Paul Fenn, Take a Shot Media

Jeanneau Owners Prepare to Head Back to the BVI – Caribbean Comeback 2018

Jeanneau Owners in 2016 on the beach at Pirate’s Bight on Norman Island

If ever there was a year not to go to the British Virgin Islands (BVI), this year is it. Or is it? Yes, the BVI got trounced by Hurricane Irma back in September. Yes, there was a huge number of boats lost. And yes, many of the areas best known resorts such as The Bitter End Yacht Club and Peter Island Resort and Spa, have been forced to close their doors and sit out the season until repairs are made. Despite all this, the British Virgin Islands are still the world’s #1 charter destination, offering awesome sailing, plenty of great anchorages, beautiful white-sand beaches, plenty of good snorkeling, and of course, the world’s best Painkillers!

Zanshin, a Jeanneau 57, on the dock at the Peter Island Resort, 2016

And there’s another reason to go to the BVI this year and that is, the Islands need us. More than anything, what the BVI could really use right now are visitors, especially sailors. While some of the larger resorts are closed, most of the smaller ones such as Foxy’sthe Soggy DollarCooper Island Beach Club, and the Anagada Reef Hotel are open and ready for business. Nothing cures a quiet bar faster than a bunch of thirsty sailors! And, it’s the sailors, us, who can have the greatest impact on the BVI’s recovery right now.

Cheers from Peter Island 2014!

And so, on March 10th, a group of us will be boarding a plane and heading to Tortola in the BVI to pick up our boats from our friends at Sunsail. The weather in the BVI is currently 81 degrees with blue skies and winds out of the Southeast at 10-15. Can’t ask for better conditions than this.

On the dock at the Bitter End Yacht Club in 2014

We know the BVI will be quieter this year than in the past. And we understand we will see some leftover damage from Hurricane Irma. But we also know the sailing will be great as always, the water as blue as ever, the air will be warm, and the people of the British Virgin Islands will be glad to see us. It’s going to be great!

The Jeanneau Sunsail 51, chartered by Ian Van Tuyl of Cruising Yachts, swings quietly at anchor in The Bight on Norman Island – 2016

A big thanks to all our sponsors this year including: Cruising World MagazineCanadian YachtingSail MagazineSunsailThe Bitter End Yacht ClubHarkenBlue Water SailingSailing Magazine, the always generous, Helley HansenBVI Tourism, Richard Branson’s organization, Unite BVI,

On we go…

Great Companies are like Great Adventures, both take Optimism, Spirit and Teamwork to be Successful

Several years ago some friends took  me into Washington, DC to watch the best of the Banff Mountain Film festival, a series of award-winning short films created by outdoor thrill seekers.The actual festival takes place in Banff, Canada where the world’s best mountain films, books, and speakers take the spotlight for nine days bringing to life the adventure of climbing, mountain expeditions, remote cultures, and the world’s last great wild places. I have never been to the actual festival but each year they take the very best of the show on the road, and each year I make it a point not to miss it when it comes to Washington. It is quite frankly, amazing and I always look forward to seeing it.

This year one of the films featured two young guys from Australia (Cas and Jonsey) who were determined to be the first to make the trek from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back; 1,400 miles unassisted, on skies, pulling 300 pound sleds across the frozen ice. The first half of the trip would take them sixty days, some days marching thirteen hours at a clip in complete white-out conditions against fierce winds and frigid temperatures. The entire trip would end up taking them 90 days. At times, the film was difficult to watch; I could almost feel the pain and agony these two guys were going through.

An additional twist of the adventure came before they even started when they learned that an experienced Norwegian adventurer, Aleksander Gamme, would also be attempting to make it to the Pole and back at the same time. In other words, now it was not only a trek but also a race. Traveling alone and with considerably more experience traversing ice and snow, Gamme quickly out paced the Australians and was well on his way to upsetting their plans. Strangely however, the three adventurers, via the sat. phone, became friends, kindred spirits really, as they each battled the elements day after day.

