the YACHTIE Exclusive: Interview with Author of Welcome Abroad, The Bight and The Bitter End

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Despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary, we here at the Yachtie are not the authors of Welcome Abroad, The Bight and now, The Bitter End. We’re not ghost writers either. It’s a rather complicated story as most stories related to the sea are and a not quite believable one, as most stories related to the sea are, but we were able to arrange an interview via email and skype with the actual author, the Anonymous Deckhand, regarding his latest publication, The Bitter End. This is the first of a three part series of Interviews:

anonymous deckhand

Why did you decide to write a novel about yachting? Why not just a memoir?

It’s funny. I thought about doing a memoir and it’s entirely plausible but I just didn’t feel like it would have worked. I had this sense that something would be missing. That it had to be more than the personal story and those long winded explanations of the ‘you had to be there’ humor that seems to be the norm. It just seemed to me that fiction could give more life to things and a bit more freedom. I suppose I could have written a memoir but it would have been a bit disjointed, there would have been too many leaps and it just wouldn’t have flowed quite right.

It says on the cover ‘Based on True Events’. Is that just a tag line, a little teaser to give things a bit of credibility?

No. It was something the lawyers recommended to tell you the truth.

How much of the book is true? How much of the book is outright fabrication?

I’m not sure you’re going to believe me but all the things in the story did happen. The order of events is more or less correct and there were some bits that got put in earlier than when they did happen but in all honesty everything in that book is factually correct. It’s not that things needed to be invented. They just didn’t happen in the right order in real life.

Some might say that your work is sexist and misogynistic? Do you think that is a fair opinion of you and your work?

Well, it seems everyone seems to have a charged opinion these days. I don’t think my character is all that sexist or misogynistic. He’s in a very strange place and he’s trying to cope with a lot of uncertainty. I understand there are some bits in there that people might find disturbing but that’s not entirely the character. In a large way he’s a reflection of the sort of lad and macho culture that you get in the industry. Maybe it was a bit too real or authentic in that respect but it’s not just fabricated out of whole cloth.

It’s just that some readers are likely to have a bit of a shock to a character who seems to evaluate his relationship in economic terms.

Yeah. I can see that. But you have to remember that this is a fictional character surrounded by a thing that shouts MONEY. He’s surrounded by people who just scream MONEY. And then someone hands him an envelope full of cash and not that many responsibilities and he can spend and buy whatever he wants. I don’t know. It seemed pretty natural that he would start thinking in that one dimension. That and he’s suddenly aware that it’s ending. That he just can’t or won’t do it anymore and has to think of the next thing. He’s sort of budgeting his life in a way. Now, I have to admit that I’ve never really thought that way but I’ve been around enough people who sort of like the idea but can’t quite pull it off. I just thought it would be interesting to actually create this sort character.

Do you think the ending is going to surprise people?

I’m not sure to tell you the truth. It just kind of happened that way.

Are you the Anonymous Deckhand?

No. I’m in the story but most people won’t notice and I kind of like that. Are there elements of me in the Anonymous Deckhand? Yeah. Absolutely, but there’s always that point where maybe some of the superficial elements or pieces of it are filled out by events and things I’ve heard or things people have bragged about. It’s funny actually, I’m not and never was a deckhand.

Couple Takes Out 2nd Mortgage for Once in a Lifetime Charter

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Ft. Lauderdale, FLORIDA

A yachtbroker from Mike Michaels and Associates, recently closed a one week Caribbean Charter for the coming winter and despite a by all accounts, routine booking, was shocked to learn how it was paid for.

“We’re used to the offshore wire transfer, various LLCs, SAs, Trusts and Corps and all of the sudden I’m looking down and there is Coral Gables Federal Savings and Loan. I thought it was a typo at first but sure enough I called them up and it was definitely their wire.”

Though Chartered yachts do have a significant range in prices, catering both to the painfully rich and the merely or slightly rich; It is almost unheard of to pay for a week’s Charter with a loan.

“They were a pleasant couple. Very nice. Both employed professionals. Maybe I should have realized when we going over the provisioning expenses. They joked about spending their child’s college fund. I thought it was funny at the time but now it’s actually kind of not..”

The Yachtie was not able to interview the couple but learned they would be aboard a 45m Motoryacht in St. Barthes for New Years. The broker speculated that the couple might be attempting an ambitious networking gambit or some sort of marketing exercise.

The bank was less concerned with the details of the loan.

