Guests Ask for the Darndest Things

19 February 2009 By Janine Ketterer

When guests are paying top dollar for a one-of-a-kind charter on your yacht, they expect the works, even when it means pulling out all the stops, calling every provisioner you know and making the impossible a reality.

In the March 2009 issue of Dockwalk magazine, Claire Griffiths gives us a taste of some of the craziest requests that yacht agents have encountered over the years. Their accounts of outlandish demands could make even a veteran yachtie’s mouth drop. Here are a few more tales from yacht crew who go to the ends of the earth, and then some, to please the owners and guests.

The crew of S/Y Independence discovered just how well they work under pressure as they planned a very important impromptu event on board. “We had twelve hours notice to organize a wedding off Sardinia. The owner's daughter suddenly got engaged on the yacht and wanted to get married immediately. We had to organize a wedding cake, a meal, download vows, wedding music and hymns etc...” says Tiggy.

Crew must be on their “A” game when it comes to putting smiles on faces, Capt. Attilio of S/Y Steinlager II explains. “One thing [that was outlandish] for me was last year when we were crossing the Atlantic doing a corporate sailing trip. We had Russian guests doing team building and they asked to drop all the sails to go swimming in the ocean. This probably would be normal on a normal charter boat with charter crew, but in a racing boat, where everything is manual, dropping every sail to go swimming in the Atlantic – for me – is really crazy!”

Agents are always the best people to have on speed dial when on charter because if you can’t get something, chances are, they can it happen. Chief Stew Dean of M/Y Tugatsu found this out first hand during a summer charter in the Med. “Once the wife of a charter guest suddenly decided she preferred to drink Volvic water instead of Evian. We were told one day before the charter in Palma de Mallorca. But they don't sell Volvic there so we had to liaise with the provisioning agent in France. They had to fly out 4,800 1.5-liter bottles of Volvic to us by private plane.”

Whether you’re relying on yourself, an agent or both, part of any crewmember's job is making dreams come true in whatever capacity they can. Sometimes these tasks are pulled off without a hitch, leaving the guests to believe it was planned that way all along; other times you can hit several bumps in the road before seeing the light at the end of the charter and a tip in your hand. But in the end, as long as the guest is happy, it was all worth it.

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