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The Team

Our team at Nordhavn Europe…

Neil Russell – Director

Neil spent 10 years in California after he graduated from the Southampton Maritime Institute. For the first 8 years, Neil worked for Pacific Seacraft (builders of the Nordhavn 40) as their Production Manager. Neil joined PAE in 2003, working as a salesman out of the head office in Dana Point before moving back to the United Kingdom to open and head up the European office. Neil quickly established sales in Europe and expanded the team and office to deal with the growing interest.”In the early days, it was quite a challenge to offer a product that had previously been the exclusive draw of blue water sailboats. No one was familiar at all with a power boat that could cruise thousands of miles in comfort and real safety.” reflected Neil.

Through Neil’s hard work and expert product knowledge, buyers with adventurous souls as well as the nautical press quickly ‘got it’ and he was the linchpin in the success and growth of NEL. Neil’s construction background has given him the ability to sell our bespoke product without compromising the fundamentals. “Anyone can have great ideas for their new build, but realising the impact a change has on the rest of construction is very important” commented Neil. “It requires working closely with the designers and the builders to achieve the customer’s wishes.”If Neil wasn’t selling Nordhavn then his alternative career would involve farming! Neil has a passion for the county side and rural living which he has had since his school days. He proudly held the Presidency of The Ferreting Society during those early years…. He lives in rural Hampshire with his wife and young daughter Harriet and whilst the ferrets are no more, he does keep animals of various kinds.

Philip Roach – Director

Philip has been with NEL since 2005. Seafaring is in his bloodline. Much to his family’s shame, he was the first Roach in 5 generations not to go to sea after leaving school! Instead he took the rather comfortable route of  university where he studied Psychology and then into a career in Media Sales, but boating was always the passion, whether it be a rowing boat, racing yacht or powerboat. This lead him to leave the world of advertising and media and put his skills towards his passion in life. In 2004 he stumbled across Atlantic Escort N57-35 at the Southampton boat show.

“I was working in marine electronics at that time and was invited on board to view this brute of a vessel that had been the lead boat of 18 Nordhavns that crossed the Atlantic earlier in the year. I met Neil and this unassuming American chap who showed me round the boat and even took me through the engine room and behind its beautiful fit out to show me technical areas which in a normal boat, usually only service people see. I’d been on many boats in my time but had never seen such quality, engineering and sheer strength of build! The unassuming American happened to be Dan Streech president of PAE and after much begging and persuasion he offered me a sales role with NEL” reminisced Philip.

He has enjoyed nearly a decade helping buyers understand the product and offering European buyers his knowledge in specifying their dream boat. “It’s a consultative style of selling and getting to know the buyer, their needs and coming up with solutions makes it such a special role.” Philip added. “Working with a great team, especially Neil, has been hugely rewarding and with the new set up within NEL we aim to take sales and service to even higher levels in the years to come”

Philip is a father of two girls, Rosie and Margot, so Nordhavn is second place in the loves in his life! Outside of fatherhood and selling the worlds best trawler yachts, he has time for very little else, although he tells us that he is a demon cook and devilishly quick round a track on his motorcycle…..

Yannick Thompson – Commissioning and After Sales

Yann grew up on the coast and has always loved being close to and on the sea! His career started in the Royal Marines before moving into the world of Telecommunications Engineering. Since then Yann has worked on many marine projects from Superyacht refits to renovating and restoring classic wooden boats. One of Yann’s talents is his carpentry skills and he has proven himself on several projects for current Nordhavn owners.

“You need to be on top of your game to match the quality of fit and finish that the yards produce for Nordhavn”, Yann notes. “But with the addition of our large workshop we can tackle even the most demanding projects”.

Yann enjoys windsurfing and surfing and is also an accomplished trombonist. He plays in several bands playing anything from classical to ska!

Sandie Williamson – Office Manager and Sales Coordinator

Sandie started work at NEL in August 2012. Her first job after college was with an airline as a Purser. After that travelling to Spain and taking a year off cruising around Europe before ending up in Mallorca and setting up a Franchise with a Fairline dealership. From Spain to Colorado for ten years and then a short spell in France before returning to the UK, where she is now happily settled.  Sandie enjoys boating around the Solent, horse riding, as well as cooking and entertaining friends and family at home!


Sarah Smith and Mike Dykes – Valeting

Mike and Sarah run all of our detailing and valeting. They have worked as a team for the last 15 years and whilst acting like a married couple, they are not!!

Their attention to detail is outstanding and whether it’s a newly arrived vessel from the yard requiring de-waxing and cleaning so they sparkle at handover to their owners or a boat cruising which needs that special wax and polish to keep her in fine fettle, this is what they do best.

Donna Shinner  – Accounts

Donna works part time dealing with invoicing and the skilled art of bookkeeping.

Charlotte Needham – Digital marketing

Charlotte is the latest member of the Nordhavn Europe team. Currently an apprentice, she is an aspiring digital marketer and social media manager. She studied Photography at Bath Spa university and has a creative eye and mind.

Roland McIldowie

Anthony Bissett…