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Five minutes with: Sussie Kidd, Retail Charter Broker
Interviews
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Five minutes with: Sussie Kidd, Retail Charter Broker

Camper & Nicholsons
7th October 2021

“You don’t say ‘no’ when you are asked to join one of the best companies in the business,” says Senior Charter Broker Sussie Kidd about joining C&N in 2007. “I was so flattered and proud to be invited to join the C&N team.” Hailing from Australia, Sussie has spent her adult life working on yachts and in yachting-related roles. “It was not an “industry” per se when I started this job, it was a continuation of my passion and the joy of getting people out on the water,” she says.

We sat down to chat more with Sussie, who is based in our Cannes office, about the thrill of regattas, the challenges and changes, and her best memories of the industry.

 

C&N: Before you joined the industry, were you involved in sailing or the ocean in any way?

Sussie Kidd: I left Australia to go travelling when I was 23 and ended up on a yacht about 2 weeks later ... that marked the beginning of my passion for sailing and it has never really diminished. I was sailing around Southeast Asia before the big hotel and mass tourism boom which was an incredible time and I really related to the adventures of all those sailors that had passed before me.  I sailed on to Europe and arrived in Sardinia to discover yacht racing - from then on I just wanted to compete in regattas!

Later looking to establish some roots, I went back to Australia and started my own varnishing and yacht maintenance business in Sydney, (I was known as Sussie Varnish in those days, varnishing was the way I earned my money to keep sailing – women didn’t get paid to go racing back then unless you were the cook!).  I eventually left my company in the hands of a manager when offered the chance to manage a bareboat charter base in New Caledonia.  

After I tired of that, and had closed down my Sydney company, I headed back to the Caribbean chasing my travel and sailing dreams again. I ultimately found myself in France working on yachts again - but that was short-lived (classic yacht crew accommodation didn’t suit my personal requirements anymore!), however, I kept up my racing on beautiful classic yachts that abounded at the time … Altair, Mariette, Thendara, Belle Aventure and others. . I decided to settle in France and rekindle my charter career.  I joined a small sailing-orientated brokerage firm in Antibes and then moved on to Camper & Nicholsons 10 years later.  That was all a long time ago!

 

C&N: What do you love most about your job?

SLK:  I love creating a wonderful and unique experience for my clients; every charter is different; every yacht and its crew are different, and every destination has something to offer.  It is always “full-on” and never monotonous!

 

C&N: What have been some of the challenges you have faced as a charter broker and how have you overcome them?

SLK:  Whilst I do love my job, it is always extremely challenging and stressful. Anything and everything can go wrong (thankfully not very often!!), even to the point of a yacht sinking on charter! COVID has only exacerbated the challenges.

You work with all parties to try and find the best solution when situations arise, it is never one person solving the issues, it is teamwork. I think that’s why it’s so important for Charterers to work with true yacht charter professionals, such as MYBA members. Especially today with so many entry points into yacht charter, trusting an expert ensures that they are, along with their guests, looked after and protected.

 

C&N: What is your favourite charter destination and why?

SLK: Seriously, there are just too many to choose one place - it really depends on what sort of experience or charter one is looking for … Raja Ampat, Greece, Croatia, the Caribbean, Corsica, the Baltic, the Antarctic  … I have the French Riviera outside our office .. the list goes on and on.

 

C&N: What’s something you’re passionate about in the industry?

SLK:  I am passionate about the sea; sailing; people who strive to be the best at their job whilst at the same time being aware and caring for their environment, our oceans and our planet.

 

C&N: What are some of your best memories of the industry?

SLK: Too many great memories really but probably my most treasured was when one of my clients contacted me after a few years of silence - I knew her voice immediately. She called to tell me that she was losing her battle with cancer and that she just wanted to be back out on the water sailing with her family again before she passed.  OMG!! It was quite last minute and not many options available, however, I found her a great boat (eureka), prepared the contract then the Owner cancelled!!  No, no no … not possible, I was so upset. I managed to find a good replacement yacht and the crew was amazing - so flexible, kind and professional and the family had a fantastic charter. She rang me afterward to thank me for fulfilling her dying wish (am nearly crying again just remembering), that it was magic and she couldn’t thank me enough. THAT is job satisfaction. About 7 days later her husband sent me the message that she had passed on …..it still touches my heart.

 

C&N: Is there something we should know about you? Do you have any hidden talents?

SLK:  I like swimming, tennis and golfing and of course, living in France, great food and wine - but no hidden talents there at all!  My passion behind the scenes is sculpting but I’ve had very little time to apply myself to any artistic endeavours of late.  

 

Sussie Kidd
Office: +33 (0)4 83 14 12 44
Mobile: +33 6 34 61 61 32
[email protected]

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