In the last installment of “Dockwalk’s 20th Year,” veterans of the industry reminisce on thebest tales from their experiences — the funny, the memorable, and the lifechanging.
What’s the mostmemorable or significant experience over the course of your career?
“In the earlynineties I had the unique opportunity and honor to serve one of the firstRussian clients on the Côte d'Azur. The yacht on which I was acaptain, [the] Russian gentleman bought in a few hours. After a very busyseason, the question was, what is the best brand name in the world? Of course,my answer was Feadship. The very next day we were in his private jet en routeto the Netherlands meeting the yard people. To their great surprise (yard), thequestion was whether the Russians are buying yachts? Before the end of the week,a contract was signed for the mega yacht project!” — Capt. Baldo Gjurasic,80-meter build project
“My bestmemory was from the early ’90s. I was in Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer ona large sailboat. We were moored out by Fort Adams near the J boat Shamrock V. I would ride the launch every day withthe crew to the mooring Field, so Igot to know them pretty well over the summer. I was invited to
sail aboardand then asked to crew in the Newport Classic Yacht Regatta. I got to meetElizabeth Myers, the owner of Shamrock Vand visionary behind the
resurrectionand restoration of the J Class as well as many professional sailors thatday.” — Capt. Chas Donahoe, M/Y Tera-Byte
“I was extremely fortunate to work for a world-famousmusician who treated us really well. He wrote an album on the yacht. He broughtfamily, friends, musicians on the yacht and also insisted we all, the crew,were to come ashore when they did and visit ruins in Greece and Turkey, or toureach Caribbean island we visited going to nutmeg factories, sugar canefactories, visit each of the islands in the Seychelles that we sailed to, thelist goes on….” — Chef Polly
“Takingthe motor yacht Black Knight, a former1983 America’s Cup Committee boat to Cowes, England, including the Med, with 36classic 12 meters for the Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) of the America’sCup with royalty as cargo.
Thank you,Charlie Dana, for that memory and your inspiration as Commodore of
the New YorkYacht Club. I left M/Y ContinentalDrifter II after four years of grand adventure for twice the work load andhalf the pay to be a part of it.” — Capt. Chris Harris, M/Y Cachee
“Near-death experiences are the ones that come to mind.Being whipped off the back of a towed dinghy and watching the mother ship startto sail away, listening to the whish of a 212² hawser passing an inch behind myhead, mountainous seas, and no engine or sails off the coast of Portugal, theguy in a bar in Athens who said pay up OR pay up, that block that hit me in thehead. Of course, those were early experiences. In truth, the goodexperiences are so numerous as to pale into insignificance butthey still leave a smile on my face.” — Capt. David R. Pines
“I've beenfortunate to have had many memorable experiences over the years.
In 1980, I haddelivered the owner of a large Hinckley sailboat to his host's Palm Beachdock for an evening party. While waiting for the owner to return(somewhat like a chauffer waiting); late in the evening, we had an unannouncedshowing of the craft to Jackie Kennedy Onassis.” — David Smith
“If I had topick one, I would say that sailing out of Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, on boardthe schooner Adela in March 1998 to beginthe planned voyage around the world was an unforgettable experience. Thecaptain and crew of Adela had manyfriends in Antigua, and there were numerous farewell events in the dayspreceding our departure, which all added to the build up and excitement.Personally, I had to pinch myself at times to believe that I was actually goingto be sailing around the world on board such an amazing yacht. Many of us hadalready been crew together on board for a long time, some since when the boatwas rebuilt and relaunched as Adela at Pendennis in Falmouth,Cornwall. We were used to sailing the boat in allconditions, and were a close crew. On the day of departure, as we left thedock, and slowly made our way out through the crowded anchorage, first one andthen another yacht gave a blast on the ship’s horn until it seemed everyyacht in Falmouth was sounding [its] horn in farewell. Looking aroundat the other crew, you could see the emotion and tension of the longawaited departure in everyone's faces. To add further poignancy to the moment,the volcano at Montserrat was also erupting, and the air was full of volcanicash from the dust cloud. The volcano created a dramatic backdrop to ourdeparture. It felt like a spectacular send off, and was a fitting accompanimentto the sense of adventure and anticipation that we all felt on board as wesailed for the Pacific andbeyond.” — Capt. Greg Butler-Davis, S/Y Victoria
“After a bitter argument with the skipper, the deckhand prevailed andpurchased a twenty dollar natural sponge to clean the vessel (a small sailingyacht build in Taiwan). We were becalmed in the middle of the Indian Ocean forsome days. The deckie lost the precious sponge overboard; listening only to hissense of duty (and his fears of skipper's retaliation) he jumped overboard andswam to retrieve his treasure...but the yacht only seemed to be unmoving; shewas still slowly drifting at maybe half a knot. Having swum a distance to hissponge, he could not catch up with the boat and started to scream. Fortunately,after what seemed an eternity, the skipper showed up in the cockpit, gunned theengine and salvaged both sponge and crew. ‘Whoa, Skip, happy you heard meshout!’ ‘I didn't, I just came out for a pee.’” — Jacques Maeder, M/Y Paolyre
“When I ranMonte Carlo in [the] early 2000s we had lots of Hollywood actors andsingers on board. Kind of entertaining being entertained by an entertainer, ifyou will. Rod Stuart taking us out for drinks at the Eden Rock, Mariah Careyand her eccentricities of only playing her music while on board. Gettingcaught fishing in a park zone with Pierce Brosnan and son. Talking music withRoger Waters. Plenty more...” — Capt. John Olson
“My first two transatlantic trips within five days ofeach other. I sailed aboard Never SayNever in the 1997 Trans-Atlantic Challenge from NYC to Lizard Point,Cornwall, UK. It was a cold, rough, and wet race. Never Say Never was forced to drop out due to rig damage. I spent afew days in Falmouth and then hearing that a captain I knew was on a new job inSouthampton, I hopped on a train to go say hi and see a bit of the Englishcountryside before returning home to Florida. Upon meeting him I was invited todo the delivery on that vessel MIKADO(47-meter ketch), back across the Atlantic to Florida via Madeira, Azores, andBermuda. I jumped at the chance, and it was a memorable voyage, including apractice helicopter evacuation with the UK Coast Guard and a real helicopterevacuation with the Azorean Navy, another story.” — Capt. Karl Joyner
“Definitely survivingHurricane Hugo aboard an 87-foot Sportfish in the British Virgins on the hook.Never so glad to see the sun and calm water after that experience.” — Capt.Tedd Greenwald
“Cruising Alaska and British Columbia whilst it wasbeautiful and the wildlife and scenery amazing. I also remember thenavigating be[ing] challenging due to rapids, logs, fog, ice, and very, verydeep anchorages [more than] one-hundred meters deep within 1.5 cables fromshore.” — Capt. Vaughan Hill, M/Y 11.11