‘Yachtie’ (Re)Defined


Why be a yachtie? There are as many reasons as there are people working on boats (or for those who can’t let go; ever did work on one). Herewith a quick cross-sample of just why people get onboard, stay onboard, and never stop talking about it. Select as applicable.

  1. The ‘trickle’ in ‘trickle-down economics. I turn billionaires back into millionaires. Really happy, tanned ones.
  2. My doctor told me that as there is currently no known cure for OCD the only place I might find peace would be in the military or on a yacht. And I have asthma.
  3. I’ve always loved the water but surf instructors don’t get paid shit.
  4. ‘You can’t start a fire, you can’t start a fire without a spark. This gun’s for hire even if we’re just dancing in the dark.’
    -Bruce Springsteen, Dancing In The Dark-
  5. I have a little kid, a wife, a very specialized set of skills gained while not giving a shit about the future, and diapers don’t pay for themselves.
  6. This was the nicest place I could find to:
    a) Run away from my mother
    b) Shag
    c) Make money without first going into (much) debt
    d) Just take it all in
  7. Divorces don’t pay for themselves. So I’m financing my problems with the cause. Got a problem with that?
  8. I’m an adrenaline junkie with a yachtie habit. BASE jumps, heli-skiing, moderately large wave surfing, shark diving, running with the bulls, insurance-coverage-for-madness and Go-Pros don’t pay for themselves.
  9. I met a hot girl. I met a hot guy. I met a hot girl and a hot guy.
  10. Do I have to have a reason?

Risk Assessment Of Water Slides On Yachts Reveals: They Suck

Clearly it has gone too far. At a recent boat shows water slides were spotted on: Sailing yachts; tenders (both large and small); on the backs of deckhands who wore them like rucksacks and simply squatted on the swim platform to let people climb up their face whenever anyone wanted a slide. Which was never.

Why? Because water slides suck. The only thing that sucks more than a water slide is setting up a water slide. On a windy day, at anchor, with a guy telling you the whole time how much water slides suck. Recent studies of a number of onboard installations revealed they take an average of at least 1-2 charters to set up.

In addition to their complete lack of utility and any possibility of having fun, they are notoriously hard to maintain. Why? “Stabbings.” Says Wayne Waine, deckhand and head of erections for a large motor yacht. “We carry a number of repair patches with us, but in a multiple stabbing situation we often simply run out of field dressings. You’ve got a lot of angry men with knives on their belts and a hated object with a thin membrane and no way of defending itself. Things tend to blow up pretty quick. Or not, you know?”

A study conducted by The General Alarm found that 100% of yacht crew think waterslides suck a dick. But conversely (and a possible indicator of why they can still be found onboard) 100% of yacht brokers think they are fan-fucking-tastic.

“What’s not to like?” Asks Bob Brokaw, lead brokaw for Kryptonite Yachts. “They look like shit, they take crew away from important tasks while they’re being set up, they can be dangerous to have out if the weather turns, and to the best of my knowledge no one has ever actually entered the water via one in the history of seafaring. And the guests love them!”

‘Industry Has Changed’ Says Deckhand With 4 Months Experience


“I remember when everyone was in it for the lifestyle, for the adventure.” Says deckhand Jeff Grundy wearily, sighing as he folds and unfolds a chamois. He’s silent for awhile, occasionally swiping at drops of water on the stainless rail as though they are the cares that he bears upon his broad shouldairs. “Now it’s all about the money. Everyone always says, ‘Work hard, play hard,’ but what happened to partying? That’s what I want to know.”

In a wide-ranging interview that was repeatedly interrupted by a senior officer instructing Jeff to get back to work, and insisting that press were not welcome onboard – yes this includes bloggers, and yes this includes anonymous bloggers – Mr. Grundy opened up about the changes his young eyes had seen occur over the course of a career spanning nearly 4 months.

