As I entered the Cannes yacht show last September I caught myself briefly walking around with my eyes and mouth wide open. Not a good look.
My jaw had dropped when I saw all the new models that the major catamaran brands, as well as new market players, displayed. The variety is interesting; Lagoon, Sunreef and a few others are building the most spacious crafts they can, while staying within the 24m loadline regulations. Other brands are profiling themselves as fast racer cruisers.
But the question I always ask is:”Who is going to crew these yachts?!”
In the monohull market, the choice of yachts around 24 meters also has increased. These are perhaps even less forgiving to sail safely while the owners are generally just as much after the same level of hospitality as their catamaran counterparts.
Yachtmaster licenses, obtained after presenting a logbook with an adequate amount of miles and sitting an exam following a 2 week course, is a bare minimum requirement to teach yachtsmen about safe navigation. However, it doesn’t prepare crew to run a yacht on a technical level or for providing the highest level of service for private owners and their guests.
An incresing number of flag states now require yacht captains to hold an MCA200 ton or 500ton license which is a higher level ticket. However… unfortunately… it doesn’t help the owners of <24m yachts because even that syllabus isn’t more relevant to their vessels.
For years (dang I sound old now) I have been saying that a training to compliment the Yachtmaster certificate should be made available (and required!), and not just to the Captains but also to Stew / Cooks, Chefs as well as deckhands.
I actually offer such an (online) training via wops.teachable.com. How To Work On Pocket Superyachts offer 8 hours of video material explaining how to execute charter or guest trips, deliveries, maintenance periods, communications with the owners and guests and more. We even discuss commercial coding of <24m and MLC compliance. The Mindset section contains useful tips to mentally survive the season… Its subjects are extremely versatile because the job requires versatile professionals.
All the crew we place at Invisible Crew are presented with our Code Of Practice which is the bare bones of the WOPS course.
We also have a very solid educational / quality control system pertaining to the technical management of the yacht.
However, we only have the capacity to help some 20 owners to enjoy worry-free Pocket Superyacht ownership and as a quick look around on the Cannes yachtshow confirmed, the industry needs so many more yacht crew who posses all this knowledge and information.
It is on my to do list to contact a few important yachting organisations to find out how we can encourage and infuse a higher level of professionalism in the <24m yacht crew operations and all ideas are welcomed via firstname.lastname@example.org