Q&A with Engineer Lee Stableford

10 June 2020 By Erica Lay

Owner of international crew agency EL CREW CO in Mallorca, Spain, Erica has been a freelance writer since 2008. She loves engaging with the projects she works on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of the stories she feels are newsworthy. A curious and proactive journalist, she draws on her own life experiences, her studies, and her work with crew all over the globe.

Engineer Lee Stableford

Name: Lee Stableford        
Position: Engineer
Vessel: Private
Builder: Moonen
LOA: 30M/98'5"
Years in current position: Just started
Years in industry: 9
Previous vessels: various motor and sail
Nationality: South African 

If I weren’t on a yacht, I would probably be doing some sort of trade. The idea of getting stuck behind a desk does not sit well with me. 

After completing my degree, I was not sure what to do next. A few friends of mine had been in the industry since leaving school and had always tried to get me to join. I had a British passport and I wanted to see what the world had to offer so I packed my bags, sold what little I had, and booked my flight to Palma.

Each boat has its own challenges, but I think the burnout of an intense season is the most challenging part of my job. 

My worst mechanical incident as an engineer: My boat hit a rock and almost completely ripped the gearbox and main engine off its mounts.

The biggest issue facing yacht engineers today is burnout. Rotation needs to be standard to cope with the demand some boats require — especially on dual season/world traveling yachts.

My advice for those looking to get started: Work hard and be willing to learn.

My advice for those looking to impress on the job: Smile. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but when you’re in the middle of a season and everyone is stressed and tired, a simple smile goes a long way.

My most significant achievement is making it to nine years in this industry.

The best part about the job is the satisfaction you get when you’re able to complete a challenging job.  

This column originally ran in the June 2020 issue of Dockwalk.


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