Our Team

Karen Kelly
President & CEO

Karen Kelly, Nicholson Yachts President and CEO, is passionate about yachts and yachting in a way that brands her as one of the most highly respected and reputable leaders in the industry.

As a sailor in the Caribbean in the 1980s, she developed a deep appreciation for the romance of the sea. As a charter consultant, she’s traveled the world to gain an intimate knowledge of what clients seek and what captains and crew need to do to keep them happy.

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.

When she’s not assisting clients buying, selling, or managing yachts, or caring for family and friends, she devotes time to several industry associations. She’s a member of the board of directors of the Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, the International Yacht Brokers Association, the Charter Yacht Brokers Association, and the Yacht Brokers Association of America. She has an approach that is both hands-on and personalized in all her interactions with clients and peers, while also remaining an energetic supporter of her trade.

+401.849.0344          info@nicholsonyachts.com

John Clayman

Director, Brokerage & New Builds

John Clayman, president of Seaton Yachts, is our newest team member, representing brokerage and new build consultation.

Clayman is a veteran cruiser under both sail and power with countless sea miles. He is a licensed employing Florida Yacht Broker, a member of the International Yacht Brokers Association, a YBAA certified professional yacht broker, past board member of the United States Superyacht Association and is a longtime member of the New York Yacht Club. He has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of most of the high-quality seagoing sailing and power yachts worldwide and he prides himself on providing Seaton Yachts clients with unsurpassed service.

After graduating from Dartmouth College, where he was a member of a National Intercollegiate Sailing Championship team, Clayman studied naval architecture and marine engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During this period, he also learned hands-on how to build and repair a variety of yachts. When a death in his family required him to jump into a family business, he set aside his ambitions for the next 16 years to manage the manufacturing firm with 300 employees and sales in 46 countries. He managed time to cruise and race extensively aboard his 1937 classic 57-foot sloop built in the United Kingdom and to acquire an interest in a full-service yacht yard, which he still owns today.

In 1996, Clayman returned to his roots in the boating industry, rejoining the legendary Ted Hood at Little Harbor first in the design office and eventually as general manager. As the East Coast distributor for Selene Ocean Trawlers, he was instrumental in introducing and refining these displacement powerboats. In 2005, Clayman teamed with marine industry veterans Stephen R. Seaton and L.E. “Nick” Nicholson to form Seaton Yachts to specialize in the design, construction and sales of new and brokerage seagoing sail and motor yachts.

Seaton and Nicholson Yachts entered a limited partnership in July 2018, merging the best expertise in charter and sales.

Elaine Lembo
Communications Director and Fleet Manager

Elaine Lembo, Nicholson Yachts charter manager and communications director; Cruising World magazine editor at large, chartering columnist, sailor and former luxury charter crew. Free-lance writer and editor.

+401.849.0344            info@nicholsonyachts.com

Julia Towne
Charter, Brokerage, and Marketing Associate

Julia Towne, Nicholson Yachts charter, brokerage, and marketing associate; bachelor’s degree in leadership and organizational studies, University of Southern Maine.

Georgia Byrd Charter Broker Sales Broker Nicholson Yachts

Georgia Byrd
Yacht Charter and Sales Specialist

Georgia and her husband, Joseph, manage the Southeastern offices of Nicholson Yachts in Charleston, South Carolina. Joseph, a commercial advertising photographer for the past 30 years, has captured fine images of yachts all over the world. He also specializes in product photography.

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 became her introduction to the world of yachting 15 years ago. Hired as a media consultant for shipbuilder 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.

401.849.0344      +912.596.4040       georgia@nicholsonyachts.com

Joe Byrd

Broker and Consultant

Joseph Byrd, an accomplished professional photographer, helps his wife, Georgia, manage Nicholson Yachts in Charleston, South Carolina. A commercial advertising photographer for 30 years, he has also captured fine images of yachts all over the world. His specialty is product photography. When he’s not shooting, he’s assisting Georgia with contracts, fielding queries from clients, and attending boat shows as well as yacht brokerage showings.

+401.849.0344          info@nicholsonyachts.com

Jakob Gradisek
Yacht Sales Broker

Jakob Gradisek, Nicholson Yachts broker and experienced offshore yacht crew member, power and sail

Denny Sheaa

Denny Shea
Marketing/Technology Director

Denny Shea grew up in Newport, Rhode Island, where sailing is a way of life. An avid surfer, his adventurous 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 tropical destinations.

After returning to the states, he worked for a life raft company, designing and building its first website as well as developing an aggressive marketing strategy to increase sales. Later, he held 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 the successful development and design of its website. He also brought the company’s marketing efforts into the social media age. When he’s not working, Denny enjoys an occasional afternoon tending the ornamental gardens of his Victorian home and playing the violin, for which he is accomplished.

+401.849.0344          info@nicholsonyachts.com