.

I take care of all Ferretti Group APAC communication for what concerns the Asia Pacific region. This includes events and boat shows, press, advertisements and new digital. In other words, when you see a full Ferretti Group fleet at a boat show and you admire its beauty, well, behind it, there are months of hard work the team and I have done to make that happen.

What are the best aspects of your job?

What I love about my job is that we create beauty around something which is already beautiful. We work with the most beautiful artefacts in the world and we create the magic around them. Take the annual Ferretti Private Preview in Monaco for example! I mean, it is quite rare, if not unique, to see so many stunning yachts gathering at the Yacht Club de Monaco during a private concert of Elton John or Sting.

 

Then, the travelling part. This job gives me the chance of travelling everywhere in Asia and possibly creating something beautiful somewhere else too.

Finally, there is the achievement behind each event and boat show. No matter how much you have struggled, you will end up being happy and a bit sad that it is over on the last day of the boat show or event.

Are there any challenges of being in the yachting industry in Asia?

Definitely. Do not forget that Asia just recently started to appreciate the nautical lifestyle related to yachting. Therefore, all the process of establishing the product feeling, trust, the brand image, and the actual moment when you are able to sell a yacht is much longer. It is much more challenging.

What is your favourite yachting memory?

First of all, I have a deep relationship with the sea as I am a sailor myself. I have been sailing and teaching sailing to people for years when I was younger and before moving to Hong Kong. However, opposite to what everyone thinks, working in the yachting industry does not mean that you can spend all day on a yacht!

The best yachting memory was during a press trip at the Riva shipyard in Sarnico, during a sea trial on the lake on board the iconic Riva Iseo. I thought that everything was magic during that moment and I felt really peaceful. The boat was simply stunning and I felt so proud she was created by the Italian genius, Carlo Riva.

How do you see the role of women in the yachting industry evolving over the next 5-10 years?

We already have amazing women working at Ferretti Group and hopefully more can become key players in this industry that was used to be led by men.


DELLA RUGDEE, HONG SEH MARINE

Tell us a little about what you do.

I am currently the senior yacht broker at Hong Seh Marine Singapore. We sell Italian yachts such as Ferretti, Pershing and Riva. We complement this range by also selling the American fishing/lifestyle boat, Boston Whaler.

My role is to work with boat owners to manage their boat, assist in selling their boat and hopefully helping them to buy a new or used boat. My involvement in the yachting industry began 15 years ago when I was helping out at a family friend’s business during my school vacation.

What drew you to the yachting industry?

I absolutely love the sea and the outdoor lifestyle, not having a typical desk-bound job wins it every time and I still love turning up at the marina every day.

I remember having to introduce a yacht in Mandarin in my early years. It gave me a challenge ever since to better myself with the terminology and to break into new markets that were rising.

What is it about the yachting industry in Asia that you are passionate about?

It is a continuously evolving industry that I feel I’m always learning from. The marine development around the SEA region is phenomenal. I love hearing about a new island destination or a place I haven’t been to and working out when I’m going!

Any advice for women looking to get into the industry?

Take the opportunity to be part of the boating community. 10 years ago in Asia, there were only a handful of ladies in the yachting industry, but there is a visible growth of women leading the waves today. I encourage more ladies to take chances and make a career out of something they enjoy!

What is your current favourite yacht and why?

I have to say my current boat (Boston Whaler 320 Vantage) is amazing, I travel all around the region on her. She’s the second Boston Whaler I’ve owned and I just love their reliability. My goal though is to get a Rivamare. That’s when I know I’ve made it.


EWA STACHURSKA, SIMPSON MARINE

Tell us a little about what you do.

I work at Simpson Marine as Group Marketing Manager, also involved in Strategic Partnerships. We are a team of 4 who manage Communication, Marketing, Events for the whole group: 12 offices in 7 countries in Asia. As you can imagine, we keep ourselves pretty busy!

What drew you to the yachting industry?

I was recruited fresh out of university by my first employer, Sunreef Yachts, as they were actively looking for someone who could speak a few foreign languages to take care of Media & Communications as the company had international expansion in view for the future. I was just finishing my Master’s degree in Romance Languages, and other linguistic courses in Gdansk, Poland, where Sunreef is based.

I learned everything from scratch, travelled the world, met fascinating people, and here I am, still around and loving it almost 13 years later, currently based in Hong Kong at the Simpson Marine’s Headquarters.

What is it about the yachting industry in Asia that you are passionate about?

I love the energy of the industry in Asia, it’s one of a kind. People here want to do something, they want to see action. They see the region’s incredible potential and it’s a rewarding environment to work in.

