On Monday 21 January, it was announced that Michael Koppstein, 65, a long-serving and much-loved member of the yachting fraternity, had passed away.

After graduating in Engineering Design and Construction at the Institute of Technology in his native Australia, Michael drew upon both his passion and his academic training to forge a lifelong career in the yachting industry.

As a professional sailor, Michael logged some 200,000 nautical miles, which included many offshore regattas and culminated in an extensive four-year circumnavigation whilst working as the captain on board 31m Whirlwhind XII.

Michael served a brief tenure with Ron Holland Design before accepting an invitation from Wolter and Alice Huisman in 1992 to become the Royal Huisman shipyard’s Technical and Commercial Representative in the USA. Michael worked at Huisman for some 25 years, ending his career as its representative in the US, before moving to Lürssen in 2017 as the German yard’s United States Promoter.

On joining Lürssen, Michael commented, “For me this represents a carpe diem moment, an opportunity to seize the day and embrace a new set of challenges,” an attitude he adopted for everything he turned his hand to.

“Mike Koppstein was a friend who was always charming and positive about life, he loved yachting with a passion and, no matter where our paths crossed, always had time for a good conversation. A true yachtsman who will be missed by so many. Rest in peace Mike,” eulogises Martin Redmayne, Chairman of The Superyacht Group.

“Mike and I had been colleagues and friends for over 35 years from our first meeting at Huisman, when he was captain of Whirlwhind with his wife Cathy and I was doing the decoration of the interior with Jon Bannenberg. We went on to collaborate on many more Huisman yachts when he became US sales manager. He achieved a superb track record with many of the leading American sailors and industrialists, building iconic yachts at Royal Huisman, with Wolter and his family. I will miss a great friend, his many stories and his happy laughter,” comments Andrew Winch of the eponymous design studio.

Our thoughts are with Michael’s wife Cathy, his son Justin and all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.


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