Off hours: Yas Marina manager finds family keeps him afloat

Cedric Le Rest is the general manager of Yas Marina, where he is responsible for the overall management and operations of the marina. Born in Brittany, France, he arrived in the UAE in 1998. Mr Le Rest, 42, has 22 years in the marine industry, 16 of which are from the UAE. He joined Yas Marina in 2009 to expand the five-star international yachting and leisure facility. He has a family including a wife of 20 years and three children.

What are your favourite things to do on the weekend?

I love to keep active at the weekends and embrace the sunshine. I also love dining out with my family and spending quality time with them. As a member of Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, I take my family there most weekends and we spend our time on the beach. My favourite water sport is definitely surfing when there are enough waves in Dubai.

What do you consider to be your favourite hobby?

My hobbies involve keeping extremely active and include surfing, stand-up paddle boarding and being put through my paces in a Crossfit class. I started Crossfit a year ago when Vogue Fitness first opened at Yas Marina and I find it is a brilliant way to focus the mind and see results quickly.

What can’t you live without?

Quite simply, my family. I have been married for 20 years and have three children who are 10, seven and six.

What do you consider the secret to your success?

Hard work of course is a key part, however for me there has certainly been an element of luck involved – being in the right place at the right time and meeting the right people. When I first came to Dubai I was renting jet skis on the beach. Through meeting people who believed in me and supported me, I was able to progress and become the person I am now. I think my personality has also helped me – my ability to get on with most people and gain their trust.

What advice would you offer others starting out in your business?

You need to understand the importance of these three key words – innovation, activation and hospitality. I am constantly striving to be innovative, to activate new ideas at the marina and, when it comes to hospitality, I thrive on improving the experience at Yas Marina for the visitor. Ultimately, you need to be passionate about the work and never happy to settle with average.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?

As I have a long commute home from Abu Dhabi to Dubai each evening, I try to leave work on time so that I am in Dubai to spend the evening with my family and unwind. It’s really important to be able to make the most of your downtime and switch off. Weekends are also so important, as it’s my main opportunity to spend quality time with my children.

How do you relax after the working day?

Exercise helps me switch off after a long day, so when I find time in the evening and the weather allows it, I enjoy a long walk with my wife. It gives us a chance to have a good conversation. Every Tuesday night is date night with my wife and we always go to the same little restaurant for sushi. It’s our own little tradition.

If you weren’t general manager of Yas Marina what else would you be doing?

Operating a watersport centre somewhere in the world – the dream location would have to be on the beach in Bali or Mauritius. Watersports are something I have enjoyed from an early age and I suppose that passion is what lead me to where I am today.

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