“I used to get an hour for lunch. Now sometimes it’s just sit down, eat, have seconds, have a coffee, ask what the desert is, call my parents, call my bank, and back to work.” Here he flips through his notes for some time before concluding. “So, I don’t actually look at my watch per se, but I can tell you lunch hour is definitely close to being shorter than it used to be.”

“When I joined,” Jeff continues in earnest, “The captain was really nice to me. He told me anytime I wanted to chat about anything I could speak to the mate. But when I asked the mate he said I should speak to the bosun. And he passed me on too. I’m down to asking the provisioner’s assistant if it’s ok if I take Christmas off. And she said no.”

Led on by promises of endlessly stocked snack cupboards and early knock-offs to wakeboard, Jeff left his parent’s basement behind and hasn’t looked back except for returning to sell his car. Now, almost 120 days later, he is a bitter husk of his former corn-on-the-cob exuberance.

“I don’t think these new kids coming in understand that this used to be a job for poets and professional surfers who’d suffered career-ending injuries. I mean when I started back in August if you couldn’t play ‘Hurt’ on the ukelele, you basically didn’t stand a chance.” At this point in the conversation he looked like he wanted to sneeze for an extended period of time. When a tissue was offered he explained he was scowling.

Asked what he thinks the industry needs to do to turn this downward trend around Jeff thinks for a good while. Longer, in fact, than the senior officer would allow us to stay; so in the end he followed up with an emailed response:

“I don’t even know. To be honest I wish I could get out but I’m already so far in I don’t think I can. Its pretty much all I’ve ever done, its all I’m good at. I’ll just stick it out, keep reminding the new kids how it used to be back last summer, and reminiscing with the old salts about the good old days before GPS and shit. I guess its like Bono said, ‘The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.’ End of quote.”

Coffee and Advil: Unexpected Carrying Costs Of A Yacht


If yachting were a board game it would be monopoly; minus the board, the pieces and the rules. It would be that special edition that is sold in Harrods in which everyone loses but has a great time and no one wins.

Why is that? Because coffee and Advil.

‘I start every day with two of each and go from there.’ Says 2nd engineer Guy Wacket. ‘And an egg sammy. Extra mayo with the bacon nice and crispy and the egg runny enough to soak into the bun a bit but not so runny it gets on my hand. This is making me very hungry. I could probably eat the ass off a low-flying duck. I am that peckish.’

That was the end of that interview but the point was made: yacht crew suffer from very sore heads in the morning. Though no one seems able to remember the reason for this, studies do show that this discomfort tends to carry on through the day and – if left untreated – result in a very sore to extremely bloody sore head in the latter hours of the day.

Whilst accurate estimates on the total annual cost of supplying caffeine and branded ibuprofen to yacht crew are difficult to make, one man is prepared to take a stab at it.

‘$182 million. Per year. $182.5 million in a leap year.’ Says Reginald Tottle, head accountant at Beans and Counting Accounting CPA. ‘I actually don’t know anything about yachts but I don’t need to. That figure is reached by simply multiplying the number of global yacht crew by ‘x’, with ‘x’ representing the average cost of 3 Illy coffees and one Nespresso capsule per crewmember per day, and a handful of Advils taken at regular periods of time not greater than 4 hours and not less than 2. With one fitful rest period of 4 hours included in the calculation.’

Though that cost remains dwarfed by such yachting expense stalwarts as blue tape ($355 million per annum) and laminating pouches (somewhere in the billions), they do make for a outlay equal to one brand new 100m motor yacht made each and every year, simply to supply coffee and over-the-counter painkillers. If loose lips sink ships, something equally catchy about crew and coffee breaks budgets.

Editor’s Note: Any resemblance between this article and actual facts is purely unintentional. 

Editor’s Other Note: Yacht crew are great value. As is coffee.



Yachting Translations Vol. II: Deep Cuts


With absolutely zero fanfare here is the accompanying 2nd Edition to the first must-have guide to understanding yachtspeak (Yachting Translations Vol. I). In this follow-up we veer deeper into the underpinning meanings behind some of the promises, threats, entreaties and casual swears often heard onboard.

