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Starting work on yachts
Posted: Monday, February 16, 2009 8:12 PM
Joined: 05/02/2009
Posts: 2

I'm a 23 yr old female now living in San Diego, CA. I've spent the last two years on various traditionally rigged vessels, from a 1925 68' William Hand wood schooner to a Polish 1982 151' steel brigantine, as deckhand, PR, relief cook, and watch leader. I've sailed fulltime around New England, Chesapeake Bay, the Florida Keys, and the US West Coast. I have about 380 days of seatime in nearcoastal and ocean waters. I've worked charter/sunset sails, parties, dinner party boats, and ecology research sailing boats, with over six years of experience in tourism and customer service. I'm very athletic, have yet to feel seasick (ever), have an interest in engineering systems and cooking. I would like to make the jump from "tallships" to yachts, but I'm not sure how to go about it. Any advice for the yacht n00b?
Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 1:31 AM
Here is my advise, the good and the bad, for what it's worth.  I am a captain that has been in the yachting industry for about 8 years.  I'm currently among the many unemployed.  I am a sailor at heart and came from running tallships myself (Appledore IV, Californian, Liberty, Pilgrim of Newport).  I understand your attraction to the yachting industry, and there are a lot of nice perks, but I have to be candid and say it's been a tough 8 years and I personally am ready to move on.  It is a very competitive industry at best, and can be cutthroat and brutal in many ways. I guess that's a matter of perspective.  I've never been one of those people that's "connected" and it truly is an industry where knowing people makes a big difference.  Personally, I've always likened it to what I imagine breaking into the film industry in Hollywood would be like.  Anyway, I'm sure you know that Ft. Lauderdale is the center of the yachting universe.  There are seasons that yachts move through FTL heading to New England, Caribbean, and the Med.  Being there at the right time is important, especially for someone starting out.  Generally speaking, deckhands, stews, chefs, and even mates can usually land something. It gets harder and more competitive as you go higher and larger.  Depending on what your goal is (i.e. have fun for a year or so, or a possible career), then my advise is this:  Register with a couple of crew agencies (Luxury Yacht Group, Crew Unlimited, Crew Network) and tell them that you're new to the industry, but play up your tallship experience, because you do have experience. That's how I got started.  Very important, and I can't stress this enough.  When you get an interview, show up on time and dress sharply. It's amazing how some of these "kids" show up for an interview.  Once you get the job, keep your head down, do the best job you can, stay away from the "BS", and put some time in on a boat and "learn the ropes".  Also, very important, try to learn from crew that you see are professional, dedicated, and do the job right. Stay away from the party hounds.  The economy will get better and one stepping stone leads to another.  In a couple of years you'll look back and see that you're working "in the industry".  Good Luck!

Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 6:20 AM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

This is some very good advice you have just received.  Also consider this...all sailing yachts have sails.  Sailmakers are a very good source of  insider knowledge.  Many of the best yachts that I have sailed came thru sailmaker connections. Go out of your way as a young sailor to introduce yourself to a world class sailmaker and cultivate this contact.. They are not crew agents but all their customers need sailors.  Remember, sailors have a special skill set  not recognized by crew agents and the like, they service the motoryacht scene.