Invisible Crew, Intensive Care

To start the New Year we got some new gear. Our jumpers have a large circular IC logo on the front. One of our captains jokingly asked if that stood for Invisible Crew. I replied that it might as well. I was 9 years old. My father had organised a music festival in the center of Antwerp, Belgium and the new Hilton Hotel that was opening offered the use of their conference rooms and 3 suites in exchange for marketing exposure. It was the first time I ever experienced such a level of luxury and hospitality. That same summer we rented a little sailboat for the first time. The Frisian lakes in the North of Holland, which we were exploring, are connected by rivers and canals. These, especially for a 9 year old kid, are the boring bits. Somehow I decided to make the beds, something I would never ever do at home! In the evenings I would serve the barbecued food around to my parents and siblings. I said I was playing “Hilton Hotel”. I also enjoyed coiling up all the lines and tyding the deck to perfection. I loved caring for the boat and its crew. Funny to think back at that and […]

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: […]

The dark secrets of every Pocket Superyacht captain.

It’s one of the exciting things about yachts; there’s always something new to learn! The current thinking is that it should be a process of trial and error taking years to learn how to run a yacht. However, the current reality is that we are in dire need of young, energetic, personable and… ideally, highly knowledgeable crew to run luxury yachts between 50 and 100ft! Brands like Lagoon are splashing a new luxury catamaran between 50ft and 78ft every 2,5 days(!) and CNB is launching hull number 25 of the 76’ less than 3 years after the first one was christened, Swan is doing as good as ever and Oyster is seemingly back on its feet. The market of Pocket Superyachts is booming and there is not enough time for crew to grow in their role and learn all the different aspects of running a yacht before being expected to be an expert. And it’s not their fault at all!   Every Pocket Superyacht captain carries a set of dark secrets with them… This is a problem that the industry has created for itself. The high demand for new blood sucks people into positions, biting off more than they can […]

invisible crew sailing yacht

Bad owners, bad crew

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. Bad Owners 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 […]