>> CAPTAIN’S Q&A: LOUIS RICH OF MALTESE FALCON: Exclusive Interview With Louis Rich, Captain Of The Iconic 88-Metre Maltese Falcon p.06

>> ARMEL LE CLEAC’H WINS THE 8TH VENDÉE GLOBE: An exclusive interview with the winner of the winner of the VendéeGlobe p.40

>> ALEX THOMPSON’S DIARY IN HIS INCREDIBLE VENDÉE GLOBE JOURNEY: Alex Thomson chronicles his remarkable attempt for sailing history p.42

>> MARITIME SAFETY CULTURE: AN INTERVIEW WITH CAPTAIN JOHN WRIGHT: Murray Goldberg interviews marine safety expert Captain John Wright p.18



Newspaper Post



Awards 2017

Design, Innovation & Excellence

In Collaboration with:




Margaret Brincat M: 9940 6743 E:

Issue 5 >> 02 >> 03


issuE 5




Special Feature: Vendee Globe


Cover Story

Captain’s Q&A: Louis Rich of Maltese Falcon

MAINSAIL exclusive interview with Louis Rich, Captain of the iconic 88-metre Maltese Falcon

The Vendee Globe

We focus on Alex Thomson’s new monohull singlehanded 24 hour

record during his Vendée Globe epic journey

Armel Le Ceac’h Wins Vendee Globe

Tribute to The eighth Vendee Globe race winner, which began November 6 from Les Sables

d’Olonn, and finished after after 74 days

The Everest of the Sea

We track the various sea-corridors of the most perilious and

breathtaking sailing race ever: Vendée Globe

Armel Le Cleac’h Wins the 8thVendée Globe

An exclusive interview with the 39-year-old Frenchman, following his arrival after being

escorted by dozens of boats waiting to welcome their hero before the line

Alex Thompson’s Diary in his Incredible Vendée Globe Journey:

“A terrible, terrible day. I awoke to a loud bang. There are dark times ahead.”

A unique glimpse with Alex Thomson, as he chronicles his remarkable attempt for sailing history in the

Vendee Globe





14 Sail Away: In Conversation with

Milena Modigliani Perini of Perini Navi

Claire Wrathall catches up with Fabio Perini’s wife to talk

beautiful boats, secret weapons and the buzz of working on

the frontline...

18 Maritime Safety Culture: An

Interview with Captain John Wright

Murray Goldberg, founder and President of Marine Learning

Systems, interviews marine safety expert Captain John


24 A Quality Achievement that

Crowns 4-Years Development Project

Absolute 50FLY” crowned as the best European motoryachts

of 2017 during Dusseldorf Boat Show 2017

26 America’s Cup 12 metre Freedom

Returns to Newport

A follow-up on the 12 Metre yacht Freedom (US-30), which

has been bought by Charles A. Robertson

30 Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta

A Superb feature about the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta,

which will open the Mediterranean superyacht calendar on

May 30 - June 3, 2017

32 Absolute Yachts Receive the Status

of CRIBIS Prime Company

A double-page bill regarding Absolut Yachts CRIBIS

achievement: the recognition of maximum commercial


Quote of the Month

“When a great adventure is launched with a

powerful thrust, fatigue in the muscles and doubts

in the mind are swept away by a fullness that

moves life along like a breath from the depths of

the soul.” - Bernard Moitessier

MAINSAIL is distributed to all major banks, car hire, port authorities, maritime agencies,

financial and maritime law companies, foreign diplomatic representations, transport and

logistics agencies, shipping agents, ship and yacht registration, ship repair and suppliers,

including Creek Developments Ltd, Grand Harbour Marina, Harbour Marina, Kalkara Boat

Yard, La Valletta Club, Malta Maritime Authority, Malta International Airport, Manoel Island,

Mgarr Marina Gozo, Msida & Ta’ Xbiex Waterfront, Passenger Terminals, Portomaso, Valetta

Waterfront, and four/five star hotels.

All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by copyright may be reproduced or copied

and reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited without written permission of the

publisher. All content material available on this publication is duly protected by Maltese and

International Law. No person, organisation, other publisher or online web content manager

should rely, or on any way act upon any part of the contents of this publication, whether that

information is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without first obtaining

the publisher’s consent. The opinions expressed in Mainsail are those of the authors or

contributors, and are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.

The latest addition to our family has been the launch of Malta

International Boats & Yachting Awards.

I am gaining a better understanding of why the boats and

yachting sector has never really taken off and flourished in

Malta, as it did in other areas in the Mediterranean. Because it

feels a bit like a pregnancy. Waiting for the baby to arrive, yet it

never does! The guys on the shop floor started to laugh when

I came up with new concepts and ideas, giving me looks and

stares as if I crash-landed from Mars! Perhaps the combination

of water (sport) and wine, because they apparently go well

together, and the rust of old age may have had its weight

and effect! Yet, they were the first to take up these ideas and

regurgitate as if seeming to metamorphose into an absurd,

or wildly irrational occurrence, which in itself suggests that

this story operates in a random, chaotic universe. The absurd

occurrence has a lead actor, waking up to discover he has turned into a giant insect navigating a giant

Marie Celeste, and since it’s so far beyond the boundaries of a natural happenings— it’s not just

unlikely to happen, it’s physically impossible- in the aftermath, the lead actor’s metamorphosis takes

on a supernatural significance.

Also notable is the fact that we never get to rationalise the lead actor’s transformation. It never implies,

for instance, that the lead actor’s change is the result of any particular cause, such as punishment for

some misdemeanour. On the contrary, by all evidence the lead actor has been a good son and brother,

yet there is no indication that the he deserves his fate. Rather, the story and all the members of the

shop floor family treat the event as a random occurrence, like catching an illness. All these elements

together give this story a distinct overtone of absurdity and suggest a universe that functions without

any governing system of order and justice. An allegory of the past, the present and perhaps the future!

I have many happy childhood memories of boats, yachts, naval vessels and aircraft carriers entering

the diminutive Kalkara Creek, as I lay either at my late grand mother’s porch, or on the pier where the

Admirality boats used to ferry the Rear Admiral of the British naval fleet in the Mediterranean, just

beneath Villa Portelli. It is at the same spot that I charter yachts which take me on weekend voyages

navigating around the Maltese Islands, and beyond! I will let you know how things turn out on my next

charter and where we have been. Just look out for “Captain Blood” this season. You will definitely see

me partying on board sometime in July/August. Its chartering life will begin from that point onwards.

I hope all the guests on board will treat it with as much love as I have and will have a lot of pleasure

on board.

Why are we chartering? It’s very simple, we have too little time to sail ourselves but would still like to

have our own boat. We reserve two to four weeks each year for ourselves and, for the rest of the time,

we are happy for it to cruise around with other boating and yachting enthusiasts. This is an easier way

for people to become familiar with sailing and check out whether it really is fun on the water, besides

adventuring to new places, such as the Aeolin Islands and visiting Vulcano, Panarea, Stromboli.

Of course, I have long known that it’s really great. But it would be good if I could persuade even more

people to sail with us. Preferably on an Absolut 50 Fly! But I don’t have to explain that to you either.

The yachts do that themselves. And so we have come full circle. Charter first – find out what it’s like

and then ….. join the Absolut Owners or “just” the large international Absolut family, being especially

featred on this edition!

I wish you all an enjoyable sailing season!

