Attended by a record 105 captains from 19 different countries, the 17th edition of Yachtmaster followed on from the Asian event in Hong Kong last November. The three-day get together took place from 1-3 February in Montecatini Terme in Tuscany, not far from Benetti’s Livorno facility.

In his opening address, Alessandro Gallifuoco (Benetti quality & after sales manager) pointed out that the 17th edition happily coincided with the 17th year that the group has been at the top of the global order book. Toby Walker, area sales manager at Benetti, confirmed that current orders runs well into 2019 and added a personal thanks to the captains present:

“The industry, our shipyards, and the business would not develop if we didn’t have happy clients. We have one of the best levels of repeat business across the industry and that is largely because our owners have such a wonderful time on board. So thank you for looking after them so well.”

Apart from providing an opportunity for wining, dining, networking and team building, the Yachtmaster meetings also aim to bring captains up to date with the latest industry developments. To this end, there were four workshops panelled by various experts that covered the following topics:


Getting the best out of your crew

Moderated by Karen Passman (Impact Crew) with panellists Alessandro D’Angelo (Crew Network) and captain Tom Jones (90m Lionheart), this session looked at the challenges facing those responsible for leading, managing and training crew today. The discussion revealed that it is often not what crew are doing that is the issue, but how, and looked at ways to improve performance in line with expectations.

Handling the media

The larger the yacht, the more (usually negative) attention it attracts from the mainstream media. What should a yacht captain do if the media contacts him about an accident or when something goes wrong? How should he respond and is there expert advice available? This interactive session saw Patrick Adamson and Allyson Cover of MTI Network quizzing captains in a ‘reconstructed’ emergency scenario. Hildegunn Nilssen (Norwegian Hull Club), along with with Katie Underwood and Maxim Bregeon from Fraser Yachts, were also on hand to offer insight.

Piracy, privacy & security

Ensuring privacy and security for owners and guests is an increasingly complex problem that goes beyond the dangers associated with cruising in regions of the globe known to be at risk from piracy. Even in the Mediterranean and Adriatic, unseaworthy boats carrying migrants may require assistance from a passing yacht. Advances in onboard communication technology further mean that superyachts are prone to cyber-attacks, while the proliferation of drones also presents a security threat. Morten Jacobsen (Norwegian Hull Club) moderated the session, helped by former captain and security expert Simon Cox and Fiorenzo Spadini from RINA.

Charter options & tax update

Arguably the ‘driest’ topic, this session nonetheless dealt with issues that concern every commercial yacht captain and triggered the most feedback. Daniela De Marco (Fraser Yachts), Alexander Von Stein (Marshall Islands Maritime Administration) and Christopher Pousse (EasyTax) looked at the latest developments regarding conditions for commercial yachts seeking VAT exemption, and new registration options allowing for occasional charter, with advantages for owners of private yachts.

The 2017 US edition of Yachtmaster will take place in Florida in May (dates and location to be confirmed). 

Photos by Thierry Ameller


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