Every Problem On Every Yacht Caused By One Thing

Alfred Hitchcock taken by Gjon Mili, 1942

An in-depth survey of yacht crew has confirmed that there is one single thing responsible for every single problem on all boats: The previous crew.

“I’ve been master of over a dozen yachts, and every time it has become clear within five minutes of joining that the captain before me was worse than useless and the entire operation would have been better run by the goldfish now floating belly-up in a dirty tank in the crew mess.” Says Steve Adore, a 30-year veteran of the business. “Accounts in disarray, maintenance not being done on the machinery, crew acting like baboons from broken homes. In a word; chaos. Even when the last captain they had was me.”

The survey, which interviewed nearly 4 people over the course of 2 minutes, allowed respondents the chance to give an example of something they had to fix because the person who held the job before them had left it in ruin. The examples they gave provide a veritable roll-call of the endemic issues in the industry today.

“The uniform sucked to a level that it actually lowered your self esteem just to look at it; and had been ordered in such large quantities that we could have clad every bellhop in New York in it and still had mountains left. Horrible, scratchy mountains that don’t fit anywhere.’ Reported a chief stewardess on a large sailing yacht.

‘Engines need oil like a sailor needs rum. And everyone other than Captain Ron, and the dingbat who used to be the chief on here knows why. I honestly don’t know what the guy did with all the time he must have had leftover from not doing his job. There are only 13 seasons of ‘Family Guy’.” Railed a Chief Engineer on a moderately sized motor yacht.

“All of the main saloon windows are scratched. It looks like Wolverine worked here. I don’t know what the bosun before me used to squeegee glass but my best guess would be a rock taped to a board. And the varnish. Oh the varnish. If it were my boat I would sell it and donate the money to the families of the people who did the brightwork, as they clearly have suffered greatly.” Cried out a bosun, bereft of all hope.

“The first 12 things I said upon joining my last vessel as master were, ‘You’re fired.’ The boat only carries three crew, but I was a little excited and wanted to be extra clear with each of them. I then commenced with tallying a list of everything that had been done wrong by the previous crew and was still working on it when I too was relieved of my position.” Stated the former captain of a small yacht, now back in the job hunt.

A common sentiment amongst our respondents was that identifying the source of the problem was only the majority of the battle. As one crewmember explained, “Knowing whose fault it is does put most of my concerns to rest. My main objective in these situation is to make it absolutely clear that I didn’t do it. I only turn to solving the problem once that is acknowledged a number of times by everyone involved. Then, if there is any time left over, I try to solve it.” Asked if he didn’t think this was a somewhat skewed approach the respondent thought for a moment before replying, “Whats the point of fixing something that everyone thinks you broke? Much better to make very sure that everyone knows it wasn’t you. Then if you do fix it you’re the good guy, and even if you don’t, at least you’re not the bad guy.”

Why Yacht Advertising Is Boring, And Likely To Stay That Way.

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Early morning at a bustling brokerage somewhere. A fresh-faced broker approaches one of the executives to put forward a marketing idea he’s been working on. One of them has had too much coffee that a.m., the other too much wine the previous p.m. Pleasantries are exchanged, each other’s tie sub-consciously assessed, and then the junior staffer makes his move.

“So about the new ad campaign for the glossies. I really think we need to move away from the status quo. Maybe provoke a bit of intrigue, challenge the boring old norms.”

“Well I couldn’t agree more. Take absolute free license to make that happen. Just so long as you include a picture of a yacht underway. Preferably with all of its toys in the water making pretty patterns in the wake.”

“Right. That’s what I mean, that’s the status quo. That’s what I think we want to differentiate ourselves from. Sales are slipping, I don’t think we’re connecting with the next generation of owners. We need new angles, a fresh start.”

“Ok. Yeah. I hear you. New angles. I’ve got it. Let’s try a shot down the side deck of a motor yacht. High noon, low-angle, lots of teak. We can even do it in black and white.”

