Name: Angharad (Harri) Waldron
Position: Chief officer
Years in current position: 7 years
Years in industry: 11 years
Previous vessels: M/Y Dream, M/Y Clicia, M/Y Souraya, M/Y Giorgia, M/Y Radiant, M/Y Lightning
Nationality/Country: UK, currently living in France
I’m currently looking for a chief officer role on a yacht of around 50 meters. In an ideal world, this will be my last chief officer role before I move up to a captain position. That’s the goal!
I sailed competitively in my teens before becoming a sailing instructor. I then worked for smaller charter companies before doing yacht deliveries. A career on superyachts was a logical next step. I came to Antibes in 2011 to look for my first deck job. It wasn’t easy to get a deck job as a female in those days, but after lots of persevering I got there. From there I moved up the ranks to bosun, then to mate.
A huge part of my work is focused on mentoring, training, crew mental health and wellbeing, and the benefits of compassion and empathy within the workplace, so I think I would probably be involved in mental health in some way if I wasn’t in yachting.
Yachting is a hard job — there are long hours, strange hours, months away from friends and family, a lot of pressure, not to mention its physicality. However, when the crew environment on board is supportive, fun, and respectful, it makes a huge difference and enables you to get through the tough times. For me, the hardest part is dealing with all the things we do within an unhappy crew.
Beyond making sure you have all the correct qualifications, it’s important for green crew to remember that even if someone is 18 and fresh out of school, this is a professional industry and that they are expected to fulfill a role and perform duties to a high standard. I’m always concerned about hiring someone if it appears they don’t understand that or think this is just a quick way to earn money and travel.
I am always impressed by punctuality, tidiness, and a respectful, level-headed manner. Moreover, I am impressed by those who have a drive to improve and learn, those who ask questions and try to learn extra things to really improve their skills.
It’s always great to see extra skills such as surfing, scuba diving, lifeguarding, etc. on a CV. It shows a real understanding of the sea, which is always an asset. But all previous experience is relevant in whatever capacity, even if it’s not traditionally transferable. A candidate who has experience as a barista obviously has had to work extremely hard, while managing customers, working fast, and thinking on their feet. All these skills are important and valid, so I would advise that it’s important for new crew to highlight what skills their experience has given them.
The power of effective communication, trust, and honesty is the most important thing I’ve learned on board.
It was an amazing feeling to achieve my Chief Mate ticket — after all that time, effort, and study!
It’s a satisfying feeling when the team runs like a well-oiled machine, when each member of the team is truly happy in their job, and we produce fantastic outcomes for our charter guests or owners.
This article was originally published in the June 2023 issue of Dockwalk.