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Crew Compass: As seasons shift, time for self-renewing sanity check

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Crew Compass: by Lauren Loudon

Keeping your head and spirits high throughout a busy season can be difficult. Whether it’s a charter boat that’s been back-to-back with guests all summer or a quieter owner’s season, our jobs mean we rarely stop. Even being without guests can mean long project lists that require strenuous days, time to catch up on admin and perhaps even hanging out in remote or isolated locations.

One important factor, no matter where we are in the season, is focusing on ourselves and taking a moment to do something to keep us grounded, sane and active, something that will help us to identify the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a matter of personal preference, of course, but with the finish line of a busy summer season in sight, it is time to start thinking about ways to unwind after dropping off our last guests.

For some, that means setting off on the journey once again from the Med to the Atlantic. If the summer involved glaciers and bear spotting, it’s sure that the Alaskan dream is already just that: a dream. Perhaps it’s time to wave goodbye to northern cityscapes and head toward the islands for a winter in the tropical Caribbean sun. Or perhaps it’s time to stow everything away with covers and labels, and put the boat into winter mode for a yard period.

The options for winter are becoming vaster by the year, but the factor that remains constant is the need to maintain sanity between the busy seasons. Transitioning from guest trip after guest trip to crossing the Atlantic can be a strange feeling, and it can happen quite quickly.

The abrupt ending to a season can bring a little downtime before preparing for boat shows, new waters, island hopping or whatever else the winter may entail, and it is important to soak up all that time while it’s available.
For me, it’s a time to regroup, to resurface after being indoors and on the go for the summer.

Sitting in the rain, wearing my first long pants and warm sweater of the summer, feeling run down and worn out from constant movement and sailing from here to there, I am reminded that the vision of blue seas and accumulation of passport stamps has a price tag.

An Atlantic crossing looming in my near future will mean catching up on reading, early nights and getting hold of some documentaries – the small things that get set aside during a busy season.

This year, with heart rates racing, tension building and a flu oncoming, I realized that in order for me to continue providing the high standard of service expected of me, the stiffness in my shoulders needs to be addressed and my mind needs refreshing. This means turning my focus from my guests’ needs to my own for a minute.

For all of us, here’s a reminder to take time for ourselves, to eat well, to exercise where we can and to make an effort to do more of the little things that we enjoy in order to not only maintain our health, but our normality. At the end of the day, our job is to provide for others, and if we are not the best version of ourselves, then we might struggle to meet expectations.

Lauren Loudon has worked as a yacht chef and stew for more than four years. She hails from Lancashire, England. Comments are welcome below.

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One thought on “Crew Compass: As seasons shift, time for self-renewing sanity check

  1. Ann-Wallis White

    “Mental maintenance” is more important than we imagine, and had always been an issue with me. For many years I have quietly helped crew friends make changes in their lives. I believe “other people” see the glamour and not the dreary part of the industry.
    There are a lot of retired yacht crew who might be willing to make themselves available to those who are struggling. We must think about this as an industry. I’m in. There is a grief group called Option B that might be a good model. My email is here (awwyc@comcast.net). If a kind word or a little distance would help, I am there for you.

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