Publisher - MBR Publications Limited

Editor - Martin Vella

Front Cover Photo - Crew of Maltese Falcon

Sales Department - Margaret Brincat - Sales Director

Art & Design - MBR Design

Advertising - 9940 6743 / 9926 0163


Contributors - Mike Edwardson; Claire Wrathall; Murray Goldberg; Joshua Said; Martin Vella; Nick


Special Thanks - Yachts and Yachting; Vendée Globe; Absolut Yachts; Barbarossa Excursions; Azure;

Boat International Media; Fairline Yachts; Loro Piana, Media Pro International; The Telegraph; News

Scan; The Interview People; Wikipedia/MBR Publications; Malta Maritime Directory; Super Yacht World;

Avel & Men; Medcomms; BJ Marine; M&NA; Les Voiles des St Barth; Yachthub Group

Print Production - Printit

Offices - Highland Apartment - Level 1, Naxxar Road, Birkirkara, BKR 9042

Telephone - +356 2149 7814

Issue 5 >> 04 >> 05


Editor’s Note

Martin Vella

Interview of the month

Interview of the month > 06 >> 07

Luxury Brands

Design, Innovation

& Excellence


Leather Belts

Avel & Men, les hommes du vent!

Avel & Men offers a fine range of leather goods and accessories for the

lovers of the sea and regatta.

Xavier Broise, president and co-founder of Avel & Men, announced in the

press last October: "Our ambition is to be present in some forty countries

by the end of 2017". Thanks to the success of the brand’s launch and

following a warm welcome in the press, the Avel & Men crew is pursuing

its development strategy and announces its presence at the Maison et

Objet show. We will be present in hall 7 in the "scènes d’intérieur gallery"

section, which brings together the most exclusive and creative companies

at the show.

"We are pleased to offer a range of leather goods and luxury accessories,

while at the same time deepening our passion for Brittany and regatta. We

are pleased by the enthusiastic reaction of both the fashion community

and sailors."

At the show Avel & Men will present its initial range of products and the

latest additions. A few surprises and new prototypes will also be unveiled,

but still adhering to the trademarks of the brand: "an alliance of material,

technical rope and Italian leather as well as our exclusive isobaric card

lining" says Agnes Broise, co-founder of the company.

We look forward to seeing you from October 20 in Hall 7, stand F132,

and to presenting our concept to you. MS

Avel & Men shall be exclusively available and represented in Malta by MBR

Publications Ltd

Issue 5 >> 08


Watch accessories


02/06/2017 19:30




Margaret Brincat M: 9940 6743


World Oceans Day


Richard Branson's top tips for saving our oceans

by Richard Branson

To celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8, 2017, activist

and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson suggests ten things

everyone can do to help care for the oceans...

>> Eight million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every


>> It is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in

the ocean than fish

4. Take care of the beach

Tidy up after yourself and others, and join a global movement to keep beaches,

waterways and the ocean rubbish-free. Visit

Pollution from land-based sources is the primary cause of

coral degradation.

1. Reduce your carbon impact

Limit the damage to coral reefs and marine life caused by ocean acidification

from increased carbon dioxide emissions by reducing your carbon footprint.

Use public or cleaner transport, adopt energy-saving options at home, eat locally

produced organic food and cut down on meat and dairy. When you fly, offset

your carbon impact by investing in the protection of seagrass beds, which are

highly effective in capturing carbon. Visit

2. Get to know your seafood

To help conserve fish stocks so they can continue feeding us in the future,

download a sustainable seafood guide for your country and ask your fishmonger

questions. Discover which seafoods are commonly mislabelled and find out how

your supermarket ranks in seafood buying. Where possible, support your local

fishermen. Visit or

3. Reduce the plastic soup

Use fewer plastic products, recycle whenever possible, and say no to single-use

plastics, such as plastic bottles, bags and straws, to help reduce the amount of

plastic in the ocean. Support efforts to “ban the bead” and avoid products with

microbeads in them. Check out the National Resources Defense Council’s 10

ways to reduce your plastic use and move towards a plastic-free future by taking

the #OneLess pledge. Visit or

Eight million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year

5. Encourage businesses to turn ‘blue’

The ocean is everybody’s business so encourage your workplace/company to

become more ocean friendly. Visit

6. Look out for ecologically responsible products

Support efforts by fashion and beauty brands helping save the oceans, such as

by making stylish and sustainable outdoor furniture, sunglasses and any other

products from recycled ocean plastic.

Individuals and businesses can make a huge impact on the health of the


7. Get active politically

Demand that your government prioritises the conservation of marine life

nationally by protecting at least 30 per cent of the ocean as marine reserves

by 2030. Request that it also does this internationally by supporting a strong

new UN agreement – the Paris Agreement for the Ocean – in 2017 to protect

marine life on the high seas, which makes up nearly two-thirds of our oceans.


8. Learn all you can about the ocean

Join the conversation and sign up to Ocean Unite’s monthly newsletter,

The Navigator, to keep your finger on the pulse. Spread the word about the

importance of ocean protection and ask your local education authority to ensure

that learning about the seas is part of the curriculum.

It is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish

9. Be a responsible ocean-user

If, like me, you love watersports, treat the ocean with respect – never throw

anything overboard and be aware of marine life in the waters around you, such as

delicate corals. Also know that your choice of skin protection can have an impact

on the ocean. Choose a suncream that does not contain oxybenzone, which is a

UV-filtering chemical found in thousands of brands. It can be fatal to baby corals

and, in high concentrations, harmful to people.

Cutrico Marine is one of the leading providers of marine

equipment and maintenance services in the Mediterranean, and

supply some of the leading brands in the industry.

10. Support organisations that are working to protect the ocean

Help efforts by making a regular donation, or offering your time to work as a

volunteer. You can even protect the seas and look cool by getting your hands

on one of Ocean Unite’s special-edition T-shirts and tote bags, signed by yours

truly, with proceeds going towards efforts to protect the ocean. Visit oceanunite.

If you want to do more to tackle some of the biggest threats currently facing

our oceans, check out how you can get further involved in World Oceans Day

2017. MS

All installations and services are undertaken by fully qualified

factory trained technicians, with 24/7 service available to clients to

ensure the highest level of service.

Our Services:

• Marine Air-Conditioning

• Marine Refrigiration & Cold Rooms

• Marine Water Makers

• Marine Sewage Treatment Plants

• Ventillation

• Engine Room Ventillation

• Ballast Water Treatment

• Sanitation Systems

Issue 5 >> 10 >> 11

Vendée Globe

World Sailing > 12 >> 13

Exclusive Interview

Sail away: In conversation


Milena Modigliani Perini

of Perini Navi




24 JUIN — 5 JUILLET 2017 — 16 e ÉDITION !

by Claire Wrathall

Milena Modigliani Perini married into superyachting royalty, but she

brought with her a canny business sense, a razor-sharp mind and a keen

social conscience. Claire Wrathall catches up with her to talk beautiful

boats, secret weapons and the buzz of working on the frontline...

Earlier last summer in La Spezia, on Italy’s

Ligurian coast, Sybaris, a new 70 metre ketch,

was rolled slowly out of her dry dock for the first

time at the larger of Perini Navi’s two Italian

shipyards. Milena Modigliani Perini looked on

with tears in her eyes. “When I saw her touch the

water, I felt such emotion,” says Milena, whose

husband, Fabio Perini, founded the company

and who herself might be described as the “first

lady” of the superyacht industry, a figurehead, so

to speak, who is admired and liked by the sailing

community across the globe.

