Since the Winter Olympics of 2014, Sochi on the Black Sea coast, has become the destination centre for grand sporting events in Russia, and with Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup Finals, it is no surprise that Sochi will be staging some of the important fixtures. With two impressive marinas, it means that the southernmost venue should be high on the list for football loving superyacht owners.
For soccer read Sochi
Opening in 2014, a few days prior to the Olympic Games, Sochi Grand Marina, the largest yacht facility in Russia can host up to 300 yachts with LOA up to 80 metres, right in the heart of old Sochi and its popular restaurants and expensive boutiques.
After the Olympics, the infrastructure for visitors to Sochi was developed, with the athletes’ village becoming part of the Imeretinskiy resort complex. The marina is also part of the resort and was the port’s first privately operated facility of its kind, with 40 berths accommodating vessels up to 45m in length, with a draft of 7.8m. The Sochi resort is also host to the well supported FIA Formula 1 Grand Prix, this year a very eventful one, in which Valteri Bottas was victorious in a Mercedes.
The marina has all the expected facilities and services on hand; a dry dock, security, yacht cleaning, watch-keeping, concierge, shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as bike and Segway rentals. Superyachts, up to 120m, are also able to securely dock alongside within the passenger port and utilise the marina’s facilities, via an onsite ferry.
At the other end of this vast country, the second coastal venue, is the glittering jewel in Russia’s Crown: St. Petersburg. Rich in history and majesty, it is the epicenter for culture and romance. While boasting pristine examples of the Russian Empire style of classical architecture, it remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world. During the summer months when the World Cup visits, you can also experience the delight of white nights in St. Petersburg. Even after midnight, the sun still doesn’t disappear casting a rather surreal glow over the city.
For the World Cup event, the organisers will be using the most expensive football stadium in the world. Now home to the city’s Zenit Saint Petersburg team, it overlooks the Neva river, which runs through the centre of the city. The Krestovsky Arena, with a capacity of over 68,000, is an excellent facility and a fitting venue which hosted the final of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and will host the opening game of the 2018 World Cup.
While St. Petersburg has no established superyacht marinas, large visiting yachts can berth alongside on the river Bloshaya Neva. on the English promenade and promenade of Lieutenant Schmidt, Vasilyevsky island.
Building on the successes in yacht management and special projects, a new 'holistic' approach is now part of the comprehensive client offering from the Hill Robinson Group in the Isle of Man.
“When I tell people and friends that I run the procurement operation for Hill Robinson, eyes tend to glaze over and the subject is changed... when I say I buy-in helicopters and limousine tenders for superyachts, interest is soon restored!” Peter van Toor comments,“I hope to bring my experience in the whole area of procurement, Karl has already detailed some of the areas that we see as crucial in efficient, timely and very cost effective services for the owner”.
Peter’s journey to head of procurement at the Isle of Man office started out in Rotterdam, Holland working for his uncle’s port agency.“This is where I learned about and gained my strong interest in shipping. I came to the IoM in 1997 to work as a crewing officer for a locally based ship management company looking after a fleet of gas carriers and tankers, 1999 an opportunity came up to work in the purchasing department from that moment I found my niche in shipping. The change to yachting is quite fascinating and different but similar in certain aspects. There are certain areas where the Yachting sector is much more advanced then in Commercial Shipping, however specially on procurement and logistics there is a lot to learn from the way the commercial shipping is dealing with these aspects.
Commercial shipping makes its revenue on utilisation... the same as airlines... where maintenance schedules and the procurement that goes with that, crew placement plus a host of other support services has the maximum effect... it has to. My time working with a fleet of gas carriers has taught me how to react to split second decisions, change of port at the last minute, urgent spares to a remote location. It’s made me into a problem solver, something useful here at Hill Robinson”.
The Isle of Man has a strong reputation in finance but is also a key commercial hub for global shipping companies. With crew and international procurement featuring strongly in the mix of operations on this island, Peter has a long association with it, “Before my appointment with Hill Robinson, I worked in the Isle of Man in several capacities and gained a great deal of insight while working with Isle of Man Tourism to market the destination for cruise liners and visiting superyachts. As you will appreciate my added value to the Hill Robinson operation will come from a really fresh approach to the whole activity of procurement and the inherent efficiency required from shipping management to make this advantageous for our customers”.
