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: […]

Certification versus qualification

Recently we have seen an increase in yachts registered under Belgian flag. Especially for commercial yachts the lenient coding process seems to be the selling point for flying the beautiful (not) black, yellow and red colours of my home country. The issue however lies with the safe manning rules. Irrelevant of the yacht’s size, the captain must be a holder of an MCA Master 200 license, accepted under the STCW-95_II 2 convention. This is different from the Yachtmaster 200 Ton license which falls under the STCW-95_IV 4 convention. The exams for the MCA license seem to be considerably more challenging than the RYA or IYT Yachtmaster exams. It’s safe to say that it’s a higher, more serious certificate. Once again, none of this is relevant to Pocket Superyachts, in fact, this safe manning rule has an adverse effect. The captains who have have studied for the MCA 200 (and it’s actually more common to find Master 500’s) usually aspire to command +100ft yacht. So when we have a client with a 60ft Belgian flagged commercial yacht we have to refuse perfectly qualified captains because they don’t hold the correct license. They usually hold the more popular Yachtmaster license. Additionally the […]

The art of the sailor is to leave nothing to chance

This time of the year we do a lot of deliveries, bringing yachts to their summer cruising grounds. These trips at the beginning and the end of the season reminds many of us, Pocket Superyacht crew, why we made sailing the 50ft to 100ft range of luxury yachts our job; The true love for offshore sailing. In the middle of the summer the Mediterranean sailing conditions can sometimes be a little too comfortable and benign.   The focus shifts to keeping the yacht clean, to technical maintenance and of course to hospitality. Conditions are so easy that we stand the risk of becoming complacent towards safety until a September storm sends us a (not so) gentle first reminder. Bringing the yacht to the next pick up point for guests is done under time pressure which, in combination with light airs often prevents crew from quenching their sailing thirst.    But a delivery in March or April, that takes you through the Bay of Biscay or the Golfe de Lion, can put your salty sailors skills to the test again. “The art of the sailor is to leave nothing to chance.” This is a quote by Annie Van de Wiele which […]

Why do we only work with yachts between 50 and 100ft?

Invisible Crew focuses solely on the market of Pocket Superyachts. That’s the term we use for these high-end luxury yachts that are only different from super yachts because of their size. We don’t believe the traditional model of charging a one-off placement fee and offering a few months of warranty doesn’t works for these yachts where crew are working directly for owners. We want to be there to guide the owners and support the crew throughout their time together and eventually we warrant a seamless solution should the crew become temporarily or permanently unavailable to work.      Here are 6 challenges that illustrate why recruitment for Pocket Superyachts requires a detailed approach. Challenge 1: The confined space within which the crew has to live with each other as well as with guests and owners can magnify and quickly escalate interpersonal friction. Solution: We don’t race against other agencies to send the most CV’s over in the shortest time. We explain owners how we work and gain their trust to leave the job of finding the right people with us. We then carefully select the right personalities. Diplomatic, sensitive confident and caring people is what we always look for. Challenge 2: […]

Management Companies are a pain!

“They only cause confusion.” “They get in between me and the owner and I don’t like that.” “They demand me to work in ways that are just not practical.” “They write me from their desk while they have no idea what they are talking about.” These are some of the comments I have heard about yacht management companies. Despite offering yacht management myself,… I totally get it! It is ever so important to select the correct, in other words, relevant service provider! There is a reason why we advertise ourselves as the Pocket Superyacht management company and why we stick to just yachts between 50ft and max 100ft (in reality max 24m waterline). The reason is that this size range requires its own detailed approach! The crew needs to be able to maintain their personal / professional relationship with the owner -one of the hardest but also most important parts of the job- so this is where an intermediate has to tread carefully. Sometimes we bring an owners point home because we speak the same language as the crew, but sometimes we are advocates of the crew supporting their opinion. All of this helps to create a long standing owner / […]