“Of course I would have seen her grow over four

years, but seeing her on the water, I thought

she was the most beautiful thing I would ever

seen in my life. She is marvellous. Unbelievable.

Her lines are so elegant.” She pauses. “I should

not say this because I love all our boats equally,

like my children. But just between me and you,

Sybaris is the one I am in love with. She’s like a

new baby. A very big baby.”

She is, for the record, the biggest sailing yacht





ever to have been built in Italy. Owned by the

US lawyer-turned-software magnate Bill Duker,

Sybaris was designed by Perini Navi with, in

Duker’s words, “minimal, not minimalist”

interiors by PH Design. She is the most striking

yacht to have been built by the Italian yard since

it launched 88 metre Maltese Falcon in 2006,

the immediately recognisable sailing yacht that

incorporates a revolutionary rig that enables its

three self-standing, rotating masts to hoist its 15

sails at the touch of a button. (Such is its size that

it had to be constructed at Perini Navi’s shipyard

at Tuzla, a province of Istanbul, in Turkey, where

the group’s hulls and superstructures are built.)

The system at work on Sybaris is even more

sophisticated, Milena says proudly. “I know how

much my husband and his team have invested in

the development of a technology he invented [to

enable] an automatic way of sailing. He is always

busy with winches!”

Fabio Perini was born close to Viareggio, where

Perini Navi has its headquarters, into a family

with a paper factory. He made his fortune in

toilet paper, having invented mechanisms not

just to produce it but also to roll it. On realising

that this winding technology had potential as

an application in winching and sail rigging, and

confident that the only way he was going to find

the kind of yacht he wanted to sail – a highperformance

sailing boat with all the comfort

of a motor yacht and automated sails – was to

design and build it himself, he set up Perini Navi

in 1983. Two years later, Milena Modigliani, a

native of Viareggio, then 20 and a student of

modern languages at the University of Pisa, got

a job in its sales department.

It wasn’t that she needed to work, she explains.

Her father was against it. “But I strongly wanted

to be independent, no matter what,” she tells me

over a lunch of antipasti, asparagus risotto, sliced

tropical fruit and exquisite miniature pasticceria

in the Viareggio boatyard’s canteen. “And I had

always loved watersports and especially sailing.

The sea has always been a sine qua non for me.

I could never imagine living very far from it.”

Milena loved working there and stayed on. “It

was a very different company then. There were

only eight of us – now there are almost 150! So

back then each of us was doing several things. It

was like a family. We not only worked together,

we went out together and we spent our free time

together. It was fantastic.”

After graduating she married a geologist, Gino

Natali, a scion of the family behind the Quercetabased

marble-quarrying and processing giant

Henraux (and another accomplished sailor, with

whom she shared a 14 metre sailboat that they

took all over the Mediterranean). The couple

travelled the world, particularly to Brazil, where

Milena Modigliani Perini - wife of Fabio

Perini - on board Sybaris

they settled and had twins, Giulia and Lorenzo.

Tragically, Gino was killed in a plane crash in

1994. He was just 40; the twins were four.

Milena and her children returned to Italy to

her father and grandparents in Viareggio, where

once again she became acquainted with Fabio

Perini. A relationship was kindled and in 1996

they married. She has devoted herself to Perini

Navi, where much of her role is ambassadorial,

ever since.

“OK, we build beautiful boats,” she says. “We

have completed almost 61 to date. But I believe

our secret weapon is our community of owners,

the fact that it all feels like one big family. It’s

fantastic how they love to spend time with us.”

Each March, for example, Perini Navi rents the

same house in St Barths for the duration of the

Bucket. “Every night we have a dinner at the

house – we bring a chef with us from Italy – for

the owners of our boats, their crew and some

locals. They all come, so the house is filled with

people, and we eat, we dance, we sing,” she says,

suddenly breaking into a powerful rendition of

Don’t Cry for me Argentina (Milena has a fine

soprano). “It’s very difficult to send people away

even at two or three o’clock in the morning.

They just don’t want to go. But I’m saying:

‘Tomorrow morning we have to go racing. That

is what we’re here for. Don’t forget!’”

The St Barths gatherings are so successful that

“we’re always trying to invent more occasions to

be all together because our owners enjoy each

other’s company. It’s interesting to see them

together as they get to know each other.” Indeed,

as the Financial Times once observed, “if there is

one thing more fascinating than a Perini, it’s the

owner of a Perini”.

This, then, was the inspiration for the biennial

Perini Navi Cup, a regatta restricted to Perini

yachts in Porto Cervo in Sardinia. Sixteen

Cont. to pg 16

Avis de course et inscription :




Issue 5 >> 14 >> 15

Exclusive Interview

The bow of high-tech sailing yacht Sybaris

Milena with her children Giulia and Lorenzo

Cont. from pg 14

yachts competed at last year’s event, where the

overall winner was Rosehearty, a 56 metre yacht

launched in 2006, designed by Perini Navi and

Ron Holland with interiors by Christian Liaigre.

(Before its current owner, it belonged to media

kingpin Rupert Murdoch. It was Murdoch’s

second Perini; he sold his first, Morning Glory,

to Silvio Berlusconi.)

Also competing at Porto Cervo last September

were a who’s who of Perini greats, including

Perseus^3, Seahawk and Clan VIII, owned by

shipping magnate Betram Rickmers, which

came in second. Maltese Falcon was there too,

though it had been chartered by Li Jian, chief

executive of Seven Star Bay Marina in Shenzhen,

who discovered the joy of racing Perini yachts

two years earlier when he chartered 45 metre

Helios, launched in 2007 and currently.

“It’s so nice to see owners not only enjoying life

together but also talking business, exchanging

ideas,” she adds, “and meeting each other.” It

was, for example, at the inaugural Perini Navi

Cup in 2004, that she and her husband were

introduced to Bill Duker.

“Our work takes us to the most beautiful places,

where we meet the most interesting people, so

we hardly need holidays,” she laughs. That said,

twice a year they decamp to the island they

own off the Bahian coast of Brazil, a country

they both love and where they have taken out

citizenship. Here they have a fazenda (ranch)

she calls their “buen retiro” (good retreat). “It’s

very informal, almost primitive,” she says. “Last

Christmas there were 53 of us there! But we

have plenty of space for everybody. We dance

a lot; we play a lot of sports. Tennis is almost

compulsory!” Do they sail? “No!” she replies.

“Well, we have little boats like Hobie Cats and

some toys. But there’s a reef and several rocks, so

it could be dangerous. The only time we get to

sail now is when owners ask us aboard.”

Milena’s is also closely involved in fundraising

for the foundation established by her friends,

the singer Andrea Bocelli and his wife Veronica,

which seeks to alleviate “poverty, illness and

malnutrition” around the world. Her real

commitment to good causes, however, is evident

in her work for the Red Cross, for which she

spent three years training as a volunteer nurse.

Last November she spent 20 days working in a

refugee camp for migrants in Sicily.

“I like to be on the frontline!” she says. “I like

doing practical things. I believe anyone who is

privileged enough to be healthy and live a life

they enjoy should try to give something back. In

any case, it is just so fulfilling. It’s a better feeling

than anything. In that respect, it’s actually one of

the most selfish activities I can think of.” MS

Courtesy: Boat International Magazine



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Issue 5 >> 16

Sailpower Ltd Malta +356 7949 4500 / 9936 0901 · /

Maritime Safety

Maritime Safety Culture:

An Interview with

Captain John Wright

by Murray Goldberg


This is the second in a series of articles on

Safety Culture in the maritime industry.

