Crew get bored, and when they get bored, we lose them. In issue 78 of The Crew Report (out later this week), Martin H. Redmayne introduces an idea: welcome to the future of superyachts with two crews.
There is clearly a conflict in the world of crew, and one I think that could easily be addressed. Having spoken to a group of crew, including a handful who have come ashore and are part of the team here at The Superyacht Group, it is clear that it takes a very rare breed to make yachting a long-term career. Out of the 365 days of the year, there may be only 65 days when guests are on board. How do you stay focused and motivated for the other 300 days? How often do crew go mad or just get bored while they get out the hose, squeeze out the chamois or spend hours staring into the stainless-steel or polished topsides, admiring their tanned and toned torsos?
Perhaps because of the boredom and the menial maintenance and cleaning programmes, both inside and out, we have a problem to keep smart and intelligent crew interested for the long term, hence the desire to jump ship to a better paid job on a more active yacht. However, even then, the routine of ‘guests off’ is still the same: thousands of square metres of glossy cosmetic finishes that require constant buffing, sanding, polishing, washing and more polishing, in order to make sure the yacht is ready to go at a moment’s notice.
I remember a conversation with a captain who explained that after five weeks of back-to-back charters, his chef held up a knife and suggested that if he didn’t get a day off, someone may get hurt.
The boredom, once it sets in, can lead to all sorts of problems: personal issues, drink, drugs, relationships and the odd psychosis. I remember a conversation with a captain who explained that after five weeks of back-to-back charters, his chef held up a knife and suggested that if he didn’t get a day off, someone may get hurt. So if boredom, frustration and the onslaught of menial day-to-day tasks are creating problems, perhaps we have to focus our attention on this rather than all the training and other stuff that the authorities require.
So the idea of two crews rather than one entered my head, in the way that owners during regattas will hire professional race crew. When I thought about this concept, I looked at the land-based scenarios: a shipyard hires a basic labour force to do the dirty work on a part-time or as-required basis; all businesses will invariably hire external companies to provide cleaning and maintenance services so the key staff can focus on their professional role. So why not a more robust system for the yacht market?
Find the full column in issue 78 of The Crew Report - download now.