I have often heard a description of Invisible Crew come back as “They put good crew together with good owners.” Now, I am not against that idea as it is positive and probably true. But it would imply that there are bad owners out there.
It’s true that some people are harder to please than others, but what it all comes down to is one word: expectations. Especially in our niche, the Pocket Superyachts, there we often see new owners who have never had crew working for them before. Some of them might be sailors themselves and, in their opinion, have done the job of crew, for free and in their spare time!
Others might never have had crew or house staff work for them and are either uncomfortable with expressing clear demands from the crew. Worse even, is when they expect a level of formality and service that is unpractical and detrimental for the harmonious atmosphere within the confines of a Pocket Superyacht. None of these situations result in a positive outcome.
We need to have all questions answered to find fitting crew.
I literally have one client who doesn’t care about the exterior cleanliness of the yacht (to a certain extent!). He told me: “I don’t understand why the first thing those crews do when they pull into port is hosing the boat down and washing it with soap, every time!” But this client’s knows his own, highly complex, engine room inside out.
I have other clients who wouldn’t be able to tell the generator from the main engine and get very excited about the colour scheme of the upholstery. With our support as managers we can assure the yacht is looked after at all levels and in all departments. But choosing fitting crew means matching the candidates strong points with the owners most important demands.
We make sure the owners understand what the job of the crew entails. That they know how hard but also how fun the job is at times. I would say our most important job as mediators between crew and owners is lining up the expectations. A lot of the work is done in the hiring faze but it is an on-going process. And I can tell you out of experience that if it’s not the owner who has unrealistic expectations, it will be the crew.
I don’t believe there is that much bad crew out there either. Sure, there will be guys and girls out there who are unsuccessfully winging it on the job, hampered by a lack of knowledge and training. (But someone with wrong expectations gave them that job)
If crew is not performing well, it’s either because they are demotivated from growing out of the job or because they came into the industry with unrealistic expectations.
Someone told me a few years ago that there are never just two sides to a story. There is your side, mine and the truth!
An objective opinion is the closest we’ll get to the truth. Involving someone with an objective view in the owner-crew relationship has proven to be a good investment in longevity and a happy cooperation.