“Safety Culture” is one of those terms that is

used a lot in the maritime industry. But how

many of us can define it, and how do we know

if we have it?

The last blog post gave an overview of maritime

safety culture. It provided a basic definition

and discussed the importance:

• management leadership,

• training,

• measurement,

• a focus on learning rather than blame,

• and continuous reflection

had on a culture of safety. The article then

concluded by introducing Captain John

Wright, an award-winning maritime safety

culture expert. This blog post continues the

discussion with Captain Wright.

MBR: What is the secret to safety and loss


JW: “Put simply it’s real workforce involvement.

It is necessary to close the ‘chasm’ that often

exists between the front line workers and their

managers and directors and create a ‘one team’

environment. This is achieved by running

the business such that the health, safety and

welfare of the employees are put first, second

and last by the leadership team – genuinely

and transparently. Inhabiting this morally

invulnerable high ground satisfies the hugely

important human need in the employees of

being valued and listened to. When this trust

is built there is absolutely nothing better an

organisation can do to improve all aspects of its


One company achieved a 3 to 1 return on

investment and I know of no other way that’s

possible to achieve! Better still, everyone goes

home in one piece to their loved ones!”

MBR: For management, what is the biggest

indicator that they can look for in their

company to determine whether they have a

safety culture problem — before an accident


JW: “This is a big question. The best indicators

are the clues presented by the five-stage safety

culture maturity level model, as identified in

UK Health & Safety Executive research first

published in 2001.

• Stage 1 ‘Emerging’;

• Stage 2 ‘Managing’;

• Stage 3 ‘Involving’;

• Stage 4 ‘Cooperating’;

• and the final Stage 5 ‘Continually Improving’.

There are quite a few indicators that identify

which stage a company has reached and they are

too numerous to list here. The most important

of all is how well accidents, incidents, near

misses (which we prefer to call ‘learning events’)

and first aid cases are reported, acted upon and

learned from. Under-reporting is common,

especially on the leading indicators, in safety

cultures up to and including level 3. The

problem is often denied or not recognized, but

is a solid reliable indicator.

Another, is how often directors, managers and

front-line supervisors visit their people at their

place of work and how well they communicate

with them. Is the communication conducted in

a, ‘I speak, you listen’ way, or is it a conversation

seeking the employees ideas on what’s wrong

and how he/she thinks it can be fixed (which by

the way they always know? The quality of these

conversations is critical and yet managers are

rarely given any help with developing these skills,

which once again will not occur spontaneously.

Another clue to the culture is when training is

the first thing to be cut when business is poor –

it should be the absolute last thing that is axed.”

MBR: If management is fully behind culture

change, how likely is it to succeed?

JW: “Very. However, since as we know it takes

time to achieve, the quality of the leadership

team’s ability to press on with the process in the

face of there being no apparent early signs of

change, together with other pressures weighing

in on them, cannot be overestimated. The

CEO especially has to have courage and lead

the process from the front. The management of

change is notoriously difficult but the fruits of

this labour are inestimable.”

MBR: If you had to say, what is the one most

important ingredient in culture change?

JW: “The quality of leadership from the top:

The knowledge and commitment from the

leadership team, their abilities as leaders to

inspire their people and demonstrate their belief

in the process, and prove by their actions to

the most complete cynic in the workforce that

they are genuinely putting the health, safety

and welfare of their people as their number one


MBR: Is culture change always top down?

Where does it start and who is involved as it


JW: “Only in as much as the demonstrated

evidence of Board level commitment I have just

described. Thereafter, and when belief begins to

spread in the workforce, it is very much bottom

up driven, with processes owned and executed

by the workforce.”

MBR: What is the biggest challenge to a

positive culture change?

JW: “The ‘engine room’ of any organisation is

without doubt its middle management level

people. In shipping these are the superintendents

ashore and the captains and chief engineers on

the ships. So, once the Board of Directors are

committed to the process (which is usually a

relatively straightforward process) and the front

line employees begin to recognise what is being

attempted (and they dare to hope, which is also

relatively quick to happen for the majority), then

the main challenge is to convince these critical

middle management employees of the need for

this process and the need for them to change.

They need to change from the ‘I speak,

you listen’ command and control style of

management, to the ‘How can I help you and

how can I support you?’ method. They also need

to be comfortable and empowered to ask their

boss for help and support. All of this does not

occur spontaneously, or by a process of osmosis!

Leadership & Management training is essential

and this is where the STCW 2010 mandated

Human Element Leadership & Management

(HELM) training becomes essential.”

MBR: How do the attitudes and behaviors

of individuals relate to safety and culture


JW: “This question encompasses why

culture change is a 5 to 10 year ‘voyage’. The

‘battleground’ is to change the collective

attitudes, beliefs and values of the employees,

since it is they that drive behaviours. This

takes time, as realisation dawns in the minds of

employees that the company is serious about the

process and that this initiative will not just be a

passing ‘flavour of the month’.

Once this occurs, usually after about a year or

so, then eventually the 80 / 20 rule kicks in and

80% of the committed employees drag most of

the other 20% along, as they don’t wish to be the

odd men (or women) out. In many cases the few

remaining disenfranchised will leave. It is usual

to expect that when people who are influencers

in the company (and may often be early cynics)

embrace the necessary changes of behaviour,

they carry many others with him.”

MBR: Aside from attitudes, what are the most

important factors of the human element that

most companies need to address?

JW: “The first is standards of competence and the

Maritime Safety > 18 >> 19

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Issue 5 >> 20 >> 21

Boat Launch

Absolute Weekend Portopiccolo

The launch of the Absolute 58 Fly, the flybridge of both worlds.

The simultaneous debut in Portopiccolo and Hong Kong.

A weekend of presentations, sea-trials and pleasant moments to

show the first shipyard’s novelty of 2017. A double event that took

simultaneously place at either side of the world, marked by one soul: the

extraordinary Absolute quality.

A weekend of presentations, sea-trials and pleasant moments to show the first

shipyard’s novelty of 2017. A double event that took simultaneously place at

either side of the world, marked by one soul: the extraordinary Absolute quality.

On Saturday, May 13th and Sunday, May 14th, the Absolute shipyard has been

the central focus of the global yachting. For the first time, the presentation of a

new model, namely the Absolute 58 Fly, has taken simultaneously place in two

harbors tens of thousands of miles from each other: Portopiccolo, Sistiana, 20

miles north of Trieste and Marina Cove – Sai Kung in Hong Kong.

It was the first trans-global Absolute Weekend. Two days dedicated to

customers, fans, insiders and friends of the brand which is contributing to the

Italian’s yachting image renovation in the world. They all have had the occasion

to admire the most recent model summa of the shipyard’s ability to merge

ergonomics and technology with a tricolor style and character.

To celebrate the event, all the Absolute Staff has been involved, starting from

Paola Carini and Angelo Gobbi, respectively, Managing Director, as well as

“sponsor” of the event, and President.

The two shipyard’s founders have spent lot of time providing details to

the audience: Marcello Bè, Executive Officer Operations Manager and

Logistics&Supply Manager and Sergio Maggi, Vice-President of the Brand,

Head of Research&Development and Manager of all the Absolute’s models

development – inter alia the Absolute 58 Fly. Cesare Mastroianni, VP Sales

& CCO, Manager of the Absolute global network, has presented all the special

features of the Absolute 58 Fly.

