Yachts in harbour

Safinah Group is happy to introduce Stuart Downie, who joined Safinah Group’s Yacht Team as a consultant in March 2020, after 8 years at Lloyd’s Register as lead coating specialist, managing regulatory, Class compliance and product approvals for coatings used in the marine market.

Prior to that, Stuart spent 16 years working for AkzoNobel in different roles and departments, finishing in Yacht Global Technical Services as the company’s Application Specialist. The role involved solving problems in the field, developing yacht specific spray equipment and managing new product field trials.

Here is what Stuart says about his experience and his role at Safinah Group.

Stuart Downie, Consultant

Stuart Downie, Consultant. Click above to read Stuart’s technical profile.

Name: Stuart Downie

Background:

I like to think I’m a something of a generalist in terms of paint and coatings. I spent 16 years working for AkzoNobel across various markets, in different roles and departments, always making a point of learning from everyone around me about what they do to try to make myself as valuable as I could, as well as keeping myself interested in my work. I settled in Technical Services and became quite good at solving problems in the field and was in charge for several years, of taking products in development into the market for testing and trialling.

 I was Lloyd’s Register’s Lead Coating Specialist for 8 years, which gave me the regulatory aspect for the Marine market and also taught me a lot about how to stay organised in a paperwork job.

My main area of interest is paint application. “Paint application” is actually an overly simple way to describe a very complex interaction between material, equipment, personnel, environmental conditions and processes. The interactions, spaces and gaps between these variables are the parts which really interest me.

I’ve worked with people who paint tractors and diggers, shipping containers, trucks and buses, commercial and private aircraft, military vehicles, bombs and superyachts. Superyachts were the ones I spent the most time thinking about and they do have a special appeal to someone who thinks a lot about the minutiae of paint application. But all in all I tend to see all these things fairly equally as “objects which need painting”. Yes, they have different needs and requirements but that’s just detail, the longer you live and the more different stuff you see, the more you realise that most problems have similar causes and solutions.

Role at Safinah Group:

I’m a Consultant at Safinah Group and part of the Yacht Team. I will be engaging with any and every type of coating issue which presents itself to us. Our Yacht Team is made up of exceptional people and I am looking forward to learning and (hopefully) adding to that group’s power and reputation.

What challenges do you expect your role to bring?

I expect that there will be many challenges. The first one is to get used to a physically active job again after sitting behind a desk for the past 8 years.

I have the challenge of learning and absorbing everything I can from my new colleagues at Safinah. Old dog / new tricks.

I’m anticipating that there will be occasions when, as a truly independent Consultant, I will find myself in positions where my conclusions or advice causes me to be unpopular, perhaps even with my own customer. I have been in that situation before, but it’s always a challenge.

What parts of your new role do you look forward to?

I am really keen to get out into the field again, to meet some old colleagues and friends who I have not seen for some years and also to meet new people and to feel part of a really exciting industry again.

I am especially looking forward to working with an amazing team of people at Safinah. I have been overwhelmed by the welcome I’ve had so far. The nature of the people and the size of the company compared to my previous employers means that I am looking forward to the experience of everybody pulling together, working as a team and being part of that combined effort.

Favourite hobbies and interests?

I can’t play the guitar, but I enjoy trying. I am planning to make my own guitar from scratch soon and hobby woodworking more generally is something I am building up towards, having recently renovated my garage into a workshop and inheriting my Grandad’s tools.

I really enjoy sitting down and doing nothing at all. Preferably with a cup of tea. I am pretty good at this one. (I think they call this “mindfulness” now, which apparently makes it OK to admit to).

Just like most normal people, I like motorbikes, eggs, late ‘80s heavy metal, early ‘90s hip hop, being with my kids, Star Trek, snooker, reading books about physics, spicy food, gardening and Boddingtons on draught.