“Mmhmm. I see. Well.  I guess it isn’t another aerial…”

“And let’s have a solitary woman, walking down the deck, back to the camera. Maybe wearing a classy black bathing suit, but daringly cut. Nice wrap or sarong on her, worn off the shoulder. Sun hat. Champagne flute held just so. Like this. And long legs. Really long. Extra glossy.”

“The legs?”

“All of it.”

Ad nauseum. No need to translate the latin there, we’ll tell you. It means sick of ads. Repetitive, boring, uninspired filler that can only be intended to remind you that a place is still in business, has access to a high-quality camera, and knows people who like to drive boats in circles.

Whats wrong with that? Apart from being penetratingly dry, not much right? They’re nice to look at, even if the words ‘quality’, ‘luxury’, and ‘pinnacle’ are used so often as to become the verbiage equivalent of an expired lottery ticket. And sure, if you saw one or two of these boat ads in isolation you might say, “Wow, what is that thing and where can I get one?” But 52 pages into your favourite yacht magazine – and 104 photos of a vessel ‘gliding across an azure sea’ later – you begin to feel a bit queasy. Because the trouble with someone trying to feed you a dream is before long you begin to feel like you ate a pillow.

Why the lack of differentiation? Why so repetitive, even amongst competing brands? Why does no one grab a share of market attention by breaking the mold, or at least flexing it?

For the incumbents of the industry it’s because there’s no reason to create a ruckus by suddenly going avant garde. What would be thought of that? If an established shipyard were to run a tongue-in-cheek campaign based on the slogan ‘We guarantee the yacht we make you will outlast your marriage, or we’ll get you another,’ there is little chance that this would go viral in their target market. And even if it should, the perception is that the it will be ire – not orders – that’ll be raised.

Or why would an international brokerage house, one with a roster full of deep-pocketed clients, try to make a play at humour by publishing an ad diagramming the greatly increased radius a wealthy person can maintain from poor people at all times while at anchor off of a chosen port, rather than hoed up in a shoreside hotel? It simply isn’t worth it. Their image is stability. Boring old (profitable) stability. The advertising reflects this in high definition.

And for the new kids on the block, the upstart yards and boat sellers, it is that same gravitas and solidity they are keen to put on when they too follow suit and go for more-of-the-same ads. They’re already concerned that their newcomer status will scare off clients, wary of losing millions in a yard that previously knocked together ferries, or in some cases nothing at all. And if you’ve never sold a boat before, the prevailing wisdom seems to be ‘act like you showed Noah the ark’. Established-sounding names stamp the pages, and expensive-looking fonts assure the reader of the experience of this new company, to a level that jostles with the usual over-used words until you get sentences like ‘the pinnacle of experience in quality luxury.’

So while it would be nice to see some variety, don’t expect to open a yachting publication anytime soon to an advert that says: ‘If subtlety was important to you, you wouldn’t be reading this magazine. Stop fighting it. #Getayacht”. In the meanwhile we’ll have to be content with chuckling at the unintentionally (?) hilarious. Like this:
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Editors Note: The General Alarm will happily waive all rights to any of our marketing ideas mentioned here, in exchange for being able to make it to the table of contents in a yacht mag without needing three naps and a fly zapper.

Why Yachts Don’t Recycle

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“We would love to. Every time I throw a thousand used water bottles in the bin, I wish there was just some way I could stop ruining the planet.” Says Jojo Biggs, chief stew on a 65-meter motor yacht capable of covering a small atoll in rubbish after a single day’s worth of operations. “But the problem is the shipyards and marinas don’t provide facilities for it, so what’s the point?”

“We’ve tried providing separated waste facilities for recycling to the yachts,” States Jim Flananagan, director of direction for Stay Here Forever Shipyards (specializing in jobs on a tight time scale).”But the crew just don’t use them. Plus the city won’t send their collection trucks all the way out here anyway. So what’s the point?”

“We used to send collection trucks out there,” Parries Johnny Rotten, head of recycling for the city of Palm Beach. “But they never had any recyclable material for us to pick up. So what’s the point?”

