Ahoy, Billionaires: The Royal Navy Is at Your Service
PORTSMOUTH, England — In 1805, British Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson set sail from this seaside town to engage Napoleon Bonaparte’s fleet off the Spanish coast. The Englishman’s victory at Cape Trafalgar established Britannia as ruler of the waves.
Today, the navy that sank Napoleon has a new gig: tending the yachts of the rich and famous.
The Royal Navy and contractors have teamed up to train yachting crews. With the rise in production of yachts, the navy has embraced the sector, teaching everything from napkin folding to fire fighting. WSJ’s Stacy Meichtry reports.
In recent months, a Royal Navy contractor has started training butlers, skippers and stewards who ferry billionaires in their pearly white pleasure boats to exclusive vacation spots. One of its first clients is the captain of Ecstasea, the 285-foot vessel of Russian oil magnate Roman Abramovich.
A descendant of Lord Nelson’s isn’t amused. “I don’t expect anyone thought of such a thing in 1805,” says Anna Tribe, the naval hero’s 78-year-old great-great-great-granddaughter. If drill instructors divulge too many trade secrets, Ms. Tribe warns, the Royal Navy risks “Mr. Abramovich and his compatriots very suddenly coming to war with us.”
But Stephen Mackay, the retired Royal Navy commander who is running the program, says he’s fighting a more immediate threat to Britain’s national security: the Royal Navy’s need for cash.
story at The Wall Street Journal