The original inhabitants of the area no doubt marvelled at the beauty of the beaches, bays and coves of the harbour, as did the first European explorers and settlers. From the beginning of European settlement people enjoyed pleasure cruises on the harbour, and by the end of the 19th century steamers were doing day trips on weekends to the numerous pleasure grounds around the harbour, and the yachts of the wealthy would host lunch cruises and dinner parties, while the working classes boarded ferries to enjoy a few drinks and wager on the yacht races.
As the city of Sydney grew to become a metropolis of international standing, so the entertaining needs of its inhabitants became more sophisticated, and by the 1970’s there were a number of dedicated charter boats independently providing catered cruises for overseas guests, social functions and business entertaining.
In 1982 two of Sydney’s most influential and visionary members of the boating industry, Geoff Lovett and Jeff d’Albora, saw a need to provide a service offering customers a range of professionally operated boats, and Flagship was born – the first, and for many years only, dedicated charter brokerage in Australia.
Geoff Lovett and Jeff d’Albora decided to move out of the charter business to concentrate on marina management and boat sales in 1986, and having worked on the harbour and operating our own charter vessel for a number of years, myself and my business partner at the time immediately saw the potential in what was a rapidly growing market and purchased Flagship.
Flagship quickly became the leading luxury boat charter brokerage in Australia, representing yachts of a calibre never before seen in Sydney, and arranging events for royalty, rock stars, heads of state and captains of industry, as well as thousands of less well known but equally important members of the public.
We also were pioneers in the live aboard yacht charter market offering luxury private yacht vacations on the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays and Kimberley regions.
Flagship was founded on the principles of providing honest, unbiased, knowledgeable advice, and having a wide range of properly vetted boats operated by professional crew with a commitment to customer satisfaction, suitable for any event on the harbour.
Those key principle still apply today which is why, I believe, Flagship is still an industry leader 35 years later.