MYS: The Honours yachting awards champion three inspiring individuals

The inspiring personal achievements of three standout individuals in the yachting industry have been celebrated at the inaugural The Honours event. Here are the stories behind the people who picked up a Bowspirit Award. 

The inaugural edition of The Honours was held at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Place du Casino on 26th September. The awards, aptly called the Bowspirit Awards, were created to highlight the work of important and influential members of the yachting community and to shine a light on their aspirational efforts to improve the industry, from philanthropic ventures to innovation. 

From conservation projects to coordinating disaster relief and establishing equality within a male-dominated sector, each of the three winners of the first-ever Bowspirit Awards at The Honours, an event co-organised by the Monaco Yacht Show and the Superyacht Life Foundation, have all made a strong impact on the yachting industry and they were invited by host Mariasole Bianco, an environmental and ocean conservation advocate, to share their stories on the night with an audience of esteemed guests that included superyacht owners and industry VIPs. 


The laureates were chosen from a pool of more than 360 nominees by expert judges who looked for those who “epitomise the heart and soul of the superyachting sector” 

The first award was given to American philanthropist, superyacht owner and competitive sailor Wendy Schmidt. Through her Schmidt Family Foundation, Schmidt Ocean Institute and other not-for profits, she has been instrumental in advancing ocean science and research via the free use of the Falkor (too), a top-of-the-line research vessel that is at the disposal of scientists worldwide free of charge. In exchange, the researchers must agree to make their findings public. 

Schmidt also co-founded 11th Hour Racing to raise awareness of ocean health and solutions for sustainability in the sailing and maritime industry. 

Next up was professional yacht crew Jenny Matthews, who decided at the age of 18 to ditch university and become a superyacht captain; a bold choice in an extremely male-dominated career. She diligently made her way up the ladder, eventually being recognised by being granted an Officer of the Watch certification, something few women at the time had achieved.  

This led her to create ‘She and the Sea’ on social media as a way for other women in the industry to share information, network and inspire the next generation. 

Finally it was the turn of Croatian captain Zoran Selakovic, who heard the call of the sea from an early age. He went on to cruise the world and build a significant career in the industry.  

When tragedy struck in the form of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean, he saw friends lose everything and decided he could do something to help. He met with the founder of YachtAid Global, Mark Drewelow, and stepped in to coordinate help through the charity, which received offers from more than 100 superyachts to assist in relief efforts within two weeks. 

He soon became YachtAid Global’s director and has been involved in disaster relief since. Other projects he has assisted with include building the first public library in the Galapagos and helping provide clean drinking water in rural parts of Mexico, as well as coordinating Operation Swimway, which aims to add the migratory routes of pelagic fish to ocean conservation areas.  


“The evening was a wonderful expression of the good that exists in the superyacht good life, that highlighting there is so much more to this industry, its owners and crew than meets the eye,” said Dilan Saraç, Executive Director of Superyacht Life Foundation. “Our three inaugural honourees are all well deserving of the award, and they have set a high bar for future nominations, which we have no doubt the industry will meet because of the breadth of talent and heart that lies within all facets of the superyachting industry and lifestyle.” 

Click on the images below to see each of the winners of a Bowspirit Award:


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