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Where are they now? From far and wide, yacht captains come home

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Careers in yachting take a windy trip through yachts, owners, and destinations. It’s easy to lose track of fellow yachties as owners and yachts change. Boat shows are a great chance to catch up. Here’s what a few yachties are up to now.

Capt. Rick Kemper of the 42m Kingship M/Y Star

What were you doing before? Was with one owner for 18 years, on M/Y Mostro and, most recently, on M/Y Aurora A. After the owner died, Aurora was sold in 2009 to a man from China, and Kemper stayed with it. He spent the past five years in China and Asia.

Capt. Rick Kemper of the 42m Kingship M/Y Star

Capt. Rick Kemper of the 42m Kingship M/Y Star

How did you end up here? M/Y Star launched in 2012 and he took it for “an endurance sea trial” around China, Thailand and Malaysia before returning to Hong Kong for a refit. He returned to Florida with the yacht in late January to make it available to the Western market.

Any interesting experiences? Helped the owner’s friend build a new 110-foot Horizon in Taiwan and ran it for a couple years around his work on Aurora, and built an innovative 83-foot New Ocean Yacht in China.

Any advice about cruising in China? It’s very restrictive. There are a lot of great marinas, but foreign yachts cannot get into them without paying a huge tax. And the waters are full of obstructions, fishing boats, nets, tandem trawling. They’re not lit and they’re not on the radio. I’ve ripped the stabilizers off twice.

How did you get started in yachting? I grew up in South Florida fishing and diving. When I was 17, I started working at marinas, rigging boats, working on outboards. I bought cheap boats and fixed them up. I knew Beverly Grant and started dayworking on her boat, Safe Conduct.

What are you good at? I’m not a briefcase captain. Some guys can work on the computer all day and do paperwork. I’m more of an engine room and deck guy, hands on. I enjoy working outside. It’s more about the boat and the ocean.

 

Capt. Charlie Johnson of United Yacht Transport

Capt. Charlie Johnson of United Yacht Transport

Capt. Charlie Johnson of United Yacht Transport

What were you doing before? Running the popular charter yacht M/Y Cocktails. Got my friend, Capt. David Sloate, set up and stepped off.

How did you end up here? I got a call to help them out with West Coast sales. It gave me an opportunity to go home to Seattle. It’s fun to take a break and let the enthusiasm come back.

Career highlights: Capt. Johnson has helped three owners complete their new builds with Delta and cruise around the world for a few years each.

How did you get your start in yachting? I started in 1975 as a deckhand on a 96-foot classic motoryacht in Seattle. I wanted to travel around the world. (He stayed in that first job three years.)

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