Who is behind the new Charter CA of the 126m Octopus: Q&A with Jacqui Lockhart

SYT and Yacht Charter Market’s Jessamie Rattray sat down with Jacqui Lockhart, the newly-appointed Charter Manager at Big Blue Expeditions and former Head of Europe Charter Marketing at Camper and Nicholsons, to discuss Big Blue Expeditions, the new CA of the 126m M/Y Octopus.

In early April, Big Blue Expeditions announced its appointment as the exclusive charter manager of the iconic and, until 2021/22, historically private 126-metre motor-explorer yacht Octopus.

Octopus has been in the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven since September undergoing refit work, and will be rejoining the charter market this summer for her second full season, with her ownership companyBig Blue Expeditions, as her new in-house charter management.

We have seen that Big Blue Expeditions is also the ownership company of M/Y Octopus. What prompted the decision to change Octopus’s charter management to in-house, and will you take on the yachts of other owners?

Big Blue Expeditions is the manager for Octopus, along with an award-winning Eco-Luxury property in Thailand. A yacht as prestigious as Octopus warrants a distinct representation. The owner has consistently prioritised in-house management to uphold his stringent quality standards and align with our strategic vision.

Looking ahead, there will be other projects in the future. We are considering expanding our charter operations to include additional yachts and other travel ventures within the same group, further enhancing our bespoke offerings. My role at Big Blue Expeditions is to focus on the promotion of Octopus for charter, as well as overseeing other projects in the future.

What made you decide to join Big Blue Expeditions from a large company?

Over the past 30 years, I have accumulated substantial expertise in key roles at leading firms and by managing my own company for 12 years.

Last year’s introspection on my professional aspirations coincided perfectly with the chance to join Big Blue Expeditions. The vibrant energy of the team and the promising opportunities on the horizon made it a straightforward choice for me to contribute my seasoned skills to this vibrant enterprise.

What are the challenges in promoting a large and unique yacht like Octopus, and how do you promote the yacht?

Promoting Octopus involves highlighting both her legacy and her unique capabilities for expeditions. We have developed a dedicated website to showcase her history, features, and available charters in greater detail.

The demand for chartering her remains robust, and with my industry contacts and our targeted promotional strategies, we aim to secure the recognition Octopus truly deserves.

How often is Octopus available for charter, versus private use by her owner?

Octopus has considerable availability in some incredible destinations. She is available in Greenland in September, Antarctica in January and February 2025, and then in French Polynesia for Summer 2025. We already have several enquiries for Winter 2025/2026.

What is the typical charter client you have had onboard Octopus so far?

Our typical charter clients include well-travelled families and groups of friends who seek unique expedition experiences that only Octopus can offer, thanks to her specialised facilities and seasoned crew.

Why do you think clients might be drawn to Octopus as opposed to other 100m+ yachts?

Despite the plethora of impressive yachts available on the market, Octopus stands unparalleled as the quintessential expedition yacht. With her comprehensive charter program, Octopus offers guests access to exceptional amenities, including dual helipads, a submarine, an ROV, a fully equipped dive center, a luxurious spa, and a highly skilled crew.

The ambience and operational ethos aboard Octopus foster a distinctive, unmatched maritime experience that sets her apart from other offerings in the luxury yacht sector.

Octopus was purchased in 2021 and was welcomed to the Camper and Nicholsons charter fleet, marking the first time the Lürssen yacht had been available for charter. This moment symbolised a turning point in the life of the yacht, whose days of infancy were spent behind a strict non-disclosure agreement protecting the privacy of her original owner.

Now, she soon embarks on her second full charter season. “Octopus will be again cruising in some of the most exciting destinations with availability for clients to sample all that she has to offer,” says Big Blue Expedition’s Charter Manager, Jacqui Lockhart.

“She can accommodate up to 12 guests in six staterooms, including an owners’ suite with a private observation deck. Other amenities for guest enjoyment include an entertainment deck with cinema, library and sports bar, a glass-bottom aquarium, a sauna and spa and a swimming pool that converts into a dancefloor,” explained Big Blue Expeditions.

Octopus is one of the many yachts with YachtEye installed ready for the upcoming charter season. Alongside her top-tier facilities and dedicated crew, YachtEye ensures that Octopus’ guests enjoy an immersive and unforgettable experience onboard.

Perfect for guests and crew exploring fascinating destinations onboard Octopus, YachtEye makes the onboard experience smoother, offering paperless multiplatform software that provides crew and guests with access to the most up-to-date trip information from anywhere onboard.

“There’s nothing like Octopus and I don’t believe there ever will be. She is the ultimate expedition platform with a program to go cruising,” Jacqui Lockhart concluded.