Owner’s View: Answers to some pressing questions

Oct 31, 2017 by Peter Herm

Owner’s View: by Peter Herm

The Monaco show was awesome. You should have been there. I went to the first one 26 years ago. They just get bigger and better every year. Still time to redeem yourself and go to the Fort  Lauderdale International Boat Show, the best in the world. 

Some folks think writing comes from a spontaneous, brilliant idea. In reality, it often comes from the insight of editors. Here are some answers to pressing questions suggested by my editor.

Tattoos? Sorry, but visible tattoos are a negative. My conservative clients are appalled by them. Get them all you want, but ones that don’t show when clothed are better.

Smoking? Another negative. Not good for you or those around you either. But my biggest beef about it is the time it sucks out of your (my) day. Track it and see. Statistics show that smokers are less efficient than nonsmokers. Why would we hire a smoker? Sure, it is an addiction, and I have smokers on my team, but if I were job hunting, it is not a plus.

Marinas? I am glad my boats are smaller as Joe Lewis now has a monopoly for big boat (200-foot-plus) dockage in Fort Lauderdale. I can’t wait to see the prices next year. I prefer anchors whenever possible. I guess I am just not social. But seriously, buyers of boats need to understand the dockage challenges, as there are many. In Croatia this season, I was really glad we were not 50 meters, as your choices are limited.

Have I ever had to fire a captain or crew member mid-trip? Yes and no. Yes, I had a captain who failed to put up the storm shutters crossing the Gulf of Tehuantepec in the Pacific many years ago. He got broadside to 35-foot waves and the main salon floated out the back doors. Too stupid to keep. And too drunk. No direct crew firings as that is the captain’s job, not mine. And yes, multiple crew have been put on the “beach” over the years. My favorite was the temporary chef who was still drunk in time for New Year’s brunch on the aft deck in Harbor Island. She told us to make our own cereal. We had to haul her back to Fort Lauderdale as the Bahamian police didn’t want her either, even with a paid ticket home.

Ideal crew to hire? You have heard it before, but you hire attitude and teach skills. There are plenty of folks with great attitudes, yet dumb as a box of rocks. Except for them, most are smart enough to learn the yachting business. Attitude is everything. Whiners, complainers and Debbie Downers need not apply to be on the Herm team. Life is too short for negative attitudes. Give me a great smile and a yes, and we will try to make them winners. Give me ones that want to learn and actively attempt to broaden their education (formal and otherwise), and we will have a great future together.

Crew with a criminal record? Depends upon the crime, but in theory they are out of the pen because they are rehabilitated. We all need second chances. Just watch the tats.

Caribbean 2017? Over the years, I have been to most of the islands in the Caribbean and they all have unique charms. The damage done in many places is horrific, and my heart goes out to those who will spend years rebuilding.

But if you want the combination of proximity and blue water, nothing beats the Bahamas. When I first went to the Exumas 25 years ago, a New Years at Big Majors (pigs are great marketing) meant there were 10 boats. Now it is practically St. Barts. Still a great place, though.

I am not selling any island group over another, but there is a reason that the finest private development in the Bahamas or all of the Caribbean, Baker’s Bay Club (no connection for me), is in the Abacos. Yes, the water is skinny, but it is not crowded, the people are nice and the water spectacular. And I caught some fish there once.

Some common questions asked and answered. I am psyched that the Euroboat is resting for the winter in Greece and the new money pit will be put to work entertaining my clients this winter. And I may get a weekend or two myself.

Bow west and high tide only.

Peter Herm is the pen name for a veteran yacht owner who is an entrepreneur based on the East Coast of the U.S. Comments are welcome below.