Patrizia Gobbi, Absolute Sales & Marketing Manager, as well as Communications

and Events Officer, has been managing the complex Europe-Asia organization.

Since one of the characterizing technical element of this new flybridge is the

Volvo Penta IPS 800 propulsion, also the Managers of the Swedish company

have been brought into play. Nicola Pomi, Head of Volvo Penta Italia and

Giorgio Paris, Head of Volvo Penta Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, have

explained the synergistically efforts between the company in Göteborg and the

shipyard in Podenzano to find the best performance/consumption ratio.

May 13 th and 14 th : Absolute Weekend.

In the meantime, during the celebration organized in the modern recreational

port of Marina Cove, in the China coasts, three guests of the event have been

doing the honors for the large audience of the Celestial Empire: Thomas Woo of

Absolute Marine Limited, Absolute Dealer in Hong Kong; Steven Ding, Vice-

President, Sales&Marketing of Volvo Penta for Chinese market; and Jessica

Choi, head of English Department of YMCA Hong Kong Christian College,

moderator and anchor of the event.

May 2017

The launch of the Absolute 58 Fly, the flybridge of both worlds. The simultaneous

debut in Portopiccolo and Hong Kong.

A weekend of presentations, sea-trials and pleasant moments to show the first shipyard’s novelty

of 2017. A double event that took simultaneously place at either side of the world, marked by one

Both events have been broadcasted live on Absolute social networks, to seal the

proximity soul: between the the extraordinary two events despite the Absolute geographical quality. distance, even thanks

to the opportunities offered by the web. This let almost ten-thousands people be

witness of the double meeting.

On Saturday, May 13

The new-born wasn’t the only character th and Sunday, May 14

of the event. In the th , the Absolute shipyard has been the central focus of the global


Giulia’s yachting. waters, the For shipyard the has first displayed time, also the other presentation three models of its of range, a new model, namely the Absolute 58 Fly, has taken

together simultaneously with the 58 Fly: two place models in of two the harbors Navetta range, tens 58 of and thousands 52 the of miles from each other: Portopiccolo, Sistiana, 20

Flybridge range flagship, 72 Fly.

miles north of Trieste and Marina Cove – Sai Kung in Hong Kong.

As President It was the Gobbi first himself trans-global has announced Absolute during Weekend. the highlights Two of the days dedicated to customers, fans, insiders and friends

Christening, “the 58 Fly isn’t the only Absolute novelty of 2017. During the

of the brand which is contributing to the Italian’s yachting image renovation in the world. They all have had

next Yachting Festival Cannes, from 12th to 17th September, the Navetta 73 –

currently the under occasion construction to admire - will make the her most official recent debut. model summa of the shipyard’s ability to merge ergonomics and

technology with a tricolor style and character.

For further information please contact your local dealer: Boatcare Trading Ltd on

79300680 or MS

To celebrate the event, all the Absolute Staff has been involved, starting from Paola Carini and Angelo Gobbi,

respectively, Managing Director, as well as “sponsor” of the event, and President.

The two shipyard’s founders have spent lot of time providing details to the audience: Marcello Bè, Executive

Officer Operations Manager and Logistics&Supply Manager and Sergio Maggi, Vice-President of the Brand,

Head of Research&Development and Manager of all the Absolute’s models development – inter alia the

Absolute 58 Fly. Cesare Mastroianni, VP Sales & CCO, Manager of the Absolute global network, has

presented all the special features of the Absolute 58 Fly.

Patrizia Gobbi, Absolute Sales & Marketing Manager, as well as Communications and Events Officer, has

been managing the complex Europe-Asia organization.


Absolute 58 Fly official presentation, that took place on Saturday, May 13th and Sunday, May 14th at Portopiccolo

Issue 5 >> 22 >> 23

European Powerboat of the Year 2017

Squadron Boats > 24 >> 25


NEWPORT, R.I. (February 16, 2017) – The

12 Metre yacht Freedom has been purchased by

Charles A. Robertson (Guilford, Conn.), a wellknown

East Coast sailor who has been active

in a number of America’s Cup and 12-Metre

campaigns and is well known for skippering his

Frers 75 Maxi Cannonball and a series of other

like-named boats to victory in various onedesign

and offshore racing events.

Robertson, a former trustee of the New York

Yacht Club, plans to race Freedom in the boat’s

home waters of Newport, R.I. starting in June.

He will participate in the International 12 Metre

Class’s recently announced “Road to the Worlds”

series that culminates in the 2019 12-Metre

World Championship, which is scheduled to

coincide with celebrations marking the 175th

anniversary of the New York Yacht Club.

Designed by Olin Stephens and constructed

at Minneford Yacht Yard in City Island, NY,

Freedom was the last yacht to successfully

defend the America’s Cup for the New York

Yacht Club by defeating Australia in 1980 in

four out of five races. After the 1983 America’s

Cup, she was sold to France where she stayed for

many years before returning to the U.S. in 1999.

Currently, Freedom is at Pilot’s Point Marina

in Westbrook, Conn. where she is undergoing

substantial work. Along with getting new sails,

instruments and electronics, she will be newly

painted to look similar to how she did in 1980.

“Olin was a dear friend of mine, and Freedom

was the last 12 Metre he designed,” said

Robertson. “He had a special affection for this

boat, and so do I.” Robertson added that – like

his past Cannonball campaigns – this one will

involve a contingent of “young, enthusiastic

sailors who are predominantly amateur.”

In the Road to the Worlds series, Freedom

will sail in Modern Division (for 12 Metres

built between 1968 and 1983) against Victory

83, Challenge 12, Lionheart and the only two

America’s Cup yachts to win the Cup twice,

Intrepid* and Courageous.

The Road to the Worlds schedule for 2017 starts

with the Newport MetreFest, June 9-11, which

coincides with the New York Yacht Club 163rd

Annual Regatta.

To find out more about Freedom, including crew

opportunities visit https://freedomus12-30.

com/. For more information on the Road to the

Worlds 2019, visit

or contact Peter Gerard at pgerard53@gmail.

com. Follow the 12 Metre class on Facebook.

*Although she was built before 1968, Intrepid

is still considered a Modern; Australia II,

built during the specified period for Modern

designation, is not considered a Modern. MS

America's Cup 12 Metre

Freedom to Return to


The 12 Metre yacht Freedom (US-30) has been bought by Charles A. Robertson who will make

her race-ready for the 2017 sailing season.

12 Metres off Newport, R.I. at the 2014 12 Metre North American Championship. (photo

credit: SallyAnne Santos/Windlass Creative)

Bold and Beautiful.

The B-Class.

For whatever you encounter along the way – the reassuring feeling of

driving a Mercedes-Benz B-Class accompanies you everywhere.

B180 €30,200 | B160d €29,800

including 5 year Service Plan

Scrappage scheme available on some models

Reg. No. S063

Kind’s, Auto Sales Ltd

Mosta Road, Lija LJA 9011. Tel: 23311138 / 23311142

Mgarr Road, Xewkija XWK 9012. Tel: 21550962


Issue 5 >> 26 >> 27

Travel Excursions > 28 >> 29

Sailing Regatta

The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta will open the Mediterranean superyacht calendar on May 30 - June 3, 2017. Organised by the

YCCS and Boat International Media, this four-day sailing regatta is expected to attract an ever-increasing fleet of sailing yachts.

