At this year’s annual Fraser Yachts Captains’ Awards, hosted during the Monaco Yacht Show, Captain Watson da Silva of M/Y Paraffin was awarded the prize for ‘Charter Captain of the Year’. The Crew Report caught up with Captain da Silva to discuss his approach to running a successful charter yacht with a well-executed team of crew.

M/Y Paraffin. Image courtesy of Fraser Yachts.

“There are a lot of yachts pumping out a lot of weeks of charter per year which is not our case,” explains Captain da Silva. “My crew knows that there is no pressure on the boat to charter to maintain it and keep our jobs safe. Our business as far as charter is concerned in the owner’s eyes is just to help a little bit with the annual budget. Having said that, we work hard at maintaining our profile with guests – we like to be flexible but not too flexible.”

Not having a significant pressure to churn out charters means less of a possibility for burn out for the crew and this is a situation that Captain da Silva recognises as a huge benefit. “If you are doing 5 or 6 weeks charter per year and you do well it’s great,” he says. “But somebody who pulls out 15 weeks and does well – that has more weight. It means that there is more time to keep smiling, keep pleasing people and keeping the crew excited, so the challenge is much higher I think.”

So in relation to his award, we asked Captain da Silva what he thinks is most important to the successful running of Paraffin. “I think the way that I encourage the crew is to be out there and I’m in front of them so they see me and they follow my mood,” he says. “What I like to do is to try and read the guests and go with the flow. I don’t try to implement my own agenda and say, ‘this is how we do it here.’ We have a little bit of our own style but basically we have to be reading the guests to see what they like and what they dislike and then try to achieve it.”

Captain Watson da Silva at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Captain da Silva believes that preparation plays a significant role in the success of a charter yacht. “To have a healthy boat that the guests come on board and after 2 or 3 weeks there have been no surprises or disappointments with anything as far as machinery or toys are concerned," he says. "That’s the number one thing that we have to do before the season starts; when you work in the shipyard, you must do all the necessary maintenance. This means that when the guests come on board, they plan their vacation and everything is working; they can go in the water every time they want. So that is the starting point.”

Another crucial attitude that Paraffin holds on board is to do with making sure that all the crew understand and respect each other’s roles in order to maintain a steady and fluid team. “Everybody needs to understand how important what they are doing is to have success. For example, the interior girls that are not in laundry understand need what the laundry needs and the laundry needs to understand that things have to go back in such a way so that they don’t embarrass the girls that are leaving the clothes. And I have to have that attitude too. If I don’t have that attitude nobody would have the same attitude.”

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