Newport Shipyard Personality: Dave Markell

Dave Markell grew up in the insurance business. Working with his grandfather and father at Markell & Sons for more than 30 years, Dave began a new venture with Bob Peck to establish Triton Insurance at Newport Shipyard in 2011.

You won’t meet a friendlier or more sincere person in insurance than Dave Markell. Born and raised in Fall River, MA, he moved to Newport in 1976 where he and his wife, Kathy, raised their three daughters. “We love having Dave and Bob here at the Shipyard - they have good energy and are fun to talk with,” Eli Dana said. “They are experts in the marine insurance business, and are efficient and knowledgeable which makes working with them very easy.”

When not at work, you might find Dave at the polo grounds where he is the club manager and the head umpire of the Newport International Polo Series. “I spend tons of time there - every Tuesday and Thursday for practice and every Saturday starting Memorial Day Weekend. Polo is something I have been very passionate about for 25 years and I am thrilled with how popular it has become on Aquidneck Island,” Markell said.

“We picked the Shipyard for our insurance headquarters because of the magnitude of marine business that occurs here every day,” Markell explained. “It’s a beautiful location and the people at Newport Shipyard, both employees and the many tenants and subcontractors that work here, are great to work with. We also love mingling with boat owners, shipyard owners, and other marine business owners because they are passionate about what they do. Insurance can be a dry topic but when talking with people about something they love, it makes it fun and interesting,” Markell continued. “We know we picked a great spot too because every insurance underwriter we work with visits us a ton in the summer because they love coming to Newport Shipyard.” 

Dave can be reached at: More information about the Newport International Polo Series can be found here:

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Great Sloat - S/Y Hanuman Captain

Greg Sloat enjoys his job as captain of the J Class superyacht Hanuman. On his weekends off, however, you’ll find him away from the water on his 14-acre farm in Texas spending time with his wife Anna and their animals, and racing his car at Harris Hill Raceway in Austin.

Greg Sloat may not be your typical superyacht captain. A Texas native and graduate of Texas A&M in Galveston, one of six US Maritime Academies, Greg started his career in the marine industry reviewing environmental permits for NOAA. He knew nothing about the superyacht world until he started doing a few boat deliveries on the side. “It sounded like something fun to do for a year,” said Sloat of being offered a job as a boat captain. Nineteen years -- and two superyachts -- later Sloat is in his sixth year as captain onboard one of the most well-known J Class racing yachts in the world.

“I love the racing side of sailing,” Sloat said while spending this winter at Newport Shipyard, where Hanuman is in the shed being optimized for the 2017 racing season. Greg considers helping to develop the racing program onboard Hanuman as one of his greatest sailing accomplishments. In 2013, during the St. Barth’s Bucket, Hanuman won every race and was one of five J Class yachts racing together for the first time. This was definitely a moment Sloat was proud to be a part of. Hanuman plans to race next summer in Bermuda in a historic J Class regatta, which is slated to feature five to six other J Class yachts and then back to Newport to race in the J Class World Championship.

A longtime customer of Newport Shipyard, and a homeowner in Newport since 2003, Greg chose the Shipyard for Hanuman’s optimization. Bringing the boat to Newport Shipyard allowed him to bring in the subcontractors he needed through the winter to get the job going. Greg brought in a few of his own ‘build’ team members in addition to working with the Shipyard’s onsite team and our recommended subcontractors. “Having a welding, carpentry and machine shop here is very helpful and the guys I work with on a daily basis are professional and knowledgeable in their fields,” he continued. “It has been a great experience so far and I would highly recommend Newport Shipyard to other captains and crew.”

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Jeff Beneville

Jeff is a Shipyard 'personality' because he's the real-deal, not because of his good looks, disposition (to all but me), always-perfect hair, well pressed shirts... but because he has been a tenant and friend to Newport Shipyard since '08. We all love him. A private client insurance executive for high net-worth individuals, Jeff is a maritime insurance authority in the super-yacht space who was recently named a Senior VP at Willis Insurance NA. 

