My Weekend: Dickie Bannenberg

Kenny Laurenson

Saturday morning

I get up at 6.45am to go rowing on the Thames . . . tragic, but it beats lying in bed. I'm chairman of Tideway Scullers' School in Chiswick. After an hour and a half on the water, I might chat to the Captain at the knockabout bar before riding home on a wave of endorphins. My weekend begins.

For five years, I've immersed myself in working on a book on my late father. Jon Bannenberg fused the roles of naval architect with those of exterior and interior designer to found the profession of yacht designer.

His archive is pre-digital, so I've been pulling out drawing tubes, lugging light boxes, sifting 35mm negatives, peering at transparencies and getting covered in paper cuts and graphite burns.

Saturday afternoon

Some weekends are taken up with yacht launches, which vary from low-key ceremonies to full-on heavy number crowds, live bands and hog-roasts. But I've recently picked up the saxophone. My wife Susan called my bluff and gave me one for my birthday. I'm up to Grade 6. I've negotiated with oligarchs, but nothing terrified me more than being asked to play an E flat minor harmonic scale in a music exam. I love John Sandoe, in Chelsea, for books on British social history and travel. I'm working my way through the Eland travel library. Another haunt is Grays of Westminster, the Nikon specialist. I might go home via the Chelsea Arts Club.

Saturday evening

Away from yachts, music can fill our weekends. Susan and I go to Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall and elsewhere. We were recently astonished by Martin Fröst, the clarinettist. We might drop in on the 606 Club jazz; my father, a great pianist, got me into jazz. Then we'll skip the laminated menu at L'Antico on New King's Road, and ask Franco what's cooking. We're in bed by 11pm.

Sunday morning

We might crank up the Aston Martin DB4 and motor down to West Wittering in Sussex for a walk or swim with Jack [son], Ella [daughter] and Moose the cocker spaniel. Dad drove me to school in this car. He sold it when I was seven. Thirty-one years later, I tracked it down to a dealer in America, bought it and presented it to him for his 70th birthday.

Another destination is Columbia Road flower market. After cruising the shops and antiques emporia of Bethnal Green, we queue at the bagel shop in Brick Lane and buy five dozen for the freezer.

Sunday evening

I might watch television or read. At the moment, I'm enjoying An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo, by Richard Davenport-Hines. I go to bed by 10pm. The telephone stays downstairs in its charger.

Dickie learned yacht design from his father, Jon, about whom he has now written the book Jon Bannenberg: A Life of Design (Julian Calder, £100). He is managing director of the Bannenberg & Rowell design studio.