The 2016 event saw the Wally Class fleet return to the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta.

Racing at the Loro Piana

Superyacht Regatta 2017

Now in its ninth year, the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta opens the

Mediterranean superyacht season. Year-on-year the regatta attracts the

world’s most notable and award winning sailing superyachts for four days

of exhilarating racing.

The Notice of Race for the 2017 Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta has been


Hosted by Boat International Media in conjunction with the worldrenowned

Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), the fleet will take to the

glittering waters of Sardinia from 30 May - 3 June 2017. Racing is set

against the region’s spectacular coastline, with four days of breathtaking

sailing in a full race programme organised by the highly experienced YCCS

international race committee. With a stunning clubhouse in Porto Cervo

and a reputation as one of the world's leading regatta organisers, owners and

crew can expect exclusive hospitality services and the highest level of racing.

Superyacht Regatta

With a strong intake of early registrations, yacht owners who wish to

participate in the event should register without delay to secure their place

in the fleet and their berth at YCCS Marina. The Loro Piana Superyacht

Regatta and YCCS Marina welcome sailing and motor yachts with an

LOA over 100 feet.

The regatta is open to the following boats: boats with LH of 100 feet or

above with a current ORCsy Handicap Certificate; It is at the discretion

of the Organising Authority to invite or accept yachts of particular interest

or historical significance.

Depending on the number and nature of the entries, the Organising

Authority at its absolute discretion may divide them into groups or

divisions. Divisions may have different courses, cruising or racing

orientated, and starts (pursuit or fleet starts) in accordance with the nature

of the yachts. MS

For further information about the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, please


Credit: Sadie Brown | Boat International Media | Yacht Club Costa Smeralda


The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta is made possible with the generous support

of our Title Sponsor Loro Piana as well as our event partners Baltic Yachts and

Tai Ping.

Loro Piana operates in the luxury goods industry making uncompromised

quality its mission and offering a complete selection of ready-to-wear,

accessories and gifts that are made in Italy with the finest raw materials available

around the world. It reaches its most exigent customers through a global retail

network of directly operated stores on the most exclusive shopping streets, on and in a very select number of specialty stores.

Loro Piana boasts six generations of experience in the production of top-end

textiles and continues to be an industry leader. This vertical integration is the

best guarantee to access research, the best raw materials and for the control of

the manufacturing processes, which together with the aspiration of maximum

quality and the ability to meld trailblazing technology with the Italian artisanal

and sartorial tradition, make Loro Piana a brand of reference in the luxury

goods market. MS

Event partner: Tai Ping

Headquartered in Hong Kong, with 14 showrooms

across Europe, Asia and North America, the House

of Tai Ping covers every sphere of the residential

and hospitality markets.

Each of its five distinctive brands – Tai Ping,

Edward Fields, La Manufacture Cogolin, 1956

by Tai Ping and Carpets Inter – creates bespoke

rugs and textile floor coverings designed and

customised to the unique vision of the clientele.

Tai Ping has won international renown with its

innovation and expertise steeped in a rich history,

a celebrated archive, unparalleled design and

service to the world’s most discerning clientele.

House of Tai Ping extends its cultural legacy into

the present, continuing an exceptional tradition

of craft and dedication to innovation in every facet

of carpet design and manufacturing. This spirit of

excellence is evident in each of its products and

every aspect of the customers’ experience.

Sailing Regatta

Cribis Prime Company

Cribis Prime Company > 32 >> 33

Vendée Globe

Armel Le Cléac’h Wins Vendée Globe

Les Sables d’Olonne, France (January 19, 2017) – Armel Le Cléac’h, 39, from Brittany, crossed the finish line of the race in

Les Sables d’Olonne, France, at 1537hrs UTC after 74 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes and 46 seconds at sea on his 60ft racing

yacht Banque Populaire VIII.



The eighth Vendée Globe, which began November

6 from Les Sables d’Olonn, France, is the only nonstop

solo round the world race without assistance.

Twenty-nine skippers representing four continents

and ten nations set sail on IMOCA 60s in pursuit of

the record time set by François Gabart in the 2012-

13 race of 78 days, 2 hours and 16 minutes.

For the first time in the history of the event, seven

skippers will set sail on IMOCA 60s fitted with foils:

six new boats (Banque Populaire VIII, Edmond de

Rothschild, Hugo Boss, No Way Back, Safran, and

StMichel-Virbac) and one older generation boat

(Maitre Coq). The foils allow the boat to reduce

displacement for speed gains in certain conditions.

It will be a test to see if the gains can topple the

traditional daggerboard configuration during the

long and demanding race.

His time sets a new record for the race, beating the

previous record of 78 days 2 hours 16 minutes set by

French sailor Francois Gabart in the 2012-13 edition

by 3 days, 22 hours and 41 minutes. Le Cléac’h, the

runner-up in the 2008-09 and 2012-13 editions of the

Vendée Globe, covered 24,499.52 nm at an average

speed of 13.77 knots during the race, which began

from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 6 last year.

The Vendée Globe, which was founded in 1989,

follows the ‘clipper route’ around Africa’s Cape of

Good Hope, Australia’s Cape Leeuwin and South

America’s Cape Horn. Second-placed Alex Thomson is

expected to cross the finish line on his boat Hugo Boss

around 12 hours behind Le Cléac’h.

Le Cléac'h, 39, from Brittany, sealed the win – and a

place in the Vendée Globe history books – crossing the

finish line at 1537 UTC to complete the course in 74

days, three hours and 35 minutes. His time sets a new

record for the race, beating the previous record of 78

days 2 hours 16 minutes set by French sailor François

Gabart in the 2012-13 edition by three days, 22 hours

and 41 minutes.

Dozens of spectator boats took to the water to welcome

their new hero back to the French port of Les Sables

d'Olonne, from where the race started on November 6

last year. With his shore crew taking control of his 60ft

IMOCA race boat Banque Populaire VIII, a tearful Le

Cléac'h was left to enjoy an emotional reunion with

his son Edgar, 6, and daughter Louise, 9. Thousands

more fans lined the walls of the town's famous harbour

entrance as Le Cléac'h arrived dockside at Port Olona

to a fanfare of fireworks.

Le Cléac'h, runner-up in the last two editions of the

Vendée Globe, said he had now fulfilled a lifelong

dream. “This is a dream come true,” he said. “I hoped

to win this race 10 years ago but I finished second.

Today is a perfect day. I understand that today I have

done something big. My team have been amazing

they're the dream team, and this is their day too.” Le

Cléac'h also paid tribute to Thomson for his skill and

tenacity in pushing him right to the finish line. “It has

been very difficult with Alex behind me, he gave me

a really hard time in this Vendée Globe,” he added.

“Each time things went his way and I got nothing.

It was stressful because he kept catching me. With a

lead of 800 miles off Cape Horn, I didn’t think I’d be

facing such pressure. I'm very happy for Alex, it is a

great second place.”

Le Cléac'h took the lead within 24 hours of the

race start but had lost it to Thomson by the time

the skippers, both racing on new-generation foiling

IMOCA 60s, reached the Equator. After catching

Thomson in the Southern Ocean the pair traded places

on numerous occasions before Le Cléac'h established

a solid lead on December 3. From that point on he

refused to relinquish his grip on first place despite a

sensational effort from Thomson to reduce an 819nm

deficit at Cape Horn to just 50 miles at the Equator.

Even when Thomson surged to within 30 miles of Le

Cléac'h with a few hundred miles to go the French

sailor held strong, defending his position until victory

was all but guaranteed.