You hear: “If you quit now I’ll make sure you never work on a yacht again.”
Spoken by: The captain
Means: “I have an inflated sense of my ability to influence a global industry. In addition I prioritize petty vengeance over good management practices, which is very likely what led us to this particular juncture in the first place. I would apologize but due to spending a large part of my professional life in an insulated echo-chamber lovingly filled with people who assure me I am absolutely correct at all times, I am physically unable and would likely collapse of a burst spleen were I to admit that you might have a point in wanting to seek greener pastures. I desperately wish I could bid you good luck but you have made me worried and a little sad and now I must yell at you.

You hear: “What do you think about sharing a cabin?”
Spoken by: Your onboard flame
Means: “Look, this is crazy. We’ve been drunk 80% of our time off the boat together. I think we’ve probably got something here but I can’t entirely remember. If I’m honest I think you’re pretty darn good-looking first thing in the morning, and if I’m really honest all this meeting on the high seas and shagging on deck under the stars meshes very neatly with the narrative of love and adventure that I am working on here. So I’d like to try getting more serious but only if you promise not to ruin everything and will disappear if it goes to shit. And I get the big closet.”

You hear: “Are you getting a break after this trip?”
Spoken by: A charter guest
Means: “Did we break you? I hope we haven’t broken you. We didn’t break you did we? That would be too bad because you seem nice and I’d like to imagine there’s fun in this for you too. Maybe just let me imagine that.”

You hear: “Who the fuck tracked muddy footprints up the passerelle last night?”
Spoken by: The bosun
Means: “I have very little control over anything in my life right now and I am trying to not let that get to me. One of the ways I do this is by working very very hard at keeping this boat very very clean. And one of you shitheads went out and had a good old time and came back and made a mess while I was sleeping and dreaming of Tahitian green rooms. Surfing. Barreling waves. Stay with me. Anyway I literally feel like you walked on my face and I want to know which of you did it so I can be mad at something in particular and exert some control in one of the few areas I am allowed to. Your feet.

You hear: “All the guests are up.”
Spoken by: Someone over the radio
Means: “Shit just got real.”

You hear: “Keep in touch.”
Said by: A departing crewmate
Means: “There is no reasonable way for me to tell you in the three seconds I have left on this boat how much all of the laughter and fucking blood, sweat, and – if we’re honest – tears we shared meant to me. Just listing all of the places we went would make me miss my flight, and if we start getting into the stories I might as well unpack. You have both irritated and impressed the hell out of me and I will never admit to either. As a rule I do not purchase flight insurance but if the airline sold keep-in-touch insurance I would buy the hell out of it. But they don’t so I’m just going to say it and that’s going to have to do. Good-bye my friend. You’re a shithead, and I’m going to miss you.”

9 Out Of 10 Yacht Crew Are Currently In Machu Picchu. 

If you are the member of a yacht crew and have 9 friends; chances are they’re all 2450m above sea level enjoying ancient ruins right this very moment.

While always a popular destination for attractive young people with aspirations of getting off on the beaten track, 2015 has seen record numbers of tanned and topped-up yachties flying up the hills with fresh blisters and grins. While exact numbers are difficult to come be in the remote region, conservative estimates put the number of crew who have made the trip this season somewhere between 6000 and ‘All’.

Strange and downright awkward situations have arisen from this flood tide of nautical escapees. Enterprising crew agencies have actually opened shop within the old walled city itself, creating the surreal sight of disappointed looking young people sitting curbside asking each other for advice, high in the mountains.

And there have been the inevitable and uncomfortable encounters between crew from the same vessel who had been trying to get away from each other, and instead found themselves sharing a single-track llama path high in the Andes.

‘I really wasn’t expecting to see the captain I work for.’ Says Dora Hexploraugh, interior crewmember on a large sailing yacht currently located in: ‘I don’t know, and I don’t care.’

Asked how awkward their unexpected reunion was she put it at,’Extremely. For one thing I had told him I had to go to my sister’s wedding and instead came here. And for another he asked me to make him a coffee.’

