Meet the Explorer Yachts Summit 2020 Speakers

Nina Jensen

CEO, REV Ocean

Nina Jensen is the CEO of REV Ocean and is a tireless champion for promoting environmentally responsible solutions for the world's oceans. She started this position in 2018 after 12 years of positive impact in WWF-Norway (as Secretary-General since 2012). 

Nina has a burning commitment and passion for the oceans, conservation and sustainable solutions. She holds a Master’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of Fishery Science in Tromsø, and has a background in communications and marketing from Ogilvy&Mather.

Skip Novak

Director of Sailing Operations, EYOS Expeditions

Skip Novak is widely considered as the world’s preeminent authority on polar sailing. In 2016, Skip joined EYOS Expeditions as Director of Sailing Operations, combining his unsurpassed expertise in both sailing and motor yachts under one company.

Skip’s notable sailing includes four Whitbread Round the World Yacht Races since 1977. In these races, he navigated the British Cutter Kings Legend to 2nd place, and Simon Le Bon’s Drum to 3rd place. He also was project manager and skipper of the Fazisi, the first Soviet entry in the Whitbread Race.

In addition to sailing, Skip is a skilled mountaineer, and has partaken in climbing expeditions to Antarctica, South Georgia, New Zealand, the Alps, East Africa, Sikkim, Nepal and Patagonia.

Axel de Beaufort

Design and engineering director, Hermès special order division

Axel de Beaufort started his career as a naval architect and became involved with Hermès in 2011, when he was asked to serve as adviser on a bespoke yacht project. Since then he has worked for Hermès on boats, planes and cars, and now stands as the design and engineering director of the Hermès special order division and made to measure projects department. He also continues to run his own yacht design company in France.

Rob McCallum

Founding Partner, Expedition Leader & Mission Designer, EYOS Expeditions

New Zealander Rob McCallum is the co-founder of EYOS Expeditions, widely regarded as the world’s foremost provider of marine-based private expedition services. Together he and his team have planned and managed over 1200 safe and successful expeditions to the most remote and pristine parts of our planet.

An acknowledged expert in deep-water operations, he has led multiple expeditions to the RMS Titanic and battleship Bismarck (5000m), the successful search for Air France 447 and the test program for James Cameron’s Deep Challenger.

Rob was directly responsible for the overall design, management and leadership of the record-breaking Five Deeps Expedition, regarded as “the most ambitious exploration expedition in a century” (Capt. Don Walsh Ph.D). These expeditions add to the long list of world firsts and world records achieved EYOS Expeditions clients.

Rob consults regularly to clients in the private and commercial worlds about expedition vessels, including the partnership between EYOS Expeditions and Damen Shipyards on the design, build and operation of the SeaXplorer range of purpose-built expedition yachts.

He is a licensed aircraft pilot, a PADI Dive Master,  an award-winning Fellow of the Explorers Club (NY) and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Björn Pyll

Founder, Pyll Protection

Björn Pyll owns his own security company, Pyll Protection, and works as a specialist bodyguard in marine and urban environments. The former bodyguard to Angela Merkel, he has also been deployed as an International Police Offer to assist the United Nations in Mali and served as a member of GSC 9, the very highest level of the German Police special forces.

Henry Cookson

Founder, Cookson Adventures

Since achieving a world record for kite-skiing to the Antarctic Pole of Inaccessibility, Henry has continued to set new benchmarks. Founded in 2009, his company Cookson Adventures crafts adventures worthy of class-leading yachts in some of the least charted waters on the planet, including Antarctica, Cocos island, Micronesia and Svalbard.

Designed for both owners and charterers, his world-first yacht expeditions have helped scientists identify a new type of killer whale, organised the first private submersible dive in Antarctica and launched multi-yacht conservation projects in the Galápagos Islands. Today, Henry still personally hosts and curates many of the adventures himself.

Steve Monk

Founder, Da Gama Maritime

Steve Monk has spent most of his life at sea on a range of vessels both sail and power driven. A 22-year career in the Royal Navy through 15 ships saw him rise to Navigator of the Fleet Flag Ship and aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal.

