Single, but Not Lonely

30 July 2008 By Matt Brown

Just about every man on board our yacht loves Anna.

Anna is a beautiful Swedish stewardess. She’s funny, intelligent and, best of all, she’s single.

Yet, for the entire year that she’s been on board this busy charter vessel, Anna has not been in a serious relationship with anyone from the yachting industry, on our boat or any other.

Naturally, I found this just a little surprising – and disappointing. So I started digging to find out why…The most direct way to do this – but also the toughest – was to just (gulp!) ask Anna why she hasn’t dated anyone?

“Don’t get me wrong, I have my fun when I’m on land now and then,” she says, “but it’s just too risky for me to get seriously involved with someone as I’m always at sea.”

Makes sense, but it was difficult to hide my disappointment. Is this a typical scenario for most yacht crew?

The success of a relationship involving someone working in the megayacht industry seems to be dependent upon their living circumstances. After all, the degree of relationship difficulty varies depending on whether one partner is at sea and another on land or, alternatively, if both partners are at sea.

Mark Hockey, an engineer on board M/Y Odessa, says that supporting a relationship while one is at sea can be a costly affair.

“The amount of money you wind up spending on flights is ridiculous,” Hockey says. “It’s even worse if both of you are working at sea, then it’s almost impossible to sync your schedules.”

Some captains employ rotation schedules on their yachts, which helps couples manage their relationships. "You’re much better off working a rotation, so doing something like two months on and one month off,” Hockey says. “Otherwise, you wind up spending such little time together it’s almost not worth it.”

The successful relationship options for couples who work in the yachting industry seem to be limited, but they still exist.

Apparently the “love bug” was alive and well on board my last boat. There were four couples out of only 12 crew – representing 66 percent of crew.

The perilous downside to crew relationships is obvious. When relationships go bad, they can and usually do, affect the entire crew on board. After all, it’s impossible to hide a broken heart at the best of times, not to mention from the people you live with 24/7.

So is it best to remain single and “unattached” while working as crew? Maybe that’s the biggest attraction of all -- aside from the money and adventurous travel -- which draws so many young adults to the crew profession.

Though it may be self-serving, I’ve concluded that the typical lifestyle of a yachtie is perhaps best enjoyed by a singleton. Single crew typically court with like-minded yacht crew whenever and wherever they like and can generally walk away with no strings attached.

The glamourous lifestyle of living and working on a superyacht without the entanglements of commitment? Sounds like a great deal to me.

What do you think is the best way to go: strictly single or half of a couple? Comment below.