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From Yachts to Events: Former Stew Celebrates Company’s First Year

11 February 2022By Laura Shaughnessy
ROAM Beach Wedding Styled Shoot
The Cardona’s

Written by

Laura Shaughnessy

Laura Shaughnessy has been the managing editor at Dockwalk since February 2018. Having grown up among the cornfields, she is ecstatic to be among the boats in the yachting capital of the world. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in journalism, 15 years of experience with newspapers, magazines, and the online world, Laura has joined a great crew. When not writing about superyacht crew, she’s hanging out with her husband and their German Shepherd. Email Laura at laura@dockwalk.com.

On March 1, 2021, Rachael Avara launched her Events By ROAM business as the owner and principal designer. The former stewardess, whose last job was aboard M/Y Amarula Sun, worked for three years aboard numerous motor yachts ranging from 40 to 75 meters until she left in October 2021 to fully invest in her new company.

“ROAM is a boutique planning and design firm specializing in a variety of services, including weddings, social, and corporate events,” says Avara, who adds that they offer partial and full-service event planning and design packages for South Florida and beyond.

For the first seven months after ROAM launched, Avara worked full time on board a charter yacht. “It was quite the learning curve trying to juggle both. I chose to leave the industry because I knew that event planning and design was ultimately my biggest passion. I appreciated the opportunities that yachting provided to me, but at the end of the day, you must follow your passions,” she says.

Zulie Rego Photography

Getting Recognized By the Media

Recently, their “modern color” styled shoot was featured on one of the largest wedding publication platforms, 100 Layer Cake.

The engagement styled shoot was held at the Rich Hippies House venue in West Palm Beach, Florida.  

But even more recently, she’s been working on a project in the works with Gemma Hulbert of The Yacht Stew Academy (TYSA). “We’re working together on developing ‘The Foundations of Tablescapes,’ an accredited online course for yacht crew around the world who are looking to develop and hone their skills on their time,” Avara says. “Apart from our partnership with TYSA, our calendar for the next year is quickly filling up with weddings and events.”


Rachael Avara
Zulie Rego Photography

How She Got Her Start

While taking courses in Florida, Avara met her husband, Malachi Child, a chef who is still currently in the industry. “He and I met in our STCW course at PYT in Fort Lauderdale. He was taking his refresher and I was taking my initial courses. We hit it off right away and [have] been together ever since,” she says.

“Throughout my career in yachting, [we] were lucky enough to be able to work together for most of my yachting career. We did one Med season apart in 2019. Other than that, we’ve been able to stick together when it comes to a permanent position.”

The former yacht stewardess has been fortunate to do well despite the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, due to COVID-19, Avara has seen “a bursting trend in smaller, intimate events. Being in South Florida, what better place to host your event than on board a superyacht? As a former yacht crewmember, I am more than familiar with the protocols and practices of working on board a vessel and will ensure that any vendors boarding will be educated in those practices,” she says, adding, “No one likes to have scuffed up teak. Our team does our best to make sure no damage comes to the vessel if hosting an event on board.”

Invest in Your Brand

Owning a wedding and event-planning firm has always been a goal of hers. “For the past almost decade, I have been immersed in the world of luxury wedding and event planning and design,” she says. Before yachting, Avara worked as a lead event producer at a luxury creative firm in Maryland. In that role, she project managed and designed hundreds of weddings and other social and corporate occasions across the United States. “South Florida has some wonderfully talented planners and designers and I’m excited to bring a new face to the table,” she says.

Of course, starting a business is a lot of work and commitment, Avara says, and you should utilize your time accordingly. “Instead of taking a nap on my breaks during charter, I was working on building my website, social media content, fine-tuning my proposals and packages,” she says. “The list was endless.” 

It’s important to invest in your company and brand, she says. “A portion of every charter tip always went towards ROAM in some capacity. The hardest part about leaving yachting and taking that first leap is the unknown,” she says. “Will you make it? Will you be a success? You won’t know unless you try. There’s never going to be a perfect time to start something new, you just need to start.”

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