“We’re here to offer loans to whoever qualifies. Granted, this one was somewhat unconventional but they had perfect credit scores and haven’t missed a single payment. Granted, it’s an expensive week but hey, they qualified and what people want to do is their own business. We’re just here to make them pay for it at least three times over.”

While the Yacht in question remains confidential, it is certain that one crew this season may be facing the most demanding guests in the history of luxury yachting, guests who’ve not simply paid to be there but seem determined to network and redeem a 15 to 30 year fixed obligation to what is doubtless going to be the busiest week of their lives.

Fake Crew Agent Reports Record Season

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Antibes, FRANCE

AS another Med Season comes to a close and preparations are made for the Monaco Yacht Show, there is a wistful air to the Cote d’Azur, but not for some.

“This has to be without doubt the best year I’ve had in the last three,” noted, an industry professional over a glass of Rose. “Just the sheer number of people and their willingness to pay any sum for a shot on a yacht. If I weren’t going to the South Pacific for the off season, I could easily take next year off….”

The number, size and scale of luxury yachts has for the last 10 years been the source of an ever expanding range of services, technology and jobs for yachting professionals. Human Resources being a particularly hot field.

“We’re seeing such a flow of people looking for hard currency. It’s astounding…”

While this rush of economic activity has benefited many, the gray areas and gaps of jurisdiction have raised legal and ethical questions that many seek to remedy through voluntary professional associations and rigorous standards of business practice before serious legal implications threaten a profitable field.

“I’m not exactly licensed but that’s just the nature of yachts isn’t it? Did I get alot of people jobs? Yes. I think so. Granted, it was only a dozen or so but just because I take you on as a client doesn’t mean you fit the bill. It’s not up to me. It’s up to the yacht.”

With the rise of Yacht Management Conglomerates and a slide in the use of the Crew Agency model, other means are developing in the market place for talent.

“I’ve got a database of Owners and Captains and Mates. I show it to all my clients and I usually like to take an important phone call during the interview. No one is putting a gun to their head. They just pay the 150 Euro registration fee and I send them meaningless emails for a few months. Most of them give up.”

When questioned about the word getting around about his practices, he was pragmatic. “That’s the thing, as long as you get someone they know a job, the rest will be disinclined to think about it. There’s this great software that lets you track them on Facebook and see who’s talking and you just sort of slap the water as it were. You can’t ruin the dream. People need it and that’s where the money is…”

Anonymous Deckhand Keeps Spreadsheet Concludes HookUps Caught in Inflationary Bubble

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“It’s the damnedest thing. I’m trying to be smart with my money like everyone says. So, I figure since the owners run the world with their economic rules and ideas why not my life? I started a ledger and I’m spending about somewhere between 50 to 100 dollars. I know that sounds like a lot but you’ve got to consider that you’re buying drinks for everyone. Of course, it gets a little cheaper down island but still, if you’re with crew you’re going to have to buy a round shots so they don’t give you that hard a time.”

How have the prices changed?

“Well in the last year or so we’ve been breaking 100 USD. And it’s not the drinking. I’m not too far off the standard buzz model in terms of units and inebriation…”

Aren’t there some unknown assumptions here? I mean what are we talking about with a hook up? Is this a full engagement or some smooching, grabbing and foreplay on a beach somewhere.

“Well, I’ve not really factored that into things. It’s usually everything but the full engagement though sometimes you do luck out with circumstance and environmental externalities.”

So the price of meaningless affection has increased dramatically. What’s your conclusion? What’s the solution?

“I’m actually thinking about a girlfriend. I figure after the initial investment and upfront costs, we should be able to get some idea of a meaningful unit price.”

But what about love?

“I know it’s trite to say that money can’t buy love but it’s true for the most part. You can pay for it if you find it but at the end of the day you really can’t put a number to that. I figure, if I can find a value girlfriend maybe we can run away from this yachting thing and start another adventure. I mean even the people who want love don’t really want love do they? Entertaining lust with lots of sex should do.”

Isn’t that a bit overconfident?

“It’s all in the numbers, really.”

So where is all this leading?

“Well, I’m hoping to get some really good data over the next 6 months. I figure the international aspect might hone the numbers on something universal. Ideally, I’d like to have an application that people can use to make sure they’re getting the most meaningless affection possible for their dollars. Maybe that way I don’t have pay for more engineering courses and climb the ranks and comfortably go back ashore.”

But back to the price. What makes you think there is a bubble or that it is unsustainable? Could it be you’re just getting older and less attractive?