On one hand, the industry is still in its infancy and hence, a lot of things need to happen for us to see its full potential and we have all been working towards more yachting friendly regulations and logistics on our level. There is a palpable evolution happening with local trade and tourist institutions increasingly keen to push the industry and help it develop, creating huge business opportunities for their respective countries.

It is also a very creative and fast-paced environment and I enjoy seeing many boating initiatives, such as the new ways we can engage with our customers and providing them with the opportunity to experience this unique lifestyle. Our team is more encouraged to explore alternative Marketing and CRM initiatives than our peers in Europe, in their established and less challenging sales environment.

And finally, Asia is a superb cruising destination and our activations happen in the most scenic areas that people are dreaming to explore. Phuket and Phang Nga Bay, Bali and Komodo, Raja Ampat, The Anambas, Langkawi, Palawan, Busuanga, Sanya, Hong Kong’s amazing country parks, Shanghai, Singapore… aren’t we lucky here?

Any advice for women looking to get into the yachting industry?

Yachting seems to be a very male-dominated industry, and it is. So be prepared for some stereotyped behaviours, as they happen everywhere. And better do your homework with some basic boating knowledge! Other than that, I personally think that women are just as capable as men to work in any kind of job within the industry. And I would love to see more women around. We are lucky to have here in Asia many friendly and professional female and male colleagues. Personally, I always look for merit and experience as first my priority.

What is your current favourite yacht and why? 

It’s a difficult question to answer as we sell so many kinds of yachts at Simpson Marine and I had a chance to visit and experience many of them over time.

I would mention a few yachts that made a major impression on me and these would include the Sanlorenzo SD96 for her amazing and carefully crafted interiors by Patricia Urquiola and impressive volumes at 96ft, the Lagoon Seventy 7 for her truly amazing volumes and the master suite’s opening balcony and one of the new Beneteau Oceanis line with 46.1 or 51.1, which are both great at fast and smooth sailing, with tastefully finished interior design and detailing.

But if I could choose a boat for my own family cruising, that would be one of the new Lagoons, perhaps the 46, which I would love to take sailing around the amazing archipelago of Indonesia, and then further afield.


MICHELLE MA-DE JONG, BOAT LAGOON YACHTING

Tell us a little about what you do.

I joined Boat Lagoon Yachting in 2016 as Group Marketing Manager overseeing all marketing aspects in our region - Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Maldives.

What are the best aspects of your job?

I am fortunate to have worked for top luxury brands in jewellery, furniture, champagne, cosmetics, and now luxury yachts including Princess, Burgess, Sacs and Jeanneau. What fascinates me is the learning and understanding of the philosophy and DNA of luxury brands; product design and performance; customer care and after-sales service, basically what makes these brands stand out in their category. At Boat Lagoon Yachting, our credo is “Like no other” - we are dedicated to delivering our clients unparalleled products and service like no other. I really enjoy being part of the team that delivers that.

Are there any challenges of being in the yachting industry in Asia?

Frankly, I see more opportunities than challenges of being in the yachting industry in Asia. When our company started 26 years ago, 90% of our clients were Europeans. Today, we see our clients being mainly Asians, from Singapore, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. It’s obvious that yachting is becoming a more recognised lifestyle in Asia, and why not - sailing and being by the sea promotes a healthy state of mind, provides the perfect opportunity of either socialising and entertaining your guests, or enjoying the absolute privacy with your family and friends. While Asia accounts for a substantial percentage of UHNWIs, the Asian yachting market is still in its infancy and therefore, there is a tremendous growth opportunity to be explored. Our sales have grown 10-15% annually over the past ten years and we are expecting continuous growth moving forward.

What is your favourite yachting memory?

It has to be our Boat Lagoon Yachting Owners Rendezvous. It takes place at the beginning of every year. We arrange a weekend-long yacht event for our owners, their family and friends. Typically, it starts on a Friday evening as we welcome our guests and their yachts at a beachfront venue. Yachts rafting up, owners mingling and children enjoying the water toys and sports available, followed by a warm welcome speech from our Managing Director, Vrit Yongsakul, and a lively dinner party. The next day, all the yachts cruise in convoy to some beautiful islands such as Similan, Krabi, Lanta Lai, Racha Noi, for diving and snorkelling with private instructors, various watersports, onboard massages, sunset watching, barbecue on a private beach... our guests enjoy a beautiful day leisurely at their own choice. On Sunday, guests can choose to cruise back in convoy or stay longer and discover the surroundings on their own. This is what yachting is about - the luxury of freedom.

How do you see the role of women in the yachting industry evolving over the next 5-10 years?

I already see lots of successful women in this industry today. I hope and believe more and more outstanding career women will join this dynamic and fun-filled industry in the future.   

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