Owner, RNR Yacht Charters
Date interviewed: April 2009
How did you get started as a charter broker?
I sailed out of Australia in 1965 on a 35-foot sailboat, and I took it pretty much around the world. I lived in the Seychelles for about 18 months, and I sailed down through Madagascar, went over to Mozambique, and then down to South Africa. A while later I sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and then over about 800 miles off the Brazilian coast, to a place called Martim Vaz. Then I went to Rio de Janeiro and cruised the coast of South America, right past the Amazon. I made my way up to Trinidad and the Caribbean, and I stayed there for about 15 years running boats, always as a charter captain.
In 1983, I married my cook, and I’d had enough of being a captain. I bought a couple of airplanes and ran charter flights to the Bahamas from the United States, and then I started booking yacht charters as well. As the yacht charter business got better, I dropped out of the planes, and by about 1989 I had formed RNR Yacht Charters.
I ended up becoming one of the first brokers in the world to tap into the Russian market, and I ended up booking a lot of the largest, most expensive yachts in the world. At one point, I became the U.S.-based broker for Ocean Independence, but for the most part I’ve been RNR Yacht Charters the whole time, and that’s what I am today.
What kinds of boats do you book today?
I like the big motoryachts, but I book sailing yachts as well. I typically focus on crewed yachts, and I occasionally book bareboats, too.
What are some of the best charter destinations you’ve personally visited?
I’ve always loved the Grenadines and the South Pacific. They’re some of the first places I ever saw, and they really made an impression on me. They’re remote, but when you’re on a yacht, you still have the best of everything, the five-star accommodations, the top food, all the toys, everything.
What is the first thing you ask a new charter client?
I ask how many people will be in their party, and where they want to go. That will help me start to narrow down what’s available in the location where they want to charter.
Describe your ideal charter client.
Somebody who is open and truthful, and who is enjoyable to talk to on a one-on-one basis. It’s far harder to work with a secretary who is trying to organize everything but doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Describe your nightmare charter client.
Somebody who is vague, or who can’t make up their mind. They’ll have me running in circles, and no matter how hard I work, they never figure out what they want.
What’s also bad is six people in the same charter party all researching the same vacation at the same time. There needs to be a point person, to keep things organized.
What are a few of your favorite charter yachts?
I tend to use my years of experience, and what I know about crew, to match the boats to the clients. It’s not about what my favorites are. It’s about the type of boat that will make the best charter for the client.
What makes you different from other charter brokers?
I’m an old charter captain. I’ve done 200,000 miles of ocean sailing. I think I know a lot of these boats better than a lot of the brokers who simply sell charters for a living. I go in the engine rooms on these boats, not just into the pretty parts that the guests see. I know about weather and currents, too, and I can act as an educated link between the charter clients and the captain.
What else should CharterWave readers know about you?
The thing that I would stress is that I’m a "no-B.S." guy. I think the general attitude of the business today—especially with the big bucks to be made on the motoryachts—is one of sales. A lot of brokers are trying to do a deal, but I’m trying to do a charter. I want my clients to be my friends and clients for life.
I’m sincere, I’m honest, and I call it like I see it. I’m not trying to baffle you with fancy brochures and confuse you. I’m not messing around or trying to talk you into things that aren’t quite right, just so I can make the deal. I book charter vacations for people.
How can CharterWave readers contact you?
My website is www.rnryachts.com, my phone number is (800) 525-2526, and my e-mail is