Turnaround Time in an Ideal World

6 January 2009 By Kelly Sanford

So how long does it take to properly turn a boat around between owner trips or charters? While most experienced crew are able to change a boat over for new guests quickly, many say that the turnaround time can be an important indicator of how smoothly the trip will go.

“We’ve all had to turn the boat around in twenty-four hours or less,” says Stewardess Anneli James. “But in an ideal world, I like to have three days. And even that is not accounting for a day off. That’s a full day of laundry and ironing, a full day of cleaning and a day to provision and detail without having to be rushed.”

Stew Simone says, “I had a Boss who would leave the boat just a few hours before charter guests would arrive. When the chief stew and I asked the captain to talk to him about giving us more time to get ready for our charter, [the Boss] said, ‘How long does it take to make a few beds?’ Clearly, he had no clue.”

Chef Evan Rottman says, “The amount of time needed to be ready is tricky. It really depends on the boat and how long you have been aboard, how busy the season has been, etc. I’ve done same-day turnarounds and they pretty much suck.” In an ideal world, he would like to have three days between guests: “A day to clean [and inventory], a day to provision and a third day to get some time off and start prepping. I like to go into a charter a few desserts ahead of the game and with some basic stocks and sauces ready to rumble.”

Freelance Chef Hilary agrees. “There is no doubt that I do a much better job when I am able to personally go to the market and provision for myself, and my food is definitely better when I have a day to get time-consuming prep work (like stocks and hors d’oeuvres) done before guests arrive. And of course, I think everyone does a better job when they have a chance to get some rest.

Capt. Jared Burzler says the amount of time needed for a turnaround can vary depending on the current state of the yacht. “I won’t fudge on maintenance, and that will ultimately determine whether a short turnaround is possible,” he says, adding, “Nowadays, a twenty-four-hour turnaround is not abnormal, and though we’ve gotten good at them, really short turns present some problems for charters. I think charter brokers need to inform their clients if the boat will be doing back-to-back trips….”

Burzler points out that crew have to be work on the second charter while the first charter guests are still aboard, something that raises some privacy concerns for the captain. “I am supposed to protect the privacy of my clients, but that can be hard to do when I’m having crew meetings about a [pending] trip while there are other guests aboard.” However, he says, “On Charisma, we actually preferred to crank trips out back to back. If we’d do four trips in a row, the boss would be happy to let us have ten days to catch up on rest and work and to get some time off the boat.”