Guillermo “Billy” Cañellas, a nearly 42 year-old man “who has always been close to the sea”, is the third guest of our series “10 questions with…”
Born and raised in Mallorca, a beautiful island (which we had the opportunity to visit last week on the occasion of the annual Palma SuperYacht Show), Billy had his firsts contacts with the sea when he was very young, and started sailing when he was barely 7 or 8 years-old. From then on, he “kept getting more and more into sailing”, joining the National Team, participating in the Mediterranean, European and World Championships, and even being part of the pre-Olympic Team.
But even though he has always loved (and will always love) sailing, he moved on when he was 24 and created his own company: a Start-Up called Portbooker which, as he describes it, was “like what today is booking.com, but for berths”. The enterprise was a resounding success: it ended up being the first berth-booking platform worldwide and an award-winning StartUp, which gave Billy the international exposure needed to skyrocket his career.
After that, he ran the Marsalada Group, a group of restaurants, events and night clubs in Mallorca. It was Billy’s last step before jumping into the international scene.
In 2013, Cañellas started to work in Porto Montenegro, where he rose to lead the project and to become one of the benchmarks in the Mediterranean. What made this project special was the vision of a marina as something more than just a port or an area intended only for the berthing and care of ships. In Porto Montenegro, you could find hotels, restaurants, events, clubs and a wide range of different possibilities in the same marina facilities, a model that today is being implemented in many parts of the world.
Three years later, he came back to Spain, this time to Barcelona, where he was appointed CEO of Marina Vela Barcelona, where he stayed for a short time before taking off again. And this time he flew directly to the Middle East, more specifically to Abu Dhabi.
Since June 2018, Billy has been running Yas Marina. He had worked before at Marsalada Group, Porto Montenegro and Marina Vela Barcelona, and he took the best of each to shape a “very ambitious project”, which today could be considered one of the most important marinas in the world.
What makes Yas Marina a special marina is that, apart from the top-class facilities in terms of the quality of both restaurants and hotels and the unique blend of cultures that characterises the UAE, it boasts an event out of the ordinary in this type of marina: a circuit and its subsequent F1 Grand Prix.
Despite his travelling nature, his answer to where he sees himself in 5 years' time surprised us: where he is now. Since arriving in Abu Dhabi, Billy has built a team that he considers very fulfilling both personally and professionally, with which he is leading a number of projects, besides the most eye-catching of them all (Yas Marina), and he believes that his next steps are in the same direction