Jeff was a two-time competitor in the America's Cup ('87 on America II and '92 on Stars & Stripes) and is no stranger to local waters. Moving away from the hustle & bustle of New York in January '08, Jeff and his wife Annie moved to Jamestown to enjoy 'island life'. A stalwart member of the New York YC, Jeff has been on the membership committee a long time... guiding many budding sailors. He also competes in Maxi Yacht and 12 Metre championships.

Jeff has over 25 years in marine insurance and works closely with Willis' private client group, which includes 24 of the world's 100 largest luxury yachts. According to Willis, Jeff will "work to expand Willis' footprint in this highly specialized marketplace." We feel Jeff is the epitome of a good citizen in everything he does. All I can do is hope and pray he will buy me lunch at Belle's for these heartfelt words.

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Charlie Enright

Newport Shipyard is proud to give Bristol, RI native and Volvo Ocean Race skipper (and co-CEO) Charlie Enright a much deserved nod as our 'Shipyard Personality.' Since Charlie and Team Alvimedica arrived at Newport Shipyard last week after completing their transatlantic 'training' onboard their VO65, he has been a permanent fixture around the Yard and we love his friendly disposition and great sense of humor. Currently on sabbatical from North Sails, Charlie and his team are calling Newport Shipyard home for a few weeks before they embark on their around-the-world adventure.

Charlie is no stranger to sailing fame. He was a crew member aboard Disney's Morning Light (along with Alvimedica's other co-CEO and crew member Mark Towill) in 2007 and has raced in a number of notable regattas including the Newport-Bermuda Race, Transatlantic Race, Transpac, Fastnet and Caribbean 600. Charlie attended Brown University where he was named a sailing College All-American and is an accomplished one design sailor.

The Shipyard is enjoying working with Charlie and the rest of his team (which includes our own Nick Dana, also a Shipyard 'personality', who did the transatlantic leg with Alvimedica) and we wish him much luck in the VOR which starts in Alicante, Spain in October. The teams will make eight stops between the start and finish in Gothenberg, Sweden next June, including a May stop-over right here in Newport. Be sure to come down to the Yard to check out the boat (she will have her naming ceremony this Sat., June 28 at 3pm and the public is invited) and meet our 'hometown team!'

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Rome Kirby

Shipyard Personality Rome Kirby, 24, with a sailing cv most veteran pro sailors would kill for, is Oracle Team USA's only American onboard. Rome grew up around the America's Cup starting in 1992 when his father, Jerry Kirby, joined the winning America3team in 1992. From a very early age his sights were set on reaching the top of the sport. At age 22, Rome cut his teeth on the Volvo Race aboard Puma.... based at Newport Shipyard, before going around the world from Alicante, Spain. He was the youngest crew member in the fleet.

When close buddy Nick Dana was asked what he thought drove Rome to such achievement, Nick said without hesitation, "the desire to reach that Holy Grail of sailing.. a 'Gold Card'' at the Cooke House." Rome, our job is to make sure David issues that card!

Whether it's moths, surfboards, kite sailing, Volvo 70's or AC 72's, Rome attacks all with single-minded focus and persistence. Nick and I were just in San Francisco where Oracleskipper Jimmy Spithill was quoted in the SF Chronicle ..."(Rome) is one of the best talents out there in the racing world and a phenomenal athlete." High praise. We have your back as well. Good luck in everything you do in life; you have already inspired us.

Sept 25, 2013: Great article on today's Wall Street Journal about Rome Kirby!

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Newport Shipyard Personality: "Baby Rose" Dana

An overwhelmingly popular ‘personality' around the Shipyard, Eli and Lauren's "baby Rose" reported for duty at just a few days old! Her first birthday was just at Belle's where she wowed the crowd.

Always loves the action. She can be found religiously at the counter of Belle’s munching on Blade’s scrambled eggs, and soon awaits her first Slammin' Shipyard Sandwich. The solid food thing is on the horizon!

Not surprising... her first steps were dockside, in the cockpit of Saint Roque. Sporting a big smile to all comers Rose has perfected a sort of 'royal wave'. The wave may be royal, but Rose has no airs about her... loves all of us unconditionally!


