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One to One: Brendan O'Shannassy

Are we at the point of operational fatigue and potential failure? Martin Redmayne and Brendan O'Shannassy discuss...…

The first One to One, which was streamed live to the industry at 11:00 on 1 July, saw Martin Redmayne and Captain Brendan O’Shannassy tackling difficult questions relating to operational practices and industry norms driving crew to the point of critical fatigue.

The ever-candid O’Shannassy has enjoyed an esteemed career at the helm of some of the fleet’s most revered vessels, and has decades of experience to draw upon. And as ever, he pulled no punches in highlighting the historical fixation withy form over function, and how this overlooking of the realities of running and serving a superyacht can jeopardise not just the guests’ experience but the physical and mental wellbeing of the crew.

“Keep it simple; do less, but do it better,” O’Shannassy explained. “There is nobody standing there [to assist] when this incredibly-crafted piece of machinery will not work and you’re sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean… I’ve stood with a fantastic chief engineer, apologising self-consciously because this equipment contains more logic than a Dawkins presentation and more steps than the Opera House, will not work on that day. Let’s just dial it down. It is not an artistic endeavour; it is an endeavour of repeatability and reliability.”

Watch this candid Digital Dialogue in full be clicking here.

 Here's a selection of initial comments from our opening One to One: 

'How about all of us educating owners, truthfully, from the outset of broker contacts through to purchase and operational requirements, as well as costings?'


'Could it be a way to use more artificial intelligence to handle the operational processes of the yacht? By doing this there could be more time for specialisation of the service team of the yacht. What do you think about this?'


'Crew need to be fully aware of what yachting entails. It is sold as a glamorous, exciting industry, which it is, but they don't realise the work behind it. Recruiters need to be honest about how it is. They need to determine if that person can handle being at sea.'


'We should not glorify the concept of extreme dedication to owners and service in general. When I first joined yachting in 1999, you had to compromise every other aspect of normal life in order to succeed; it was simply a choice - a career or a normal, well-balanced life. We need to learn from other industries and how they tackle employee welfare and employee retention. This industry is getting better in this respect, but there is still a large shift to happen towards a more professional  and better-organised environment. We must not carry on in the belief that yachting is any different than any other service-related industry.'

'Great first One to One. Inspiring!'

The One to One series is a collective campaign for change and industry improvement, and we welcome participants from all sectors. (If you would like to take part, or contribute your thoughts, please contact Research Editor, Clare Sidwell.

You can view the ever-growing archive of Digital Dialogues here.

And remember, there is still a limited number of spaces left for the industry’s One face-to-face appointment in 2020. The Superyacht Forum will take place 16th – 18th November in Amsterdam, in partnership with METSTRADE. Top secure your spot, click here.

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One to One: Brendan O'Shannassy

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