“No. There’s no real or practical model of the 10 scale and that goes for men and women. I’m just looking at what it costs. You’ll always find random values here and there, a 6 that just makes so much economic sense you don’t want to give up the margins. That might actually be happening to me right this moment. This Australian girl I met.”

The Ice on 9.99999999 of 10 Yachts is Never Cold Enough, Explains Chief Engineer

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“They’re all using regular refrigeration. Maybe a commercial grade machine at best but that always gives you that sloshy, sitting in a pile, poorly insulated wet ice. I mean you can use those cubes or little frozen rock thing but that’s just some yuppie middle class I drive a leased BMW shit. That and the guests will always break the bloody glasses. No. I’m talking about the perfectly sealed and insulated freezer that actually charges the water. The water for your regular ice maker forms in trays and the ice crystals form around the stuff, dust, minerals, whatever is in the water. Instead, we use the ultra-purified water initially then subject it to a positive electrical charge and use a specially designed refrigeration unit and instead having ice at 0 degrees centigrade, it only forms at -19 degrees centigrade.”

“Do you all have one onboard?”

“No. Not yet. It’s a proto-type in my garage back in Devonshire. Marvelous little machine. I even got the local technical school to actually build it and solve most of the problems.”

“But does it actually make for a noticeably different drinking experience?”

He turns for a moment, deep in thought, as if to remember the exact order of taking off the bolts on the shaft coupling. “Could we have two more pints? Thanks, love,” he says to the barmaid before turning back. “That’s not the fucking point. The point is, it exists and someone is going to pay for it. You don’t think we solve problems in the engine room do you? We just maintain someone else’s vanity.”

Yacht Doesn’t Spot Migrant Boat, Makes Way to Monaco

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Monte Carlo, MONACO

Several days ago, somewhere in the Southern Adriatic a 55M luxury Motoryacht didn’t spot a small fishing boat 10 meters off their bow.

Despite a photo posted on a crew members personal Facebook page “there is no report of the incident, it didn’t happen and we all know that people post all sorts of things on their Facebook,” the watchkeeper noted over a pint. “It’s clearly photoshop.”


As millions flee the failing states of Libya and Syria, they are getting a harsh but some might say fair treatment from the 1 percent.

“I mean these billionaires ignore me personally and my concerns especially. Maybe it’s good the refugees learn early that’s not all it seems in Europe. That it’s for the rich and they don’t give a f**k about anyone,” said a retiree living outside in a small villiage a few stops down from Monaco. “Still, they won’t send a death squad to kill you but that’s about it…”

With so many small and poorly maintained craft on the water, the number of maritime distresses has increased to unprecedented levels with Maritime authorities reminding seafarers of their responsibilities on the seas.

Others however are less concerned.

“Listen, if they don’t have to follow the tax code, or any other law why should they have to follow any of the other rules? I mean can’t my owners just go through life without being bothered. It’s a serious invasion of privacy taking on a few dozen Africans and Middle Easterners. God knows what the girls would be saying about getting rid of the smell. That and we just don’t have the facilities. I mean these people are used to urinating in holes in the ground and sleeping on dirt. How would they make tea? We can’t just start a fire on deck. And what would we feed them? I haven’t had to serve bush meat on a Charter in years…”

When pressed further about the boat he did not see, the Watchkeeper explained that if he did see a boat it would be hard for him to not “imagine they were out for a cruise of some sort. I mean they do have large families that live together. And would we want to interrupt a family spending time together? Just being courteous as I expect they would be to us.”

Below Deck Episode 3: The Takeaways

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There really is something about the name Don whether it is Don from Sexy Beast as interpreted by Sir Ben Kingsley or Donnie from The Big Lebowski. It’s a cue for character and if you’re on tv, follow the cue. However, Don the Engineer didn’t quite go for it. Ultimately, the real conflict was mere chain of command when perhaps a truer engineer would have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he knows more and better than the Bosun. Yes, that would have been interesting to watch. It would have required an absolute pitch perfect, ‘I know I am being an asshole but you cannot deny I’m very polite at it.’ You let a lot of Don’s down Don.

As for the whole Rocky thing? Kind of Kat Held Lite in many ways but there is something just so damned naively endearing about her? As for her, somewhat, inspirational bum? It was a split decision decision against. But really, it’s Kat without all the drinking and less a work ethic; which is a surprising feature of this season, the toned down emphasis on partying. Likely to change of course, just like the weather and/or the guests temperament.