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Newport Shipyard Personality: Susan Grindell

When Sue arrived at Newport Shipyard in '08 every boat was a "ship". Uh-oh. After rigorous training led by Steve Fig, Rich Franklin and Sandy De Loura, Sue's Navy background was re-calibrated in a yachtie direction. She has become amazingly adept with crew, captains, owners, and yacht management companies. Not only can she zero in there, but has turned into a virtual Inspector Clouseau when it comes to my restaurant receipts... who, what, where, and could a different menu item have been chosen. One time she asked Bill Hall of the renowned Hall's Chop House in Charleston if his establishment even existed!!

I'm told that Sue loves country music and gardening, provided Bud Light is involved. Makes sense. But.... how those peaceful endeavors morph into such strong political beliefs I have yet to figure out. The "thread" that connects all these attributes may be her loyalty; Sue shines in being close knit with her family, even managing to keep her "Little Biscoito", Samantha, under her wing at the Shipyard for the past few summers as Sam worked her way through Salve Regina. She is, as well, close knit with her co-workers and the Shipyard 'family' of boats. A real member of the team.

Watch out the 2nd of each month, that's the day Susan launches grenades.... bills. Once the bills are out, Sue then logs back into what she loves best.... Mario Kart.


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Newport Shipyard Personality: Brad Read

Brad Read's team at Sail Newport worked hard for a Newport Volvo Ocean Race stopover, announced yesterday. He had lots of help from the State (thank you!) and Newport for sure, but Brad stands out. All of Little Rhody is grateful for their efforts, particularly us salty dogs in Newport. The Volvo is but one in a long string of things that Brad has quietly spearheaded for all of us. We salute you, Brad!

"Newport has a hearty population of VOR veteran sailors -- maybe more than any other city in the US -- making the stopover here that much sweeter," said Nick Dana, who sailed with Team Abu Dhabi last time. "Guys like Kenny Read, Jerry Kirby, Rome Kirby, Casey Smith, Justin Clougher, Amory Ross, Justin Smith, Kimo Worthington, Kenny Nevor and many more all live in Newport and have invested years preparing and racing for this race", said Dana.

The Shipyard also has close ties. US team Puma Ocean Racing was based here prior to the 2007-08 and 2011-12 Volvo. Thousands visited during the wind-up both times to see PUMA's boats and rub shoulders with the team who called the Shipyard home. Rigger Jimmy Correia even did "house calls" to Boston during the US stopover in 2008 to help haul and launch the boats.

"Having the Volvo Ocean Race visit Newport continues to put us on the map in the sailing world. The America's Cup World Series last year, that Brad worked so tirelessly on, brought tens of thousands of people... huge success, as will the Volvo stopover. We love that so many share Brad's enthusiasm and vision", said Eli Dana.

For more information, visit

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Donald Tofias

The Donald!

What to say about a guy who created the W-Class, a veritable stable of stunning thoroughbred sailboats? Donald's dream to design a fleet of modern classics, reminiscent of the designs of Fife and Herreshoff, was carried out by the late designer Joel White and took form in the 76' beauties, Wild Horses and White Wings. Subsequently, the series of Stephens Waring & White designed W- 46's Equus, Arion, Mustang and Zebra joined the fleet followed more recently by the latest W-37. Donald has enthusiastically and generously campaigned these boats in the Med, England, the Caribbean, and the East Coast. His crew shirts with a large W are coveted by all who sail with him.

Donald's sensibilities hark back to a traditional era... from his Downeast Peapods to the W-Series, and even to his recent restoration of the old Clock Tower as his home. All are about his incredible vision. If you can keep up with all his posts of images on Facebook, you get insight into what makes him tick.

Donald has been a welcome fixture and unquestionably a 'personality' at Newport Shipyard, conjuring up a vision in khaki vest, cargo shorts, several lanyards around his neck, French Foreign Legion sun hat... slathered in serious sunblock. He never tires of racing his "beauties" with a bevy of beauties aboard as well. Easy to tease The Donald, but beware; he gives as good as he gets!