Clearly an intractable juggernaut of a problem. Who will be the first to blink in this stalemate? Who will crack and just go ahead and put a plastic bottle in a clear bag and say, “Hey, I think you can recycle these. You know, melt them down, and use them all again for something, rather than put them in a pile somewhere and wait for them to outlast all of us by like a million years.” The current outlook for a break in this impasse would be grim, were it not for an IMO mandate regarding enforcement of recycling on all vessels which is expected to pass in the very near future, perhaps even as early as 2075.

“With disposal and discharge of oil, garbage, sewage and certain gases already in place, it was easy to co-ordinate a rapid response to the problem of poor recycling habits in the marine sector at large.” Announces Ernst Bremner, IMO spokesperson. “Using the existing framework of the MARPOL convention already in place for dealing with garbage we are planning to push this through in record time. By pulling a number of heavy, all-afternoon sessions scattered over the next few decades, we are confident we can have this pushed through in no more than 60 years.”

With the days seemingly numbered in which everything from dinner leftovers to unopened packs of Mardi Gras beads can be dumped in the same bin, crew on many vessels are trying to get out in front of the issue by raising it now with captains and vessel managers. One junior deckhand explained that the real trouble with getting a recycling program going onboard appears to be space and carpentry-related.

“Its always the same. I get told we don’t recycle because the marina doesn’t take it. So then I offer to drive it to the depot myself. Then I’m told that’s not what the crew car is for. So I offer to rent one myself. And thats when the truth comes out.” He explains at this point he’s told that the main problem is there is nowhere to put recycling bins in the confines of an enormous superyacht, and plus new cabinets would have to be made, “And they say that will be expensive. They ask if I know how much that would cost. And I don’t of course, because I have no idea what sort of wood they want to use or fittings or whatever, I just don’t want to throw my can in a bag that goes in a landfill. But no one wants to hear it. So for whatever reason I’m still doing just that, and I don’t really get why it’s so hard.”

Obsessively Taking Photos Of Sunrises/Sunsets Officially Recognized As A Disorder

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While the label for the disorder is new, evidence of its effects will be familiar to anyone who uses social media, has looked at a photo album or been to a beach in the late afternoon. Experts estimate that Solsnapomania – an obsession with taking pictures of sunrises and sunsets – has been around as long as there have been people, the sun, and cameras in one place with a view of the horizon, a free hand, and an inability to recognize that a picture won’t do the real thing justice and no one cares anyway.

“While Solsnapomaniacs are common in all walks of life, we have found an especially high concentration of them in the maritime sector.” Says Dr. Jimenez, a researcher with the Institute For Obsessing on Obsessions. “Now, whether these individuals became obsessed with capturing sunrises and sunsets through prolonged exposure – no pun intended – to witnessing the sun’s activities on a daily basis as per their jobs, or were drawn to their industry by this obsession, is something we are still trying to work out. It’s still very chicken and egg. Or egg and chicken, depending on how you look at it.”

With recognition growing that this is indeed a disorder and not just a mildly tacky pastime, support groups for Solsnapomaniacs have proliferated in many seaside cities and towns. A number of large marinas have begun hosting local chapters of Solsnappers Anonymous, with a recent congregation of one such group in Miami quickly filling to standing-room only and requiring an emergency run to Dunkin’ Donuts for additional refreshments. Denise (last name withheld), an attendee of that meeting, and chief stewardess on a large sail yacht, described her obsession for The General Alarm:

“I always know that the photo won’t do the real thing justice, but I just can’t help myself, I have to try to capture it, partly because I think it looks nice and maybe partly because sometimes life feels really transient, especially working on a boat. I guess with the photos in a way I’m trying to hang on to a moment in time, even though I know you can’t really do that.” As she finished relating this thought she slowly raised her smart phone to mid-chest and quietly took a picture of this reporter, then nodded to herself with grim satisfaction before asking if we are on Instagram (we aren’t).