Leaving the RN in 2009 he established Da Gama Maritime, a company providing navigation management and on board crew training to superyachts. An author of numerous safety related maritime articles he can regularly be found pushing Flag States to enhance policy and procedures.

Command qualified, Steve is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation, an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute and has been awarded Chartered Master Mariner status. Sitting on the Education and Training committee of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners and an active member of the International Hydrographic Office Crowd Source Bathymetry working group, he strives to enhance standards from both a crew and regulatory perspective.

André Stegmann

Senior Sales Manager, Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven GmbH

Following a family tradition, André Stegmann joined Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven GmbH in 1987 as an apprentice pipe fitter. After working in the production team for some years and after completing parallel technical and business school studies, he joined the Lloyd Werft project department in 1999. After initially serving within that department as a project estimator, Stegmann then became a project manager and later, senior project manager. For the past four years he has served as the shipyard's senior sales manager for yacht building and refits.

During his career he has monitored and supervised new building projects including Norwegian Sun, Pride of America and MY Luna as well as refit projects such as the re-engining of the MS Artania – to name but a few. The MY Luna project took Stegmann into the world of megayachts, where he has since developed ties for Lloyd Werft with the major stakeholder in this sector.

For more than 160 years, the name of Lloyd Werft has been associated with building and converting unique ships and with a shipbuilding tradition that has spanned many generations of the same families.

Vasco Buonpensiere

Co-founder, Cantiere delle Marche

A keen sailor all his life, Vasco Buonpensiere has always been a yachting fan, who left his career as a lawyer to follow his greatest passion. His first job working in the industry was at Waterman Exclusive Yacht Services in Saint-Tropez, where he worked as a broker. During his brokerage years, he fell in love with steel and aluminium displacement yachts and he helped launch a series of pocket explorer single engine vessels called Naumachos, built at Cantiere Navale di Pesaro, owned by Ennio Cecchini and his family. Despite having barely any marketing in place, six Naumachos were sold and this was in an era when explorer yachts were still a trend to be discovered. In a way, Vasco and Ennio were in fact pioneers of that market.

The brokerage arena wasn’t fulfilling Vasco’s needs and ambitions though, and as soon as a shipyard called him to become sales manager, he accepted their offer and started channelling his talent and energy into a more structured working environment: his first job in a shipyard was in the sales office at CRN-Ferretti Group. After a few months, he became Sales and Marketing Director of both CRN and Custom Line.

He left CRN after a very successful six years and together with Ennio Cecchini, who sold CNP in 2007, he co-founded Cantiere delle Marche in order to further develop the explorer yacht idea, which had been so successful a few years before with the Naumachos range. CdM has quickly become the undisputed market leader in the explorer yacht segment, and only five years after inception it was already representing 60 per cent of its relevant niche market. Today, after 10 years, CdM still maintains leadership in its segment and it is considered a key reference shipyard for anyone looking for an explorer vessel between 25 and 45 metres.

Vasco has also been member of the board at the International Superyacht Society and has been a key speaker at many conferences around the world.

Sacha Williams

Director of Charter Marketing, Camper & Nicholsons

Sacha Williams is the Director of Charter Marketing for the original yachting company, Camper & Nicholsons. With 12 offices worldwide and yachts cruising all corners of the globe, Sacha and her expert team provide the finest yachting experiences imaginable and are passionate about helping clients enjoy yachting off the beaten track.

Managing over 65 charter yachts cruising between Papua to Antarctica and having promoted some of the most successful explorer charter yachts in recent years such as MY Legend, SY Lamima, SY Imagine and the Aqua fleet, what excites Sacha even more than the beautiful yachts themselves is where they can take you.

'Within the highly competitive luxury travel market, what yachting can bring to our clients above all else is a real sense of adventure, a true connection with the sea, the elements, the land and its people, the opportunity to enjoy the world from a different angle and experience something truly rare.'

