Guests at the International Superyacht Society gave Alice Huisman a much deserved standing ovation for her Leadership Award


I’m not a great fan of awards ceremonies but a presentation made recently at the International Superyacht Society gala during the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show was one to savour.

Alice Huisman of the Royal Huisman Shipyard in Holland was presented with the society’s Leadership Award and as she took to the stage with her hallmark smile she brought the applauding diners to their feet.

When Alice’s father Wolter died in 2004 he left a vast void in the Huisman firmament. As the man who had led the famous yard to extraordinary heights and created a reputation respected by his peers throughout the superyacht industry, his act was a hard one to follow.

But Alice not only maintained the company’s standing as she took the helm, she enhanced it and this summer signed no fewer than three new contracts for supersailing yachts, one a 91m three-masted barque not dissimilar to Jim Clark’s Athena, the biggest yacht launched by the company to date.

Undergoing trials at the moment is Bill Joy’s Ethereal and about to launch from Huisman is Jim Clark’s new J Class Hanuman – yes, he’s a three times repeat customer! And much of this is down to Alice.

In this day and age of bland multi-nationals with their corporate charisma by-passes it is a joy to see recognition for a woman whose family run business understands that friendliness, charm and respect are core elements of success.