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Vivian Chan of VP Yachts Is Making Her Mark within the Yachting World


Vivian Chan, VP Yachts
Picture: Ruby Legislation

Vivian Chan seems to be to be in her ingredient in what she calls the “glamorous aspect” of the yachting trade, wanting each inch the mannequin as she poses for a photograph shoot aboard a Sessa F68 Gullwing as founder and Director of VP Yachts, which represents the Italian builder in Hong Kong.

For a few weekends earlier than that, she was mingling with representatives of the likes of Ferretti Group, Sunseeker, Benetti, Monte Carlo Yachts and Camper & Nicholsons aboard a Riva 110’ Dolcevita at two occasions hosted by Voyager Threat Options this summer time.

VP Yachts has already offered a number of Sessa motor yachts for the reason that firm’s appointment in November 2020, however for Vivian, the circles she now finds herself mixing in appear a world away from her ongoing position as Normal Supervisor of Solar Hing Shipyard, based by her father Chan Ki in 1981.

“I by no means bought to exit on these lovely boats till not too long ago. I usually go on a ship to see what must be fastened and the one occasions I actually exit to sea was for sea trials. I’ve seen the hull bottoms greater than I’ve seen the interiors,” laughs Vivian, who manages her twin roles from the shipyard’s foremost web site, in Shum Wan on the east aspect of the Aberdeen Hurricane Shelter.

“After I began working for my dad, individuals saved questioning, ‘who’s this blonde Chinese language girl standing on the pontoon’? Once I noticed my brother working for Simpson Marine, I noticed the glamorous aspect. I all the time thought it was a world I wouldn’t attain as a result of I used to be all the time on the opposite aspect, behind the scenes.”

A household disaster introduced Vivian Chan again residence

Vivan Chan and family
Vivian together with her father and brothers William (left) and Eric (proper). Picture: Ruby Legislation

Vivian says it was her father’s hope that his kids would work in yacht gross sales, reasonably than the restore and upkeep area he has specialised in since working on the Supercraft yard in Tsing Yi earlier than founding Solar Hing Shipyard. Regardless of the household enterprise, Vivian says she hardly ever spent any time on boats when she was younger.

“We didn’t exit boating and I solely visited the shipyard just a few occasions once I was younger. I didn’t know a lot about what he did. I knew he appreciated fixing boats, however he by no means talked about happening them. I solely began happening boats once I began working for him.”

Within the early Nineteen Nineties, the household moved to Canada, initially to Vancouver earlier than settling in Toronto, the place Vivian and elder brothers William and Eric went to highschool. Nevertheless, unable to search out related work in Canada, her father was backwards and forwards between Toronto and Hong Kong, whereas each her brothers returned to the town within the early 2000s after graduating from universities in Ontario.

Like Eric, Vivian studied at Ryerson College and gained a BA in Architectural Science. However in contrast to her brothers, she stayed in Toronto, even after her mom had additionally moved again to Hong Kong.

It was a household disaster that drew her again to the town to begin working at Solar Hing Shipyard in 2011. Throughout a attempting time for the household, her uncle determined to begin his personal enterprise, so the location and workers had been break up into two, with the shipyards remaining aspect by aspect immediately.

“We actually break up the shipyard in half,” says Vivian, whose first job was to place her architectural abilities to make use of by designing the brand new workplace and flooring plan. “I didn’t know a lot about boats, however I used to be simply right here to help my Dad together with the employees, as many have been with him for a very long time.”

Rising Obligations

Vivan Chan on board Sessa F68 Gullwing
Picture: Ruby Legislation

After the break up, Vivian labored alongside her dad within the workplace as Challenge Coordinator, alongside a workforce of 5 service workers together with Chan Bong-wah, who nonetheless works at Solar Hing and has now been working with Chan Ki for 4 a long time.

It was a stunning new position for Vivian, not solely due to her lack of expertise within the trade however as a result of her father had all the time suggested his kids to work in different fields.

“My dad felt the shipyard enterprise doesn’t make some huge cash, so he by no means actually inspired my brothers or me to work right here. He’d say, you’re higher off going to a vendor like Simpson Marine. My dad would like his youngsters to be assembly the house owners of boats reasonably than simply fixing the boats.”

To her father’s delight, Eric had joined Simpson Marine in 2010, working as a dealer for Asia’s largest yacht vendor for 9 years earlier than organising Deepsea Marine HK.

William, after over a decade working in different fields, additionally joined the yacht gross sales trade in 2013, working for Jebsen Marine and Starship Yachts earlier than founding his personal brokerage firm, Sunshine Yachting, in 2017, with an workplace at Solar Hing’s authentic shipyard.

In the meantime, Vivian had been attempting to make sure her father’s enterprise door, as her language abilities and abroad training helped her join with many worldwide sellers and corporations.