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Paulo Alves

A very popular 'personality' around the Shipyard is Paulo Alves, captain of the 109-foot sailboat Aventura who admits he never leaves home without his 'good humor.' A native of Cascais, Portugal, Paulo started sailing Optimists in 1980 in his hometown and has been an avid sailor ever since. Paulo started working on Aventura over three years ago after a long stint as captain onboard the 96-footer C'est La Vie. "Paulo is a great captain and customer - we love having him here," said Dockmaster Eli Dana.

"I love the Shipyard environment, the quality of work and the customer service," said Alves who first came to the Shipyard several years ago and has been hooked ever since. Paulo has made the Shipyard his 'home away from home' and even keeps his 1965 32-foot Pearson Vanguard Venture - which is his favorite place in Newport to dine in the evenings - at the Yard. "From the dock kids to the machine guys and the carpenters, everyone is great," Alves said.

When you are around the Shipyard, say hello to Paulo if he doesn't say hello first!

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Rose Mae Dana

Born into the Shipyard family in early this morning, Rose Mae Dana made her entrance at 30 seconds after midnight welcomed by Mom Lauren and Dad Eli. Grandfather Charlie was thrilled with the news and even happier that baby Rose narrowly missed sharing a birthday with Jimmy Correia, who celebrated his 50th on June 18th.

Weighing a very healthy 7 lbs, 6 ounces, Rose will be reporting to duty as the Shipyard's Deputy Assistant Dockmaster and Shipyard Outfitters Assistant Manager as soon as she comes home from Newport Hospital.

The report from the maternity wing was all family members are doing well and Eli has managed to stay on top of his email thanks to the speedy internet connection! Congratulations and welcome baby Rose, there are hundreds of people dying to meet you at Newport Shipyard...

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Newport Shipyard Personality: John Thomson

Johnny Thomson is an amazing waterfront personality who has been having a rough go of it for several years with ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease. He’s a friend to so many of us, and has done so much for everybody along the way… never asking a thing in return, as his daughter Victoria points out in her letter below. Johnny participated and succeeded racing sailboats as one of the original Farr 40 owners with # 4 Solution and # 135 Infinity, with top honors in the first two North American Championships in 1998 and 1999. He’ll Chair (honorary) the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship, which will be held at Newport Shipyard this summer, and present the trophies this year.


From Vicky Thomson, Johnny’s daughter, to the Farr 40 Class:

Unfortunately there is nothing anyone can do for him as at this point there is no cure. So my brothers & I put together a team to do "The Walk to Cure ALS" in his honor in New York on Saturday, May 5th.

It's kind of funny, he's such a private person and really tends not to tell anyone what has been going on with him, so we weren't sure how he would feel about us doing this. So we put the team together & quietly got to work on it. When we took the opportunity to mention it to him, he was so touched it brought him to tears.

It's such a cruel disease, especially for someone like him who was such an active & vibrant person. He's pretty incapacitated at this point. But he expressed his desire to go do the walk with us (in his power wheelchair), which given his condition & how he's been feeling, is a huge feat!

… He touched so many people, and never expected anything in return, I can't help but feel this is a (very) small way of giving back to him & promoting a good cause at the same time. I know that if he could help, or find a cure so that no one else has to go through what he has, he would do it.

The Farr 40's were such a big part of his life, not only for the competition, but also for the camaraderie, so I understand why he made this request (to get the word out and help fund-raise during The Walk to Cure ALS).

Vicky Thomson

As of May 7, the Farr 40 Class Association's Virtual Team, F 40 Class Team, raised $9,600! To make a donation to this team, click here. As of May 7, John's Team, Team Juliet Bravo Tango Infinity raised a total of over $37,000! (Their goal was $21,212.21 - John's sail # on the 50-foot Infinity was USA-21212). To make a donation to this team, click here.

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Newport Shipyard Personality: The One and Only Tommy Baker

Tommy Baker…how to describe this force of nature and enthusiastic Shipyard supporter…connected, networker, bon-vivant, boundless energy, proud Charlestonian, former marine, generous to a fault, impeccably dressed, loyal friend, quick wit… oh…and he dances a mean Shag


A few “Tommyisms”….

