Our Team

Karen Kelly Shea

Karen Kelly

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.

401.849.0344 +401.849.0344            mail-icon-bk info@nicholsonyachts.com

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 +401.849.0344             mail-icon-bk info@nicholsonyachts.com

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. 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.


401.849.0344 +912.596.4040            mail-icon-bk georgia@nicholsonyachts.com


Sarah Baines

Sarah Baines

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 is adept at every facet of the crew placement industry and is familiar with yachts, captains, and crew all over the world.

Sarah lives in Jamestown, R.I., with her husband, a yacht broker, and their two children.

401.849.0344 +401.849.0344             mail-icon-bk info@nicholsonyachts.com

Joe Byrd

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.

401.849.0344 +401.849.0344            mail-icon-bk info@nicholsonyachts.com

Paul Carrell

Sales / Management Agent

Licensed skipper Paul Carrell was raised in Long Island, rowing skiffs in Peconic Bay, and learned to sail on a Sailfish, the predecessor of the Sunfish. He met his wife, Judy, 43 years ago. He’s worked as a marina manager, sailing instructor, associate SAMS marine surveyor, delivery skipper, and launch driver.

In 1986 the couple shifted gears and began running a 75-foot ketch in the British Virgin Islands. They’ve since settled on land there and rent the Crow’s Nest, a secluded, one-bedroom cottage situated above their home with sweeping views of Sir Francis Drake Channel.


401.849.0344 +401.849.0344             mail-icon-bk info@nicholsonyachts.com

James Benson

Management Resource

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!

401.849.0344 +401.849.0344            mail-icon-bk info@nicholsonyachts.com