Tribute to David L Fraser, our founding father

With sadness, we announced that Fraser founder David L. Fraser passed away on 6th January 2021, peacefully at the age of 99. A lifelong passionate sailor, he kept his brokerage license until only a few years ago. 

David founded Fraser in 1947, keeping ethics and honesty at the heart of the company – values which remain integral to the company today. As the company grew, expanding from Newport Beach to San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Florida in the 1960sDavid ensured the company always felt like a family, nurturing a team spirit that remains at the heart of Fraser. 

We are proud that David’s daughter Diane, who joined the firm in the 1980s, has equally played a key role within the company up to today. Her early rise at Fraser is only one example of David’s commitment to encouraging women to take key roles in yachting, at a time when this was not always the case, and specifically in the business and growth of Fraser. 

The foundation built in 1947 by David and established over the years and decades, based on a love of yachting, attention to detail, trust and respect among colleagues, as well as a determination to do the best job with integrity, runs through Fraser in everything we do today.  

We look forward to continuing to keep David’s legacy alive. 

Our thoughts are with Diane and the Fraser family.




As we celebrate David’s life, many members of the Fraser team paid tribute to a man they were proud to work for and honoured to spend time with.

Neal Esterly pays tribute to David L Fraser
“Simply put, I was one of the lucky ones to have David as a mentor. He was a historical figure in our industry. When I joined Fraser in 1992 in San Diego, a big part of the decision for me was the opportunity to be in David’s orbit; to learn from him. David was about 70 then, and I thought at the time that if I could have 5 years with him being active in the business, then that would be great. In the end, I was lucky enough to have at least 15 years with him being actively involved.  

His ethical reputation was so vast, that when in a sticky deal, it was not unusual for the Client, or even the other broker, to ask: “What does David think?”. His opinion would usually resolve the situation. David was firm about having high standards in the way our business was conducted, but at the same time, he was compassionate and genuinely friendly.  With a colourful history, he was a wonderful storyteller.  

Based on what I learned from the years of working with David, to this day, when in those difficult situations, I still ask myself “What would David do?”

Neal Esterly
Sales Broker 
David Legend pays tribute to David L Fraser
“I had the honour of crossing David’s path from time to time. I owe him a big part of what I am today, to have been enlightened, to have been shaped by people who were sharing and leading the exceptional vision he created. I remember him saying one day something that has stuck in my mind ever since: "When a problem comes, wait a day or two, and it will be half of the problem. Never overreact.” I loved it. What an entertainer he was, a charismatic and magnetic person. All hail to a true KING of yachting.”

David Legrand
Sales Broker
Patrick McConnell pays tribute to David L Fraser
“David and I had, and shared, like principles. When showing a yacht to a potential buyer, always tell the truth, even if it’s what the client doesn’t want to hear. Have character, integrity, and honesty. Only David at a Boat Show could ask a potential Client and get away with it: “Are you a Buyer, want to Be, or a looking Lou?” The Client would just melt, and David would have their respect and trust. He truly was one of the very best Brokers ever. I personally will never forget him. Loved the man. God bless him.''

Patrick McConnell
Sales Broker 
James Nason pays tribute to David L Fraser
“Having spent nearly 24 years in the business prior to joining Fraser, I can attest to the fact that outside of the organisation, David Fraser and Fraser as a company were held in the utmost esteem...Fraser was the worldwide leader in yacht sales when it came to ethics, integrity, prestige, and honesty in the yacht business. This was all due to David Fraser’s dedication to servicing what he saw as his fiduciary duty to the client, both Buyer and Seller. David was one of a kind: one of a kind in a lost generation. He will be sadly missed, however his legacy will never die.” 

James Nason
Sales Broker
Roberto Giorgi pays tribute to David L Fraser
"I had the opportunity to meet David Fraser only once in 2015 during a visit to our San Diego office after the acquisition of the company. 

I did not have the time to know him more, but I was impressed by what he has been able to create, and by his love for the sea.
I have been also a seaman, both as a profession and at heart. 

He will be a true legend, not only for me, but also for the young generation. RIP.” 

Roberto Giorgi
Honorary Chairman 

And the final word, from CEO Raphael Sauleau

“David was a titan in the world of yachting and brokerage who touched the lives of many over his long career.
A passionate yachtsman with a vision, a drive and a set of principles that not only built the company that today proudly continues to carry his name but equally continues to apply the values, thoroughness and ambition he was personally renowned for.

He was quite a guy as many would have said!
He loved the business of yachting and leaves behind him a legacy of talented sales brokers, all with the same sense of integrity and business values as his.

Fair winds and following seas David....and thank you!"

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