The Guests Must Be Crazy

22 June 2009 By Phoebe Taylor

Before I came into the yachting industry, I never really knew any rich people. My parents had friends whom they thought were rich, but they were not “own-a-superyacht” rich. In my naiveté, I imagined that the super rich were all well-mannered country club socialites with names like Buffy and James who would be predictably refined and lead a purposely proper life.

Well, it didn’t take long for that bubble to burst. In fact, for all their ample resources, a lot of rich people can be down right odd. Though most guests on board a yacht are perfectly civilized, a yachtie’s normal “day in the life” is very much like that proverbial box of chocolates – you just never know what you are going to get.

Recently, pop-star Pink disclosed in an interview that was picked up widely by the entertainment tabloids that she had once tried to commit suicide because she was horribly seasick on board a yacht. The singer was quoted by as saying: “I once chartered a yacht through the Mediterranean. But in the end I tried to jump off the boat and kill myself because I wasn’t getting along with the captain. The idea was we’d go to port every night so we wouldn’t be rocking like The Perfect Storm, but he had other ideas. We were out in the ocean riding the waves. I got sick and couldn’t take it. I got my favourite dress in one hand, a bottle of wine in the other hand and I was ready to jump in the ocean and die. Luckily Carey [her husband] talked me down.”

While seasickness is no fun, clearly there was a bit more amiss here than just an uncooperative captain (who didn’t get the chance to tell his side of the story). It goes to show how unpredictable guests can be.

Many years ago, I worked on a boat that belonged to a relatively young (40-ish) woman. She had two kids and a handsome boyfriend, and really seemed to be living large. That is until the boyfriend broke up with her. She came aboard shortly after he left and steadily went mental. She would get on the satphone with a private detective whom she had hired to follow the ex. The updates would send her into a frenzy. She would then call the ex and scream at him. She would air out all kinds of dirty laundry – shouting at the top of her lungs – and the stewardess and I would nervously corral her kids and take them out of earshot.

From the moment she came aboard, she refused to bathe. She refused to brush her hair. She wore the same dirty clothes for days and barely ate. Finally the captain came to me and the stew and asked us if we would play therapist for her. “I just think she could use some girl talk.” The owner willingly spilled her guts to us while the stew tried to untangle her nest of hair and I kept her wineglass full. Thankfully, a tennis pro at the marina took a shine to her and her mood rapidly returned to normal.

These examples may seem extreme, but they are not unique. Sometimes, the guests are just plain crazy.

Hosted any real lunatics on board your boat? Share your stories below, no names necessary.