As Eddie Jordan knows from sweet experience, there’s something about being on a boat that makes celebrities relax. Then one thing leads to another…
I've been reminiscing about Ireland's Six Nations grand slam on St Patrick’s Day recently. I flew out to the Caribbean with the golfer and former Europe Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and my wife Marie, and I made sure the crew of Lush had set the boat up so we could watch the game. It was also a chance to celebrate Marie’s 60th birthday (she’ll kill me for mentioning her age. But I’m turning 70 this year, so she’s got nothing to worry about!).
Anyway, it all reminded me of one of my most memorable moments on board. It was a few years ago in Monaco and we were celebrating Marie’s birthday on my Sunseeker Blush (now Arados). McGinley had just won the Ryder Cup so we invited him and his wife Ali to stay on the boat. Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll was on board as well with his wife Amy. We were having a little drinks party and then suddenly the door opens and Prince Albert walks in unannounced carrying a gift for Marie, followed 15 minutes later by Bono, The Edge and Larry Mullen. The last member of U2, Adam Clayton, then messaged us saying he was in Sass Cafe so we all piled down there. For one night, the Irish took over. It was just one of those spontaneous things.
I’ve had a few moments like that in my life. I remember another time I was cruising off Bequia in the Grenadines when I spotted a boat called Tugatsu. I knew it was owned by Mansour Ojjeh, who was joint owner of McLaren with Ron Dennis at the time.
So we cruised up to the boat and it was all very quiet and then suddenly there was this avalanche of water bombs raining down on us. People were throwing them from all over the boat. Mansour is a real prankster, but you know who was joining in? Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. So these Hollywood legends were pasting us with water bombs. We went over to the yacht to have a drink and had a great time.
When celebrities are in that environment, they just relax – they know they’re not going to be hounded for selfies. But it’s not the selfie itself that’s frustrating, it’s that people never seem to have the camera function ready. So you end up standing there, gurning like an idiot while this person fiddles with their phone.
It’s amazing watching these mega stars get on a boat. You see them visibly de-stress. I always say to people on my boats, even VIPs: “Leave your ego on the quayside. This is a free and easy boat. Speech will not be recorded – do as you would normally among your best mates and enjoy the moment.” They like that because their biggest fear is being recorded and having some off-the-cuff or unguarded comment being plastered all over the internet.
One of the biggest places for superyachts and celebrities to mix is the Cannes Film Festival. I’ve done it a few times and it’s not really my scene. A good friend of mine is Liam Cunningham, who’s in Game of Thrones. He’s a Dublin boy and we love him. It can be fun if a couple of the Hollywood Celts get together. Cillian Murphy, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are all so normal and natural.
Not long ago this guy came up to me and asked for a selfie and I recognised him as Irish actor Jamie Dornan, he of Fifty Shades fame. To be honest, I think he was taking the piss, but even so, how cool is that?