"The yacht needs a lot of energy," begun Captain Heymann, "Not just from the aspect of maintaining it, because it’s a big boat for only nine crew, but also for the amount of charters we have – guests feed off our energy." And this was particularly true for the crew on board Latitude this season. "We came into the med season late this year,” he continued. “So we had to hit the ground running which needed very experienced crew. We didn’t have time to train anyone so all the crew had to come in and do their job straightaway and that’s always tough on some people."
But this does not mean that working on a charter yacht requires less expertise, Captain Heymann reveals. “While on the private side the service level can be higher,” he explains. “You find that it is normally a much more relaxed environment to work in; the crew don’t have to be so spontaneous the whole time because they know the history of the owner and everything is planned. With charter nothing is planned until it starts happening. So charter is a challenge and if you want to be successful; it’s that attention to detail that you need and making things happen quickly and efficiently all the time, so that the guests are constantly impressed.”
“It suits me because it’s different and it changes from day to day; we get to meet people from all over the world and from all walks of life,” Captain Heymann continues. “The guests are here for a short time but it’s interesting and it’s good for the crew to have that challenge; to try and find out what makes the guests happy. Because sometimes it is difficult; there’s no clues. Little things can alter a guest’s experience, for example, maybe we are putting the towels on the seating area and they wanted to sit there but they feel uncomfortable because then they have to move the towels. Stuff like that happens so it can come down to the tiny details.”
Working on a busy charter yacht can be a manic and high-pressure role, as crew have to maintain a high level of interest and energy on board for the period of a week, ten days or sometimes more. As such, charter yachts can demand a specific attitude and skillset from its crew. “You have got to have intuition and experience on board,” says Captain Heymann, “Because the crew need to be thinking of things before they happen and planning ahead for any eventuality.”