We are currently in the process of evaluating and supplying a number of float planes through our procurement programme, one being the Viking Air DHC series 400 Seaplane
Cogs4Cancer 1400km cycle ride
Anna, why not cycle to the office today...from London?
Our Yacht Manager Anna Lindell was one of the 36 riders in the Cogs4Cancer cycle from London. As of October 2017, Cogs 4 Cancer achieved their goal of raising over one million dollars for cancer research!
What made you participate at Cogs4Cancer?
I’d taken part in a few cycle races in Sweden and France and then took part in the tribute ride 2 years ago. That’s when I thought, this is amazing that we are raising money for a very
good cause that I believe most of us can relate to in one way or another. Also I love a challenge and this will be a huge team effort for everybody involved.
How did you prepare for the ride?
I tried to cycle as much as I could whenever I had time, mostly
weekends but if I managed to get up early during the week I was able to get a few km in before 9am and perhaps a few after 6pm. I was a learning process, getting used to
being on the bike for consecutive days.
What do you enjoy most about cycling?
The endurance and nature, you see and experience so much on a bike.
Could you tell us more about the set up of the ride?
Cogs4Cancer is run entirely by volunteers and driven by the yachting industry. All riders are self funded and all the money donated goes straight to charity, equally split between Cancer Research UK and local French Cancer charities.
Each rider has a sponsor, mine being Hill Robinson. This race was the longest to date, 1,400km, and took 10 days starting from the Headquarters of Cancer Research in London and ended 10 days later on the IYCA in Antibes! Each day started by 07.30 and ended around 17.00, with a lunch stop, and cycled approximately 150km per day. There is also the opportunity to join the Tribute rides, the first and the last day of the ride, for anyone with a bicycle. In order to make this all happen, there is a dedicated support team of volunteers following the ride. Without its volunteers, Cogs 4 Cancer would not be what it is today –one of the world’s leading charities dedicated to life-saving research.
And the pressure when you are cycling?
The thing that stresses me most is the traffic when riding on busy roads.
What excited you the most about Cogs4Cancer?
The whole experience! There are many ways to get involved and we were immensely proud to reach the 1 million euro target!
Donations can be made on www.justgiving.com/cogs4cancer and please visit the website www.cogs4cancer.org where you can find all the information about the ride, there are also many other opportunities to get involved.
Well done to our Marketing Manager Mariska Biesheuvel and Yacht Manager Celine Blanchardon for participating in the last 60km!
WATER OF HOPE
Cambodia, not exactly a dream yachting destination, so what is it doing here?
Perhaps best known for the amazing Temples of Angkor Wat, but you may also have heard of it from its recent and devastating history of the Khmer Rouge as well as various internal political struggles and border disputes. Sadly the latter have caused damage that will take decades to repair and a huge percentage of Cambodians live around or well below the poverty line. Many still have no access to clean water and water borne diseases are rife, infant mortality rates, although improving, remain among the highest in the world (5% versus 0.4% in Europe) with life expectancy amongst the lowest at 64.5 years (well over 80 in Europe).
If you visit Angkor Wat now you are unlikely to see this poverty- it has been brushed discreetly aside so the tourists don't get upset. But it's still there and has become a cause very close to the heart of Hill Robinson's Operations Manager, Marianne Richards. "I first came to Cambodia in 2009 and at that time you couldn't move for street kids begging. They were beautiful, bright and kind- they didn't deserve the cards they'd been dealt. It blew me away. I couldn't leave without doing something."
And so the story began and Cambodia became Marianne's new holiday destination. Becoming close friends with her tour guide, Narong Chap, one thing led to another- 4 children sponsored through education (one now almost a Judge!), volunteer teaching and helping out at a community project plus Water of Hope- an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) set up both in Cambodia (by Narong) and France (by Marianne) to raise funds to dig wells to provide clean water for the poor living in the shadows of Ankgor Wat.
I remember standing with my mouth open. Wow, where had I come to? There were kids playing in muddy pools, men with fishing sticks...
Marianne on her first visit to Cambodia in 2009
A well costs around $350 - a very small amount in the world of yachting where this might be the price of a bottle of wine - but beyond the means of locals struggling to make ends meet on way less than $100 a month even if they work full time. A well can make a huge difference- clean water to drink, to wash in , to water the arid soil around the rudimentary house so they can grow vegetables, rice, fruit or even just to wash the rusty bicycle that might be the family's only form of transport.