By Dorie Cox
“We’re not so much on flowers,” Stew Cherie Neave said. Vases would mean one more thing to secure each day before setting sail on S/Y Lush, a 90-foot Oyster displayed at the Monaco Yacht Show this year.
One of about eight sailing yachts in this year’s show, the workload is unique when compared with the motoryachts on display. About 4,000 square feet of sail governs just about every move onboard, especially while underway.
“The galley is all gimballed, everything is properly stowed, each glass onboard has its own hole,” Neave said. “Even the oil in the cupboard.”
Every drawer is latched and Neave double-checks for guest laptops left to slide off counters and tables.
“I do a once around for phones, glasses, even clothes,” she said.
“And shower doors,” Capt. Wood added. “And we make sure the dishwasher is emptied and nothing is out.”
After all of that, there is another look.
“I generally do a once-over to check after the next tack, then check again,” Neave said of her work to keep things from rolling as the yacht changes course, or turns to optimize the wind.
The yacht heals over – or tilts on its keel – to up to 15 degrees. Such an angle requires the crew at rest in their bunks be held in by small hammocks, lee cloths, that will catch them if they roll toward the cabin sole.
Even the port and starboard helm stations are angled to work at any angle.
“It makes life hard, even just serving a cup of tea at sea,” Chef Iona Mackenzie said.
But this yacht crew wouldn’t change a thing. Guests are typically picked up at the dock and ferried to the yacht at anchor for a full sailing experience.
“We are always at anchor and we’re usually up and sailing every day, weather permitting,” Capt. Wood said. “That is unless the guests want to go in or we need work.”
First Mate Joe Sampson agreed. He, as well as Neave and Capt. Wood, grew up sailing. Although Mackenzie is a comparative newcomer, she has embraced sailing as well.
“The reason I got into this is to get as remote as I can,” Capt. Wood said. “Places you can’t get to by car or foot.”
It is not just the crew that embrace this adventure.
“All our guests are sailors,” Neave said. “Sails make a yacht a very different type of luxury yacht.”
Although easy to operate with push-button controls, it just takes Capt. Wood and Sampson to hoist the main and forward sails. The yacht brings up to six extra crew when sailing races.
“It takes three to drop the main sail; we drop it by hand,” Capt. Wood said.
“Even the guests have work onboard,” Mackenzie said. “I run around with chocolate-covered fruit; everyone needs their energy.”
The guests help trim the spinnaker, a large sail, for downwind legs.
“We’re all heaving on the line,” Mackenzie said. “But in the evening, we all sit together as a family.”
The crew on S/Y Lush is a family. And they notice how their days at work may differ from the neighboring yachts in Monaco.
“On a motoryacht, the crew can get a section,” Capt. Wood said. “It can be boring; you could be chamois man.”
But here, the crew agreed, they rely on each other, each one works on all facets of the vessel. The whole boat is their home, and sailing is in their blood.
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.