The club with the midas touch

The club will be extremely selective, only persons of substantial means will qualify for membership, which will consist of three hundred international businessmen called Governor Members
The Yacht at Temple Pier

An exclusive Members only club aimed at the business and political world is opening its doors in 2009 on board London’s only permanently moored yacht.

Built in 1927, this luxury 130ft steam yacht is being restored to its former elegance. It is moored at Temple pier, a short distance from the Houses of Parliament, where the City meets the West End. Many distinguished guests, including Heads of State, Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Winston Churchill, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, President Brezhnev of the USSR and the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan have been aboard when it was used as a VIP vessel.

The club will be extremely selective, only persons of substantial means will qualify for membership, which will consist of three hundred international businessmen called Governor Members. Only thirty five memberships have been allocated for the Middle East, thirty for the United States and Canada, twenty five for the Indian subcontinent and so on.

The three gentlemen behind this venture have a wealth of diverse experience and are interesting and charming characters. Though not overtly displaying any signs, there is a hint of arrogance about them; presumably they are opening a club for persons they perceive to be like them and their eight international financial backers.

Lord Mereworth, related to the Duke of Sutherland and the Earls of Bessborough and Litchfield and consequently related to most of the peerage in England, is an entrepreneur, playwright, author and poet. He is also related to the Guinness family, through his father’s second wife Oonagh Guinness, a niece of the Earl of Iveagh. Colonel Franz Wesselmann, a retired German Air Force Officer who was previously involved in the Defence Industry, will choose the European contingent.

The Colonel, though not a very talkative gentleman, has an air of mystery about him that signals him out to be an international deal maker. The other intriguing character is Prince Sidi Mohammed Muzzafar Khan of Sachin, who has been a club owner most of his life and is now in the property business.

He owned Club Royale in Mayfair in the 1990s, in partnership with Bob Guccione, the owner of Penthouse International, and the legendary Sir Dai Llewellyn. Presumably his relationship to the Bhutto dynasty (he is Benazir Bhutto’s first cousin) along with his contacts with Middle Eastern royalty, is where he fits into the picture. These gentlemen, along with a £100,000 chef, top notch managers and staff will be responsible for providing five star British and European cuisine and service to the Governor Members and their guests.

The club, which can cater for two hundred people, will be open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and cocktails. After 8pm it will be reserved for Governors business receptions and private parties. Each Governor will be allocated the entire yacht for one night, with a complimentary twelve course buffet dinner, inclusive of all drinks for one hundred people.

The management is setting aside twenty nights for charity parties, I wonder who gets the other forty five nights? The yacht will be open for ‘Breakfast at Dawn’ on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 1am until 6am, where apart from the Governors, only members of the five top London nightclubs will be allowed on board.

Consequently, the international glitterati who are not Governor Members will be able to enjoy the yacht and its ambience, even if its only for three nights. Apart from the privileged three hundred Governors, honorary memberships will be given to selected members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, heads of international banks and persons who have made their mark in the world of business and politics.

Even though the annual membership fee is £10,000, there are plenty of businessmen who will wish to join, just to be able to interact with the other two hundred and ninety nine millionaires, and to avail of the complimentary party all members will be entitled to, the 24 carat gold plated membership card and the office and secretarial facilities on board. (H.R.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al- Nayhan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, whose family is the richest in the world, is already a Governor member)

This has got to be the ultimate business concept. Who needs an office with these all encompassing facilities. Leave your files at home and do business over breakfast, lunch, tea and cocktails with the Governors and bankers and explore overseas business through the Ambassadors and High Commissioners. The unique feature of this concept is that no guests will be allowed access to the Governor’s deck or the cocktail bar.

Mere mortals will not be allowed into their priviledged world of mega deals, takeovers and political wheeling and dealing that will make the fictitious Gordon Gekko of ‘Wall Street’ look like a corner street trader. All of this, according to the promoters, is to bring investment into the UK and allow investors and decision makers to interact (and of course make the owners even richer into the bargain!).

Having said that, if annual membership is £10,000 and each member is getting a free reception/party worth over £10,000, how are the management going to make money? It is beyond me. Presumably, they will subsidise the cost and put it down as part of their own business strategy!

All we can do for our readers is to give you the address and telephone number if you wish to try your luck in applying for a Governor membership.

The Yacht at Temple Pier
Victoria Embankment,
London WC2N 2PN.
TEL. 020 7828 3901

Private members club
State Room
Restaurant on the Yacht
The restaurant