President & CEO
Karen Kelly, Nicholson Yachts President and CEO, offers a passion for yachting that brands her as one of the most highly respected and reputable leaders in the industry.
Crewing on a private yacht early in her career gave her a taste of the sea that soon ventured landward. As a charter consultant, she gained intimate knowledge of what charter clients demand and what captains and crew need to accomplish to please them.
Today her company represents a fleet of yachts for sale and charter and a database of thousands of satisfied yacht owners, captains, crew and charter consultants.
An avid lover of the outdoors —when she’s not assisting clients buying, selling or managing yachts—she can usually be found at the forefront of several industry associations. From the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association to the Charter Yacht Brokers Association, the Florida Yacht Brokers Association, and the Yacht Brokers Association of America, she has traveled the world bringing a hands-on and personalized approach to all her clients and peers while remaining an energetic supporter of her trade.
Denny Shea grew up on the shores of Newport, Rhode Island, where sailing was a way of life. An avid surfer, his adventuresome spirit led him to Florida and the Caribbean where for many years he taught school and was also a headmaster. While sailing in these locations he developed a deep knowledge of the destinations.
After returning to the states his first career call of duty led him to a life raft company where he designed and built the company’s first website and developed an aggressive marketing strategy to increase sales. That path evolved into yacht brokerage positions for two separate Rhode Island companies where he once again delved into the details of yacht sales marketing, client communications, yacht showings and sales.
In 2000, he joined his wife’s company—Nicholson Yachts — and since then, his resourcefulness has paid off in successfully developing and designing the Nicholson’s website and transitioning the company’s marketing efforts into the social media age. As the Information Technology Manager for Nicholson, Denny enjoys an occasional afternoon working in the ornamental gardens of his Victorian home and playing the violin, for which he is accomplished.
Yacht Charter and Sales Specialist
Georgia and her husband, Joseph, manage the Southeastern offices of Nicholson Yachts. Joseph, a commercial advertising photographer for the past 30 years, has photographed yachts all over the world. He also specializes in product photography and assists in the Nicholson Yachts’ newly opened office in Charleston, South Carolina. Georgia made the transition from writer to broker with Nicholson Yachts in 2012. A native of the South, Georgia’s career began as a newspaper journalist in Alabama. She is the author of seven published books. The seaport of Savannah first introduced her to the world of yachting 15 years ago. Hired as a media consultant for first, shipbuilder Intermarine, and then, yacht builder Intermarine, she formulated marketing strategies, created collateral and initiated public relations campaigns.
She has produced newsletters and press releases for Palmer Johnson, Crescent Yachts and Derecktor shipyards and was a frequent contributor to several yachting publications. With more than 35 years experience in newspaper/magazine management and national product marketing, she is also an expert in product branding, media placement, advertising sales, and copywriting. She joined Forbes Media as a custom content producer in 2000, producing special sections on yachts and the industry. Her client relationships at Forbes are ongoing and represent the thriving luxury lifestyle brands.
Additionally, Georgia has produced national advertising campaigns for a number of companies including: port authorities, private corporate aircraft, and destinations. As an author, Georgia has appeared on CNN, The Travel Channel, The Today Show, and locally, as a travel consultant promoting the yachting industry and Savannah as a destination.
Charter Manager/Crew Placement
Sarah Baines owned and managed Ship To Shore Crew Placement for 12 years before joining Nicholson Yacht’s Charter Management team.
Sarah brings more than 25 years’ experience in the boating and yachting industry to the home office in Newport, Rhode Island.
Of British heritage, she was raised in the Mediterranean, and is a Naval Architect by training. Having lived and worked on boats in the Caribbean and Europe she can respond to every facet of the crew placement industry and is familiar with yachts, captains, and crew located all over the world.
Sarah is married and lives in Jamestown R.I. with her Yacht Broker husband and their two children.
She is skilled in every facet of the yachting industry – journalism, advertising sales, yacht charters, and yacht management.
Georgia and her husband, Joseph, manage our Southeastern offices
Georgia and her husband, Joseph, manage the Southeastern offices of Nicholson Yachts. Joseph, a commercial advertising photographer for the past 30 years, has photographed yachts all over the world. He also specializes in product photography and assists in the Nicholson Yachts’ newly opened office in Charleston, South Carolina.
Sales / Management Agent
Raised on the water on Long Island, rowing skiffs in Peconic Bay, learned to sail on a Sailfish the predecessor to the Sunfish, licensed skipper at sixteen and have never really looked back. Meet my wife Judy 43 years ago, who keeps me in check, and her guessing what may be just around the corner.
In 1986 we shifted gears and took a position on a 75’ ketch in the BVI’s and settled there. I have been busy as a marina manager, sailing instructor, associate SAMS marine surveyor, journalist, charter skipper, delivery skipper, launch and lately helped as a shuttle driver during the summer months in Newport, R.I, and spend my winter months in Tortola as part of a busy and popular yacht management team.
Yacht sales seem like a logical transition and I appreciate being affiliated with Nicholson Yachts Worldwide in any way I can.
Captain James Benson is our Antigua-based management resource. He brings more than 20 years of experience as a professional captain running private and charter yachts up to 40 meters, including extensive chartering experience. He holds MCA Class 4, Yachtmaster Ocean & Yachtmaster Offshore Licenses and is STCW 95 certified.
A competent engineer, James has first-hand knowledge of and established contacts with reliable yacht maintenance facilities and suppliers throughout the Caribbean, US and Mediterranean. James will expertly assist you in navigating the complex sea of yacht ownership!