An email arrived at Sports Liberated Towers from a PR company asking if I’d like to interview Nicholas Frankl. The name didn’t ring a bell so I scanned the email.
Nicholas Frankl is the director of My Yacht Group, said the press release, and is ‘a former Olympian, who now follows the UHNW around the world on a superyacht holding special events attended by the global elite, astronauts, race car drivers and the like’.
Well yes, I thought, I really would like to speak to Nicholas but first I had to find out what a UHNW was…
Turns out UHNW stands for an ultra-high-net-worth individual, that is, someone who’s super rich, but you probably knew that.
You’d think I’d know that too having worked on The Sunday Times Rich List in my freelance days but anyhoo.
The reason for the proposed interview is that Nicholas is holding one of his renowned Formula One Monaco Grand Prix events, which includes a Friday night party to celebrate 75 years of the infamous race, and, just like any entreprenuer, he’s promoting his business.
That business is My Yacht Group, which he runs with twin sister Annabelle.
The idea is that guests pay to attend the selective events, which, says the My Yacht Group strapline ‘connects the world’s most interesting people’.
Luxury brands also attend the parties, those such as Lewis Hamilton’s Instagram fave Bombardier jets, Luxor Champagne, Asprey jewellery and watches, bringing with them their ultra-high-net-worth clients.
“These are guests who fly around the world and are used to being treated very well in their home countries,” Nicholas tells Superyacht.com.
“But when they get to somewhere like the Monaco Grand Prix they don’t know anybody, they haven’t been here before, everything is ‘Monsieur, impossible’ because they don’t know who they are so they want a one-stop solution.
“So we create an incredible yacht experience where they’re on board for three days, including an incredible royal party, where they are on board with the cream of Monaco society with the Prince and Princess of Monaco so they know they’re in the right place.”
The prince to which Nicholas refers is his good friend Prince Albert of Monaco.
The pair go way back after training together and competing against each other at Olympic level bobsleigh.
Nicholas driving for Hungary courtesy of his father, came out on top in the three races in which they competed against each other.
The foundation of their friendship was initially competitiveness (which now apparently extends to drinking games) but which has flourished to such an extent that the Prince always attends his friend’s Monaco Grand Prix parties adding further allure to the events.
London-born Nicholas recently appeared on Channel 4’s ‘How Did You Get So Rich?’ and is also active on social media, so I ask him if there’s a fine line between promotion and discretion when dealing with notoriously private ultra-wealthy individuals.
“There is a line there,” he agrees. “You know where the line is, you use common sense, you’re discreet. I’m promoting my company and I’m promoting what we do. I’m not telling tales apart from the odd thing, you know, and I don’t think it’s such a big deal… if some celebrity wants to freeload they can freeload on someone else’s boat, that’s all.”
Now, your interest may have been piqued with the bit about the freeloading celebrity – am I right? Well, this stems from a question I’d earlier put to Nicholas about whether he had, in fact, once told a certain Kim and Kanye they couldn’t come aboard as I’d read in, well a tabloid, if you must know, while doing some research.
Without confirming names Nicholas did suggest that yes, a high profile befamed couple were not invited to one of the ultra exclusive yacht parties because they allegedly refused to pay to come on board.
Now your next thought might be, hold on a minute, party guest and four-time Olympic track gold medalist Michael Johnson is indeed an absolute legend but I’m pretty sure he’s not a billionaire, and hand me a parachute if Felix Baumgartner made a billion pounds by performing the highest sky dive ever, from the edge of space no less – so how the blazers did they get aboard?
Hold still, people, your befuddlement will be answered in the very next question I put to Nicholas, which is, what is it that you do that make people want to come to your parties?
“There is a quality control of people. The quality is not about money, it’s not this guy’s rich so he gets in and he’s not so he doesn’t get in. It’s just about being an interesting quality person, at least in our perception.
Some of them are high-net-worth, some of them are musicians, some of them are athletes… there is some sort of a connection between them whether it’s their travel tastes or their passions in sport or their passions in life or passions in love.
“That is the key and bringing those people together and allowing those friendships to flourish is what gives us the credibility. So people then say, well okay I’ve got 10 invitations, which one should I go to. Oh My Yacht is hosting an event, let’s go to that one first because that’s always great.
So that’s how we add value to their lives. It’s not because the caviar is better than the others’ caviar. That’s meaningless. And if we didn’t have caviar they’d still come to the party.”
I suggest, if that’s the case, maybe next time he should have a retro event and have pineapple and cheese on sticks instead.
“Well that would certainly lower my budget,” is Nicholas’ response.
Okay, so as you’ve brought it up, how much do these things cost – to put on a party like the Monaco one, I ask.
“It’s hundreds of thousands of euros to do these events,” says Nicholas.
Ouch. But I guess with the yacht rental – Nicholas doesn’t own the boats – including a premium docking-space metres from the Formula One track plus food, drink and hosting costs, and security costs for the likes of Asprey bringing £10m worth of jewellery one year, this is one expensive shin dig.
But, oh my, I’ve been to a number of Formula One events and the event itself is something else.
The noise of the cars, a mash up of vibrations and sound throbbing deep into your very core, the cars a blur of metal and branding hiding the human element of the drivers playing out a drama on the track. Now imagine watching it from a YACHT, with fab people, food and drink and you’ve got a truly money can-buy experience.