What did you do before yachting and how did your yachting career first begin?
After finishing Canterbury university in Kent, where I studied Marketing and Advertising Management, I got a job working for a construction company as a labourer. The company built roofing structures and houses. It was really hands-on, but I enjoyed working with all the different types of heavy and dangerous machinery including different power tools, cement mixers and chop saws etc. There was also a lot of heavy lifting involved (as you can imagine) which I’m sure helped prepare me for a life in yachting! J
I also worked in Ibiza for a Shisha company organising weddings and events, as well as the usual part time work, some tele-sales, bar and restaurant work before eventually joining yachting.
A friend of mine Thomas who was already working in the industry mentioned the advantages of yachting to me. He told me about his life experiences and the types of yachts you can work on. Thomas basically sold me the “dream” really…working, earning and living life, all at the same time!
I decided, with the help from my mother, to save up and complete the courses I needed to get my foot in the door. I even did some additional courses that I thought may give me a competitive edge.
I started applying to all online agencies and posting on Facebook pages asking for work advice. I then packed my bags and moved to Palma de Mallorca on my own in April 2017 and landed my first job within a few days!
What has been your favourite boat you’ve worked on and why?
I don’t really have a favourite, they have all given me different skills that have led me to achieve the experiences I wanted and needed within the industry. On all the boats I’ve worked on I’ve taken favourable experiences from each one. All my captains have been great, I have really bonded with them in different ways. They have empathy for you, support you, make you laugh and try and do everything with your best interests at heart. You do build some great relationships on board.
Some boats are tougher than others and some days you will struggle but this just makes you stronger as a crew member and as a person.
What are your best and worst parts about working on board?
The best part for me is meeting new people and building relationships. You can earn an extremely good wage and receive great tips whilst learning new skills. I love meeting and bonding with the guests and learning how to build a personal rapport with them to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Being appreciated and praised for the hard work you do is a fundamental key for me.
The worst parts are the long hours, confined living spaces, not being able to have personal time of your own, sometimes sharing cramped cabins and also initially the position you hold on board. Being away from the people you love for long periods of time is difficult as well as not being able to set foot onshore for weeks!
How do you keep sane on charter?
Personally, for me, I always think about satisfaction that I will feel at the end of the long season. I think about the money I’m earning, the time that I will get off, the great holidays I can go on now in my free time. I will get to spend a longer period of time with friends, family and my finance Sean! You just think about all the benefits that come with the job.
I always try to engage with the guests because if they are open to building a relationship with you, it can really make all the difference to both their stay and the way you feel during the charter.
Finally, after a long, hard day, I enjoy a cheeky glass of wine (if allowed) and when I do get the opportunity to call my Mum/Fiancé for a quick catch up!
What are your best strategies for spoiling charter guests?
Guests are greeted on board with either warm or cold hand towels and a big smile! Welcome drinks are served such as mojitos or coconut water with garnish. We leave chocolates next to the bed during evening turn downs. When charters are over, we leave little thank you notes/postcards with a small gift on their bed. The gift normally depends on the places we visited with them. One example, on an Ibiza charter, all the guests received pots of the local pink rock salt. It’s important to always be attentive and make sure that they never have to ask for anything and even if they haven’t asked, maybe just bring them a glass of water and some snacks.
When it’s hot you can experiment with making some jugs of iced teas. For example, on one of my yachts we used to make virgin mojito iced teas with slices of fresh lemon, lime and mint. If you ever have children on board, it good to find ways to entertain, such as coming up with fun games and activities for them to do like treasure hunts and party games. One of my favourite things to do for guests is to create champagne ice buckets, made of ice with cool decorations within the inside of the sculpture, orchids, shells etc.
What’s the coolest thing you did for charter guests?
Once we had an American family on board, so we decorated the whole of the aft deck with 4th July decorations. The breakfast table and chairs were all wrapped with red, white and blue ribbons. There were 4th July flags, red American cups and we whipped up a full American breakfast for them including pancakes and bacon. The guests absolutely loved it!
We also once threw a mermaid themed children’s birthday party for a little 8-year girl. We found out that she just loved mermaids! A part of my job I also really enjoy, is looking after the children and babies that come on board.
Any embarrassing moments on board? (That you can speak of).
One time, I was in the guest cabin talking to the wife when her husband walked out of the bathroom stark naked! I pretended I hadn’t seen him and just kept on talking! It was never mentioned again! J
What is your signature cocktail?
My signature cocktail is a Cosmopolitan (because I have made so many!)
