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OnlyCaptains Matches Captains and Owners

1 October 2020By Laura Shaughnessy
Captains Brendon OShannassy and Malcolm Jacotine

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, working on house projects, or binging on Netflix.

The world’s first recruitment and mentoring resource for yacht captains came onto the scene on August 1, 2020 — “for captains, by captains.” Captains Brendan O’Shannassy and Malcolm Jacotine founded OnlyCaptains, which matches the right captain to a yacht owner.

But they’re not a contingency recruitment company. “We work as trusted advisors, retained exclusively by a yacht owner, their family office, or management, to find the captain who best matches their brief and vision for yachting,” says O’Shannassy. Using their experience and assessment methods, they reduce the risk and frustrations associated with the wrong hire.

“We are the first in the industry to use the methods of executive search (also known as head hunting) working exclusively to identify, target, and secure captains who best match our client's brief,” says O’Shannassy. “We research not just active job seekers, but also passive candidates who may be persuaded by a compelling opportunity presented by a trusted and respected source.”

“This business was founded to give greater respect and appreciation of the captain’s role and responsibilities,” says Brendan O’Shannassy. “To provide captains with a trusted independent third-party to lean on, that has held sea command, and is there not to judge, but to listen, reflect, share experience, and offer counsel.”

They work with their clients to develop the criteria for their captain (the brief). Armed with that information, they then start their research, first within their own established community of captains then via their wider industry network and connections. “We are  happy for any captain to join our ever-expanding community; all they need do is simply send an introductory email along with their latest CV,” says O’Shannassy. There’s no criteria for captains who would like to join their community, he adds. “Just an open mind and a willingness to communicate and build long-lasting relationships.”

Using their command experience and assessment methods — including psychometric tests developed for senior officers and captains in the maritime industry — they reduce the risk and frustrations associated with employing the wrong captain, O’Shannassy explains. They use their client’s brief and a combination of their own assessment protocols, as well as a panel of tests — developed by marine psychologists — to assess senior officers and captains in commercial shipping. It identifies and matches the right captain with the yacht owner.

OnlyCaptains assist with the onboarding of the new captain via the yacht owner’s preferred structure, making sure that the employment terms and conditions are agreed and implemented as per the client's instructions and captain’s understanding. They remain engaged for at least 12 months to mentor the captain and help support the owner/captain relationship.

“Once a captain is placed, our role continues, further helping to ensure success by providing ongoing support and counsel to our yacht owners. Our mentoring service is also there to help captains keen to develop their careers through engagement with our consultants, who have sailed the miles in their shoes and met the challenges of command.”

As experienced masters, O’Shannassy and Jacotine know that being a competent captain goes beyond technical competence, effective leadership, and management skills. It requires a broad range of interpersonal skills necessary to navigate the dynamic relationship challenges involved in yacht command.

“We are  happy for any captain to join our ever-expanding community; all they need do is simply send an introductory email along with their latest CV,” says Capt. Brendan O’Shannassy. 

Together, the duo has a combined yachting career of 60 years on a wide range of well-known yachts, including 126-meter M/Y OCTOPUS, 96-meter M/Y VAVA II, 162-meter M/Y Eclipse, and 98-meter M/Y Aviva. Capt. Jacotine’s last charge was on a 130-meter motor yacht, while Capt. O’Shannassy was aboard 107-meter M/Y Andromeda, both until March 2020.

“This business was founded to give greater respect and appreciation of the captain’s role and responsibilities,” says O’Shannassy. “To provide captains with a trusted independent third-party to lean on, that has held sea command, and is there not to judge, but to listen, reflect, share experience, and offer counsel.”

This column is taken from the October 2020 issue of Dockwalk.

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