Boating has always been a passion. I was six months old when my parents, not knowing much about the sea, sailed a boat from Ireland back to the Netherlands, our home country, so it's really in the family genes. My mother was one of the first female qualified sailing instructors. I even went back to the same sailing school to work there for seven years in the summers when I was a student.
I moved to the UK in 1993 to take a maritime studies degree as well as a yacht surveying degree in Southampton and also achieved my Yachtmaster. After qualifying I joined Carbospars, then worked for myself doing refits, building new boats and did a lot of yacht racing around the globe.
It was 2003 when I joined Gurit in Cowes, so I’m definitely part of the furniture there. Over the years I have looked after the company’s interests in around 40 different countries but my main territories now, which I've developed from scratch, are the Middle East, Southern Africa, Netherlands, and Italy. I manage distributor support, appointments and development, as well as sharing technology and knowledge with our customers to create better products. I'm very passionate about building quality boats and ensuring that our customers use best practice in terms of process, practice and safety.
I like to meet with boatbuilders and be on the shop floor, to see what's going on and put together a team of our own technicians and consultants to achieve the right end result. I want the industry to grow, because if it grows, I stay in a job. Reducing warranty issues to the minimum is an important factor for industry success. I take a lot of passion out of delivering a boat that works as it should.
My interest doesn’t end when a boat is built. I like to call an owner, to ask how things are going and closely follow a lot of yacht races like the Volvo Ocean Race and the America's Cup. I've sold materials for these yachts, discussed the process, seen them in build and want them to win. You have friends on board and want them to be safe.
We've introduced new technologies, like log monitoring systems, to see how hard these boats are pushed. I had one superyacht client who was happy to spend money on an alarm for a coffee maker, but not for load monitoring on a critical component – the rudder. I persuaded him eventually and I believe you’ll see more proactive monitoring of structural stresses on boats in the future as they get pushed faster and harder.
I’ve also retained my own personal interest in racing. It was a classic 8m yacht series that introduced me to Finland and I have lived here for some years now with my girlfriend. I own a Dragon, which I sail in a fleet of around 60 based locally and campaign further afield. I also race a classic 8m that I helped to restore and usually do at least a race or two on another classic. On the occasional free weekend, I take my Grand Banks 36 out to one of the local islands, have a barbecue and chill out a bit.
I travel up to 30 weeks of the year for work. Helsinki is very well connected, and the airport is not far from my house, so living here suits me. I like developing markets and it’s important to learn about other cultures and countries, to try different and new things. I say I know very little else other than boats but working for Gurit has developed my knowledge of composites in aerospace, industrial and other applications. Marine remains my absolute passion though – I will never live far away from water, that's for sure.
Rudy Jurg is the Regional Sales Manager Composites - Middle East, Africa & Benelux for Gurit, the Swiss-headquartered materials solution provider that has over 16 different manufacturing sites across the globe. One of the company’s larger sites is in the UK, formally known as SP Systems, where it develops and manufactures a full spectrum of marine composite materials. The company also has an engineering division with 40 structural engineers across the globe, who create optimised laminate designs for many of the leading production, racing and superyacht designs.