A Day in the Life of…

Commercial Manager
Shipyard Supply Co.

My first taste of the superyacht industry was working as a deckhand on board an 83ft motor yacht. Like many others, I moved down to the south of France to dock walk and ultimately land a job as a deckie. My dockwalking persistence finally paid off when I was offered the deckhand job on MY Felixia, a Ferretti 830.

Since those early days in the superyacht industry I have worked on some beautiful yachts, travelled to places that most people only get to read about and now live with my wife and 18-month-old daughter.

Having worked for a yacht broker and as a project manager for Oyster Yachts, I now head up Shipyard SupplyCo (SSCo), a brand-new company specialising in the design, manufacture and supply of deck equipment to new builds and it certainly doesn’t conform to 9-5, but it does have its perks.

My day begins at 0630 when my human alarm clock starts chatting to herself at the other end of the landing. There’s really no need to set an alarm, my daughter has built-in Swiss timing. Sitting down as a family for breakfast is important to us, so even though it’s pretty chaotic we start each day by eating together. My wife and I both work in the marine sector, so we often find ourselves talking about the latest industry news whilst sat at the kitchen table. I have time for a quick check of my inbox after breakfast to see what has come in overnight and then it’s off to the office. I drive from our home in a village on the east coast in Suffolk to the office. The 50-minute commute past picturesque fields and river estuaries affords me the time to think about the day ahead.

I arrive at the office at 0830 and after a cup of tea and a chat with the team I get straight into the emails.

Once the urgent emails have been taken care of, I get the team together to discuss the upcoming trade show we’re attending. This will be the first one the company has attended so we’re all keen to get the look and feel just right. It’s still early days, so our brand identity is evolving with each new piece of activity. We are a niche company, so it’s important that we communicate our USPs clearly and concisely from the start.

We’re lucky to have workshops and warehousing on site and I like to regularly go and talk to the production team, which is something I have carried over from my days as a project manager at Oyster. Communication with control and meeting client expectations. Currently, our tender mooring whips are seeing strong sales, so I take the time to go and see how the manufacturing of our latest batch is progressing.

By title, I’m the commercial manager at SSCo, but the reality of a small company means that I’m involved in everything regardless of whether it’s liaising with clients, designers and fabricators or overseeing the finances and ordering stationary. It has to be that way, especially in the early days, to make sure we stay focused and on track. I tell myself that even Richard Branson did it all once upon a time!

At 1300 I leave the office for a lunch meeting with the company’s directors, Josh and Claire Richardson, at a local pub called the Butt and Oyster. It’s on the river, serves great food and most importantly it’s only five minutes from the office. The water might not be azure blue, but it makes for a picturesque backdrop and a peaceful setting. It’s a good opportunity to catch up on how things are going,not just with SSCo, but also Josh and Claire’s other successful company, Superyacht Tenders and Toys (SYTT). Having already built up an established and thriving business, their insight is invaluable. They always take the time to engage with the progress and challenges within SSCo and we regularly take time away from the office to touch base. SYTT focuses on the project management and third-party supply of tenders and toys and SSco manufactures associated deck and ancillary equipment, so the two businesses are closely aligned and there is plenty of crossover. The afternoon proves to be no exception as Josh and I excuse ourselves after lunch to go and test an e-foil board that has just landed in the SYTT office. We drive five minutes down the road where we launch the board and spend the next hour teaching ourselves to foil. On the way back to the office, adrenaline fuelled and salty, I drop in on our aluminium fabricators to check on the set of chocks we have in production for a client’s Ski Nautique wake surf boat.

Then it’s back to the office and back to reality. Tonight, I’m flying out to the Netherlands ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with the chief mate of a 100m+ yacht in build at Oceanco. We are supplying the transom fenders and aft step arrangement and we need to drill down on the details to make sure everything is just how the owners envisage it. I prepare the templating kit and make sure I have everything required to accurately template the yacht’s transom and ensure the fenders will fit perfectly. I’m sure most heads of companies have someone to do templating for them, but we’re a new and growing business and I want to look future employees in the eye when I ask them to do something, knowing that I’ve done everything I ask of them myself.