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My life in boats: Amanda Wakeley, fashion designer and keen sailor

11 June 2018• Written by Zoe Dickens

In her day job at the helm of her eponymous fashion house, Amanda Wakeley has dressed some of the most famous women in the world, including the Duchess of Cambridge and Angelina Jolie. On her time off, however, Wakeley reveals she likes to get hands-on racing the 27.4 metre Concordia sailing yacht Savannah, which belongs to her partner Hugh Morrison_. As she takes a class win during her debut at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, we speak to Wakeley about what makes her time on board so precious…_

The first thing I do when I step on board is rejoice! I love being afloat and, whether we’re on a motor or sailing boat, feel so lucky when the company, the location and the conditions are just right.

Everywhere you sail is different, and we have yet to visit some of the most beautiful places in the world, but in Europe we are always drawn to Greece. I have a hankering to sail in the South Pacific.

Fashion designer Amanda Wakeley

We love both racing and relaxing on board but they are the complete opposites. Hugh's sailing yacht Savannah is fast and he inspires great teamwork during races but we still have a lot of fun with good banter. However, cruising into a deserted bay with crystal clear water is one of the ultimate treats.

We just had a great time at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, where we came first in class B, and we always race in the Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. It’s at Savannah’s home port and is always huge fun with a great crew and very competitive racing. We were preparing to start racing in Les Voiles a few years ago in the bay of Saint Tropez and suddenly two pilot whales rose just by the boat. We had been swimming in that exact spot the day before and it was just magical. Cruising through the Corinth Canal during the night of a full moon is also something I’ll never forget.

Wakeley loves testing out Savannah on the regatta circuit

A dream day on board would look like this: waking up without an alarm, an early morning swim to the beach, breakfast on deck, catch up on news and emails, sail to a late lunch at one of our favourite restaurants dotted around the Med, sleep, evening watersports/skiing, drinks/dinner and dancing under the stars.

I would never go on holiday without a pair of fins as I love to take a really long swim whenever possible. Good sunscreen – generally Institut Esthederm – is also essential as you cannot help but be in the sun when on board and it gives me a great sense of well-being but I always also pack a cosy cashmere sweater for the occasional chilly morning or evening.

My top piece of yachting fashion advice is to remember you will be bare foot so won’t have the benefit of heel elevation - but everyone is in the same situation and the feeling of the deck under your feet always says “holiday”. It’s the best feeling!

Wakeley often takes relaxing breaks on board in Greece

We love entertaining on board and my good friend Dame Ellen MacArthur is a dream guest. She has achieved so much on the water and is also so knowledgeable and passionate about the ocean. It is fascinating to listen to her talk about her foundation and how industry can reinvent itself in the circular economy.

Of course, it’s as important to be a good host as well as a good guest on board. Clear lines of command, a plan, attention to detail and the ability to hide all of this in orchestrating the flow of the day are key when entertaining on a yacht.


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