Sailing Yacht broker Sophie Kemp was thrown head first into sailing on her grandparent’s retirement yacht PANORAMA – a one-off Sadler 40 deck saloon, in mainland Spain and the Balearics from a young age, but she did not like going anywhere on it for fear of sinking… How times have changed!
She writes: “As time went on and I got older I enjoyed being on the water more and more and the freedom it offered. Come the end of school, there was no other degree I wanted to do – it had to be a BSc in ‘Navigation and Maritime Science’ at Plymouth University. Four years later, an Atlantic crossing (on a 55ft motor boat) under my belt, a season for Sunsail, seven months on a 220ft motor yacht as a deck hand AND a drive from London to Mongolia in a 1999 Skoda Felica – I graduated.
It was not quite time for me to get a proper job yet and it was off on the ARC (more on this later!) with my dad, and boyfriend (now husband) to the Caribbean – we all survived. We spent four months cruising the Caribbean before it was time to come home and after a couple of Skype interviews Berthon International Managing Director Sue Grant offered me a job and I started at our Lymington HQ 1st March 2016.
Having grown up in South West London I feel incredibly lucky to now live and work in the magical New Forest. My commute is often slowed down by a donkey, horse or cow! I am a keen runner and completed my 1st marathon in September 2020 and am spoilt by running the trails or sea wall we have on offer. When I am not in the forest I will be out in the Solent sailing on my parents Hylas 54, on my uncles Archambalt 31 racing yacht or off for a beach BBQ in my RIB. Despite being a sailing yacht broker a RIB makes light work of getting round the Solent!
Working at Berthon International is like working in one big extended family and we all help each other out. I am lucky enough to get to deal with a wide variety of yachts and people. I specialise in bluewater crusing yachts and having been there and done the ARC, I always hope that I can advise people well. The best part of the job is going on the adventure with clients and being able to see them achieve their dreams of sailing off into the sunset.
For the last few years I have also been involved in the organisation of the Bluewater Weekend which we run in conjunction with the World Cruising Club. This has been a great event and I have thoroughly enjoyed putting it together. It is fantastic to see people come to it for inspiration and then come back a couple of years later having been there and done it and ready to help educate and inspire more bluewater cruisers.