And what was going on with that Leon trade secrets business? I won’t give you the recipe unless you invest in my sauce company? I don’t know. It’s kind of snarky and facile to call it canned salsa verde with some fresh ingredients but Colonels Secret Recipe Good, Dr. Pepper’s Secret Formula Good? Which is funny. Despite the snap contrast of the Kate Chastain cruise ship, yachting, Wal-Mart, Neiman Marcus analogy, there’s something canny if a bit forward about it. Or maybe that just reminds me of the story about the fellow selling terry cloth cover brushes at a yachtshow? Seems everyone has or is a product these days. Is every yachtie a business model or lifestyle blog away from freedom?

There really should be a review of the guests or of the Charter itself. The foraging for food is almost middlebrow when it comes down to it. Of course, the whole Black Tie Boardshorts was a great grave disappointment.

It has everything going for it: on a luxury yacht, fine decoration, perfectly lit interior, the carpet might even be merino. The ideal setting for the black tie or as someone suggested, white with tail coats. Everything up top looking perfect, wing collars, an actually tied bow tie. It’s all just asking for the perfect pair of boardies, simple but punchy colors and well cut and the Euro man boy shorts are the choice? Christ. Neither a straight nor a gay man would make that mistake.


How is it that Kate’s bed/towel art invariably looks like a penis? It really has to be a little game of hers.


A somewhat, somewhat episode. There should be less telegraphing but trying to squeeze drama out of the yachting game is hard enough for a book, let alone a tv series.

A Legend Goes on the Record….Sort Of

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AS the portrayal of the yachting industry wanders deeper into the reality tv sphere, it is important to remember that there was a yachting before that vogue or even the one spilling and braying from the mouths of so many Captains, Mates and Stewardesses. The Yachtie was fortunate enough to interview a legend in the business, five time Golden Chammy recipient, Skipper Emeritus of the Order of the Stoic Charter and Commodore of the Severn with Full Honors, Michael ‘Mick’ Crombie.

The interview was edited “lightly” for the sake of “clarity.” Part 1 of 3.

The Yachtie: So how has yachting changed in the last 10 years or so?

Mick Crombie: It’s the influx. It’s owners and crew. It’s nowhere near where I started. Just in the the sheer number of boats out there and the demands that are being made by all the new owners. Yachting was the preserve of gentlemen of leisure at one point. People who made their money the old fashioned way, inheriting. None of these cut throat chip on the shoulder types. The sorts who wanted a bit of adventure and uncertainty. Stinkboats were still poor form when I started. Now I hear rumors of nuclear reactors or some such…

TY: But isn’t that just the changing times? Isn’t that the age old critique?

MC: Well, people always think that, always think change is what defines everything, you see. We’re not talking about a pursuit that has really changed. People went out onto the water for exploration, for profit and then what they’re calling adventure. Now we’re at this point where it’s more a film set than anything else. Everyone wired in and beaming out the updates. I always found that the best moment, that moment of discovery of taking someone to a new place without the pre-research and googling, getting people into a place they have to find out on there own, in the now. It’s all just a floating film set with the smartphones….

TY: Speaking of floating film sets. Have you seen the Bravo Network Reality Tv series Below Deck?

MC: Some friends of mine suggested DVRing it but I’ve not really bothered.

TY: But what are your thoughts on the industry you’ve been working for over 30 years being cast out there into reality tv land?

MC: Well, that’s it isn’t it? Even the stuff people think of as the industry: the marketing, the meetings, and the down at the pub is all just as contrived. The only people who really get to believe it are the ones paying for it. It’s like trying to make a reality tv show on the set of a reality tv. A mirror against another mirror. Everyone is getting in on it, even deckhands are cheekily spinning yarns. It used to take you years and clawing up to Mate before you could comfortably play that game with enough socked away should it all end. Now it’s everyone.

mck crmb

TY: Is there any truth to the story and I’m sure you’ve heard it; that you were making a southerly cruise of the East Coast and couldn’t find anywhere to tie up and on anchor in New Jersey with a furious owner took the tender ashore in a dinner jacket and was able to bring back 5 Miss America Contests for an honorary reception?

MC: There might be some Super 8 but I’d rather not. People love myths and legends. Things to talk about. I’d rather go out and live.

Why Do I Feel Like I am in the Oven?

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excerpt from the BITTER END:

WHY MUST THEY ALWAYS ADD SO MUCH DETAIL when explaining the intricacies and irregularities of the female reproductive system? As if it is somehow going to cloud things with a gut, don’t need to know response? Fuck. She really was just testing things. Have to hand it to her, what a master stroke with the pre-emptive, come out swinging that I don’t care even enough to respond instantly to her miraculously breaking a week of silence at the last minute with a generic we need to talk. What does charter matter when she was desperately waiting for a skype? She didn’t want it to be on Facebook, no. Too visible. Didn’t want to get me upset. I sink the frostline and flag down another.

