Exclusive Interview: Eddie Woods, TEMPLE Magazine (Issue 1)
Meet Eddie Woods
Sailor, diver, water-skier, world-class windsurfer, businessman, entrepreneur, grandfather, would-be-chef… and not necessarily in that order.
Currently, the official agent in Malta for Riva, Fairline and, more recently, the Heysea Yachts Company, Eddie Woods is a man with vision and drive. His plans are big when it comes to Coastal Tourism across the Maltese Islands. A growth industry, coastal tourism is an essential part of the future for the Maltese archipelago and Eddie has always been in the vanguard of maritime innovation in Malta.
Eddie’s sailing career began in his teenage years. He had the good fortune to be close friends with the Ripards – one of the oldest shipping companies in Malta and a family name synonymous with the sea. Under the tutelage of John Ripard, who led Malta in the Rome 1960 Olympics Sailing and Paul Ripard Snr, Eddie learnt to sail to a very high standard and a 25-year career began from that moment.
Around this time, Eddie met Paul Seaton, five times overall water-skiing British champion, and three times European Champion, as well as winner of numerous individual event titles along the way. Paul trained Eddie to a very high standard.
But it’s windsurfing where Eddie reached his highest accolades and he played a key part in its popularity today. The story goes that, sometime in the late 1970s in Salina Bay, a man - they that it was Paul Ripard – was spotted standing on a board while trying to hold a sail upright and simultaneously not fall off. Intrigued by this, many other began to try too, including Eddie. But Eddie Woods, however, is the man really credited with organising the first International windsurfing event in Malta. This happened in January 1979 during the mid-winter regatta as organised by Jovin Rausi, and was held in the South Comino Channel. Eddie went on to form a team, attend two world championships and was also an official at these championships. These were the glory days on board and on boards, and Eddie speaks with real enthusiasm and passion about them.
Eddie’s career spans several years. He was Rear Commodore Racing at The Royal Malta Yacht club as well as the main organiser for Race Week – 1996 and 1997. He was also part of the team that bought the P1 Power Boat Race to Malta.
Sadly for Eddie, his ultra-energetic and daredevil lifestyle has landed him with back problems and life today is a much tamer affair – well, by his standards. Eddie can look back at a wonderful life of achievements including sailing around most of the world: he has undertaken Antigua race week four times, is an habitué of Antigua class week and has completed 13 Middle Sea Races to-date.
“The most beautiful part of the world to sail is the Caribbean,” he says. “To really understand an island, you must go out in a boat and look back. Sailing and islands just go together – to really see a place and know a place you must get away from it. It gives perspective to size, when you go to land, you really explore what makes an island tick. The best part of any island is the hidden beaches and coves, little bars often unreachable other than by boat.”
However, Eddie is no summer sailor. He’s also crossed the Atlantic in a 55 catamaran. A great experience and he would do it again tomorrow. He laughs and says, “two killer whales joined us for part of the journey for an hour-and-a-half, one on each side of the catamaran, like an escort. We thought that the music we were playing on board from the Grand Bleu was resonating through the hulls perhaps. Definitely one of those experiences in life you never forget.”
Life is good to Eddie: in the 1990s, he sold his very successful bar ‘Saddles’ in St Julian’s and opened Trader Maine – his first office in in Msida, when the marina was being developed. His initial business was offering gardiennage and yacht sales and, for 25 years, his was one of Malta’s more successful yacht brokerage companies. Securing the British Sunseeker brand in Malta and opening his second office – this time in Portomaso - in 2011, Eddie made his company synonymous with luxury. The success of this led to a relationship with another British, luxury boatbuilder, Fairline, who, in 2016, appointed designer Alberto Mancini and naval architects, Vripack to work with them. Eddie had been in contact with Fairline for several years, but this new strategy put them directly on his radar. At the end of 2016 the deal was formalised and Fairline Malta, as part of Trader Marine, went live. Clearly that would be enough for most people but this is Eddie Woods.
Cessare Cassarola has overseen Riva for some 50 years. Riva is one of the world’s best-known, most exclusive producers of Italian luxury yachts. Cessare came to Malta recently. He met Eddie, whom he knew from the early Sunseeker days, and the rest is history. ‘One can never have too much luxury’ is clearly Eddie’s mantra and to put the last jewel in the crown, Heysea Yachts Company Limited, founded in 2007 in China and which specialises in the construction of luxury yachts, delivering 15 to 20 mid-to-large yachts every year, became a welcome addition to the Trader Marine stable of brands. The team in Malta can offer unrivalled access and opportunities to those in need of a luxury yacht, repair, brokerage, mooring or just advice.
When asked for his view of the future of marine business in Malta, Eddie points out the unassailable geographic advantage that Malta has always had and what made it so desirable to everyone from the Moors to the British and American Navies.
“In addition, Malta can be proud of its marine,” says Eddie. “We have world class marine knowledge, facilities and services and with the recent growth – sailing academies – it means we can offer a full support service for people interested in buying yachts as well as learning to sail.”
And if Eddie isn’t busy enough with yacht franchises, marine consultancy, the occasional baby-sitting of his grandchildren and his new hobby – cooking (his signature dish is fish soup usually served with a decent glass of wine), he now has plans for developing luxury coastal tourism. Good luck Eddie with all your ventures and thanks for the culinary tips!
Eddie Woods. www.tradermarine.com.mt
Published TEMPLE Magazine 2018
Copyright: Temple Concierge Ltd.
Images Copyright: TEMPLE Magazine and Trader Marine