In possibly related news, the captain of a large sailing yacht is missing somewhere in the Cusco region of Peru, home to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, and great coffee.

Top Bunch Of Things Yacht Crew Do When The Season Ends

  1. Go directly to the nearest shipyard.
  2. Go directly to a shipyard really far away.
  3. Demand a vacation. Get denied. Work.
  4. Get laid off.
  5. Get laid (statistically fewer than number 4 but anecdotally greater).
  6. Threaten to party and then cover the watch.
  7. Play music really loudly until you get a look.
  8. Go for a run in an industrial wasteland.
  9. Dodge hurricanes.
  10. Let out an involuntary war cry.
  11. Let out an involuntary sob.
  12. Get knocked up.
  13. Quit/Get fired.
  14. Have a coffee a shot a beer a wine and a lie down.
  15. Work like your mama doesn’t know you know how.
  16. Mic Drop.
  17. Pick up mic and polish and put away neatly in labelled box.

Yachting Translations: Vol. I

University of Missouri Archives

University of Missouri Archives

A must-have guide to understanding yachtspeak:

1. You hear: “Hey, do you want to go waterskiing after work?”
Spoken by: Captain
Means: “Hey, can you set up, break down and drive the tender for me on your off-time? Say yes.”

2. You hear: “Hey. Just wondering, did you get a laundry bag?”
Spoken by: Interior crew
Means: “Can you please use your fucking laundry bag instead of dumping your random shit on the floor every morning.”

3. You hear: “Thanks. I’ll be back around midnight.”
Spoken by: The owner while stepping off the tender onto the dock.
Means: “Thanks. I’ll be back whenever the hell I feel like.”

4. You hear: “Hey how’s your first day going? Good. That’s cool. Oh, I was just wondering, are you allergic to anything? Got any food preferences?”
Spoken by: Chef
Means: “Am I going to like you or hate you three times daily?”

5. You hear: “Don’t apologize, it’s not that late, I’m often up at 2:00 a.m. Of course I can find you a taxi in a tiny town where everyone went to sleep three hours ago. Sure, S-Class or better. No problemo.”
Spoken by: Shore Agent
Means: “Thank God you people only come here once a year.”

6. All of these spoken by the first mate regarding the weather forecast for a passage that evening:

A) You hear: “Should be pretty calm.”
Means: “Shit is going to fly, but you won’t be ready for it.”

B) You hear: “It’s going to be a little rough.”
Means: “You will cower in your bunk and pray for death.”

C) You hear: “It’s going to be pretty shitty out there.”
Means: “Run away. Run away.”

D) You hear: “Yeah. Nice. I think it’ll be nice. Have you seen my jeans?”
Means: “I had a late night and haven’t checked the weather yet.”

7.You hear: Blank stare
Spoken by: Engineer
Means: Maybe if I stare at you long enough you will grow some initiative and try a new light bulb before pestering me with this ridiculously menial task when I am in the middle of a generator rebuild. Not yet. Nope not yet either. Sigh. Ok. “Sure, I can check that for you.” Grit-teeth grin.

8. You hear: “We’re looking for a couple’s position.”
Spoken by: A couple
Means: “We are really trying to make this shit work and if you’d just help us with that you will not regret it promise.”

9. You hear: “Do you have any denatured prune juice?”
Spoken by: A guest
Means: “There is no such thing as denatured prune juice, but I am going to really enjoy watching you try to find some.”

Having trouble translating a yachtism? Send it on through and our team of interpreters will be happy to help.

Capt. Douche Logs Another Season Of Doing Douchey Things In Douchey Places

The Hoff (not Capt. Douche, but a good stand-in)

The Hoff (not Capt. Douche, but a good stand-in)

“The douche is, I love what I douche.” Douches Captain Douche, a douche-year veteran of the douchestry. “I could have douched any other douche, but I chose this douche because, quite douchely, for an old douchebag like me there’s just no better douche.”