“What’s so funny,” she asks?

“And don’t say nothing or what’s the new one, life.”

“Something about boats and women.”

“Well, we know where our boats are going…”

“A brief layover in Florida then to linger on the Riviera…”

“I thought you like France.”

“I like the idea of it.”

“So where is this vessel going?” She takes another sip with an interrogators eye, every non-verbal carrying some intent or other. “I mean what are we going to do?”

Fuck. Isn’t this is where all that emotional business comes into play? I don’t even want to look at her, just lingering in the pause of what we both seem to understand needs to be said. Fuck. It’s not supposed to be like this, two diplomats maneuvering and positioning, just hedging toward an ambiguity we’ll somehow live amidst or all the proof and potential of our online glow, giving life to every moment we’re not in bed. The drink is staring at me, it might compel the words she wants then wipe clean any memory then let it all happen again.

“I don’t know. I do worry things will get too online-ish. That’s no way for anything to go,” I offer half heartedly.

“Do you really know how rare this is? It’s just too good to let slip. How long are you going to stick out yachting?”

“I’m over it. It’s been fun but fuck. Can’t go back to the States. That much I do know. Might hop off in Europe and take a little time off.”

“How’s that going to work out? You’ll probably party it away in 9 months and be right back chasing another gig…”

“Life does have a way of intervening,” I add, just catching the words and less their truth than their want.

“What about you? It’s not all about me you know.”

“But it’s always about you isn’t it? We go to your hometown when I wanted to go to New York and now you’re leaving and it’s just ‘oh, hey, Roz what are you going to do?’ I’m not having it,” she starts and abruptly halts almost conscious of the feint. What happened to the coin toss? She called heads didn’t she? It was her call. There it is. That’s it. Why must she make it so easy for you? How can you ignore this?

“So suggest something,” I add curtly with another sip.

“I don’t know,” she manages.

“How long can you take off?”

“I don’t want to take off is the thing. I want to do something else. No one ever gets the chance to take a genuine crack at what they want or start over again with some capital, a clean slate and a whole world…”

“But you don’t really know what you want to do…” she delivers with a nervous laugh.

“There’s nothing funny about any of this….”

“Well, why don’t we pop down to Oz for a few months after the Med season? My mum has a new house and is after me to come home for a visit. You could go surfing, see what’s out there….”

Just like that. Just see what’s out there. At least she’s not pregnant. That’s something. Just tag along for the next adventure. Does crossing the Pacific settle it? Maybe she is the best option? But is she really an option? Semantics just won’t do with all the time and money. No. What’s the return? Sex? Or is that interest? Or is it some sort of derivative? There’s something there. She knows what she is doing doesn’t she?

I sink the glass and light a cigarette, just starting to embrace a convenient blend of emigration and infatuation. There is something mercenary about it and but it just makes too much sense. This is the world you live in. You have no choice but the choices it gives you.

Then the music sinks in and it’s working whatever it is. There’s the levity. Christ, is that a smile, the points of the mouth just beginning to creep north? And I look over and somehow there is another sense, that quiet fascination, an ember, a cinder of passion, infatuation, or fondness, just enough but only just. Fuck. It’s almost as if there is a ledger to it all, a grand balance most people blissfully wander through. Or is it just the sort of thing that never occurs to people living in the real world—but fuck if it isn’t sitting next to me on a bar stool in SXM.

She orders us some cheery shots and it doesn’t matter in the least, it’s just a pleasing step into some other space. It’s not travel anymore, it’s not some field trip, some sojourn for stories and all the other artifacts. No. Something new, all the differences people merely contrive just pouring from a place, those millions of little things that actually add up to a life, driving a Holden, crazy slang, the other side of the road, meat pies and surfing!

There is a nice breeze that follows us out onto the beach and into the darkness, laughing maniacally I give chase to a loving tackle, utterly gripped by this potent absorption, a one and another lost to the terminus of a night, a faint moment beyond every circumstance that lead us there, some other purer realm, that finds it place with every harried embrace and that slowly building crest, an awed second of clarity right before the crash…

She rolls over next to me and for a moment it is nice to have a someone—maybe even a future.

Unknown Hackers Create First Cyber Charter

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Ft. Lauderdale, FLORIDA

An unnamed Motoryacht was recently victim of a co-ordinated cyber attack from an unknown location. The extent and of the incursion is not presently known. Due to privacy  and legal concerns, the owner and yacht management company have declined to involve law enforcement.

