About Us

 

We are a technology and innovation company who build and support semi-autonomous vessels that offer a new prism through which to explore the world and, through the Arksen Foundation, provide a platform that actively contributes to a greater understanding of the oceans, our last great wilderness.

We were inspired to launch Arksen by the stories of some of our greatest Arctic and ocean explorers; Fridtjof Nansen, Jacques Cousteau, Bill Tilman and Thor Heyerdahl who between them changed our perception of what was possible through pioneering new technologies. 

Our design philosophy and process is driven by ocean yacht racing performance combined with traditional craftsmanship and production techniques. By harnessing the latest hybrid propulsion technologies, coupled with machine learning to optimise maintenance and autonomous control, our vessels are at the forefront of a revolution within the marine industry and a new approach to long distance offshore sailing.

If you are fortunate enough to have access to one of our vessels, we think you have a responsibility to use it to help better protect and understand the oceans. That’s why we have set up the Arksen Foundation, a non-profit organisation working to provide project funding and access to the oceans for scientists, researchers, athletes, thought leaders, conservationists, artists and journalists working together to add to the global knowledge about the vitality, beauty and fragility of the ocean ecosystem.

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Team

To achieve our vision, we have assembled an exceptional team from across the marine, aviation, and technology sectors and formed deep partnerships with world-class naval architects, technologists and shipyards.

 
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Jasper Smith
Founder

Jasper is a seasoned and successful UK based entrepreneur and is the founder and chairman of a number of companies in the games, technology, finance and engineering sectors including; PlayStack, a leading games publishing business; PlayJam, a technology company focused on media and entertainment distribution, Arksen a business focused on developing semi-autonomous explorer vessels and Vala Capital, a venture capital fund.  Jasper has spent a lifetime adventuring at sea and on land. He sailed from Sydney to Alaska, via Kamchatka in Russia and climbed all of the major volcanoes along the way and spent a year climbing in South America. He has also sailed boats all over the world for 30 years. 

 

Tanya Brookfield
Executive Director

Tanya is a leading executive in the UK marine industry, Tanya set up Alex Thomson Racing, the UK’s pre-eminent pro sailing team and was a co-founder of the Toe In The Water charity running rehabilitation programmes for wounded, injured and sick military personnel, using competitive sailing to re-inspire them to see beyond their injuries. Tanya was most recently an executive at the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

 

Mike Jones
Commercial Director

Owner of a successful creative agency for 10 years and with 17 years experience in the marine industry, he has developed an expansive technical knowledge from working with a wide range of the latest sailing and motor vessels. Mike is a highly skilled offshore sailor and has competed on the international racing circuit, picking up a number of prestigious trophies along the way. A keen adventurer, having lived in the foothills of the Alps as a child and now regularly explores within the Arctic circle, seeking out the best powder fields, he is more at home outdoors. 

 

Eleanor Briggs
Marketing Manager

Eleanor is a highly experienced marketing professional with a background in the UK luxury marine sector. With a passion for the outdoors, Eleanor uses her Masters in Global Marketing to help connect adventurers with their dreams of crossing the globe by sea. Some of her previous appointments include Oyster Yachts and Discovery Yachts. Her experience of teaching kitesurfing in a number of countries has given her the respect for the elements and the desire to help protect the playground we all love to enjoy, our oceans. 

 

Ian Seed
Technical Director

Ian was previously an Executive Director at BAE Systems where he led and turned around several previously ailing businesses and was involved in the establishment of several new businesses. Ian is an engineer with a Masters in Robotics from Imperial College London and an Honours degree in production engineering from Nottingham. He has had a variety of roles within the UK defence sector, not only in engineering, but in operational management, commercial and HR (including Industrial/Employee Relations). 

 

Kasper Hunt
Technology Director

has been a technologist for over 18 years working with Apple, Rolls Royce and a variety of major engineering companies. He has focused on machine learning and robotics, systems design and application architecture and development.  Most recently Kasper built the PlayJam game platform, the world’s largest television focused games network, used by all major consumer electronics companies.  

 

Nico Wills
Chief Explorer

Zoologist, soldier, photographer; Nico brings a wealth of eclectic knowledge and passion to the Arksen team. Heading up the Arksen Foundation and Explorer’s Club it is his role to forge exciting links to science, media and sporting organisations, as well as dreaming up the next big adventure for the Arksen family.

 

 

Partners

In developing Arksen we ensured that all the key partners were located in close proximity of each other and that they supported building in the UK. Our partners are some of the most accomplished and recognised brands in the industry.

 
 
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humphreys yacht design

A world-renowned, family-run naval architecture and yacht design business, with a heritage spanning over 40 years, combining the latest in design technology with an experienced team of designers. All the studio’s projects are the combination of efficient, easily driven and seaworthy sail and motoryachts, overlaid with the distinctive aesthetic and functional requirements of the owner.


wight shipyard company

One of Europe’s leading and busiest commercial and Superyacht ship builders, with an established reputation for providing vessels built to the highest possible standards. The Wight Shipyard Company team has a wealth of knowledge stemming from years of experience working on defence, commercial and luxury yacht projects. 

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design unlimited

An innovative yacht design studio with an established reputation for excellence in both interior design and exterior styling. The multi-award-winning team excels in new challenges, creating designs for everything from modern luxury motor yachts, large sailing Superyachts and classic gentlemen’s yachts to racing yachts. 


Waterline Media

A creative agency with a world class reputation for excellence, offering an insightful approach to branding and creative services. Their wealth of experience in the marine industry is second to none and they have grown to provide photographic, video, design and marketing services to a long list of household name brands in the marine, luxury, and superyacht sectors.

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 Inspiration

Everyone needs role models and we are no exception. These intrepid explorers tirelessly worked to prove that their theories were correct, creating new technologies and methods along the way. For each of them the romance of adventure was very much alive, and we wish to follow in their footsteps.


Fridtjof Nansen

was a great Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In his youth he was a champion skier and ice skater. He led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, traversing the island on cross-country skis and led the famous Fram expedition to sail to the North Pole.

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Thor Heyerdahl

was a Norwegian adventurer and ethnographer with a background in zoology, botany, and geography. He became famous for his incredible Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947, in which he sailed 8,000 km across the Pacific Ocean in a hand-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands. The expedition was designed to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between separate cultures.

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Jacques-Yves Cousteau

was a French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the Aqua-lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française.

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Bill Tilman

 was an English explorer, sailor, mountaineer and one of the finest travel writers of the last century. He is known for his many heroic climbing and sailing expeditions around the world and was an important pioneer of ecological adventure and exploration. He was one of those rare people who considered the journey itself as the adventure.

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