The first launch of 2015 was a book, not a yacht. Not any old book, mind you : a long-overdue book about Bannenberg Snr which has been in the mind of Bannenberg Jnr for at least 10 years, but was fast-tracked to take a mere five years in reality. There was enough material to write two books ( at least ) but I settled for just the one volume, admittedly weighing a courier-busting 5kg. No innovative lightweight construction there.
The Royal College of Art seemed a fitting place to hold a party for a Royal Designer for Industry ( the first yacht designer so honoured since Charles Nicholson in 1934 ) and the Henry Moore Gallery was dressed with a fleet of Bannenberg models ( Carinthia VI, Nabila, Stefaren, Coral Island and Oceana ), huge lightboxes with images of Jon overseeing proceedings, a video wall with film from 1965 onwards – including some of Jon’s Super 8 footage of the exceedingly brief Carinthia V – and anemones. Lots of them. You have to read the book to appreciate why.
There was also a huge mirrored and faceted bar to cope with the prodigious drinking capabilities of the yachting industry. See below – that’s Jon overlooking it, pronouncing on window shapes but also probably urging people to help themselves. Actually they were helped by glamorous waiters and waitresses and the violet Martinis took a heavy toll, not least on this correspondent.
While the Club des Belugas played, the Martini stock was decimated. Not before I managed to give a speech reminding everyone that my father could and would design anything. From yachts to planes ; cars to hotels; gardens to jewellery. He even re-designed my school shorts as he didn’t like the cut of them. And despite his mantra delivered to Feadship all those years ago, that ” a straight line was the cheapest distance between two points”, no less than 14 members of the Feadship family came along. They haven’t held it against us.
In an exercise considerably harder than herding cats, past members of Team Bannenberg were finally mustered by the model of Carinthia for a photo. When trying to organise this by e mail beforehand, Mr Jonathan Barnett, formerly of this parish, and now of Seattle, wondered if we were meeting under the model of Carinthia. We hoped not, despite the effects of the Martinis. See below for proof that he managed to stand up, along with ( L to R ) : Vicki Le Fleur, Phil Couch, Anita Stevenson, Jonathan Barnett ( with whiskers), Andrew Clarke, Christian Doyle, Paula Tebbs, Bannenberg Jnr, Mr Disdale, Mr Winch and Mr Heywood. Tim and I will recommend a good tie shop to Jonathan, Diz and Andrew.
Somehow the books went, no contact has been made by personal injury lawyers for bad backs and I believe I managed to sign a few. One copy has already appeared on E Bay to my regret. Brokers will stop at nothing…..
It’s been a long journey, and as I said in the book’s foreword, the book is late. But I hope it does Jon justice. As he said : ” The only exciting boat is the next one I’m building. There’s so much to do and such a pathetically short time to do it in. ” Well somehow he fitted it all in.