But many remain in the denial stage of the disorder, with no shortage of Facebook updates featuring the all-too-familiar horizontal perspective of an over-exposed image, accompanied by a message apologizing for ‘yet another sunset shot’, yet posting it anyway.

“No I don’t think I have a problem,” Says a holiday-maker on the promenade in Ft. Lauderdale with more than a trace of hostility. “I’ll have you know that I regularly get 30-40 Facebook likes for my pictures of sunsets. Which is a lot more than I get for photos of my food, no matter how delicious it looks.”

One thing there is universal agreement on is that as annoying as numerous shots of a sky the colour of pink eye are, they are nowhere near as off-putting as yet another photo of peoples’ own mugs. As Jim (last name withheld), another attendee of Solsnappers Anonymous, put it, “I know not everyone is a fan of my sunset pics, but at least the subject of them is an exploding ball of gas billions of years old that sustains life as we know it, instead of my own damn face.”

Majority Of Chief Officers And First Mates Admit They Wouldn’t Have Worked For Themselves

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“If I’d had to work for a chief officer like the one I am now, I’d have told myself to go get fucked. Straight up.” Says chief officer Dirk – ‘The Jerk’ as his junior crew confessed to calling him – Carroway. “That’s the unvarnished truth. And I know varnish.”

A recent survey of chief officers and mates on vessels around the world, conducted by The General Alarm, indicates that the majority of participants agree; they just wouldn’t have stood for themselves.

“I ask a lot of my crew, and not a whole lot of myself.” Admits Dom Juan, first officer on a 73m motor yacht. “I’m usually the last one up in the morning, first one to knock off in the afternoon, and am fond of parcelling out lengthy job lists just before departing in the crew car at 10:00 a.m. for the rest of the day.” Asked for a specific example of a task or situation in which he asks more of his current crew than he would have been willing to give when he was a deckhand, Dom readily describes what he’d have done to a mate who requested that the tender be detailed after the mate had used it to go wakeboarding. Suffice to say the description of his likely actions, while detailed, did not involve the tender – or cleaning – in any way. “But not the kids these days, oh no. If I ask them to do something silly or annoying they just stare into space for a couple of seconds, take a breath, and then get stuck in. And I’m alright with that. I don’t mind long looks of defeat and self-doubt as to why they are here in this place with me. As long as I get a clean tender to go wakeboarding in.”

In the survey, 86% of respondents indicated they would have never taken a job working for themselves in the first place, were this hypothetical situation actually possible and they had known in advance they would be working for an older, lazier, more jaded version of themselves.

“If I know anything, I know myself.” States Shannon O’Shannon, mate on a large sailing vessel. “And I’m a real dick to work for. I don’t know how these guys do it. My work lists are so counter-productive and poorly thought out that sometimes they annoy even me, and I’m not the one doing the jobs.” Asked later to verify this claim of ill-conceived tasking, Mr. O’Shannon’s deck crew readily agreed that this was indeed the case.

In a follow up question at the end of the survey, the respondents were asked if they found their answers revealing. “I absolutely do,” Says Dirk (you know the rest) Carroway, nodding vigorously. “Knowing how much of a pain in the ass I am as a CO serves as a useful reminder that I never, ever, want to be a deckhand again. Really, when I think about it, that’s always been my motivation to keep climbing the career ladder. I guess you could say I’m trying to get out from under myself.”

“Concordia Captain Should Be Imprisoned For Rest Of Great-Grandchildren’s Lives”, Say Many Captains

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With the recent sentencing of Franceso Schettino – master of the ill-fated Costa Concordia – to 16 years in prison, calls for stiffer penalties came quickly, decisively, and strangely specifically, from his fellow maritime captains.

“He should go to a very small jail with poor plumbing and no air conditioning in a very warm place for the rest of his great-grandchildren’s lives, and the only news he should receive there should be the daily low temperature forecasted for Spitsbergen, Norway.” Said one Captain, Master Bjorg Jorgensen of the M/V Maersk Maersk Maersk Etc.

