“From the owner’s point of view, education is such a personal decision. It’s not like hiring a body guard, it’s someone who’s going to be dealing with their pride and joy. There’s a very personal slant of having a tutor travel with you on board your superyacht.” These are the words of Stephen Spriggs, managing director of William Clarence education, who is starting to see requests for tutors on board superyachts.
With more owners wishing to go on extended family cruises to what we used to call out-of-the-way destinations, but what are now, in fact, becoming much more common, simply having a tutor on board is an obvious way to maximise the length of time the whole family can be on that trip.
“The idea of having tutors can be good, mainly for long charters,” advises Ann Montebello of Privatsea, who adds that this is something the management company rarely deals with due to this being, as Spriggs mentions, such a personal decision.
"The chef Patrick was also a maths teacher before he started cooking, so the kids were well equipped." - Captain Gareth Sheppard
“They’re not mucking in with the running of the yacht, they’re stepping on board as a specialist tutor,” clarifies Spriggs. And as such it won’t be a logistical problem. “The tutor is given a contract for a period of time and joins the yacht as a supernumerary. The difficulty is finding experienced and qualified tutors for these contracts,” explains Sally Aston, recruitment manager at Döhle Yacht Crew, who adds that the requests are coming in a few times a year on yachts between 50m and 80m.
However, to have a tutor on board in the space of a crewmember is not unheard of. In fact, this is exactly what happened with the family of The Big Blue did their year-long round-the-world trip. “The tutor was employed as a full-time crewmember. They had their STCW certification and some yachting experience,” explains the yacht’s then-captain, Gareth Sheppard. However, the captain adds that the first tutor had more yachting experience, but didn’t last due to insufficient teaching ability. “The second tutor was a full blown teacher, supplied by Asia Pacific Superyachts. Sea sickness was a problem, but she could teach. The chef Patrick was also a maths teacher before he started cooking, so the kids were well equipped,” Captain Sheppard adds.
The tutors lived on board The Big Blue with the family, which meant not only did the children get taught most days, but the parents could get on with and enjoy the trip. Not only that but, in the then-captain’s words, “The schooling also incorporated the countries we were visiting, with projects and tasks set up around local information and culture.”