With the spread of digital technology and information connectivity, yachts in recent years have become more networked and wired than ever before. “It’s not uncommon to find a small start-ups worth of racks on the modern builds, not only as communications and entertainment but also controlling the majority of systems,” observed the Miklos Kelner, a computer security and networking consultant.

“I remember getting up early for watch, just checking my emails and the computer starts acting a bit odd. So, I check the servers and it’s normal. That’s when all the exterior lights began to automatically turn off. I just kind of wrote it off. Just a glitch.….” explained the First Mate on condition of anonymity.

Later that evening other systems began to act in strange ways, logs began to fill themselves out automatically, a course was plotted to the Bahamas, the ipads in the galley began creating lists of provisions and even a menu, custom playlists and media recommendations began updating on all the guest ipads and a charter watch schedule was emailed to the entire crew.

“It was uncanny. I’m getting breakfast started and I get a notification of sundries we’re going to be running low on…” the Chef added.

“What really did it for me was the call from the Fuel Company confirming tomorrow’s bunkering. That’s when we knew something was up. So I call the brokers and do the usual check in with the owner and it’s nothing on the horizon….”

While some suspect Russian or Chinese hackers, there has been unofficial speculation that the collective known as Anonymous may have been involved. “They’ve [Anonymous] expressed a great anti-pathy to the 1 percent over the years and the nature of these attacks would suggest that a purely economic motive was not involved as would be common to a Russian or Chinese operation. It was more to prove a point than anything,” noted a computer security consultant familiar with the tech company handling a private investigation.

Though it might seem a political gesture on the part of anarcho-hackers, the effects were not lost on the Yacht Management Company spokesman:

“There’s a temptation to see this as a serious breech of security but it should be noted that neither the owner nor charter guests were on board and that the owners personal financial information was not on any of the servers. If anything we’ve seen the first instance of a new era in yachting. It’s a somewhat counter intuitive illustration of the power of big data and computing. That some pasty kid in a basement in the Midwest was able to piece together a by all accounts kick ass charter should be a wake up call to the industry. This could mean freeing up the crew to focus less on actual jobs and more on entertaining the guests.I mean we’ll probably never get crew-less yachts but who knows?”

4 Things Every Yachtie Should Do Before Going Ashore

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monegasuian sunset


There are plenty of pictures. There are even more drinking stories. There is even that time you painted a penis on the bottom of the hull in white anti-foul but there are other things that really must be done before going back to the realer world. We’ve compiled a list of 4 things only a yachtie could and probably should do. While it is Male oriented I’m sure the ladies can get the gist.

1. Blow a tip in an entire weekend. It’s a bit reckless and might not fit into the long term financial planning but so long as you only do it once things should be fine. Consider it an exercise in developing a little understanding of guest behavior, see what all the over the top fuss is about.

2. Fly off to some random locale with some native girl you just met for the weekend. It’s tough finding the right candidate, but when else are you going to plausibly do so knowing the yacht is waiting to pull you away from a beet farm in Slovakia after her grandfather tries to sell her to you?

3. Have a tailored suit made. Not only can it be rationalized as an investment. It’s perfect for sneaking into places on the Riviera. You’ll have a functional souvenir. Linen recommended for durability and practicality.

4. Commission a portrait of yourself, something classical looking and hang it in the master cabin. No one will notice and as pranks go it is world class.

If you can pull off at least one of these then your place of immortality and mythical status is certain.

It happens….

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TOO MANY CIGARETTES, a strained cough and bloodshot eyes scan about the room, even the slightest move is an undertaking, just trying to break through the palpable delay between the thought and actually getting up to take a slash as the body responds with a stuttering  insolence. Laughter echoes out through the bathroom before wandering into that warm bar of light cast through the curtains; I slip back into bed and resume an attempt at sleep, settling next to her as she rolls over and tucks her head into that favorite place.

“Why do the sheets smell of chlorine,” she yawns, throwing a leg over and tilting her head across the chest. There’s a mangled bikini top still around her neck, a triangle draped over her ear. If I took a picture would she photoshop it over her eye? Is it another unclaimed frame lost in this decadent transaction? Is it emotional or just the sheer excitement of drifting in a tide of lust and money? What the fuck is this place, I wonder as the cab stops at a lightly abused condo just off 17th street. The apartment is one of those overdoses of cream colored, walls, carpet and even the appliances in the kitchen, down to the fluorescent light and several half empty liquor bottles on top of the refrigerator. I pop out on the balcony, pre-emptively holding a cigarette as she installs herself with a glass of wine and a conversation wafting around the E! news brief blasting from the flatscreen.