“16 years is what people get for chewing gum in Singapore.” Added another master who wished to remain anonymous. “This man sunk a cruise ship while showing off for his girlfriend, tried to hide this fact for as long as you can hide a 70m hole in a boat and then when he discovered that wasn’t very long, abandoned ship leaving behind hundreds of confused passengers and crew on a heavily listing vessel in the dark. 32 of whom never made it to safety. 16 years in prison? He should be made to have small speakers surgically imbedded in his ears that play the sound of his vessel’s general alarm being rung for the rest of his life in staggered increments that he never gets used to and makes him jump every time it sounds.”

Considering the nature of the incident, and that there is audio tape of Schettino being ordered back onboard the sinking vessel by the Italian coastguard, it isn’t surprising that there exists manifest anger towards this man in the public eye. What is striking is that in cursory and anecdotal research, The General Alarm was unable to find any sympathy for him amongst his own kind, the masters of the oceans, and lakes, and ports, and bathtubs. Anyone who has ever held the helm of a vessel, or has looked at a picture of someone holding a helm and imagined what that would be like, is united: lock him away and throw the key in the chart table organizer.

“Look, the man’s actions were foolish in the extreme, and cost lives.” Expounds Captain Jorgensen, “So of course I think he should be punished. But beyond that, every time the incident comes up in conversation with my crew, I can feel them looking at me and thinking ‘I wonder if this guy here would hop in a life boat while I was three decks below water trying to squeeze my pelvis through a submerged porthole in an attempt to swim to the surface. And so I feel that if I say things like, ‘Schettino has the spine of a calcium-deficient jellyfish that was raised in a small closet under the stairs,’ and that he should be imprisoned for the rest of his life and then his bones should be individually imprisoned in little tiny jails made individually for each bone, that my saying these things will relay a message to my crew. And that message is, ‘Don’t worry, this guy here won’t get you killed or at least if I do I will be right there with you. And that is important for them to know.”

Many other captain’s agree that they have felt it important to distance themselves from this poor example of a masters role in the demise of a vessel, and then deplorable effort in mustering an abandon ship action. “The media calls him Captain Schettino. My crew knows me as Captain Jones.” Said another master reached for comment. “So right there we are sharing half a name, and from that it is only a small leap for my crew to begin picturing our boat lying on its side and me shouting over the radio that I fell into a lifeboat and I’m not going back. I think it’s best to nip those thoughts in the bud, and I find the best way to do that is to name horrible punishments that befit the crime as a way of showing that I am not like this guy. Because why would I say he should be banned from the water to the extent that he never bathes again and only drinks cola for the rest of his life, if I thought I might also end up doing what he did?”

On a sadly funny note, the hapless Italian captain’s name appears to have entered the common vernacular as a word describing someone who engages in showboating behaviour and then runs away when it all goes bad. The term ‘Schettinoed’ was recently used by a BBC political commentator when referring to the trend of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy, and a prominent family blogger in the U.S. categorized the spectacle of prominent Republican leaders denying the importance of vaccinations as a ‘total Schett-show’.

10 Metaphors For Working On A Yacht

‘Searching’ by Jeremy Miranda

These metaphors were submitted by people we made up, but are real metaphors:

1) “To me yachting is an endless summer that is pretty fun except that it’s hot and it never ends.”
– Johnny Deckhand, said during a cigarette break, St. Maarten

2) “Working on a yacht is going fishing and catching a fish that you didn’t even know existed, and thinking it looks delicious. But then when you get it home and cook it, you realize its full of bones and is a lot of work to eat.”
– Chef Shane, mid provisions-loading, San Diego

3) “It’s winning the lottery and then having to give most of the winnings to tax except you don’t pay the tax and instead you spend it all on sunglasses and mixed drinks and hope that no one asks you for the tax. Metaphorically speaking.”
– Anonymous, location withheld

