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Yacht crew profiles of a chef and a captain

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The lure of yachting attracts crew from all walks of life, those that touch the water such as diving and fishing, and those that don’t. When those first few jobs work out, the industry gets in your blood. Boat shows are a great chance to catch up with crew, both new and veteran. Here’s what a few are up to now. — Lucy Chabot Reed

Chef Noel Nugent of the 125-foot Cheoy Lee M/Y Namoh

What were you doing before? I was executive chef at the Bitter End Yacht Club for two years. I spent 10 years in the West Indies, Bermuda, St. Lucia, Jamaica, St. Kitts and the BVI.

How did you get into yachting? I met a lot of chefs coming in and out and they convinced me that I could make more money and have less stress in yachting. So I packed my bags and moved to Ft. Lauderdale. I felt like I needed a change.

Chef Noel Nugent of the 125-foot Cheoy Lee M/Y Namoh. Photo by Lucy Reed

Chef Noel Nugent of the 125-foot Cheoy Lee M/Y Namoh. Photo by Lucy Reed

How did you end up here? The day before I ran out of money and expected to pack up and head back, I got a call from Vareek [Capt. Vareek Breaden of M/Y Namoh]. He saw my CV and asked me to come over. I joined them for the Christmas trip. That was my probationary period. I guess I did OK because I’ve been here over a year now.

It’s the best job I’ve ever had in my life. I can categorically say that. The view out my office window is great.

Do you miss not having a staff to help with all the cooking? I’ve had up to 80 members of staff and here it’s just me. I love it. I stand here 16 hours a day cooking and I absolutely love it. The owners are some of the loveliest people I’ve ever met in my life.

Any personal news to share? My wife is having a baby in about two weeks. I just closed on a little piece of property in St. Lucia.

What are you really good at? Well, cooking. I’m also a hard worker. When I’m done in here, I’m out there scrubbing the deck with the guys. I’m a good team member.

Capt. Brett Sussman of the 116-foot Azimut M/Y Happy Hour

What were you doing before? I was in Thailand on the 100-foot Broward M/Y Escape for three and a half years when it sold. (Then came home to South Florida where his wife, former yacht chef Carla Sussman, lives with their three young daughters.)

Capt. Brett Sussman of the 116-foot Azimut M/Y Happy Hour. Photo by Lucy Reed

Capt. Brett Sussman of the 116-foot Azimut M/Y Happy Hour. Photo by Lucy Reed

How did you end up here? Classic word of mouth. I bumped into someone at the Ft. Lauderdale show in the morning, and that evening, someone called him looking for a captain and he said “Hey, I know someone.”

How did you get your start in yachting? I sold my farms in South Africa and became a dive instructor in the Red Sea. Then I worked my way up from deckhand on liveaboard dive boats in the Caribbean. I moved up to captain, and then I got a job as captain of M/Y Aisling in 2004.

Best yachting memory? There are so many. Cruising the Med, especially Croatia. It’s a beauty.

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