“In 2003,” begins Captain Mark Drewelow, “I started a port agency in San Diego called C2C. We were always looking for a way to be corporately responsible and to give back. We couldn’t find anything suitable, but one day I realised that all these big yachts that we work with are potentially a pipeline to move things. We just had to verify the places that actually need needed help and we could start by having the yachts move humanitarian aid around, and that’s what we started doing in 2006.” From this, YachtAid Global (YAG) was born.
Crew on board Lady Lola
Drewelow – a yacht captain who began his career in 1984 – was able to draw on both his two decades of direct yacht industry experience and his growing network of yacht agent contacts around the world to put his plans into action. Set up alongside C2C as a non-profit organisation, YAG runs with no office and no dedicated staff, yet is having a growing impact on communities and disaster areas around the world.
“We’re very methodical with how we do things,” Drewelow explains. “There’s a very exacting standard in the superyacht industry, and any projects that we approach a yacht with have to be done to the same standard they are used to.” The first stage was to study the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which cover major issues affecting the planet, then extract particular points that YAG could take action on. “The easiest thing for us to focus on was school supplies,” Drewelow continues, “so we started out basically moving school supplies to isolated communities that needed help.”
Tapping into C2C’s extensive network of agents and contacts meant that Drewelow could extend YAG’s reach globally, by reverse engineering each project from the beneficiary school back to matching up a yacht that was heading to that location. “The very first boat we worked with was the 44.7m ketch Timoneer. We put aid on board in San Diego, and originally they were heading to Costa Rica but then changed their plans, so we diverted them to a place called Puerto del Sol in Nicaragua and discharged the aid there instead. It all worked out really well; since then, we have done dozens of humanitarian humanitarian-aid deliveries all over the world with different yachts.”
The full version of this article appears in issue 22 of The Superyacht Owner, out now. If you would like to know more about YAG or to get involved, visit YAG’s website at www.yachtaidglobal.org, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or email Mark Drewelow directly at Mark@c2conline.net.