Harboring Ambitions

15.04.16

Abode2 catches up with London Yacht, Jet and Prestige Car Show Director Peter Bryant and finds out what life is really like on the ocean wave

What is your earliest memory of boats - when did you realise you had acquired the sailing bug?

My earliest memory of boats is easy - From the age of two until sixteen, every summer my parents, sister and I used to link up with good friends at a hidden corner of Cornwall. The Helford River in the 1960’s and 1970’s was very remote - it used to take 9 hours to reach it from London. When we arrived however, it was real Swallows & Amazons stuff - catching fish (which were in plentiful supply in those days), learning to row and sail in old clinker built dinghies. Every now and then a beautiful sailing yacht would sail up the Helford and I always used to wonder where it was going or where it had come from. Added to this, we used to read the novels by Daphne du Maurier, such as Frenchman’s Creek, which set around Frenchman’s Creek on the south bank of the Helford, is all about a French pirate and the ‘Lady of the Manor’ at the estate above the Creek. This book describes the area so well. To this day, my wife and I spend much time walking our dogs and boating in this area and it is no coincidence that my company to run The London Yacht, Jet & Prestige Car Show is called 'Helford Point’, named after a wonderful spot on this river.

You are well known in the industry for the creation of SuperYacht which went on to become the largest luxury yacht show in the world – to what do you attribute the show’s success?

Timing, hard work and a good deal of luck! When we started Superyacht, there was nothing like it anywhere in the world. The first two shows were held at The Barbican Centre in London, not far from where our latest event is. Then after much discussion we took the decision to move the event to Nice in the South of France. Every year it became bigger and bigger and when we sold the event to Lord Laidlaw’s IIR Group, it was bigger than Monaco! However after we sold the Superyacht Show in Nice, many of our clients used to tell me that while the Nice Show was good and much bigger than the London Show, for actual clientele, London was better.

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Which global destinations are leading the way in terms of luxury, sustainable marina development – and why?

Over the years we have worked with and for many of the world’s big yachting marinas. Years ago, marinas were often built by wealthy individuals or companies whose idea was to build the thing, then sit back and count the cash. Nowadays companies like IGY Marinas and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas take great care to manage marinas to a very high level and to make sure that the development is environmentally sound, especially when it comes to dealing with waste water etc. Porto Montenegro is another recently built marina whose level of service has been developed to a very high standard. IGY Marinas run several marinas in the Caribbean and here good service is the key, or you will find visiting yachts simply won’t return. Quite often, improvements in marinas is owner and captain driven - if something is not right at the marina where they keep their yachts, they will let the marina operators know and a good marina is one where the marina director listens. Service is everything and it is easy to move a yacht to another marina if something isn’t right. For the LLYJPCS we worked closely with St. Katharine Docks Marina in London. He won’t mind me saying so, but the The Marina Director at St. Katharine Docks, William Bowman is a perfectionist who is passionate about making St. Katharine Docks the best place you could possibly moor a yacht in London. He is a true pleasure to work with.

What prompted you to launch the London Yacht, Jet and Prestige Car show?

Quite simply because there are probably more luxury yacht, car and jet owners living or working in London than in any other city in the world. In recent years, due to its relative stability and enticing ’non-com’ tax rates, London has become ’the place’ for wealthy international individuals to live for certain times of the year. One of these times is between March and May, when there is a great deal of sporting activity going on, such as the Flat Racing season, the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race and the Grand National. Add to this a pleasant temperate climate, the world’s biggest financial centre, the attraction of Harrods and arguably the greatest concentration of designer stores and famous 5-star hotels in the world (many of whom are working with us on this event) and you have many, many reasons why wealthy individuals like to live in London.

However, one thing we have learnt after several years working with several of these individuals is that once in London, they really do not want to go far away from their London base. This is the reason we chose Old Billingsgate and St. Katharine Docks as the venues for the Show. Both these venues are within just a few minutes of Mayfair, Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Belgravia and of course the City of London.

Where is your favourite sailing destination when you are off-duty?

The Helford River, but also a few years ago my family and I chartered a small catamaran and sailed around the Whitsunday Islands in Australia. This area is how I imagine the Caribbean was 30 years ago. Remote anchorages, spectacular snorkelling and diving and the finest coral sand beaches anywhere on earth. Feeding a parrot that has flown in for dinner, while the sun sets off Whitehaven Beach is very hard to beat, although The Shipwrights Arms in Helford does serve a better pasty and pint!

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