Transiting the Panama Canal.

2019 ended with an interesting adventure for me. Before transiting from the old to the new year I had the opportunity to transit the Panama Canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The Lagoon 620 “Plan B” was moored in Shelter Bay Marina, Colon. It’s a nicely manicured place but the adjacent jungle produced the eery deep growling of a large cat in the evenings and vultures were hovering over us throughout the day. Just before sunset on the 25th of November we left with 3 local line handlers on board. They brought large clean fenders and long mooring lines. In front of the Atlantic Bridge we waited for our pilot, or advisor, to come on board. His role was to communicate with the lock tenders and offer instructions to Martin, Plan B’s captain. Apart from the advisor’s late arrival, the Gatun locks transit went smooth. With 3 different locks the ships are raised 26 meters up from sea level to the Gatun Lake. The speed at which the locks are filled is impressive. The mix of salt- and freshwater in the first lock makes it feel like you’re floating in a big pot of boiling soup. Once into […]

Pocket Superyachts as stepping stones towards Superyachts.

Last month I was invited to speak on the Future of Superyachts conference. Initially a daunting prospect as I was imagining an audience of suits with stern faces who would all want to hear about… about what actually? Ironically the conference took place in Hotel Saratoga where, 3 days prior I performed with my band for an audience of cheerful people who were letting their hair down. This was going to be very different! Speaking over the phone with the people of Quaynote, the organisers of this event, months prior to the date, put my mind a bit more at ease. In fact, it made me realise that I am probably operating in an area of the industry which most of these people won’t be so familiar with. I could then see how it might be interesting for them to learn more about Pocket Superyachts. Most of the guest will be involved with large commercial vessels that have to be managed with a long list of complicated rules and regulations in mind. But the complications involved with the smooth running of a 15-30 meter luxury yacht is a whole different kettle of fish. When managing these smaller yachts the emphasis […]

Invisible Crew at the MYRC in Porto Cervo.

For the second consecutive year SY Aenea, the CNB76 that we have been managing since her launch in February 2017, has competed in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in early September. The conditions on the first race day were bliss. We were finding our groove somewhere in the middle of the fleet. But around the last mark a curious windless patch stalled the yachts that were ahead of us. Just like them, we arrived at full speed, pushed by a 25kt breeze, into this pacific space. But before we lost momentum a light breeze took us past our opponents and around the mark! Admittedly, this lucky shift had a great stake in us being the first CNB over the line that day. Friday was very different altogether… It was a very breezy day with true wind speeds around 30kts. Having torn the genoa before the start meant we didn’t race that day. Once back on the dock the owner brought beer o’clock a few hours forward and we cheered to being the first at the sail loft! Those guys had their work cut out as we saw their loaded vans go up and down the dock. We also watched how […]

Invisible Crew. How can we help you?

The most important question a business owner should focus on is the one often heared over the phone in a somewhat rehearsed and unconcious fashion: “How can we HELP you.” When business owners put financial gains second, the magic happens. I’m talking about more people engaging with your business. Fulfilment as well as revenue will be the return on investment! A few weeks ago I was contacted by an American who lives in Asia. He is the owner / driver of a 58ft sail yacht and he enquired about what we could do for him on a long term basis. Many people think we only place crew or only manage crewed yachts but we also provide consultancy and training for owner-drivers. We help them find the best yards and marinas, source parts, organise maintenance, insurance, yacht transport, the occasional extra crew or delivery and so on. A few minutes into our chat it became clear that this owner had a more accute issue at hand though. When he left his yacht in an Italian marina, several weeks before, he was forced to give the keys to some guy he didn’t know from Adam. While he had planned to leave the […]

The future of (Pocket) Superyachts.

On the 15th of October Quaynote organises a conference called “The Future Of Superyachts”. I have been asked to join as one of the speakers. This is great news, not just for my ego, but because the yachting industry is starting to notice the importance of the growing niche of yachts under 100ft or 30m. I have been asked to provide an introduction on Pocket Superyachts: What are Pocket Superyachts exactly? Why do we use this terminology and what defines them in size and value? Why are they a niche of their own? How are they a stepping stone to Superyachting? Crew on Pocket Superyachts: the dynamics, training and certification. And finally; Pocket Superyachts in Palma: How are Pocket Superyachts received in Palma? At first I wasn’t sure whether I would have anything to contribute to this already great event. But during discussions with the organisers it became apparent that in my niche we are confronted with a very different set of challenges than the rest of the industry encounters. It also became apparent how these issues are relevant to the larger yacht sections of the industry and the companies that cater to them. Just one thought there is this: […]