Federico Lantero

Product Marketing & Communication Director, Azimut Benetti

With a passion for yachts and a deep knowledge of the company, Federico Lantero has been working in the Azimut-Benetti Group for over 20 years, covering different roles in strategic marketing and brand management. Supported by a skilled team, he is currently managing the core product marketing & communication functions for both Azimut and Benetti brands. As a member of the Product Committee - headed by Vice President Giovanna Vitelli -  he is brand ambassador and product spokesperson.

Tim Soper

Founding Partner & Expedition Leader, EYOS Expeditions

EYOS co-founder Tim Soper has spent nearly three decades exploring the world’s wildest places by sea and is an expert at planning and managing superyacht expeditions.

Growing up sailing the Devon coast of Southwest England he developed a passion for the ocean, which led to a degree in marine biology and oceanography.

As a professional diver, guide and expedition leader, he has voyaged throughout the Polar Regions and tropics, gaining a comprehensive knowledge of extraordinary cruising destinations worldwide. In 2017, 2018, 2019 and again in 2020, Tim was selected by Conde Nast Traveler as one of their Top Travel Specialists, a testament to his unsurpassed expertise of expedition geographies and challenging logistics.

He has managed some of the most extreme superyacht expeditions ever, guiding clients to the most inaccessible and beautiful locations for remarkable experiences. These include the voyage of Arctic Pto Antarctica’s Ross Sea, which set a record for the furthest south reached by any vessel, numerous voyages through the Northwest Passage and skiing expeditions to Antarctica and Greenland. In the tropics he has guided expeditions to dive some of the most remote oceanic islands never before visited by superyachts.

With his background in marine science, Tim is always keen to explore, pioneering new regions and even discovering a previously unknown emperor penguin colony in Antarctica. He has guided dedicated research expeditions as well as superyacht voyages with scientists aboard, allowing owners and their guests to share the excitement of making new discoveries.

His specialist knowledge of expedition operations led to playing a key role in developing protocols for yachts visiting wilderness areas, including Antarctica with IAATO, and consulting on vessel design. EYOS is proud to be design partner for the Damen Yachting SeaXplorer range.

Frédéric Jousset

CEO/Co-Founder, WEBHELP Group

After graduating from HEC Paris, of which he is President of the alumni network and working at both L’Oréal and Bain&Company, Frédéric Jousset co-founded Webhelp in 2000, a global business and leader in customer experience & outsourcing services industry with over 50,000 people working in 49 countries.

A French entrepreneur and philanthropist, Frédéric Jousset has long been involved in the cultural world. Owner of Hotel du Relais de Chambord and Beaux Arts Magazine, he was also appointed Administrator of the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs, Administrator of the Amis du Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris as well as Grand Patron of the Louvre.

With a true passion for sports, Frédéric climbed Mount Everest in 2019, frequently races cars as well as a TF35, a 35-foot catamaran with “T” shaped foils.

In December 2019, Frédéric Jousset created the ART EXPLORA fund to finance actions aimed at reducing the cultural divide in Europe and supporting artistic creation. He launched the annual ART EXPLORA prize endowed with €150,000 in collaboration with the Académie des Beaux Arts to reward the most innovative European museums in their search for new audiences.

Craig Barnett

Director of Sales & Marketing, Triton Submarines

Working in yachting media for the last two decades, Craig’s role in journalism and editorial content generation has led him from his native Wales, through extended stints living in the Middle East and Florida, to joining the Triton team in Barcelona. Just one dive in a Triton submersible off the Bahamas was all it took to convince him that the team and product are where his passion and professional future lies.

From personal watercraft through to megayachts, and as the founding Editor in Chief of INVICTUS Magazine, Craig has acquired a wide-aspect view of the leisure marine sector, from concept and design, through construction, operation, the yachting lifestyle and interaction with yacht owners, equipping him to contribute to the development of Triton’s communication, global visibility and the generation of sales.

Victor Vescovo

Creator, Sponsor & Sub Pilot, The Five Deeps Expedition

Victor is the first person to ever explore the deepest points in all five of the world’s oceans. This is truly ground-breaking—more people have walked on the surface of the moon than have been to the bottom of even a single ocean.

