Sailing family looks to grow yacht business
The son of an Olympic sailor is looking forward to growing his luxury yacht-chartering service in Bermuda.
Bermuda Yachts launched two years ago and has enjoyed strong demand since then.
Jonathan Kempe said his family has always had a love for boats.
His father, Reid Kempe, and uncle, Jay Kempe, sailed in the 1992 Olympics.
Sailing has always been part of their lives, which is what inspired them to build their boat and start the business.
“Sailing has been apart of my family, we just love boats, so we decided to do something we love,” Mr Kempe said.
“My brother and I moved to South Africa to build our 77ft catamaran (Zara), my brother designed the whole thing. The total project took five years to complete,” he said.
“We went on to sail to the British Virgin Islands and St Maarten, debating if we should stay there or come back to Bermuda.”
They eventually decided to return home to Bermuda and began the charter service.
The catamaran holds up to 75 people and mostly caters to corporate groups.
Mr Kempe mentioned that it is mostly an evening rental. “We have about five tours a week as most of our clients are in the corporate sector, but we also get other groups of people who hire the boat as well.”
Besides corporate events, they also cater to weddings, anniversaries, wedding rehearsal dinners, and many other types of event.
During the America’s Cup, the yacht became a favourite with Oracle Team USA, who hired it for the races through the whole month.
“That was a buzzing time for Bermuda,” Mr Kempe said. “Not only did the team hire it but so did locals for private events.”
The boat is fully crewed with about four people, depending on the size of the party. “I usually drive the boat, myself,” he added.
Mr Kempe believes his boat stands out from competitors in Bermuda.
“There are other catamarans on island that cater to mostly the cruise ship markets doing water tours with visitors, which is also good.”
He added: “Being a sailboat makes us unique. We have our own niche in the market.”
The service, which is weather dependent, is seasonal and starts from about May until the end of November.
Mr Kempe said in the future they plan to build two more boats, another large catamaran and a smaller one.
For further information, visit http://www.bermuda-yachts.com
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