4) “For me, working on a yacht is finding out that the only way you can get into a really exclusive party is if you join the catering staff, but doing it anyway because the party is in a blimp and you heard Mick Jagger was going.”
– Stewardess in a crew agent’s waiting room, Antibes

5) “Go have intercourse with your own self.” (Edited for profanity, and possibly not a metaphor but we’re letting it through)
– A crew member fresh from getting the sack, La Ciotat

6) “It’s living in a really nice, fancy, expensive birdcage with lots of little baths and mirrors and seed cups and really up-to-date newspaper lining the bottom and everyone thinks its incredible and it would be, if you were a bird, and you didn’t have to live there.”
– Donny Deckhand, polishing the rail, Nassau

7) “I’m told it’s partying when all of your friends stayed home and studied, and then finding out the exam is cancelled the next day.”
– Eddie Dayworker, pressed up at the Corner Bar, Palma De Mallorca

8) “It’s missing your flight, and knowing your family was waiting for you at the other end.”
– Captain Morgan, watching the sunset in Dubai

9) “I think it’s planning to do one thing with your day, but instead you end up doing something totally different and all of your friends are like, ‘Hey man what happened to you?’ And you’re like, ‘I don’t even know, but it was crazy and I don’t think I’m coming home.’ ”
– Brucey Bosun, in line at the car rental, Antigua

10) “It’s trading your arm for a nice watch.”
– 2nd Officer Sam, mid-charter season

Feel free to send in your own metaphor for working on yachts in the comments section.

What A Captain’s Watch Says About Them (Or You, If You’re A Captain)

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Beyond being generally inscrutable, a Captain’s taste and decision-making process is especially well-hidden behind the depersonalization of a uniform. It’s often only when seeing a captain disembark for the airport that crew will receive a rare window into who this person is, allowing glimpses of indicative garments such as a linen suit (open to profitable drug deals), shiny new dock shoes (definitely not open to drug deals, regardless of margins), or an extremely loud Hawaiian shirt (will be smashed by boarding time). But apart from these rare glimpses there lies a daily clue to what makes this person tick in plain sight. Their watch.

Editor’s Note: The following will only apply to a vessel’A  Master who has chosen and paid for their watch themselves. If their timepiece was gifted to them or they found it in their drawer and just started wearing it, this may not apply.

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Make: Rolex 
Most Commonly Sighted Model: Oyster Perpetual Submariner
What It Says In A Word Or Two: Company Man
What It Says in A Paragraph: This skipper is established (or at least has been at some point). He appreciates quality (and advertising), and believes that this timepiece allows him to play the part and look the part and know what time it is to the uncorrected microsecond. Win-win-win. If you’re having trouble breaking the ice with this master try a discussion about the Forex markets or taxation. He values established and verified quality, so most likely works on a vessel made in Germany or Holland, drives a German car, and if you are below the rank of officer forgot your name before you told him. A stakeholder in the established status quo, onboard he isn’t just drinking the kool-aid; he made it.

Value In A Liferaft: +/- (Variable). This entirely depends on the behaviour of his investment portfolio prior to the incident that landed you in a survival situation. If the markets were trending upwards, or he was sitting on a stock and was just about to unload when the vessel sank, you’re in great hands. He’ll move heaven and earth to reach safety and access to his E-Trade account in time for market close. But if he recently lost his shirt in a large correction, sinking the vessel may have taken away the last of his lifeforce. Don’t let him volunteer for sea-anchor duty.

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Make: U-Boat
Most Commonly Sighted Model: The one as big as your head
What it says in a word or two: Unsubtle
What it says in a paragraph: This captain was a huge Public Enemy fan. Now that he has the money he has chosen to pay homage to Flavour Flav and his clock necklace by putting a timepiece of similar dimensions on his wrist. And that’s about the nicest thing we can say about that. By wearing an overpriced watch that was purposefully designed to look rugged, and has been strategically branded to appeal to the market of people who think you can buy toughness, this captain is saying a lot of things. One of them is not, ‘solid decision maker’.

