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Home > Blog > The Colourful Journey of a Superyacht Captain

The Colourful Journey of a Superyacht Captain

Salt in your face & sea in the air, the Colourful Journey of A Super Yacht Captain!

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A light rock sways the saloon on this 32 metre Elegance Super yacht ´Harmony´. Captain Nick Scantlebury is on the phone with the local Spanish Port, and Port Adriano inform the Captain that his New Zero speed Stabilisers have arrived, which when installed will remove the gentle seesaw effect and feeling of the ocean against the Super Yacht. This, the year of the Americas cup finals, I am meeting with Nick to explore his experience as a Superyacht Captain, his experience racing in the 27th America’s Cup & Millennial Cup and I discover his passion for Classic Muscle Cars building classic Super Yachts.

Harmony was one of the first Motor Yachts of over 30m available for charter and based around the Spanish Balearic Islands. You will not find a more experienced or accommodating Captain and crew to explore the Balearics with as Nick and his team.

Chartering in the Balearics for their 300 days of Sunshine, blinding number of Calas, idyllic beaches even in 2017 the year of the venerable 35th Americas cup there are hidden treasures to be found on these mystical free Floating Islands in the Mediterranean. I have to say while on charter your worries seem to dissolve in the crystal clear waters surrounding Harmony, which is at one with her surroundings.

Harmony was built by Elegance at 105 feet with a well sized flybridge she has the feel of a vessel of 50 meters or greater. Charter guests will find the usual range of Superyacht toys, Bang & Olufsen surround sound speakers & all the essential amenities a millennial could ask for, with multiple wifi channels and Sea Bobs to play with.

“It´s Funny” Nick tells me “you know the first things a guest asks for when they arrive onboard, before a light refreshment or the location of their Cabin is the Wifi code.”

The Captains office beams with rays of sunshine, to cruise the 300 beaches and Calas around the Spanish Islands with Nick is quite the experience. His fun spots include Foradada located on the North West coast of Mallorca´s crystal clear waters. Foradada has an amazing rock face on one side of the Cala sits as a Mallorquin sculpture with a ringlet shaped hole in the Rock reaching 14 feet across, you can´t see this until you´re in the anchorage. You can see why Picasso & Miro along with other great artists and inspirational people ventured frequently to these isles.

Harmony´s flybridge is a generous size, with space for the tender, jetski, deck freezer, Jacuzzi, bar solarium, with a well placed bimini for shade. The flybridge covers three quarters of the 32m yacht, with high quality well maintained teak provides a vantage point to mark the ark of the Mediterranean Sun or Star Gaze the night´s sky and wave the constellations by in sheek comfort. Possibly marking the stars with the new Iphone 7, which likely has a camera capable of capturing the distant star light.

The gilted life of a Superyacht Captain is one thing; I wonder how a chap from New Zealand crosses the world´s oceans finding the treasure of Mallorca to call his home.

Actually Nick started his journey very far from the world of yachting, from an early age he was interested in systems he was fond of taking apart his grandmothers appliances apart and filling his Grandfathers car with a garden hose to his Grandfathers bemusement. Engineering came naturally and he began an apprenticeship as an automotive engineer, working With General Motors & Nissan. He learned the skill set of customer service and client relations operated the first mobile workshop in New Zealand with over 30 service vans, gaining an incredible amount of transferrable skills which would come in handy as a yacht engineer.

“Follow your passion” is Nick´s advice to the new Yacht Crew coming through “Put your best foot forward and a beaming smile and your half way through the door.”

You know looking back there are these moments when the wind picks up the sails blow at full tilt. The run up to the 27th Americas Cup in 1988 was one of these moments, having spent a lot of time racing smaller boats and being an accomplished engineer Nick was perfectly positioned for the engineer and lead grinder on KZ1, New Zealands Challenger boat for the Americas Cup, also known as the ´Airplane Carrier´ for its distinctly shaped wide hull, currently on display in New Zealand.

The 27th Americas cup was contest between KZ1 and Stars & Stripes skippered by Dennis Conner widely credited for changing the Americas Cup from an amateur sailing sport to a professional expedition.

KZ1 was the 90ft on the water line challenger. Denis Conner had little time to meet the challenge in class at the same speed so foxily entered a much smaller catamaran with foiled sails, Stars and Stripes. Star and Stripes easily won the challenge. Denis Conner went on to be known as mister Americas Cup having won the Americas Cup on four separate occasions.

Nick talks about his experience in the Americas cup: “Training was very physical, I was one of the grinders so I was grinding the winches, and it took 8 of us to hoist the main sail alone, we were up at 6 every morning training for 2 hours, aerobics training and in the gym and again training at the end of the day. Mid day we were sail training, the days in between we performed the maintenance, it was very full on programme.”

Chartering during the idyllic summer months in the Balearics provides a much more relaxed cruise for Charter clients than the speed and adrenaline of an Americas cup race. Behind the scenes Nick and his Crew perform as a well oiled winch, gracefully creating the perfect ambiance for his charter guests with seamless ease. His crew consists of two young stewardesses, first mate and engineer and his Chef who has been onboard with the Captain for 11 years. During the winter months the Chef journeys to the luxurious villas of the returning guests providing sumptuous smart meals, the proof is in the pudding as they say.

During the 1990s while Chartering yachts in Mallorca another tipping point occurred. Nick´s Wife became pregnant with his first child and he was offered a project managers job with Alloy yachts a venerable yacht builder in New Zealand famously teaming up with the Yacht Designer Edward Dubois to build such yachts as 40m Kokomo, 54m Tiara, 24m Freya and 49m Georgia and many others. With many of the yachts winning Showboats International Award & the prestigious International Superyacht Design awards.

Nick was well placed with the transferrable skills gained from the automotive industry and hands on knowledge of yachts he help put together some of the most technically advanced and sexy yachts designed by the revered designer Ed Dubois. For the first Millenium Cup in Aukland New Zealand Nick Captained Kokomo and placed 2nd in an exciting sail against the J Class Velsheda. The grace of these yachts is breathtaking I was lucky enough to photograph the 2016 Palma Superyacht Cup, to see such beautiful design at this scale fires emotions that I have never felt before.

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You can´t fake passion, so they say, I would add that you shouldn’t hide it either. Nicks passion for classic cars is in plain sight having won the International Concourse d´Elegance at the 2017 Classic Car show at Port Adriano. Nick has an impressive range of cars, 1970 Shelby Nova, racing Orange Chevy Corvette 77, racing green Mustang GT 67, Shelby Nova 70. An enviable list of Cars restored to their best form and well maintained. That´s the other side of passion is the dedication and maintenance that we don’t understand things that we love takes time and requires our attention and care.

Breezing through Nicks 30 years Captaining and building Superyachts I´m happy that I had the comfort of Harmony to enjoy the journey. Recent guests include a certain British Presenter funnyman presenter, Victoria Secret Super Model, charters are performed with the utmost discretion clients are able to enjoy the stunning Coastlines in complete privacy and on Harmony. I can´t help feeling as I thank Nick for his time and cross the stern with both feet back on dry land that the sea with all its calling is the most exciting office to be in 2017.


By Christopher Maitland-Walker – The Writer is a Yacht Broker for Marlin Marine Services S.L. a Super Yacht engineering firm tasked with retro fitting the Zero speed stabilisers.

Harmony is offered for Charter through Oceans independence. Contact sales@marlinmarineservices.com for more information.