A long-awaited opportunity in the superyacht industry to acknowledge the individuals pioneering change within the sector, The Honours Awards was celebrated in great style and success at a gala dinner held in Hauser & Wirth’s gallery upon Monaco’s Place du Casino on 26 September 2023, run in conjunction between the Monaco Yacht Show and The Superyacht Life Foundation.
The awards, celebrated on the evening before the yacht show itself, were conceived with the intention of recognizing those behind the scenes striving to make the industry a better place, whether that be through sustainability measures, gender equality, or global aid relief organization.
It was a night of celebrating the humans behind the yachts, placing the spotlight firmly towards them, rather than the magnificent boats that would come to take center stage in the world-famous Monaco Yacht Show that would begin mere hours after the Honours Awards. And with over 360 nominations, the judges truly had their work cut out for them.
The three recipients of the Honours Awards, in which each honouree was awarded a Bowsprit Award, were invited up on stage during the gala dinner for a discussion with environmental and ocean conservation advocate Mariasole Bianco in front of the guests, in which topics including their backgrounds, their passion for the industry, and their efforts to make a difference.
The first honouree of the inaugural Monaco Yacht Show Honours Awards was Jenny Matthews, a professional yacht crew who, after learning she was one of the few women across the world who had worked her way up to gaining an Officer of the Watch certificate, created the She of the Sea community. A community for women within the industry, the very successful initiative was followed by the launch of Legasea, which mentors the next generation of yacht crew of both genders.
Zoran Selakovic was awarded second for his commitment to coordinating aid for relief efforts across the world, whether it be providing clean drinking water in Mexico, or building the first public library in the Galapagos. Having witnessed the extent to which his friends in the Caribbean were directly impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Selakovic has rallied the support of thousands of yacht crew and owners in his role as YachtAid Global’s Director.
And lastly, the third honoree to be welcomed on stage that evening was Wendy Schmidt, an American philanthropist who herself is a superyacht owner and competitive sailor; Wendy was the first woman and American to win the Barcolana 54. Passionate about the oceans’ health and utterly committed to restoring the seas to former vitality, the Schmidt Family Foundation, Schmidt Ocean Institute – led by Wendy – has advanced ocean science and research through state-of-the-art research investment.
“The highlight of this spectacular night was definitely hearing the inspiring stories of Wendy, Jenny and Zoran, and realizing just how deeply caring the superyacht world can be, and how we can all be a part of instigating change in how we work as an industry, how what we do can bring a positive impact all over the world, and how we can play a central role in understanding and restoring the health of the oceans which are vital to life on Earth,” said Gaëlle Tallarida, managing director at Monaco Yacht Show.