Interview with Y.CO’s Charlie Birkett

Charlie Birkett and Gary Wright, the duo behind Y.CO, began their careers on superyachts and now run a multinational yacht management and brokerage company. The company also manages a wide variety of large yachts, including several vessels based in Qatar.

“We weren’t at the Qatar International Boat Show last year, we had people on the ground but we didn’t have a presence or a stand”, Charlie explains when I ask him about their presence at the show.

“This year, we took the decision with the support of our clients based here to establish ourselves in the show and obviously bring other exciting yachting brands with us, including Lürssen”.

“Y.CO has people on the ground here year round, purely in yacht management and technical management. We offer a lot of support to NDSQ, because we are coordinating two projects there with the Damen group, so we have technical supervision over there. We probably have two or three people in Qatar at all times”.

The two projects are of course the two 71.5 metre Fast Diving Vessels, under construction at the Qatari NDSQ shipyard. These two high-speed luxurious vessels will be fully equipped to support offshore diving operations, including a decompression chamber, and are fitted with 4 main engines, bow thrusters and dynamic positioning. They are the first superyachts ever under construction in the Middle Eastern country.

With 10 superyachts currently under construction world-wide, under Y.CO management, I ask about the importance of that aspect of the business: “For us, management is what we started doing when we first started the company. It’s still something we’re very passionate about and we’ve got some exciting initiatives starting this year, one being that we’ve started our own charity yacht club for the crew. We support around 1500-1600 crew now on the yachts that we have contracts with, and we’d like them to start participating in a charity initiative. It’s in support of the Blue Marine Foundation. We’ve also got a new piece of management software that we’ve developed over the past five years, Y.CO Live, and we’re launching Y.CO Live 2 this year. That’s backed by Sea Logical, so that’s quite exciting”.

Talking about exhibiting at the Qatar International Yacht Show, Birkett says: “We’re here to support Qatar and support the show. Obviously there are people who visiting the show that will be interesting to us, whether it’s charter or for sales, but we’re mainly here to support the country and its development into the yacht market”.

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