“Plenty of sellers got here to us as a result of I can converse English with them. I just about changed into a translator for my Dad in the beginning,” she laughs. Vivian remembers attending her first worldwide boat present on the 2014 Hainan Rendez-Vous, having joined the supply journey of an 80ft-plus motor yacht from Hong Kong. Through the years her expertise and publicity elevated, together with attending the Cannes Yachting Pageant in 2017 and 2018.

Moreover, her accountability and significance rapidly grew, as she grew to become Normal Supervisor of Solar Hing Shipyard whereas her father slowly began handy over the reins.

Looking for different revenues for the corporate, she was concerned in profitable bids to lease shipyard tons in Ap Lei Chau, the place Solar Hing has a second web site. New companies embrace boat accumulating, assembling and commissioning for yacht sellers, all now proving essential to VP Yachts.

Alternative Knocks

Vivan Chan on Sessa flagship
Picture: Ruby Legislation

Final 12 months, in an extra enhance for the corporate, Vivian helped Solar Hing Shipyard develop into Dufour’s North Asia service centre, an appointment that started a sequence of occasions resulting in her new position representing Sessa.

Kevin Corfa of Dufour Asia remotely launched Vivian to China-based Brian Zhuang, whose firm Omnia Marine represents a number of manufacturers together with Dufour and Sessa, the inland Italian yacht builder he purchased in 2015. Zhuang talked about {that a} new Sessa F68 Gullwing was nonetheless in Hong Kong, unable to be imported to China attributable to Covid restrictions, so requested Vivian for assist in promoting it.

Final November, she exhibited the 21m flybridge motor yacht on the third HKCYIA-organised Hong Kong Yacht Present, an invitation-only occasion held for a second 12 months beside the Kai Tak Runway Park. The blue-hulled Sessa flagship proved one of many star sights among the many 17 boats on the present. Whereas representing the boat, she acquired a number of customer enquiries as as to if she was the Sessa vendor, so she known as Zhuang to ask how she ought to reply. He rapidly confirmed her standing because the vendor for Hong Kong.

“I felt this was probability to reveal the Sessa 68 and it was the show-stopper. Our boat actually stole the present,” she says. “I discovered a lot throughout these three days. I had been to vendor shows in Hong Kong, so I adopted what I’d seen about costume and current the boat, uniforms for workers and crew, invites, catering and so forth.”

Extra importantly, she was additionally making her first sale, even when she didn’t realise it on the time. Among the many guests on board the Sessa was a household good friend, who talked about he wished the boat. “I assumed he was joking,” she laughs.

Nevertheless, he adopted up after the present to examine if the yacht was on the market. “The boat had been in Kwun Tong for 9 months, so I assumed he wished to order a brand new unit, however he didn’t need to wait.”

Now becoming a member of her brothers on the planet of yacht gross sales, Vivian created a brand new firm, VP Yachts — named after the initials of her and her daughter — and needed to rapidly stand up to hurry with Sessa.

Primarily based at an inland facility outdoors Bergamo, east of Milan, Sessa builds cruiser and flybridge motor yachts starting from the brand new C35 to the F68 Gullwing, a surprising design distinguished by lifting doorways on both sides of the saloon. It additionally builds the Key Largo model vary of inboard and outboard cruisers starting from the 24 to the 40 that premiered ultimately 12 months’s Genoa Worldwide Boat Present.

VP Yachts’ first sale of this 12 months was an F47, one in every of Sessa’s newer fashions, with supply scheduled for the primary quarter of 2022, whereas over the summer time Vivian offered a C38 to a first-time boat proprietor.

A full suite of companies from Solar Hing Shipyard and VP Yachts

Vivan Chan Sun Hing Shipyard
Picture: Ruby Legislation

In her temporary time as a yacht vendor, Vivian has rapidly realised the significance of her household’s shipyard, not solely in offering service and quick repairs however as a reassurance for potential consumers.

“The client of the F47 was advisable to speak to me as a result of we’ve a shipyard so we will all the time take care of the boat,” she says. “I’m so glad I’ve a shipyard on this position. It saves lots of time in comparison with claiming warranties and ready for elements or a restore.

“Plenty of the time we simply repair it right away and cope with the follow-up later. You need a comfortable buyer, not somebody aggravated and having to attend for somebody to repair the boat. The longer I’m on this job, the extra essential I realise my shipyard is.”

Now managing each Solar Hing Shipyard and VP Yachts, Vivian has three different workers within the workplace and 6 technicians within the service division, cheekily including: “My Dad is available in as soon as a month to select up his paycheque.”

Since Vivian grew to become a vendor, Solar Hing has already been servicing different Sessa boats in Hong Kong, whereas VP Yachts additionally provides yacht administration and is already offering the service for the proprietor of the F68 Gullwing. Trying forward, Vivian is eager to continue to grow each corporations’ choices.

“I’m actually having fun with VP Yachts as a result of it’s one thing I began myself. Now, I need to do all the pieces together with after-service, yacht administration and rather more. I believe it’s essential to know the entire expertise of cruising and I’m studying one thing new daily.”

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