5 Women In The Yachting World You Need To Know
In honor of International Women’s Day, we take time to celebrate 5 key female figures in the yachting world. These women are Trail blazers, who are constantly paving the way for many more women in the yachting industry and world. These women have proven to be the inspiration for any woman forging her career path and building her own “tomorrow” in this fascinating industry.
We want to highlight a very special woman, Ceren Aytekin, Numarine’s Engineering Manager. Even though most senior or managerial positions are largely male dominated, Ceren has built a fantastic career in the yachting industry. I remember seeing her a couple of years ago walking on a sea of men at the production line at Numarine’s shipyard in Istanbul, Turkey. Giving instructions with confidence to a group of workers on some issue that arouse on the hull of a 102 feet long yacht.
We chatted a little bit with Ceren about the importance of choosing the right career for you, how she got into the yachting industry, her thoughts on the importance of women’s role in yachting today and the years to come, and a few more topics.
1. Ceren Aytekin Engineering Manager at Numarine
Ceren attended the Yildiz Teknik University in Turkey, and graduated with a degree in Naval Engineering. At a time where Turkey was facing an economic crisis, her career choice in the yachting industry opened many doors for her. She started to work in the biggest commercial steel boats design office in Turkey at the time, where she realized that sitting in front of a computer all day was not going to cut it. Looking for a more hands-on job, she started to work at Vicem Yachts for almost a year, a Turkish shipyard building pleasure yachts. In 2011, Ceren started working at Numarine, a newer Turkish shipyard where Ceren held several positions in the sales and after-sales departments. Today, Ceren leads the whole Engineering Office at Numarine Headquarters, and pretty much every Numarine yacht you see cruising or floating around is partially thanks to her.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and how did you end up in the yachting industry and when?
While I was deciding between studying engineering or architecture, I made the choice to be an engineer at the university but a type of engineering that could be combined with architecture.
I ended up with Naval Engineering, as my mother actually guided me to lean for. So, while in the university, I had ideas in my mind about being in this industry and after graduation, there was a really serious economical crisis in Turkey, but my career choice helped me, and I got the opportunity to start to work for a yacht company in 2011. Before this I had some experience working in a design office that designed big trade steel ships. This was a great opportunity too. It was the biggest design office in Turkey, but I had learnt enough that I am not the type of person who can only sit in front of computer all day in an office where you don’t see how they produce what you design. So, I decided that I should have a job which is more hands-on and definitely in a yachting sector that includes all different disciplines.
A short description about your current role, and what do you love the most about it?
I am the Engineering Manager of Numarine. At the engineering office we are responsible to provide all necessary information in required methods to the shop floors and production lines for them to manufacture the Numarine yachts. What I love the most about this role, is that I can be a part of every process, starting from sales and continuing with after-sales. I am on the boat or in the office, or in other production areas (Numarine manufactures most of the yachts parts in house) to see how they do it physically and solve the problems on site when necessary.
Can you share some of your proudest achievements?
I started to work at a young age and I am still young. In a short time, I think I had opportunities to get roles in different disciplines in this sector which gave me several options and opportunities to improve myself. Now I am head of the Engineering Office and trying to improve myself and my company with my young team. I think we do beautiful things and we will do better.
What do you do when you are not at the shipyard?
There is not much time after work if you are living in Istanbul, but I am trying to spend good times with my family and friends during weekends. Now I am having a baby and from now on I think I will have all sort of different other things in my life beside the shipyard.
How do you see the role of women in the yachting industry in the next 5-10 years?
What I believe is, women and men should always work together. I mean, if there is a sector where women and men can work and bring ideas together it is always a better combination. The yacht sector definitely needs this as well because you need new, different ideas, concepts, and tastes in this industry.
What needs to be changed in the yachting industry?
Maybe they should give women more opportunities to work in this industry along other men.
Where are you the happiest, on the water or on land?
I think a 50-50 combination is the best. I don’t prefer to be on water all the time, but also I can’t leave being on water.
Any advice for the younger generation of women aspiring to become leaders in this industry?
I don’t want to say big words, but if they want to be in this industry, it is always fun. I suggest them to find the good part of it for themselves, because it is not easy and if they don’t like what they are doing, they can not have success and it could be even painful. Isn’t it the same for all life?
These women listed below have been outstanding along the years in the yachting world. Racers, Captains, and adventurers; Women who stand out in a male dominated world and that we are proud to honor them in this short article. They are:
2. Maria Grazia Franco — Captain of 50M super yacht
Maria Franco was born and raised in Rome. She developed an interest for the sea at a young age. She made a big decision to move to Australia in 1998, where she worked on a small cruise ship. She then moved on to large private and charter yachts. She obtained an MCA Master 3000GRT certificate of competency in 2002, giving her first command position on a 38m sailing yacht. Maria worked on two 60m+ yachts, including 2 years spent cruising and diving the South Pacific and a contract on a luxury sail assisted cruise ship before obtaining the command of MARIU, all these she has been doing from 2010 till date. She is also an accomplished pianist, having obtained a Diploma at the Conservatory of Music in Rome at a very young age.
3. Alexia Barrier – Ocean Researcher and solo global sailor
Alexia Barrier is one of the talented sailors of La Course au Large. She has raced the Mini Transat, Figaro 2 and Solocean among others, she is also a world-class racer in Match Racing. Barrier lives on the French Riviera. She started sailing with her parents at the age of 3 on a 6m sailboat in the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic coast. She became a sailing instructor aged 15. Alexia Barrier worked in the yachting industry as a co-skipper or sailor on yachts of 36 meters or even 12mJI yachts (once the official boats for the America’s Cup), all these she achieved whilst pursuing her sports management studies at the UFR-STAPS Nice, She has since then gone on to become a professional sailor and has participated in many races worldwide.
4. Ellen MacArthur, DBE – Founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Dame Patricia Ellen is a retired British sailor. Being a successful solo long-distance yachtswoman, she became the fastest sailor to circumnavigate the globe on the 7th of February 2005, an accomplishment which gained her international renown. She founded the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, a charity set up in 2003, which works with hospitals across the UK to take young people who have suffered from cancer & leukemia sailing, helping them regain their confidence. After her retirement from professional sailing on 2 September 2010, MacArthur announced the launch of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with the goal of “accelerating the transition to a regenerative, circular economy”
5. Laura Dekker – Youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe solo
Laura Dekker is a Dutch teenager who was born on a boat in the waters of New Zealand. She was made from sailing and her passion for it has never wavered since she was a toddler. She started her maiden voyage in Gibraltar on August 21st, 2010 aged 14. She arrived the island of Saint Maarten in January 2012 after sailing 27,000 miles. Ever since completing her first voyage, Laura has continued to update her blog whilst traveling around the Pacific Ocean (for the second time). Miss Decker now lives in her birth country of New Zealand, aboard her beloved boat Guppy.