As we find ourselves in the midst of the Caribbean season, charter yachts will be busy with new guests stepping on board every week. And many will be stepping on the same boat they chartered last year. We hear from Captain Carl Sputh of motoryacht Starfire about one sure way to keep those repeat charter clients returning.

“Preference sheets are what charter guests think. The post-charter review is what actually happened on board,” Captain Carl Sputh tells The Crew Report. During each charter on motoryacht Starfire, Captain Sputh ensures his crew take detailed notes on anything and everything that happens on board, for what he calls ‘the post-charter review’.

"More boats should do these post-charter reviews."

“We all say, ‘Were on a diet so we’re not going to have any dessert’, but every night we serve dessert and the guests are all eating. The actual way the charter went is what we write down – not what they perceive it’s going to be,” says Captain Sputh.

The notes include whether the guests like parties on board to how each guest’s coffee should be made. “We take copious notes on everything/ Shoe sizes, how the guy in the master cabin likes his coffee and when the guests come on board how one particular guest likes a shot of cranberry in his water. And the kind of feeling of the charter. It’s from our point of view service-wise.”

Captain Sputh believes too few charter boats do this – and believes too few captains share the information. “More boats should do these post-charter reviews. If the broker calls me and says, ‘Hey, I know you’re busy so these guests are going to another boat,’ I say, ‘OK, here are my notes’. And at the end of every charter I send it to the brokers and say that if those guests don’t charter us next year, then this can go to the other boat.”

Popular charter destination St Barths. Credit: Ellie Brade

Crew have to be careful, however. “You can’t say embarrassing things about the guests,” advises Captain Sputh. “They’re for the client. You have to be very strict in your wording. You have to be smart about that, but they’re incredibly helpful.”

Particularly with busy charter boats, the number of guests stepping on board can be huge. With this in mind, then, having detailed notes on individuals can be incredibly helpful. “It’s super detailed. We can go through it as a crew and go, ‘Oh yeah, I remember, they liked this’ and then everybody’s going, ‘and this, and this’. And when they get on board it’s like they never left.”

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