Le Cléac'h averaged an incredible 15.43 knots of

boat speed over the 27,455 miles he actually sailed,

on occasion hitting speeds in excess of 30 knots. His

best 24-hour run came on January 16 when Banque

Populaire covered 524.11nm averaging 21.8 knots,

surpassed only by Thomson who on the same day

sailed 536.81nm averaging 22.4 knots, breaking

François Gabart's existing record by two miles. Le

Cléac'h held the top spot for 56 of his 74 days at

sea, and between him and Thomson they broke every

single one of the existing race records. MS

Source: Vendée Globe

Editor’s Note

The Vendée Globe is the hardest and most famous sailing

race in the world. Nicknamed the Everest of the Seas, it

involves sailing around the world alone, without stopping

and without assistance, setting sail from and finishing in

Les Sables d’Olonne, after rounding the three legendary

capes: The Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, Cape

Leeuwin in Southern Australia and the infamous Cape

Horn at the tip of South America. They therefore have to

sail twice in the North and South Atlantic – on the way

down and on the way back – and sail around Antarctica by

crossing the Indian Ocean and the huge Pacific. Like other

major international sporting events (the Olympics, World

Cup, etc) it has been organised every four years since 1989.

This merciless event, which combines human endeavour

and technological aspects, is raced on 60-foot monohulls

(18.28 m), IMOCA boats. The Vendée Globe has been

won by some very famous sailors, Titouan Lamazou,

Alain Gautier, Christophe Auguin, Vincent Riou and

François Gabart. Only one sailor has won it twice: Michel

Desjoyeaux in 2001 and 2009. The race record is held by

François Gabart, who finished after 78 days. The eighth

Vendée Globe will begin from Les Sables d’Olonne on

Sunday 6th November 2016.

Fabian Enterprises Ltd

18-20 Msida Road, Gzira GZR1401.

Tel: 2131 3283/2132 0845 | E-mail

Issue 5 >> 34 WWW.FABIAN.COM.MT >> 35

Caribbean Regatta Caribbean Regatta > 36 >> 37

Vendée Globe Anniversary

Exclusive Interview Loro Piana Results

Vendée Globe: Personal Sailing Narrative Vendée Globe: Personal Sailing Narrative > 42 >> 43

Dayboat launch

Baglietto launches first military-inspired

MV19 dayboat Ridoc

Alfa Romeo Giulia named a 'Game

Changer' at 2017 Autocar Awards

Lauded for its ‘incredible performance

and exciting handling’

The Baglietto MV range of high-performance day boats has expanded after the

Italian yard launched the first hull in its new MV19 series, Ridoc. The ceremony

took place on June 10 in the presence of her European owner.

features below decks include a spacious open dinette, comfortable sofas and a

fully kitted-out galley.

The 19.5 metre all-aluminium cruiser was designed in a collaboration between

Baglietto and Francesco Paskowski Design, with inspiration coming from the

First and Second World War MAS military vessels.

Take a closer look at the Baglietto dayboat Ridoc

This sporty open day boat’s purposeful design includes symmetrical air intakes

along the freeboard and a flush-fitting teak deck that runs parallel to the sheerline.

On deck relaxation areas include forward and aft sunpads, as well as a comfortable

dinette with a wet bar located aft of the exterior helm station.

The interiors of the Baglietto MV19 were styled in cooperation with Margherita

Casprini with a focus on creating a retro allure via Canaletto nut upholstery. Key

Ridoc's layout features an owner's cabin in the bow, two guest cabins and an

amidships en suite, as well as a captain's cabin with separate exterior access.

In keeping with Baglietto’s reputation for high-performance, her power comes

from a pair of 1,800hp MAN V12 engines for a top speed of 40 knots, meaning

that she can hold her own among the world’s fastest superyacht tenders.

Following her debut season cruising the Mediterranean, Ridoc will get a public

debut at the 2017 Cannes Yachting Festival.

Other projects currently under development at the La Spezia-based yard include

the new range of 44-50 metre Baglietto superyachts, which was announced at

the 2016 Monaco Yacht Show. MS

Creditline: Boat International Newsdesk

The Alfa Romeo Giulia has been named a 'Game Changer' at the 2017 Autocar

Awards as it has signalled 'a complete transformation for one of the most loved

names in motoring'.

Mark Tisshaw, Editor of Autocar, commented: "This is not only the most

competitive Alfa Romeo saloon since the last Giulia was launched more than

half a century ago but, crucially for anyone with Alfisti blood lurking in their

veins, it's the most likeable, too. With its incredible performance and exciting

handling, the Giulia is everything you'd want an Alfa Romeo to be."

Developed by the best engineers, designers and stylists within FCA, the new

Giulia embodies the core elements that have made Alfa Romeo one of the

world's best-loved automotive brands: Distinctive Italian design; innovative

powertrains, perfect weight distribution, unique technical solutions and the best

weight-to-power ratio.

Autocar says that its 'Game Changers' are cars that 'bring new, higher standards

to their classes, or because they defy conventions to benefit buyers.' Of the

Giulia, Autocar says: "The Giulia is a riveting, idiosyncratic and striking entrant

into a class usually defined by an understated brand of superiority."

Alfa Romeo is now present at the FIAT showroom in Psaila Street B'Kara

together with all the other FCA’s brands. Showroom opening hours are from

8.30am till 6.30pm on weekdays and from 9am till noon on Saturdays. For

queries related to the Alfa Romeo, call on 2269 2215 or view the Alfa Romeo

website MS

Issue 5 >> 44 >> 45



espite the country's recent problems,

tourism in Israel is bouncing back.

Nick Jenkins discovers the ideal way

to explore this fascinating region is from the

comfort of a six‐star cruise ship.

Unless you grew up somewhere like Downton

Abbey, the chances are that ‐ like us ‐ you've

never had a chance to get used to having a

butler. It probably explains why, when we heard

we would have a butler on this cruise, our

daughter said we should insist on calling him

Carson at all times. Maybe our butler would

have got the joke, but we were just happy calling

him Melwyn. And, worryingly, after a few days

we realised that we could very easily get used to

having a butler around to sort everything out for

us. Clothes need pressing? Done. Another bottle

of wine in our fridge? Of course. A booking in

the ship's best restaurant? No problem. There

was only one line we felt we needed to draw.

Our butler was apparently happy, so the ship's

information told us, to help us unpack our

luggage ‐ but I wasn't going to let him hang up

my Primark T‐shirts. Not that it would have

bothered him. The Seven Seas Mariner is classy,

but it's also a very informal ship. No tuxedos

or long dresses are needed, as every night is

designated "elegant casual" on cruises up to a


To virgin cruisers like us, it was easy to see the

appeal of this sort of holiday. But there is more

to cruising than sitting around and being waited

on. Our ship was in the eastern Mediterranean

and the prospect of going ashore in Israel

was clearly a major attraction for our fellow

passengers ‐ many of them American ‐ judging

by the number of tourist buses waiting alongside

on the quay.

Ashdod, where we berthed for two nights, is

a modern city and an industrial port, but it is

handy for most sights in Israel. All tours from

the ship were heavily booked and our guide on

the Jerusalem tour, Mordecai, was determined

not to lose any of us. As we prepared to enter the

narrow alleys of Jerusalem's Old City, it almost

felt as though we were being roped together.

