I am not a pro at cruising the Med (yet), but I must say we did have fun in the Balearics this summer, despite the crowds. The crew on my new boat is fantastic.
As I have written in the past, I believe it is critical for owners and crew to communicate clearly what the goals and expectations are for both; being happy on a boat and in a job is a two-way street. This approach may be paying off. I realize we are in the honeymoon phase, but I have high hopes for this partnership.
The captain and I started our communication with lengthy e-mails long before I ever stepped aboard covering a wide range of topics from cuisine (everything rare off the grill, lots of fruits and salads, and ice on the beer) and tender care (I really want it clean) to avoidance of crowds and the need to add more engineering spares to avoid potential trip interruptions.
We continued communicating face to face during our cruise, covering my desired cruising speed, A/C temperature (frigid), accounting expectations, and how the sheets did not need to be changed daily.
One of my most important business partners was the first to use the boat this summer. I admit to being a little nervous as I had not yet experienced this crew in action myself, only in the pre-sale festivities of survey, etc.
Last week, I had a chance to debrief my guest on his trip. Although not a heavy charterer, he is not a yachting novice. His comments made me proud:
“For my birthday on board, they made my favorite cake …seven layers and perfect. How they knew what I liked, I don’t know, but I was impressed. I also appreciated their non-stop work ethic. I only wish my office team could spend a week with your crew to see what 12-14 hour days look like without complaint. The engineer even became a sort of nanny with the kids, showing them around the engine room endless times. They were all efficient, friendly and there when you needed them and not when you did not. It was almost eerie.”
My experience with them was similar. They were efficient, fast and on top of things that matter to me (cold beer and spotless deck gutters are my pet peeves). As a bonus, the crew had experience in the cruising area, where I had none. My directive was to be on the hook only and as far away from crowds as possible. The captain managed to squeeze into spots without the mobs and even briefly found an empty beach or two, even on Mallorca. (The nude beaches on Menorca were not what I had hoped for either.)
It seemed like everything “worked” on the trip, and if it didn’t, I never heard about it. Sure, I created a long punch list of items to be improved in the near future to fit our needs (like a bigger tender and better grill), but they were virtually all boat items, not crew items. And this is a good sign.
The captain didn’t choke too hard on my “9.5 knots is fast enough” lecture and the crew may have even enjoyed slowing down a little. I did have to negotiate on new thermostats for the main engines with the engineer as he was concerned about low engine-running temps at my desired speeds. But their reception to my suggestions was cordial and not combative. They even commented that we seemed to be attracting a lot more porpoises at the bow when running at my “walking” speed. We will see if it sticks on the next cruise in France/Italy later this summer.
I am excited about this crew. Nice people on a nice boat.
High tide only and bow west.
Peter Herm is the pen name for a veteran yacht owner who is an entrepreneur based on the East Coast of the U.S. Contact him through www.the-triton.com/author/peter-herm.