UK, London. This year, the team behind SuperyachtDESIGN Week donated a VIP, three-day ticket to the ISS Regatta as a raffle prize. The winner, Abigail Salsbury, is a chief-stewardess moving into the design world. SuperyachtDesign speaks to her about her experiences onboard and her future as a designer. 

Abigail Salsbury has spent years on the water, from sailing off the east coast of England as a child, to racing with the University of Manchester sailing team. It seemed natural to then complete a day skipper’s ticket, move to Cowes and embark on a career within the superyacht industry: “It really appealed to me, so I took a stewardess and cookery course… and gained my first job as 2nd stewardess on a 45m motor yacht.” Spending the next few years on a range of yachts, including a new build Ketch sailing yacht, Salsbury is now embarking on a career in the design world.

Speaking candidly on the design changes most urgently needed on superyachts, Salsbury admits the historical tension between crew and designers, “While both designers and crew are working for the owner and trying to achieve the same goal of creating and maintaining a beautiful yacht, the nature of the crew’s job will always be at odds with the design.” Salsbury’s perspective on yacht design stems from her extensive experience below deck but understands that crew needs are often overlooked in favour of an owner’s personal taste, “Functionality of a yacht is important to the everyday running of the vessel [however] from a designer’s point of view, fulfilling the owner’s wishes for the design, look and feel of the space is of paramount importance.”

Photo credit: Abigail Salsbury

Salsbury’s feels her move into the design world is a combination of her experience and passions, with knowledge of both sides of the aisle. ‘I am driven by a want to be creative. I want to create amazing and beautiful interiors that fit around the lives of those using the space.” Acknowledging this unique position, Salsbury admits “I feel I am well suited to gauging this precarious balance, having lived in some striking and luxurious spaces but also having to maintain, work and live in them, surely the strongest test of any design work.”

When pressed for what design changes could most enhance crew efficiency, Salsbury accepts that the compromise between design and crew needs is not a simple one, “All of the design changes that would benefit crew would often come at sacrificing some element of design or the owner’s wishes. This is not a problem that has an easy solution. It is the crew’s job to serve the owner, and as such, the needs of the crew are always secondary to their needs and wants.”

Salsbury will be attending all three days of SuperyachtDESIGN Week, held at London’s design hub, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour from 23 - 25 June, “I’m very interested in the Meet the Designer talks, hearing from and gaining insight into people who are extremely experience and renowned in the industry will be invaluable to me.” To view the full SuperyachtDESIGN Week programme, click here.

Register for the event by clicking here or calling The Superyacht Group commercial team +44 (0)207 924 4004.

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