Mr. Joe Lewis reveals his AV/IT wishlist for AVIVA

For some yacht owners, the dream is to be able to sail away and explore the world with their friends and family while still being able to do business from their on-board office. Realising that dream requires significant investment in technology, planning and integration as well as maintenance to keep a mission-critical system working. 

An owner who exemplifies this kind of dedicated focus on yacht-borne business is Joe Lewis, chairman of Tavistock Group and owner of the current 68m Aviva, delivered in 2007 and a forthcoming 98m Aviva, both from Abeking & Rasmussen

From the outset of each build, Mr Lewis has specified a system that would enable him to manage his investments from wherever he might be. His vessels are rightly known as fully operational corporate offices on the sea, with a rather nice yacht attached. 

Mr.Lewis offers his insights about AV, IT and communications technology aboard yachts. 


It is fundamental that the companies we use are forward looking, as technology is changing daily.

Q.  What is the most important piece of advice that you can give to a new or existing yacht owner today with regard to what they should consider for their audio-visual, IT and communications systems aboard?
A.  Make sure you have the details clarified in terms of what you actually need versus what may be the newest technology in the market. Vagueness or uncertainty can cost money just as purchasing what looks good on paper can waste money. Will has certainly helped us with this over the many years I've known him.

Q.  As the builder and owner of a yacht that is described as a “floating office,” what are your minimum requirements today? How have things changed over the past decade? What can you do now that you couldn’t do then? And what would you like to be able to do in another ten years?
A.  Communication and information are critical to me. To be effective, I need reliable phones and internet. The Internet is much improved over the past few years. I remember Will on the first Aviva, where we had one of the first larger VSAT’s, constantly nursing it to get me Reuters news. My ETOs onboard now have it much easier with the newer equipment. In the future, I would like to spend less on internet costs and have increased internet reliability.

Q.  Can you describe what feature or function of the AV/IT system aboard your yacht has pleased you the most?
A.  When it comes to the AV/IT system, simplicity and reliability are what I expect. I am happy when this is achieved. The new Aviva is not yet delivered, but with Bond’s involvement, everything is going very smoothly. They know what I expect and I am confident it will be in line with my requirements.

Q.  What is your perception of internet connectivity while on your yacht?
A.  It is too expensive, too slow and not consistently reliable.

Q.  Do you feel that having an office aboard Aviva gives you any kind of thinking or business advantage? Is it just about being able to work anywhere, or does the environment of the yacht offer you a more relaxed environment in which to consider your businesses?
A.  Aviva is more than an office; it is also my home for much of the year. So for me, it is relaxing working from home, wherever Aviva may be in the world.

Q.  What’s your opinion of the AV/IT companies who’ve done work aboard your yachts? Which stand out as excellent? Do you have any constructive criticism for them?
A.  My ETOs deal with these companies though we're using Bond's support services more and more. It is fundamental that the companies we use are forward-looking, as technology is changing daily. What is cutting edge today will be obsolete tomorrow.

Q.  In general, do you feel access to the internet, television, media and entertainment is a critical part of your yachting life? Or is it just convenient to have?
A.  It's important enough for me to have an ETO on board and on call 24 hours per day.

Q.  How important is internet connectivity aboard the yacht as part of your overall experience of the vessel?
A.  It has become essential.

Q.  Will Faimatea worked as your ETO for 3 years on the original Aviva. Are you surprised that he started a company within the yacht industry which is now in its 10th Year?
A.  Yes he did—and without rotation as I recall. Will kept a low profile on board and he seemed talented and ambitious so I'm not surprised he's kept it going for 10 years.

With sincere thanks to Mr.Lewis.