Captains’ Club Spotlight: Capt. Josh Kay of M/Y Gran Finale

29 November 2022 By Lauren Beck
M/Y Gran Finale
Courtesy of Capt. Josh Kay

Lauren Beck is the former editor of Dockwalk and was with the publication from 2006 to 2023. At 13, she left South Africa aboard a 34-foot sailing boat with her family and ended up in St. Maarten for six years. Before college, she worked as crew for a year, and then cut her journalistic teeth at Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies’ Home Journal online. She loves traveling, reading, tennis, and rooting for the Boston Red Sox.

The BOAT International Captains’ Club welcomes more than 150 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. This issue’s Q&A features Capt. Josh Kay on a 45-meter Delta as he shares his brush with fame, his bucket list places, plus his top crew issue and tip for captains.

How did you end up getting into yachting?

I was living in Port Douglas, Australia, working on the Great Barrier Reef as a dive instructor and underwater photographer/videographer. The movie Fool's Gold was being filmed in town with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, and I met the yacht’s crew. I had a few friends working the set and my curiosity grew from there.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a captain?

Full-time dad.

Capt. Josh Kay
Courtesy of Josh Kay

Where is your favorite destination for cruising?   

1. British Columbia for fantastic flat-water cruising, brilliant warm summer weather, and wildlife. We spent three months between Victoria and Desolation Sound  

2. Tahiti for scenery and lovely protected anchorages  

3. Antarctica/Patagonia, including the Falklands and South Georgia Islands, was an incredible experience — one of the few places I’ve found my abilities truly challenged.

Where is still on your yachting bucket list?

I would like to see the Fjords of Scandinavia, [and it would] be nice to take a yacht home to New Zealand also. We are planning to be in Australia for New Year’s, so [we’re] getting closer.

Where is your top spot for snorkeling/diving?

1. Raja Ampat for the variety of underwater life.

2. The Vava’u Islands group in Tonga for unspoiled reefs, crystal-clear water, and the ability to snorkel with massive humpback whales

3. Bonaire for ease and convenience with its beautiful, protected reefs.

If marooned on a desert island, which crewmember would you want with you?   

The mate. Generally we have a lot in common, so we can shoot the sh*t, go fishing, and rock a barbecue and few beers while we wait to be rescued; think camping trip...

What has been your most memorable moment on board?

My most memorable moment was being rocked by 100-knot gusts dropping off the ice shelf in Antarctica. The ocean grew angry immediately, with waves over the bridge. We got anchored in a protected bay as it calmed down to about 60 knots and had to stand anchor watch looking for icebergs drifting too close — it was a very long day! Then, when we got to King George Island, there was a Brazilian Air Force C-130 that had crashed off the runway after landing gear failure, which complicated our guest transfers and provisions, which were getting cans-and-potatoes thin.

What’s your best trick for guests if the weather is poor?

Trick? If in range, a nice resort/day spa for the day to give them space so they don’t feel cooped up.

Biggest crew challenge you deal with as captain?

Integrity, especially since COVID-19 when it was harder to find quality crew. I have been let down a few times, unfortunately.

What is your one top tip for other captains?

Always, always be honest, no matter who you are dealing with from crew to owners.

This article was originally featured in the May 2022 issue of Dockwalk.

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