“So, the W,” Ramona comments when I return.

“Something like that,” I manage diffidently.

They offer me a glass as the debriefing continues. I take up a position on a chair in the corner and scan through the ipod, a debauched photo session wiping across the screen, the vague warmth of memory suddenly replaced. Roz is leaking details, coyly winding them up. She does know what she’s doing doesn’t she? The slight style to it barely gilds the vulgar intensity, the energy of a trading pit and all the implied meaning of the internet unleashing itself. The crease of the brow tightens and I can feel the points of the mouth sink, the body knowing some intuition  piercing through the haze. What is it she trades about, some value against the origin, the present weighed by every digital trace, every socially calibrated recollection opening and expanding and more and more and more… How much further can it go? Who is coining from whom? And to think you felt guilty?

“I really do have the best boyfriend in yachting,” she says turning the whole of the gaggles attention upon me, raising her glass, her words hitting like a massive sell off and a panic that only finds the instinct of politesse.

“Hey. I’m just a guy,” I manage, barely forcing a smile. I really am a possession, some object won through patience, insistence and determined sex. She knows that luscious power doesn’t she? The mind yielding to the body, insistent, present and alive once more?

She retakes the conversation and begins to wind down. At least she knows when to leave the casino. There is a round of good byes and bright future rendez-vous, the conversation fading to the quiet tapping and sliding and beeping of devices wiring up the next venture of the afternoon. We gather our effects and wander down to the cross streets. She turns to me with a beaming smile and that potent visage repels it all for a moment:

“I had such a lovely weekend. I hope you’re not too cross about the whole bf thing. It’s just they are so nosy about it. We don’t need to make it Facebook official or anything.”

Why Yachting is the Best Type of Travel

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It seems everyone travels or at very least has a vague but strong ambition to see more. Whether it is a timeless yearning to know the planet and its people more fully, to leave the comfort zone and the familiar and disappear into another simpler self or even just a weekends respite, never has travel been the past time and delight to so many.

Now, it should be painfully apparent that if you have the means, a chartered yacht is near the very top of the industry just short of private aircraft but that’s not what we’re getting at. It’s the strange type of travel that the crew get to experience, a sort that isn’t really possible for anyone else and yet ever so easy to take for granted.

Someone has probably said, the key to any great journey or voyage is uncertainty. And they are right; without it, all that passes never truly escapes the circumstance that lands you on that track, from the tickets to the transfers to the taxi fare to the continental breakfast. All neatly assembled and somehow quietly stoking the want for something more, something outside the proven track that will have you wandering off the path.


And this is where the travel of yacht crew takes on a special dimension. It’s just there, outside the portlight. Just waiting for you. Just a quick walk, a quick sally about under a curiousity that only faintly realizes how you even came to be there. You never fully slip into that mode, that frame of collecting memories per se, the charged want of photos and proof for the co-workers or relatives back home who almost expect a fantastic debrief. Instead, it is a village you never knew existed, never would have thought to find on a map and a little cafe or bistro from a guide you never read and it is everything marketed and described and vaunted by guidebooks and magazines YET so utterly normal. Such a simple delight in itself, no preparation or expectation, just the magic of a place washing over you. And even the places you have been to dozens of times sit in a strange balance, a familiarity and comfort on the one and a foreignness and distance that still persists and never fully reveals itself. As if to know the familiarity of home and the excitement of abroad at once.

It is an almost incidental travel, one tied greatly to work but radically different than the typical merchant marine, ever on anchor or in port under the clock of commerce. And in a way the dominating, obsessive, unrelenting nature of working on a yacht seems the perfect preparation, stoking a subconscious desire to disappear from the role for a few hours or a few days, utterly open to escaping and realizing that the distance between the yacht and the dock is seemingly infinite.

It is a special trick and perhaps an even rarer delight simply to know a place, to know it as the locals even, to experience things in a way so few can, to hop onto the dock and think blankly yet genuinely, ‘oh, look at that, Venice.’ It might yield a snarky and knowing complaint for the social media but nothing can ever recreate that sense of just being there, not worried about the days budget or the return ticket but perpetually uprooted from back home and wondering with the clearest and more pleasing curiousity: ‘What is this place really like?’