- Vodka/ lemon vodka
- Triple sec
- Cranberry juice
- Lime juice
- Garnish of lime wedge on the rim of the glass
Most guests have personal preferences as to how they like their cocktails, some like them stronger than others but as you spend more time with guests, you will become familiar with what they like and don’t like. I also make a great Expresso Martini!
What is your favourite yachting destination?
Personally, I have only travelled around the Med on the standard routes for most yachts, Italy (Naples) South of France (Monaco, Bordeaux, Cannes, Toulon) Ibiza and Barcelona.
Ibiza is one of my favourite Med destinations because when we were in Port, we could always hear the music coming from the club Leo (the club was open air) and we were also able to see the dancers and entertainment happening from the bow. Another favourite of mine would be St. Tropez, I just love the little shops and boutiques they have there. I`ve heard the night life can be quite amusing and entertaining too. I remember once, I had to go and provision for charter. The guests were very particular with the wines they wanted to serve on board. I remember I was very excited to go ashore and explore, if only for a short while. I discovered the most beautiful little winery boutique filled with hundreds of different wines – La Cave du Golfe.
Other yacht destinations I would like to visit in the future are the Caribbean Islands and I imagine Norway is spectacular!
If you owned a superyacht, what would you do differently?
The welfare of the crew I think is very important, so if I owned a superyacht I would delegate more time for the crew to have more time for themselves. I believe that the crew would benefit more and could potentially perform better when they are well rested. However, this is not the same for every boat, some have charter guests, while some boats are privately owned, it all depends on the boats you choose. Some boats can be very chilled, they might not travel so much, others can be very busy with no-stop, back to back charters that travel a great deal. The industry is full of what ifs!
What is your on- board pet hate?
When I got to go on my break during the day (usually during charter trips you will work around 16 hours a day with a couple hours gap in-between to catch up on sleep, eat, rest etc.) the worst thing for me was whilst trying to sleep in my cabin, located in the bow of the yacht, hearing the anchor chain being pulled up or the start of the bow thruster making so much noise I’d instantly wake up! Damn!
What career achievement are you most proud of?
I think working within the yachting industry in general is an achievement in itself and also passing all my certificates. I’m proud of the fact that I moved to Palma on my own and managed to achieve a position on a yacht within a few days. In just a few years, I have worked my way up from sole stew, deck stew, to second service stew because my efforts and skills were noticed. My performance levels have increased year on year, with the help from my chief stewardess who taught me a fare few things which I’m very grateful for!
Best housekeeping tip/ hack?
- When servicing the washing machine use white vinegar and bio carbon soda on a hot cycle
- Tide to go pens – instant stain remover is very useful on all surfaces
- Sweat stains on t-shirts (white vinegar, bio carbo soda, then soak, removes bad odours)
- Always check when cleaning glass surfaces, especially shower doors then you look from a low distance upwards to catch dirt glares/ smears from the sunlight
- Any red wine stains always spray “wine away spray” first then soak in vanish with warm/ hot water for at least couple of days, then wash
- If you happen to run out of Fabreeze or fabric spray, you can always make your own using softener, diluted with water as a replacement. This is also useful to use to release lines and creases from bed linen
What’s your favourite adventure in Mallorca?
Mallorca is the adventure! I’ve built a permanent life here. On arriving in Palma, I managed to quickly settle in and land myself a job straight away. Within a week I had met Sean, who I have been with for 3 years and now we are engaged! We are building a life together and I have made new friends and family for life.
If you could give a 20-year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Always strive to go above and beyond and always think BIG…you’re more capable than you know!
I promise, you will always surprise yourself!
For example, for me, leaving my home was a big step (that in itself was a big achievement). Securing my first job in yachting was a massive achievement (although some people just though it was a job cleaning toilets and housekeeping) for me it was a huge step forward in the right direction that would change my life forever in the best way possible.
I had the ability and the strength to pursue something that some people are scared to do. I made the change, I took that leap of faith…and it paid off! It’s an achievement to learn something new every day and to always surprise myself, knowing that I dared to take these big leaps all on my own.
My advice would always be to just go for it and always believe in yourself!
What’s your plan for the future?
Recently I have secured myself a land-based position. For me personally, now that I am engaged, I want to spend more time at home. I haven’t been able to spend a full summer in Mallorca and I would like to see what the future holds for me on land and how I can potentially grow and set myself a new challenge using all the skills I have to offer.
Thank you for reading!
Chase Martin xoxo