The Honours celebrates three Bowsprit laureates
Held on the eve of the Monaco Yacht Show, the newly created awards honoured three deserving recipients at a lively gala evening.
The first three recipients of a coveted Bowsprit award were celebrated at the inaugural Honours event, which was organised by The Superyacht Life Foundation and Monaco Yacht Show, and sponsored by Agusta, Begüm Yachting, BWA Yachting, Feadship, Preciosa, Richard Mille and RINA.
Wendy Schmidt, a superyacht owner, ocean conservation advocate and philanthropist; Jenny Matthews, a superyacht First Officer and industry DEI proponent; and Zoran Selakovic, a business strategist turned Director at YachtAid Global, were feted at a special dinner on the eve of the Monaco Yacht Show that highlighted the honourees’ remarkable stories.
The Honours gala evening
The Honours was conceived for the superyacht industry to recognise people making a difference behind the scenes, taking the focus away from the yachts and placing the spotlight firmly on positive actions in day-to-day superyachting life. This year’s honourees were drawn from over 360 nominations received from the industry and carefully selected by a panel of judges.
Held in Hauser & Wirth’s gallery on Place du Casino, the gala evening was attended by superyacht owners and VIP guests who enjoyed an experiential dinner that included ballet and opera performances and a scintillating sea-inspired, locally sourced menu highlighting the culinary flair of Monaco. Following dinner, guests were treated to a short documentary film of each of the honourees, before the laureates were called to the main stage to receive their coveted Bowsprit award.
Ballet was among the entertainment
Mariasole Bianco, the evening’s host, environmental and ocean conservation advocate, invited them to discuss their backgrounds in more detail, including their passion for the superyacht industry and efforts to make a difference to humanity through their philanthropic, charitable, environmental and community-based initiatives.
Dilan Saraç, Executive Director of Superyacht Life Foundation, said: “The evening was a wonderful expression of the good that exists in the superyachting good life, highlighting that there is so much more to this industry, its owners and crew, than meets the eye.
Mariasole Bianco hosted the evening
“Our three inaugural Honourees are all well deserving of the award, and they have set a high bar for future nominations, which we have no doubt the industry will meet because of the breadth of talent and heart that lies within all facets of the superyachting industry and lifestyle.”
Schmidt is an American philanthropist, superyacht owner and competitive sailor who is passionate about understanding and restoring the ocean. Through the Schmidt Family Foundation, Schmidt Ocean Institute and other non-profit organisations, Schmidt has helped advance ocean science and research notably by providing a state-of-the-art research vessel Falkor (too) to scientists worldwide at no cost in exchange for making their research and discoveries publicly available.
Wendy Schmidt with the Bowsprit
Schmidt co-founded 11th Hour Racing to raise awareness of ocean health and solutions for sustainability in the sailing and maritime industry. An accomplished helmswoman, she recently became the first woman and the first American to win the Barcolana 54, the world’s largest sailing yacht race.
Schmidt is also helping shape the next generation of yachts, drive innovation in materials and lifecycle assessment tools, and educate the public to understand the critical importance of the ocean.
Mariasole Bianco with Jenny Matthews
Matthews is a professional yacht crew who decided at the age of 18 that she was going to sideline university and become a superyacht captain. Facing the challenges of an industry where not many females were working on deck, she worked her way up to gain an Officer of the Watch certificate and was told very few women had ever achieved that qualification.
This led her to reach out on social media and form She of the Sea, a new community for women working in the deck and engineering departments that would serve not only as a networking and knowledge-sharing platform but also as a launchpad to inspire the next generation of female deck and engineer candidates.
Jenny Matthews shows off her Bowsprit
This initiative was followed by the launch of Legasea, which shifted the conversation from gender to place the focus on mentoring the next generation of yacht crew of all genders, providing support, knowledge and a community throughout their careers including when the time comes to move shoreside.
Selakovic was born and raised in what is now Croatia, falling in love with the sea from an early age, which led him to complete his skippering qualifications and cruise extensively. It was his first-hand experience of watching friends in the Caribbean lose everything they had in Hurricanes Irma and Maria that encouraged him to find out how he could help, at which point he met Mark Drewelow, the founder of YachtAid Global.
Zoran Selakovic receives his Bowsprit
Selakovic stepped in to help coordinate aid through YachtAid Global, which received offers from more than 100 superyachts to assist in relief efforts within two weeks. Since then, as YachtAid Global’s Director, he has been involved in projects as diverse as disaster relief, building the first public library in the Galapagos and helping provide clean drinking water in Mexico.
He has also coordinated Operation Swimway, which aims to add the migratory routes of pelagics to ocean conservation areas; all with the help of over 300 yachts including thousands of yacht crew and owners.
Zoran Selakovic on stage
Gaëlle Tallarida, Managing Director at Monaco Yacht Show, said: “The highlight of this spectacular night was hearing the inspiring stories of Wendy, Jenny and Zoran. We realised just how deeply caring the superyacht world can be and how we can all be a part of instigating change in how we work as an industry, how what we do can bring a positive impact all over the world, and how we can play a central role in understanding and restoring the health of the oceans which are vital to life on earth.”
Nominations for The Honours 2024 will open on December 1, with the event set to again honour the work of three individuals at an experiential gala on the eve of next year’s Monaco Yacht Show.