Pocket explorer yacht discussion at the BOAT International Explorer Yachts Summit 2023

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The highlights of the Explorer Yachts Summit 2023

20 November 2023 • Written by Hannah Rankine

The prestigious Yacht Club de Monaco set the stage for the BOAT International Explorer Yachts Summit 2023, which took place on 9th November. The event offered a panoramic view of the evolving explorer yacht market and the untamed frontiers of yachting exploration.

The summit was held in association with Damen Yachting and presented in collaboration with exploreryachts.com, alongside premium partners Cantiere delle Marche, EYOS and Triton Submersibles.

Triton Submersibles model

Market insights: Gabrielle Lazaridis

Gabrielle Lazaridis

BOAT International's business writer, Gabrielle Lazaridis, kicked off the summit with a compelling analysis of the explorer market backed up by BOATPro statistics. Attendees gained valuable insights into the sector's expansive growth, the key players shaping its trajectory and the demographics of those purchasing explorer yachts.

The keynote speaker: Mike Horn

Mike Horn

The summit reached new heights with keynote speaker Mike Horn. The legendary South African-born explorer shared awe-inspiring tales from his Pole2Pole expedition, including the first-ever full crossing of the Arctic Ocean via the North Pole. His current mission, ‘What's Left?’, involves a four-year circumnavigation on his 32-metre sailing yacht, Pangaea.

The discussion: Fly' Fleet

Captain Mike Gregory and Genevieve Smithers

Captain Mike Gregory and Genevieve Smithers, leaders of Fly' Fleet, explored the transformative power of prioritising human growth and development within the yachting industry. They highlighted the positive impact on communities visited by yachts operating in remote regions worldwide.

The discussion: The potential of the pocket explorer

A riveting discussion unfolded as owners Steve Rigby, Bob Giles and Maria Jose Sbarbi Osuna, in conversation with BOAT International’s Stewart Campbell, shared their adventures, challenging the notion that bigger is always better. They argued that one does not need an 80-metre yacht to explore the limits of the world.

The discussion: What could possibly go wrong?

Caroline White, Michelle Van der Merwe, Captain Maria Grazia Franco and Tomas Alexa

Experts Michelle Van der Merwe, Captain Maria Grazia Franco and Tomas Alexa discussed disaster preparedness at sea. From superyacht insurance to security measures, the panel, in conversation with BOAT International’s Caroline White, provided insights on tackling challenges during explorer yacht voyages.

The discussion: How explorer yachts can support scientific research

Dr. Paris Stefanoudis

Renowned marine biologist Dr. Paris Stefanoudis and Tim Soper of EYOS shed light on how explorer yachts play a pivotal role in supporting vital scientific research. The Yachts For Science initiative facilitates collaboration between yacht owners and marine scientists.

The discussion: How to get the best crew for global voyages

Gabrielle Lazaridis, Captain Andriy Bratash, Tracey Santrian and Captain Taigh MacManus

Captains Andriy Bratash and Taigh MacManus, along with Tracey Santrian of BZ Maritime Leadership, shared their insights on building the best crew for global voyages. Gabrielle Lazaridis facilitated a discussion on the importance of assembling a team with diverse expertise.

The discussion: The importance of listening to the ocean

Michel André

Professor Michel André from The Sense of Silence Foundation delved into environmental concerns, advocating for a conciliatory approach. He discussed ways to address biodiversity conservation and regeneration while respecting economic and societal challenges.

The discussion: The Explorers Club

Lucy Dunn and Richard Wiese

American explorer and scientist Richard Wiese, president of The Explorers Club, shared his adventure highlights and discussed the meaning of exploration in today's context. Lucy Dunn from BOAT International guided the insightful conversation.

The discussion: A lifetime of adventure

Stewart Campbell, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza and Markus Reymann

Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza and Markus Reymann, owners of the 37-metre Dardanella, offered a glimpse into their adventurous life on board, sharing the unique experiences that owning an explorer yacht brings.

The Sketching Challenge

Vincenza Cristiana Cassese, Filippo Corradi, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Benedek Kallai, Andrés Otano and guest
Vincenza Cristiana Cassese and Filippo Corradi

The summit introduced a unique Sketching Challenge where two teams collaborated to create an explorer yacht concept, guided by experienced designers and overseen by Enrique Tintore from Damen Yachting.

The SeaXplorer Challenge

The Damen Yachting team

Damen Yachting conducted an exclusive digital SeaXplorer Challenge for summit attendees. Participants embarked on a virtual global journey, tracking the SeaXplorer superyachts and answering questions throughout the expedition. Those with the most correct answers won a selection of special prizes.

The guests

Dr. Paris Stefanoudis (far left), Rosie-O'Donnell (far right) and guests
Rosie Watson, Tim Soper, Ben Lyons, Julia Zaltzman and Roxanne Hughes

The Explorer Yachts Summit welcomed a diverse array of industry professionals, including builders, brokers, owners and designers. A networking drinks session provided the perfect setting for forging meaningful connections within the dynamic explorer yachts sector.

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