I’ve not shared much about my ‘Yachting Career’. Partly because I don’t think people are genuinely interested, but mostly because I have no idea how to explain such a unique and bizarre industry. And I know, without a doubt, that unless you’ve experienced it, it’s going to be hard to fully comprehend the complexities and pain, the joy and excitement. It’s the same as childbirth in that way…I imagine.
So, what is ‘yachting’ you ask? Yachting is a general term used to describe a group of people who have given up their normal land based life for one at sea. But not just any life at sea…
Firstly a yacht, or super/mega yacht if you want to get all douchey about it, is a floating holiday home for the world’s ridiculously rich. We’re talking millions, multi-millions of clams for buying one. Let alone maintaining and running one. Not even factoring in doing it to an impeccable standard.
These floating palaces need people to look after them (obviously). And lets not forget the people who own them – they need looking after big time. Enter yacht crew: Captains, engineers, stewards and stewardesses, deckhands, chefs and cooks. These are the people (like me) who keep the yacht clean and maintained, the owners and their guests pampered, entertained and well fed. We are at the beck and call of the owner and their guests while they’re on board. Our lives as crew are completely dominated by their needs.
Yes, we get to see some amazing parts of the world. Yes, we have the capacity to save money. Yes, we might end up with a big fat tip, which we might spend on champagne and expensive watches (might and will, many times over for some). Yes, we might meet some famous people. Yes, we have some pretty unique adventures.
There’s always a but.
Yachting is not without negatives. We sacrifice a lot. Many of us spend months, if not years away from our family and friends. We work ridiculous hours during the season (hours that would not be acceptable in a normal job). The nomadic nature of many yachts means having a pet cat is really, really hard. Often we don’t know when our next day off will be, let alone trying to co-ordinate to be home for your best friends wedding. Or when we finally have that day off and are literally walking off the boat delirious with happiness at the prospect of free time, then BAM! you’re notified the owner is on his way, the boat needs prepping and your day off is no longer happening. I don’t think I know any crew that have never had something like this happen to them (at least once, more likely they’ve lost count of just how many times this has happened). We forgo plenty of everyday/normal freedoms that you take for granted in your life on land.
People often ask where do we live. Normally crew live on board the yacht they work on. Typically the crew cabins are less than spacious. You certainly couldn’t swing a pet cat. Wait, you don’t have a pet cat because you live on a boat remember.
Imagine this…that chick from finance that leaves her dirty tea cups everywhere. Or that guy who is perpetually late, and always ‘busy’ when there’s work to be done – like now. Or how about that person who is exceptionally busy…yet achieves nothing all day. Or the one who spends hours a day (on company time & dollar) making personal calls.
This drives you mental, but at the end of the day you get to go home, and so do they (to their home, not yours). “Wonderful!”
No. On a yacht that guy or girl might be your cabin mate. You share a very small space and you get to experience those annoying traits all day. Everyday. Even on your days off.**
Yachting can bring out the best in you and it can also bring out the horrifying worst. I’ve been lucky enough to experience both, and unlucky enough to experience the latter more often. It’s been a huge learning curve for me personally. It has taught me about the kind of environment I thrive in and the kind that I utterly drown in (not technically speaking of course, thankfully all my yachts have stayed afloat!).
My need to be surrounded by hardworking, inspiring and like minded people has been made abundantly clear. It really drives home the fact that in order to be the best version of you, you need to be selective with who you surround yourself with. As the old saying goes, you are the product of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
What other ‘stuff’ have I learned through yachting…?
I’ve picked up some reasonably compulsive cleanliness and laundry folding habits. I’ve learned bits here and there about navigation and the ‘rules of the road’ (by road I mean ocean), I can be handy (sometimes) with blocked pipes and drains. I can help the engineer clean the sea strainers (Google it). I’m quite good at identifying the source of “weird” or “wrong” smells. I can serve (on time!) a starter, main and dessert while the galley is pitching and rolling. A mighty fine starter, main and dessert too! I can also be dreadfully sea sick at the same time. I can navigate my way through local markets for the best produce – anywhere in the world. I can converse and feel (somewhat) comfortable around the world’s wealthiest people – after all they are only human. (As an aside, they might be rich but their sh!t still stinks!) I’m all over the tricks for providing a 5 star cabin turn down in the blink of an eye. I’ll even iron your knickers!
And, the best of all…I can say I have some amazing friends in all parts of the world.
For now yachting and I are spending some time apart. Maybe we’ll be friends in the future. Maybe we’ll have sporadic love affairs from time to time. Who knows. It’s hard when you love it and hate it, like push ups and foam rolling.
** Any of my former crew mates reading this and thinking “Holy shit balls…is she talking about me?” chances are, yes. Yes I am. Don’t take it personally, you are an excellent human (as long as we never have to work together again) 🙂 Peace!
Did this tickle your fancy..? I bet it did you saucy minx! Why not tickle a friends fancy and share this on “the social media”? (buttons below) I know that would tickle my fancy…and 2 outta 3 aint bad.