The BOAT International Captains’ Club launched just a few months ago, but now welcomes 100 superyacht captains in its ranks. The idea behind the club is to help facilitate contact and the exchange of information and experiences for superyacht captains. Our inaugural Q&A features Capt. Christopher Walsh of the 67.75-meter M/Y Archimedes as he shares his passion for the industry, best cruising destinations, plus his one piece of advice for other captains.
How did you end up becoming a captain?
I am the seventh generation of seafarers in my family, and I was always drawn to the ocean. I was a bit of a ne’er-do-well when I was younger, but I started off on all manner of sailing boats and the ocean is a great leveler and teacher. I spent a long period doing crossings, deliveries, working on tugboats, ferries, and even running a former presidential yacht. I then had a chance meeting with a local man and after helping him find a motor yacht — he then asked me to run it. I had never considered being captain of a motor yacht before, but 29 years later I am still working with the same family.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a captain?
I would probably be working in the marine field but in some other capacity, probably as an engineer, or building or repairing boats. I would have to be paying to do the things, like exploring and diving, that I am paid to do now.
Favorite cruising destination?
If I could wake up in any destination tomorrow morning, it would be back in the High Arctic, which we visited in 2004 and 2017. It was the most challenging and interesting destination I have visited. Every day felt like an adventure, [and] you felt like a true explorer, which was why I got into boats in the first place.
What destination is still on your bucket list?
There are lots of destinations that we haven’t ticked off yet; it’s a big world. We are talking about trying to do a trip to Svalbard and maybe the White Sea. We would also love to visit a few more Pacific islands, such as the Carolines, the Marshalls, and the Gilberts.
Favorite place for diving?
I have loved diving in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomons, Fiji, and Dominica. One place that stands out is Wakatobi in Indonesia — the water was so clear it was like swimming through glass and the color and growth of the coral was truly amazing.
If you were marooned on a desert island, which crewmember would you want with you?
We have a fantastic team so I don’t think I could pick one. I will have to stick with Wilson the Volleyball.
Most memorable moment on board?
When we first got up to the Arctic, we were about 60 miles from land and started to encounter some pretty heavy ice. We were working our way through it when we came across a polar bear and her cub that were sitting on a small piece with narwhals nearby. It was sort of like they were there as a meet-and-greet committee and to remind us how fragile their environment is.
What is your one top tip for other captains?
Continue to always learn and get dedicated, talented crewmembers and listen to them — it’s always a team effort.
The inaugural BOAT International Captains’ Club event is scheduled for the 2021 Monaco Yacht Show. Membership is currently open to active captains of sailing yachts longer than 30 meters LOA and motor yachts longer than 40 meters LOA. For more information about the Club and how to apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org.