Victor Vescovo leads a fascinating life. Currently the co-founder of Insight Equity, Victor has held many high-profile positions in the finance industry and holds degrees from Harvard, MIT, and Stanford—but he also served 20 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer, retiring in 2013 as a Commander (O-5). His principal duties involved operational targeting (Iraq, Kosovo, and Afghanistan theatres) and after 9/11 he was deployed to support counter-terrorism efforts overseas.

In 2017, Victor became the 12th American to complete the “Explorer’s Grand Slam” which requires climbing the highest peak on all seven of the world’s continents including Mount Everest and skiing at least 100 kilometres to both the North and South Poles.

In 2019, he made the deepest submarine dive in history in the Pacific’s Mariana Trench, was the first person to do it multiple times, and in August became the first person to visit “The Five Deeps”— the deepest points in all five of the world’s oceans. Victor was also the first person to dive the second- and third-deepest points on the ocean’s floor, the Sirena and Horizon Deeps, and also made the first solo dive to the Titanic. He is also rated as a multi-engine jet, helicopter, and submersible test pilot.

Roxane Ducruet

Sales and Rental, Superyacht Tenders & Toys

Roxane Ducruet joined the Superyacht Tenders and Toys team at the end of 2018 and is in charge of the sales and rental division. Growing up and living in Monaco, it was obvious that she should remain based in her hometown to develop the business and in April 2019 Roxane launched the tender and toy rental service.

Roxane meets regularly with captains and crew to give them support and assist with their tenders, toys and deck equipment enquiries. Roxane also follows new build projects and has close partnerships with brokerage houses, agencies and shipyards.

Roxane loves to travel, for work and leisure, and when she has spare time her hobbies include running, Pilates and boxing, hiking in the surrounding mountains, watersports, and skiing. Aside from sporting activities, Roxane spends her free time creating art as well as stage and lighting designs for contemporary ballet and theatre.

Rose Damen

Managing Director, Damen Yachting

Rose is Managing Director at Damen Yachting, the luxury yacht builder behind Amels, SeaXplorer, Yacht Support and refits. She is a third-generation family shareholder of the Damen Shipyards Group. Before joining Damen fulltime in 2014, Rose earned an MBA from INSEAD with a focus on entrepreneurial management. This followed five years in fund management at a London-based institutional investor. In her spare time Rose enjoys outdoor sports including sailing and kite surfing as well as performing arts.

Rob Luijendijk

Director Sales, Damen Yachting

Rob is Director Sales at luxury yacht builder Damen Yachting. Since joining in 1999, he has spearheaded the rapid growth behind Amels, SeaXplorer and Yacht Support. With a fleet of more than 80 yachts sold, Damen Yachting is widely appreciated for top quality, reliability and expertise at its international yards. Rob leads the team of sales managers at Damen Yachting’s head office in the Netherlands as well as the Product Development department of designers and naval architects. Rob is an avid runner and a recent road cycling devotee.

Stefano Feltrin

CEO, La Datcha - Tinkoff Collection

Stefano Feltrin is the CEO of La Datcha - Tinkoff Collection, an ultra-luxury hospitality firm that offers ultimate luxury and experiences in some of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Stefano is a business lawyer by education with a Master of Laws degree from the University of San Diego, and has a passion for sport and sailing. He was part of the management of two teams in two America’s Cup series and one team in the Volvo Ocean Race. Stefano has competitively sailed various classes of yachts since he was 11 years old and learnt his basics with the Optimist fleet in Italy. 

After years in one of the largest international legal firms, Stefano developed his managerial skills in professional cycling where he started up and managed several top level teams over more than a decade. He now leads the Tinkoff Collection with a passionate group of professionals and oversees new additions to the collections. He has acted as owner representative throughout the whole project of the La Datcha Expedition Yacht 77, working with the best helicopter pilots, ski and mountain guides, divers, sailors, naval architects and interior designers.