"Is my hair on straight"

(when having his picture taken)

"Do I have to go now?"

(when a waiter comes over to his table)

"This IS America!!"

(his response when a bartender asks if he would like a drink.  Alternately, when asked if he would like food "What are we?..... savages?")

"For a guy with limited ability, I'm doing quite well thank you!"

(TB’s response when someone asks how he is doing)

"It's my wife's house, she just lets me stay here"

(when complimented on one of his beautiful houses")

"Don't go to HELL, go to HALL’S!"

(when recommending Hall’s Chophouse)

"Thank you, I'm still making payments on it"

(when complimented on his attire)

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Sandy DeLoura

Since 1999, Sandy DeLoura has been a devoted and loyal employee of Newport Shipyard. Handling all the billing between the Yard and the boats (via captains, crew & owners) Sandy will resolve any problem with her melodic "customer service voice" not generally reserved for her co-workers. Sandy also handles payroll for all the Yard staff and will help them "correct" their time sheets when they stumble.

"George DeLoura, Sandy's father, was one of the finest people I've ever known," said Charlie Dana. "I had the pleasure of honoring him with a surprise 70th birthday party at (what was then) Johnny's House of Seafood. Figured, as a plumber working for himself, that it had to be given by a friend who appreciated all he'd done, who he was, and loved him like a father. I qualified, but wasn't by any means alone in how I felt about 'Georgie.' When Sandy was interested in joining the Shipyard team, we heard glowing things from the bank where she'd been, but deep down I knew who her parents were and that she'd instinctively have good values in everything... except, we sadly discovered, liking NASCAR more than Elvis, The King. (Parents and I both have made the pilgrimage to Graceland). Sandy is a real part of the Shipyard team, always taking care of business... with the uncanny ability of talking problems through with herself when others are too busy. She is the best of Shipyard personalities!"

In addition to NASCAR, Sandy loves country music, dogs, cats, bunnies and most importantly, RUM. She is always cold and keeps her desk heater running -- even in July -- but is warm-blooded when it comes to family and friends. With a close circle of friends at the "Club" Sandy is a rock star customer, awesome Shipyard co-worker and the best Mom to her son Shawn and daughter Heather. A regular at Belle's, Sandy can be found patiently standing in line in the morning and afternoon with the Belle's Burger at the top of her favorite list. Just no veggies, please...

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Jay Mulrooney

Newport Shipyard welcomes Jay Mulrooney as our new Project Coordinator. Jay will work alongside the Shipyard's three yard managers -- Eli Dana, Steve Figueiredo and Rich Franklin to manage refit and repair projects.

Jay got to know and love Newport Shipyard by working on big boats (loyal Shipyard customers)... North Sea trawler, Frederikstad, s/y Fly One, and as first officer on 193' expedition yacht, Intuition II. So, Jay knows and loves Newport Shipyard, and because he still wanted the salt in his hair and to be close to his new wife, Eliza, he found this a good fit. We think you will too. This Nova Scotia native has landed in Newport, and got here by water!

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Newport Shipyard Personality: George David

Congratulations to George David and crew on Rambler 100 for setting a new race record from Newport to the U.K. and for taking line honors in the 2011 Transatlantic Race. Read on...


Not Your Father's Rambler-

George David is passionate about whatever he takes on and right now, it's ocean racing. After sweeping the RORC Caribbean 600 (breaking the monohull race record) onboard his Rambler 100, David is preparing his crew and 100-foot racing sloop to take part in the Transatlantic Race 2011 starting in late June from Newport to the Lizard in England. As one of the key organizers and motivating forces for this historic race, David has sought and encouraged over 30 entries, many of whom represent a younger generation of competitors.

A captain of industry (former Chairman and CEO of United Technologies) his helming abilities extend well past the expertise and skill of breaking record after record of in the world of sailing. But smashing records in Rambler 100 is what is on his mind at the moment.