Value in a liferaft: – 100. This is not the person you want to be stepping into anything bright orange with. In related news; he is the most likely person with which you will do this. If you find yourself awaiting rescue with a master wearing 4 kilos of Italian marketing ingenuity on his wrist, stay calm and do whatever he says. Not just because he’s in charge, but also because there’s an actual Beretta handgun built into these things.

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Make: Suunto
Most Commonly Sighted Model: Core (All-Black Military Ed.)
What it says in a word or two: Redundantly capable
What it says in a paragraph: This watch is all business, and so is your captain. These masters value reliable information (overload) and can tell you where South is from directly under the polar ice cap whilst holding his breath and wrestling a russian polar bear with a black belt in Muay Thai (the polar bear not your captain, he’s just hard). The good news: If you’re ever in trouble and he’s on your side, he knows more chokeholds than you know words. The bad news: If you’re ever in trouble and he’s on the other side? Same.

Value in a liferaft: That’s classified

cc-Matt-Neale-casio-390x285Make: Casio
Most Commonly Sighted Model: F-91W (Known as a ‘Casio’)
What it says in a word or two: No frills
What it says in a paragraph: This captain values function over form, to the point of obsession. This watch tells him the time for $19.99, same as your Rolex, and for a car or two cheaper. Often a former engineer – though minus the ‘former’ in his own mind – he works logically through problems and gets frustrated with anyone who complicates things with unquantifiable values like feelings. He insists on holding onto aging machinery long after their working life, leading to frequent mid-voyage breakdowns. But he’s also the one to patch whatever is broken back together with parts salvaged from the crew mess dishwasher, often before you knew there was a problem.

Value in a liferaft: +10. This guy is as even-keeled as you get. His facial expression in a liferaft is the same as on his day off: professionally bored. He’s getting you to safety with or without your emotions because that is the logical end to his advanced training in getting shit done. The only thing he’ll need to ask you for is the time, because his watch got wet.

Next month we look at laptops, and what a personal choice in these says about your Chief Engineer, or you, if you’re a Chief Engineer.

Study Concludes Expats That Lose Accent May Suffer From Low Self Esteem. Or Be International Spies. Or Both.

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“Your accent is the knocker on the door to who you are,” explains Dr. Einurhed, lead researcher of a multi-year, multi-person, multi-conclusion, multi-multi study focussing on that subject (accents, not door-knockers). “It says ‘Hey I’m fancy’, or ‘Hey, I’m loud and obnoxious’, or ‘Hey, I’m just a plain old knob’. So when you change that significantly over a short period of time what you’re really saying is ‘I’m not very sure of myself so I’m happy to try out other people’s knockers’.”

Her in-depth study canvassed communities of global expats living as far afield as the International Space Station, and in as bizarre a circumstance as something called ‘yacht-crew’, in which people of mixed nationalities agree to live on other peoples’ boats and go wherever they are told, sometimes for years or even decades, all while doing something known as ‘living the dream’.

Over the course of days, weeks, months, and years, the study compared the accents of subjects with a standard accent from their respective country, and then assigned each individual a value of ‘accent degradation’ according to how much their intonation, inflection, and slang-usage had changed over the length of time the subject had been away from home.

“Yacht crew were off the charts. In many cases we were unable to tell where an individual was from by their accent as it had changed so drastically. It was like we were speaking to international spies, or chameleons, or just plain wannabes.” Says Dr. Einurhed, adding that what really stood out was the short timespan it took for crew to completely change their original accent. “We interviewed individuals who had been onboard less than 45 minutes and had gone from ‘Whimsically Canadian’ to ‘Full-Ocker Australian’, and swore a bloody oath at us when we asked why the change? Struth!”

The most common accent switch sited was from ‘South African accented English’ to ‘Cockney Rhyming Slang’. “If I hear one more person call me China,” says the California-based doctor, turning a deep shade of purple, “They’s gettin’ a smack right in the North and South.”

