Monday 20 August 2018

F1 chief Jordan on board at UK yacht-maker Oyster


The 155-ft 200-tonne Sunseeker yacht that Eddie Jordan, inset, sold for about €23m
The 155-ft 200-tonne Sunseeker yacht that Eddie Jordan, inset, sold for about €23m

John Reynolds

Eddie Jordan, founder of the Jordan Grand Prix Formula One motor racing team, has joined the board of Oyster Yachts, a yacht-maker on the south coast of England.

Jordan, an avid sailor who owns the largest model that the firm makes, an Oyster 885 named Lush, has been appointed to the board of the business by gaming entrepreneur Richard Hadida, who is a sailing companion of his.

Hadida, who co-founded Evolution Gaming, bought the Southampton and Norfolk-based business after it went into administration last month when its previous Dutch backers, HTP Investment, decided not to continue financially supporting the business.

It is understood he intends to rehire most of the company's workforce, believed to be about 400 staff.

The firm is believed to have an order book of around €100m and over 20 yachts are currently being built. It is aiming to fulfil orders for the new model, the 118ft Oyster 118 that can accommodate up to 10 people and five crew, while also looking at making smaller ones.

"We are looking, with design partner Rob Humphreys, who is integral to this, at a couple of 40-something footers in the range, possibly a super high-quality 42, because there is an enormous market there," said Hadida.

"They would have all the mod cons and the hull seascape windows that Oyster is famous for.

"I got close to Eddie Jordan and have done lots of sailing with him on Lush, probably 40 days a year in the last two years. I looked at buying myself and we looked at bigger boats, but none matched up to Lush.

"I heard about what was happening when I was on holiday with Eddie and I felt it was my calling [to buy the business]."

Jordan and Hadida had previously looked at buying a newer boat such as the 118, but there was understood to be a long waiting list for new orders. Jordan said that he has kept his Oyster 885, a 79ft craft with four cabins and two crew cabins.

Last year he sold Blush, his Sunseeker 155, a stunning 155ft cruising vessel - with accommodation for 10 guests and 10 crew members - for about €23m, according to reports.

It has also emerged that Jordan and his son Zak, a UCD graduate, have been building a small portfolio of investment properties in Oxford and south London in recent years.

Dublin-born multimillionaire Jordan celebrated his 70th birthday at the end of March, and has a number of business interests, as well as being an occasional presenter on BBC's Top Gear.

In his most recent appearance on the programme, he and fellow presenter Chris Harris had a narrow escape from an Alpine sports car that burst into flames.

Sunday Indo Business

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