Showing us around the 30-meter motor yacht he has been douching for the past four years, Capt. Douche (Dooey to his friends) explains that he has been a douche for as long as he can remember. “It sort of runs in the family. My dad was a big douchebag, as were both of my older brothers. As soon as I was old enough to walk I was douchey, and I never really looked back from there. The notion that someone would some day pay me to be douchey, and take his boat to some of the douchiest places on earth, never even occurred to me back then. I just douched for the douche of it. And it’s that same attitude I still douche with me todouche.”

His crew were more than happy to vouch for this. “Oh yeah. He’s the real douche.” Says a deckhand who refused to give his name and said he was quitting as soon as he got paid for his last three months work. “I’ve been on a few boats now,” Joined in an interior crewmember. “And he’s easily the biggest douche I’ve worked for. Even when we’re somewhere really douchey, which is often, he stands out. No one out-douches that guy.”

Dooey blushes when these observations are related back to him, before modestly admitting, “It’s true. I take being a douche very seriously. All douche, every douche, I am on douche. One-hundred-and-douche percent.” No douche it is this all out commitment to being a douche that has made Captain Douche his name. Despite having a wife and child at home in Douche, France, Dooey’s focus on the douche at hand is well known throughout the douchestry.

“I love doing business with Capt. Douche,” Says Mr. Douche (no relation), lead broker and director of Douche-Douchery & Sons yacht brokerage. “He knows what sort of douchiness the guests want him to douche even before they douche. It’s uncanny, almost like he has a sixth douche. It’s why I keep sending douchebags back to whatever boat he’s working on. After all, it isn’t the douche that makes the trip, its the doucher.”

Asked what his plans are for the future, Dooey looks thoughtfully out towards the distant horizon before saying, “I know I’ll always be a douche. I’m not getting any younger of course, so I douche have to start douching about my next douche. What that will be exactly, I’m not yet sure. But what I douche know is it will have to be something related to douching. It’s all I’ve ever douched. You know what they say, you can take the doucher out of the douche, but you can never take the douche out of the doucher.”

We put Captain Douche up to our standard round of rapid-fire questions. Usually we do ten but his answers got lamer as we went so we called it at five. Here are the results:

  1. Favourite destination?
    – St. Tropez
  2. Douchiest thing you do on a regular basis?
    – Give massages to people who don’t want them.
  3. If you could be anyone in the world who would you be?
    – Donald Trump
  4. Favourite catch-phrase or saying?
    – That’s what she said.
  5. Who should play you in a movie of your life?
    – Mitch Buchannon
    5a. He’s not an actor, he’s a character…
    – What’s the difference?

What Yacht Crew Most Hate To Hear

“Provisions are here.” At 8:00 AM. On a day off. When you got back to the boat at 7:00 AM. And lost your flip flops. And your sunglasses. And your dignity.

“My sister is getting married in July.” If you’re a captain. With a full charter schedule booked. And the person saying this is your chief stewardess.

“The boss is coming on Friday.” When you’re an engineer. In the middle of a busy yard period. And it’s Thursday.

“Are you sure about that?” If you’re a chief officer sitting your Master’s oral exam. And you think you’re sure. But you’re not sure. And if you don’t pass you won’t get the job. And everyone will laugh at you.

“12.” When you’re a stew, and that’s how many smoothies you’re being asked to make. And they’re all different. And you’re out of bananas.

“Is that a rock?” When you’re on watch. Going full chat. And your watch partner is pointing directly ahead. And it is rock.

“The tender isn’t there.” If you’re part of the deck crew. And the tender should be there.

“I fucking hate her.” When you accidentally overhear a conversation. And you’re her.

“What’s in this?” If you’re a chef. And you’ve just said what’s in it. To everyone. Individually. As they came in one by one for lunch.

“The rest of the provisions are here.” At 08:30 AM. On that same day off. When you just climbed back into your bunk. To die.

Feel free to put your own thing(s) you hate to hear in the comments. You don’t have to be a yachtie. We’re equal opportunity.