In her preliminary report released in this month’s issue of ‘Poser’, Dr. Einurhed tentatively concludes that the driving force behind making a rapid and holistic accent change is a strong desire to fit in, coupled with weak moral fibre. “By definition expats have all left home and travelled great distances. While in some cases this is done to broaden horizons and challenge one’s self, it is also often done to escape either a perceived threat to one’s independence – such as an overbearing mother – or a real threat, such as child support payments. Either way, as someone on the run, it can behoove an escapee – I mean expat – to take on a new persona. This allows them to both reinvent themselves and become harder to track.

In an exciting development, the team has also revealed that in some cases they encountered yacht crew who didn’t seem to be speaking any known language at all. Often these subjects worked on the bridge as first or second officers, and seemed to have adapted a form of communication consisting entirely of acronyms. If verified, this will be the first new language of the 21st century, and will give the team the opportunity to name the newly discovered tongue. While initially close-mouthed about the prospective title they hope to use for their discovery, over a few pints it was revealed that they intend to call the language: ‘MUTE’, standing for Meaningless Unintelligible Theoretical English.

‘By The Flare’s Red Glow’ Interviews Captain Leo Durocher

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Master of many things, among them the operation of a superyacht, Leo Durocher is our focus in this month’s ‘By The Flare’s Red Glow’, an as-of-this-very-moment regular feature of The General Alarm in which we’ll be focussing on captains and senior crew and reporting back with all of the answers fit for print. And the other answers. The ones that aren’t fit for print but are ok to put online.

The General Alarm: Hi Captain Durocher, and welcome to ‘By The Flare’s Red Glow’.

Capt. Leo Durocher: “Thanks. Call me Captain Leo.”

TGA: “Ok. That brings us to our first question.Why do some yacht captains refer to themselves as Captain fill-in-the-blank, even when not onboard?”

LD: “I don’t know any Captain Fill-In-The-Blanks. But I understand the question, and the answer is quite simple. It’s because a lot of other guys do it. Plus I managed to get captainleo@gmail.com back in the early days and it helps to remind people of half my contact info every time they say my name.”

TGA: “What got you started in yachting?”

LD: “I’ve always loved two things; the water, and making a good living, and having people do what I tell them to do right away. So becoming a yacht captain was a natural fit. I started out messing around in dinghys and RIBs, got a job at my local yacht club, and landed a gig as a deckhand on my first yacht through a friend by way of my well-defined jawline. That was M/Y My Waaay – three a’s – and I stayed on her books until I sank her as master 14 years later off the Italian coast”

TGA: “What happened there?”

LD: “Not much to say really. The boss needed us to get him to Monaco so he could fly to Geneva to save his fortune. We put out to sea despite a storm forecast, the helicopter broke loose, we took on water, and eventually came up against a rogue wave that stove in the bridge windows and down we went. It was fine though, everyone was rescued and we all danced on the Italian cutter that came to our assistance.”

TGA: “That sounds exactly like what happens to the yacht in the movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.

LD: “Oh yeah? I haven’t seen it.”

TGA: “What came next?”

LD: “I had a new drive in two days. I mean, my deck shoes were still wet from the sinking when I walked onboard the next gig, a yacht called M/Y Calamity. That’s what they say in the business, if you want a better boat, sink the one you’re on. Haha.”

TGA: “Haha. Ha, other than sinking yachts, haha, what do you attribute your success to?

LD: “Well, passion for the job, dedication, attention to detail. And of course being a white guy with great hair. I mean, you don’t see many non-caucasians driving these things do you? Or women. And even most bald guys wear a hat a lot of the time.”

TGA: Do you have any advice for crew starting out who hope to become a yacht captain?”

LD: “Be polite, work without complaining, and smile your hardest all the goddamn time. With all of your teeth. The rest will take care of itself.”

TGA: “Thanks Captain Leo, its been a pleasure speaking to you ‘By the Flare’s Red Glow’.

LD: “Sure thing. And why is it called that anyway?”

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