Maybe experience had taught Mordecai to be

cautious but he was right. The Old City is not

only a maze of narrow streets, but it is packed

with distractions for the curious tourist.

We were entering the Christian Quarter from

the Jaffa Gate, heading for the Church of the

Holy Sepulchre, and while Mordecai was keen

to point out Roman remains and ancient stone

pavements, our fellow tourists kept being

distracted by the tat on sale in many of the

shops. The Holy Sepulchre, at the heart of the

Old City, is one of the world's great pilgrimage


It's allegedly the site of both the crucifixion and

Jesus's tomb ‐ and, handily, it's all under one

roof. But it's a sprawling building, decrepit in

parts and maintained by a holy alliance of the

Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and

Roman Catholic churches, a rather uneasy

coalition that has been known to descend into

fisticuffs over perceived breaches of an 1853


It's Plain Sailing to Israel

Guides love to point out a wooden ladder on a

ledge outside the basilica. It has allegedly been

there since the early 19th century because no one

can agree who has the right to remove it. It is a

symbol ‐ if any more symbols were needed ‐ of

the millennia‐old conflicts over this piece of land

in the eastern Mediterranean. Mordecai told us

he was a military reservist for many years and it

is hard to avoid the subject of conflict, big and

small, when visiting Israel. It is a country where,

even when all seems peaceful, you are never far

from reminders of a turbulent past and present.

But there is a lot to be said for visiting an oftenvolatile

region such as the Middle East by ship.

The rockets that began arriving in Israel from

Gaza shortly after our visit will have disrupted

many tourists' plans. Those who had booked

land‐based holidays in Israel and decided to

cancel will have missed out altogether, but a

cruise ship is, of course, mobile and can adjust

its schedules. Happily, things have calmed

down since then and tourists arriving on cruise

excursions now should have nothing to fear.

Our ship, the Seven Seas Mariner, is a regular

visitor to that part of the world and, as an allinclusive

ship, there is no added charge for

excursions – or for anything. It is described as

“the world’s first all-suite, all-balcony ship”, so

every guest has a suite with a balcony. Even the

smaller suites were described by cruise experts we

met on board as the best they had ever stayed in.

Our “penthouse suite”, up on the 11th floor, was

enormous. To a couple whose previous overnight

experience on ships was limited to twin cabins

on a ferry, this definitely fell into the luxury

category. In the parlance of the cruise industry,

the Seven Seas Mariner is a six-star experience.

But what struck us was the classlessness. Unlike

on some other cruise lines, guests can eat in any

by Nick Jenkins

Press Association / The Interview People


Nick sailed with Regent Seven Seas Cruises (; 02380 682 280) aboard Seven Seas Voyager.

of the restaurants on board, whatever level of

cabin they are in. So it’s pretty much impossible

to distinguish the person who has saved for three

years to spend £4,000 on a once-in-a-lifetime

experience from the money-no-object fellow

guest who thinks nothing of spending £15,000

per person on one of the bigger suites.

It is possible to spend money on board – there is

a pricey spa, and you can lose as much as you can

afford in the casino – but you could enjoy a full

cruise, champagne all the way, without putting

your hand in your pocket once. Even tipping is

not expected.

Seasoned cruisers – and we did not meet a single

fellow traveller on Seven Seas Mariner who had

not cruised many times – told us that excursions

and drinks bills can sometimes double the cost of

voyages on “non-inclusive” ships. Several made

the point that the ship was more sociable as a

result – not because everyone was drunk, but

because no one had to worry about adding to

what would have been an already – heavy drinks

bill run up on other cruises by offering to share

rounds with new acquaintances.

Recent reports suggest that cruising is growing

in popularity and more and more ships are being

brought into service to cope with the demand.

It is easy to see why. Several people we met

suggested that this “six-star” ship might spoil us

for the future. It could well be the case that any

cruise is likely to be something of a let-down if

we don’t have our own butler.

Even so, I’m not sure I could ever get used to

having a waiter insist on carrying my plate from

the buffet to my table, or be adamant that he

must put my gin and tonic on his silver tray as

I enter the restaurant from the bar – but it was

certainly fun while it lasted. MS

The Azure Window (Maltese: it-Tieqa Żerqa),

also known as the Dwejra Window (Maltese: it-

Tieqa tad-Dwejra), was a 28-metre-tall (92 ft)

limestone natural arch on the island of Gozo in

Malta. It was located in Dwejra Bay, within the

limits of San Lawrenz, close to the Inland Sea

and the Fungus Rock and was one of Malta's

major tourist attractions. The arch, together

with other natural features in the area, has

appeared in a number of international films and

media productions.

The formation, created by the collapse of two

sea caves, consisted of a pillar of rock rising from

the sea and joined to the cliff by a horizontal

slab. Following decades of natural erosion that

caused parts of the arch to fall into the sea,

the slab and pillar collapsed completely in

stormy weather on 8 March 2017. Sadly, with

this natural wonder gone forever, there was a

plan to rechristen it the ‘Azure Pinnacle.’ Our

recommendation to Government: Artificial

reconstruction and recreation.


Source: Wikipedia/MBR Publications

The Azure Window in 2006...

...and 2012 after the partial collapse

Azure Window

We are Quality


Visit our showroom for professional advice on how to protect your home.

The Resin and Membrane Centre, 264, Old Railway Track, St. Venera

Web: E-mail: Tel: 27 477 647 Mob: 99 477 647

Geological Wonder > 46 >> 47


Rolex World Sailor of the Year > 48 >> 49

Maritime News

Claus-Peter Offen

Acquiring Conti


The Hamburg shipping company

Claus-Peter Offen has decided to take

over the Munich-based Conti Group

following a shareholders agreement of

the two companies.

According to the terms of the deal, Offen is taking tdw and 37 product tankers with 1.8 tdw.

over 100% of the corporate shares of the Conti

Conti Group has a fleet of 30 boxships, 8 product

Group and the qualified majority of shares in the

tankers and 29 bulk carriers, while BBG is in charge

Bremer Bereederungsgesellschaft BBG. After the

of the technical management of 35 bulk carriers

takeover, the Conti Group will continue as an

including the aforementioned 29 Conti vessels.

independent company.

Germany’s Offen Group operates around 70

Claus-Peter Offen said that the takeover is a further boxships with a total of 417,000 TEU capacity,

step in its growth strategy, adding that Conti“is an including 33 large Postpanamax ships with up to

optimal fit for our group.”

14,000 TEU.

With the addition of Conti Group’s 68 ships and The company’s ships are employed primarily in

BBG’s managed fleet, the Offen Group will have a scheduled services by the large charter companies such

fleet of 169 ships: 95 container ships with 631,000 as MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag Lloyd and

TEU/ 7.8 million tdw, 37 bulkers with 3.0 million

sunbrella_advert.pdf 1 08/03/2012 19:28

Hamburg Süd, predominantly on long term charters.

Since 2007, the company has also been involved in

product tanker shipping with around 30 ships, as

well as in bulk shipping with 8 ships.

The consolidation move of the two German giants

comes one month after Germany’s Zeaborn Group

signed a deal to acquire business operations of

compatriot liner services specialist Rickmers-Linie,

owned by Rickmers Holding.

The planned sale also includes the entire operating

business of Rickmers’ subsidiaries, MCC Marine

Consulting & Contracting, a bunker and chartering

broker, and NPC Projects, which was acquired by

Rickmers in July 2016 and offers a heavy lift tramp

service. MS

Source: Malta Maritime Directory









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