News

Weathering Weird Requests

10 December 2009By Claire Griffiths, By Rubi McGrory

Living – as you do – a life less ordinary than most people, crew tend to loosen their grasp on what counts for weird when their days are spent servicing the whimsies of the world's most wealthy. So hiring a private jet to transport three-month-old slaughtered lambs to your yacht, buying puppies (or ducks) for the kids to play with or digging up metres of fresh lawn for the puppies to piddle on, is, you might say, a piece of "pish." As provisioning expert Veronique Dumesny of EGP France in Cannes can testify, buying up the town's supply of condoms (2,000), sourcing the roe of flying fish or ordering cakes in the shape of Ferraris – with the right colour red – barely raises her eyebrows.

To give them their due, if guests are going to cough up between $20,000 and $300,000 per day for the luxury of having a yacht at his or her disposal , they're allowed to be quirkily creative with the way they like you to work. Weird can be wonderful.

Some requests fall into the ''If you've got it, flaunt it '' category – Like Etelka's guests on board S/Y Doriana who demanded to be moved from prime berthing spots in Capri and Porto Cervo because there was no room to park the Ferrari in front of the boat. Or Chef Burdy's chauffeur-driven trip to London to do the food shop at Harrods. Then there are the pompous requests – yacht agent Bianca's guest who, after enjoying a spot of light reading, decided he wanted to meet the author in person and asked that she arrange it. Gruelling hours of sleuthing, she finally tracked him down and luckily the author agreed.

Then you get the picky guests who want three water glasses at varying temperatures on the table or the man who wants fresh coffee beans roasted for no more than 12 hours ago, or the woman who insists on black toilet paper.

Saving them from themselves is another talent you nurture as you silently hide from view guests' unsavoury truths; Like Steve S. whose boss wanted to know why, after an extensive sea crossing, the sailboat had accumulated an outrageous fuel bill. ''Because,'' explained Steve, ''There isn't a category for prostitutes in my spending log so I thought it best to bury it somewhere else.''

Or Stew Kiri who kept the drinking habits of her boss's girlfriend under wraps, "Bottles went missing or I would find them empty in the oddest places. Some nights, she couldn’t hold herself together and would leave some awful stains in the bed. I really liked the boss and didn’t want him to ever have to find them, so I changed the sheets as soon as they woke up.” Or Stella P who spent her nights watching for her boss to fall asleep with a glass of port in his hand. As his body relaxed, the glass would tip, spilling wine on the white wool carpet. If Stella tried to take the glass, the boss would wake up and shoo her away. So Stella watched for him to fall asleep, crouched beneath the glass and caught the drips before they hit the carpet.

And finally Steve remembers working on a 44-metre yacht with a guest and his prostitute. ''One day he asked if one of the stewardesses would have sex with the prostitute while he watched. When she declined, he made her life hell. If that was not enough they spent the entire two weeks naked and having sex in front of the crew.''

Some names have been changed to protected identities.