Eight Bells: Peter de Savary
Published on November 3rd, 2022
Yachtsman and tycoon Peter de Savary died at the age of 78 on October 30, 2022 in Chelsea, south-west London.
The maverick entrepreneur amassed hotels, golf resorts, and castles – and at one time owned both Land’s End and John O’Groats. A passionate yachtsman, de Savary owned more than 30 boats during his lifetime, including a 30 metre rive barge named Savvy, the iconic Hollywood yacht Kalizma and Herreshoff-designed sailing yacht Vagrant.
The British entrepreneur led the British challenge for the America’s Cup by Royal Burnham Yacht Club in 1983. The Victory syndicate made it to the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup but were beaten by Alan Bond’s Australian syndicate, who went on to claim the Auld Mug by defeating the New York Yacht Club for the first time in 132 years.
De Savary was also a regular on the regatta circuit competing in the Newport Bucket and the St Barths Bucket.
The son of a French-born Essex farmer, de Savary was kicked out of Charterhouse School aged 16, allegedly after been caught in bed with the au pair. By the time he was 30, he had made his first million selling goods to Nigeria.
Amid a wide range of pursuits, de Savary became known for his hospitality career. He founded the St James’s Club in London in 1979, opening venues in Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Antigua, and started the Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle – the Highlands backdrop for Madonna’s wedding to Guy Ritchie in 2000.
De Savary also invested heavily in Grenada, developing the Port Louis site as a marina and owning Mount Cinnamon Resort on Grand Anse Beach. During his colourful career, he also founded Pendennis Shipyard and was the chairman of Millwall Football Club.
While travelling with his family from the Caribbean in 1987, their plane crashed, killing the pilot. “My philosophy on life changed,” said de Savary, whose young daughter had to be revived on the beach. “When you look death in the eye, you know it’s a pretty tenuous thing we’re hanging on to.”
De Savary said none of his £100million fortune would be left to his children, explaining: “They will not be given the awesome task of trying to preserve or augment or carry on any of my efforts.”
De Savary is survived by his third wife and his five daughters.