When should crew get involved in the design of a yacht? It's a question often asked - but less often when pertaining to interior crew. It was this that ex-chief stewardess and founder of Yacht Design Solutions, Agis Variani addressed in the afternoon's 'Crew Focus on Design' think tank at SuperyachtDESIGN Week.

And her answer was clear: chief stewardesses should be involved in a yacht's build from day one, which will save time and money; money for the owner, and time for the crew. From laundry room space to islands in the galley, Variani advised designers on what needed to be considered when it comes to efficiency.

The designers followed by highlighting what they felt was a somewhat put-upon position in the industry. "We have to be encouraged to exist. We have to be valued," stated Tony Castro of Tony Castro Yacht Design.

Agis Variani led the debate.

The audience - a combination of designers, shipyards and crew - agreed that the role of the designer has been diluted over the years, with the addition of other stakeholders to the market lacking the relevant yachting experience. "The industry has got to get its act together and give the right jobs to the right people", added Castro.

So how can crew get more involved? Because, "It's not because I don't want to know these things," said one designer. "It's because there's no link."

An audience eager for progress then discussed the possibility of creating an association that could establish an industry-recognised standard - something that The Crew Report's editor suggested could be achievable by working closely with the Professional Yachting Association, mirroring its recent success with industry standards for interior crew training.

Debate continues as to who needed to be educated about crew in design - owners, designers, shipyards or captains - but if those who agree that someone needs to be educated can start the ball rolling, that's certainly a good start.

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