YACHTS talks to Experiential Yachting and Yachting Therapy’s founder Maria Alekseenko on how she went from yacht broker to healer.

YME: Hello Maria, have you always had an attraction to the sea?

MA: I was always fascinated by the sea, but being a self-made entrepreneur who came to Europe eighteen years ago with a one-way ticket, 160 dollars in my pocket and lots of ambitions, it was not always easy for me to get on the water. But when I did, the sea and water activities always guided me in the right direction.

YME: You were a late starter?

MA: Yes, I even learned to swim very late – I was in my early thirties. It was being so conscious about the water while learning to swim that made me establish a very strong and delicate relationship with the sea. Water activities were not just about fun, fitness, or wellness, but about emotional and physical equilibrium. They became the base to balance all other aspects of my life.

YME: How did the idea of Yachting Therapy come about?

MA: My background in art, music, and philosophy, made me interact with the sea in a very different manner. So when a person close to me was diagnosed with a serious, non-curable disease, I proposed to spend some time on a yacht to see if being at sea could help to manage difficult times better. Being a professional charter broker and having support from medical professionals, I started to design some practices, related to the sea waves and the sea in general, which work on physical (cellular, electromagnetic fields) and mental levels. A few months spent at sea on a yacht helped to conceptualise the practices and design an author’s methodology, based on the contrast approach, which helps to activate the natural survival instincts and remediate the health issue. This is how Yachting Therapy was ‘born’.

Maria Alekseenko went from yacht broker and Owner’s representative to helping make a difference to people’s lives.
Shifting the perception of yachting from product-orientated to experience-orientated.
YME: What is your goal for Yachting Therapy?

MA: Yachting Therapy aims to make yachting a part of the  ‘Ocean and Human Health’ sector and to promote yachting not just as a leisure or exploration-oriented activity, but as an activity that reveals human potential through the connection with the sea.

YME: How did you create the Yachting Therapy concept?

MA: In the past few years I have spent a total of four months at sea. My main goal was to conceptualise and create the program and I am extremely proud of the final result. I have been running these trips for over two years now, working closely with the yacht owners and charterers, and we constantly receive wonderful feedback, which inspires me to continuously update and refine the program.

Making a difference in people’s lives, through sea-related practices, yachting adventures, challenges, exploration, learning, and discovery.
YME: When and why did you start Experiential Yachting?

MA: I entered the yachting industry as a business developer for the Russian market for a well-known yachting company with a headquarters in Antibe. I arranged yacht charters for clients and friends in my first year and two years later I opened my own company in Monaco under the name Maria Yachting, where I continued to collaborate with the leading yacht brokerage companies and shipyards, as a retail charter broker and a consultant. As a passionate adventurer, I was one of the first yacht charter brokers to organise unique yacht charters in different destinations around the world, including Northern Norway, Madeira, Alaska, Antarctica, and even Tanzania. Being lucky enough to know yachting from both sides: as a professional occupation and as a client, I formed a deep knowledge and understanding of the needs and expectations of everyone involved. A few years ago I renamed my company to Experiential Yachting, with the aim of shifting the perception of yachting from product-orientated to experience-orientated, by ‘enriching’ yachting with deep purpose and extraordinary experiences, making a difference to the world and to people’s lives.

YME: Monaco appears to be the perfect base?

MA: Monaco is the most amazing place when it comes to yachting, with a plethora of events dedicated to it. I never miss an opportunity to visit the Monaco Yacht Show. More recently I discovered another wonderful event that I am hoping to attend this year – the Human Health & The Ocean symposium.

Monaco gave me everything. I could never be thankful enough to our little Principality for the spectrum of opportunities that it has opened for me in regard to professional, personal, spiritual and social aspects of life. Monaco empowers and inspires me to add value, to ‘give it back’ by contributing my knowledge and creating something new, something different, which can ameliorate the lives of others.