Whilst tidying the other day I came across this photo of my father in, er, a business meeting in Japan. Probably around the late 1980s. I think the participants are drinking warm sake. There’s quite a lot of averted eye contact and on an awkwardness scale of 1-10, I would give it a 12. Actually I’m not quite clear under what circumstances the photo was taken as it seems a clear breach of D-Notice rules. I, of course, am permitted to publish under the 30-year rule. But enough of rules and procedures: I’m proud to report that the tradition continues – removing one’s clothes purely for commercial purposes ( with no money changing hands other than an eventual design fee ).


Not that long ago, our first meeting with a prospective client was held in his sauna in the forest. The roll call consisted of : the client, German shipyard representatives x 2, the male half of a mixed sex broker combination and myself and Mr Fraser. Mr Rowell had fled, professing a sudden interest in trees of Eastern Europe. We were naked and wore grey felt hats to stop our hair combusting in the excoriating dry heat. There are no photos I am pleased to confirm ( unless there were devices concealed in the birch twigs ). As sauna diehards will know, the protocol also required periodic saunters high speed sprints to the iced plunge pool. Dignity was there none but I guess the client assessed our commitment to the cause and 36 months later we stood, fully clothed, on the dock in Bremen as his yacht was launched. All names, except those of the B&R team, have been withheld for decency’s sake.

Others may shoot, or drive cars at reckless speed, or simply ply fine wines in the quest for new business. But until you stride onto the level playing field which is complete nakedness, anything else barely counts.


Coral Island Vic

With Coral Island, newly rechristened Coral Ocean, making a rare appearance at MYS 2016, it seemed a good idea to remember just how unique she was. And remains.

Bannenberg Snr drew a profile which could only have come from his board. The hull was painted cream, the pool had mosaics laid in homage to Matisse and Vikal made a custom tender when custom tenders were still a rarity. But it was the interior which really broke the mould. No precious finishes in the accepted sense; no marble; absolutely no gold. Instead there was parchment and Kuba cloth; beads and head dresses. Bronze was used in abundance, and much of the fitted furniture was made by a bloke from England who would beachcomb for old timber and then painstakingly assemble screens, bar fronts and bedside tables with immaculate precision, overlaid with rusty screws and flaking paintwork. Carpets were made in Belgium from undyed linen, breaking out in areas into furrows like a freshly ploughed field. Frames and pedestals were silver-leafed and then covered in large black spots like decorative members of the leopard family.

To complete the effect, Jon roamed the atelier workshops of Paris to find hunks of coloured glass which shone like jewels in an otherwise colour-free space. It was thrilling and remains largely unseen ( unless you buy the Bannenberg book – £ 100, a snip ). The far less palatable alternative is to have to talk your way past Michael Bremen on the Lurssen stand. Your choice.

Coral Island Bar

Incidentally, and continuing the tribal and ethnic conversation, Natori ( our 42m Baglietto delivered in 2009 ) is also at the show. She has unmistakably South African vibes in her Skylounge and one Guest Cabin. Go take a look at here too.