George has become a true-blue Shipyard personality. He is keenly aware of what we have created at the Shipyard and speaks highly of us all the time. We hear it. He always brings excitement to our docks with his program, his crew, their great attitudes, and their skill sets. We'd still like to needle him a wee bit, but are frankly having a hard time finding a way to do it!

Follow Rambler's progress when they start the TR2011:

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Don Glassie

How could Don be gone? He was such a character and such a bright light on the waterfront. We loved him. How can there be spring without Don painting his boat with his highly questionable painting skills? 

Without Don Glassie, Newport Shipyard might not have come out of the ashes in 1998. He was an original partner, who moved on later to being "good customer". Don helped us a lot early on, very bright... always operating in a Jimmy Buffett style. Even looked like JB! In business, he probably did about as well as Buffet too. 

After the America's Cup Jubilee in 2001, Don came to me in Porto Cervo and said that we could "knock" his rating for his very fast & well sailed schooner, FORTUNE... fair to say no member in the history of the NYYC surely has ever asked to have a worse rating. He had just won a ton of silver in Cowes, and we had 4 regattas in the Med coming up. Don was happy to have others have a chance. Of course I said no way, but that's the kind of a person he was, preferring to operate below most people's radar screens. 

Don was always loyal to his family, friends, and string of "small enterprise" businesses. Epitome of a renaissance man. I will see him around every corner in Newport for as long as I live... Cooke House, have to say, definitely comes to mind.

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Newport Shipyard Personalities: Tom & Betsy Whidden

Tom Whidden, known aptly in the sailing world as "the Dean" has been spotted numerous times this summer at Newport Shipyard on his new boat NorthLight. Most of you will know the significance of the name but for those who don't, Tom is the guiding light of North Marine Group. He has raced in more America's Cup races than anybody. He modestly refers to himself as only the "adult supervision" when he lends his legendary talent to a racing program.

While Tom is eminently likable in his own right his wife Betsy doubles that quotient and together they are indomitable. We aren't quite sure what makes them keep coming back to Newport Shipyard...we think it's the breakfast burritos at Belle's.

Their loyalty to the Shipyard knows no bounds. NorthLight was stealthily "branded" with a Shipyard flag during the Opera House Cup...and because it was gamely flown for the rest of the summer they have earned their title of Shipyard personalities.

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Ashley Forbes

The boys off S/Y HANUMAN have nominated Ashley Forbes for Shipyard Personality.

Known affectionately by the yacht crews as Ash, Captain Forbes (USCG 200ton license), or "that blonde who runs the ships store," Ashley is a definite fixture of Newport Shipyard. Along with her sidekick dolphin Josie (pictured below), Captain Forbes runs a tight ship in the stores, using her uncanny knowledge of marine catalogues to help crewmembers source pretty much anything they need. This varies from obvious essentials such as sandpaper, to more obscure items, like rose-scented kiwi love gloves (wash mitts to non-yachties) for Mark from S/Y Clevelander. 

Often confused with being a member of the Marketing department, due to her almost constant presence at any Shipyard drinks event, Ashley easily makes customers smile with her dry sense of humor and self-depreciating wit. Despite her self-acclaimed lack of athletic ability, Ash in fact plays forward for the Shipyard soccer team, and modesty aside, admits to ‘probably scoring more goals than the rest of the team put together this season.’ 

If you haven’t already had the pleasure of meeting her or seeing her on the soccer field, make a point of visiting the ships store some time and attempt to order the most random thing you can think of to catch a glimpse of that puzzled and confused look that we all know and love.

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Newport Shipyard Outfitters

Newport Shipyard Outfitters just opened at the end of Bannister's Wharf. David Ray is thrilled to have such "style" in the neighborhood. 

The Shipyard logo continues to be seen -- literally -- all over the world in sailing hotspots thanks to all of you. We're fully stocked with items like Shipyard tees, belts & jackets, Peter Beaton striped sailor tops (only place in Newport), Havaiana flip flops, Kaenon sunglasses, Shipyard Sea Bags from recycled sail cloth, and chandlery items that fit the bill.

Check it out, 7 days a week, 10am-9pm. Follow us on FaceBook, too!

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