In the end, as Cas and Jonsey were only two miles or so from the finish, they spied in front of them their fellow adventurer and now soul mate, Alexander Gamme. He had camped for two days, waiting for them so they could all cross the finish line together.

As I left the theater and made the drive home to Annapolis, a host of thoughts raced through my mind; not just about this particular film about two guys pulling a sled across the ice but about all the films. They all shared a common thread, specific elements that were clearly at the core of these outdoor adventurers. Values such as vision, success, focus, hard work, personal relationships, trust, unselfishness, goal oriented, shared expectations, shared common objectives, risk takers, teamwork and spirit were the elements that were clearly evident. The more I thought about it the more I saw the commonalities between those companies that we love to do business with and those adventurers that go off to blaze new trails, setting new records and discovering the unknown.

At Jeanneau America, we do our best to approach our business with much the same optimism, spirit, and teamwork that enabled Cas and Jonesy to complete their journey across the ice. Being in the luxury yacht business, times have not exactly been easy these past few years but despite this, we have experienced solid growth, introduced several new models, found our way into a few new markets and managed to have fun along the way. Our success is largely due first and foremost to the fact that we like what we do, we have fun doing it, we believe in the boats that we build and we believe that as a team, we offer something real and meaningful to our customers. In short, we share the idea that we want to be a company that people like to do business with and we enjoy doing what it takes to earn that privilege.

Finally, a few last words about Alexander Gamme. When asked why he waited for Cas and Jonsey to reach him before crossing the finish line, he replied

“Waiting for them in the end it felt very natural. I liked them from the very first moment. I saw myself in them. I enjoy going solo, but to finish and to celebrate alone, it’s not fun.”

I think there is a lot of wisdom here. While winning is a great thing, it’s not the only thing (Lance Armstrong, note to self). And, I think for a company or an individual to be truly successful, they need to respect and appreciate their competition and recognize that part of their own success is due to the success of those that are behind them, pushing them to be faster and better. Humility is an attractive personality trait. Practicing humility is not always easy but it’s a good thing to do.

On we go….

P.S. Join Cas and Jonsey for a quick preview of their award winning film Crossing the Ice

A New Year’s Resolution for 2013

“life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller

HistDSC00480orically, I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions but this year I found myself on the ski slopes of New Hampshire just a few days before New Year’s Eve, feeling rather melancholy and more motivated to set up some targets to shoot at for 2013. I’m not entirely sure what brought this shift in thinking on but I’m sure it has a lot to do with my age and my children.

At 53 It’s hard to consider myself as young although I don’t feel 53 and I don’t much look like I’m 53. I’m an active guy. I don’t try to be active, I just am active; the way I have always been. I run, cycle, swim, and have not given up trying to drive down my time when competing in local running races and the occasional triathlon. In short, I’m out there but at the end of the day I’m 53 years old and the clock is not only ticking, I am convinced it’s speeding up too. Adding credibility to this idea are my three young children ages 10, 9 and 6 who are growing before my eyes at an incredible rate. So fast in fact it’s like watching time-lapse photography live and in 3D. It’s hard to ignore their fast-paced growth which further propagates the idea that the peloton of time is speeding forward and all of us along with it.

So, where am I going with all this? No place too original I’m afraid except that at the ripening age of 53 with three young children in tow, I’m more aware these days of how fast time goes by and how quickly we can all lose sight of this very basic fact. WitDSC00325h all this in mind, one of my primary missions for 2013 is to climb out of the rut a little more frequently in 2013 and have a few more adventures with my family before I get too old to keep up with them and before they get to old to want to hang out with me.  Since I work for Jeanneau and have easy access to the boats we build, I plan to do a little cruising to areas that I have never been. I also plan to do a little camping this coming summer and made sure that Santa brought us a new tent to keep us warm and dry along the way. 

Life indeed moves pretty fast and Ferris Bueller was right, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Happy New Year everyone! Be good, work hard, and be sure to take the time to feel life’s fresh breezes.

All The Best,

Paul Fenn