Below Deck Season 3: Course Correction

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It’s an odd sensation to watch a television programme close the gap between life and art and stranger still to watch a reality tv series manage the feat. Or at least that seems to be the grudging opinion in the Crew Mess. Still, the exigencies of the Bravo Network are very much in command but Season 3 of Below Deck has set a new and potential interesting course.

It stands to reason that after the this is yachting, introduce the viewers, explain the obvious, add the details mode finally ends something else can take its place.

While Kat ‘Made for TV’ Held will be missed, barring a mid season surprise surprise, the de-emphasis on the drinking and general debauchery is offering a viewers a more interesting view of the yachting life. If the teaser trailer is any indication, Season 3 might just be the most watchable and discernible yet.

Though they might not be stock reality tv characters, the new crew has three very definite yachting characters with: Raquel, the ambitious, I’m a Chef not a Stew, Don, the overly ordered engineer and Emile, the amiable South African farmhand out to see the world. Everyone who has ever thrown on Eppies has worked with at least one of these people.

The ‘I’m a Chef not a Stew’ is a walking contradiction of a crewmate. Naturally, the Captain told her she’d get some grill time but it never works out that way. Just too much laundry to be prepared. At best she gets to cook the odd crew meal or maybe, just maybe the Chef falls ill on Charter and she gets to step in. That or she will be grudgingly permitted to cook breakfast. That’s right, Breakfast, the AAA ball of the culinary arts. The problem with this character is that they have a sort of occupational schizophrenia. Are they a stew or a chef? No one is sure, least of all themselves and they absolutely must externalize this splitting of theirs. It’s a good mid-level conflict that should segway into amusing subject matters.

Then of course, the Engineer or as many note, Whingineer. No one really knows what goes on down there; other than it is something to do with a faulty sensor or the tolerances or some techno gibberish they relish in explaining to you during tea at 3. Don should definitely develop into an amusing character, particularly with his own Deck/Engineering Schizophrenia. But it’s that painfully ordered, precise, rigorous engineering mentality that should be the real entertainment. We’re thinking highly specific eating habits or routines, maybe even a Howard Hughes style obsessiveness for protocol. It’s a great mindset for the engine room but might be a nice clash out on deck.

And finally, Emile. It’s fitting that he should be the youngest of the crew, amping up the inevitable culture clash with a nice generational angle. We’ve already started the countdown clock for the Biltong Box he is going to install in his cabin. Add to that the laddish, slightly rakish nature of the average ZAFer and there is certain to be playful sexism and stew cringe.

While reality tv is still reality tv, it seems that the Below Deck show runners have opted to add a tincture of real life to the series rather than a shot of rum.

Below Deck: Into the Sunset

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The Yachting Industry can stand down now that Below Deck has finished its Season 2 run. Despite the grumblings of unsavory crew portrayals and a lack of professionalism, it was actually an improvement, at least in a measure against last season. Less explanation, new details and just maybe some flutter of emotional resonance even with the usual character clash formula.

In some ways that is the true test of a reality tv show, somehow cajoling the viewer to care about the cast outside their pure entertainment or spectacle value. It seems every viewer has an opinion on Kate. The whole Jennice and Kelley thing pulled of a nice little invert. And Amy came off so sympathetic, one can’t help but feel she was working something. Seeing the usually composed Ben lose it? That might have been the most humanizing of all.

Though the real question is what else might there be in those 500 or however many hours of footage they captured? Was Season 2 as aired the best story in all the evidence? Which just makes one wonder further what might have happened rather than the content that filled out so many highly semaphored plot lines?

It’s doubtful there will be a Season 3 unless the productioncost is so low and the possibility of Real Housewives or cross over synergies enter the equation. Moving out of the Caribbean or getting more of the travel element into it would definitely add something. If anything the show just drives home the point that workplace drama is the norm and that service at the top is the fine line fine between profession and obsession. Yachting is an owners game. Chartering is in a way like the Below Deck series itself, enjoyable and exciting but not something you need to keep doing, an amusing little window shop into the leisure time of the monied class.

Chef Ben summed it up best in referring to a season or a particular crew as a good book. Below Deck approached the notion and the viewers seemed to appreciate this. That there is something more than what has been seen, the book is always better than the show and the only thing better than the book is the crazy reality of all those folks out there ploughing the water, scarcely believing any of the non stop. If there is one thing Below Deck might have gotten right it is not entirely getting it right, leaving a little lore and excitement of one of the most adventurous jobs out there. No real crew will probably explain it whether because they want to savor the memories or a non-disclosure agreement; all you’ll get from the deckhand standing by the passerelle is that he can neither confirm nor deny what little you’ve seen on tv.