If you read my previous blog post you know that at this point in my story we had just found a forever home for the dog that we were fostering. As we no longer had Choco keeping us in one place we started to come up with plans for things we could do next with our lives… making money was high up in our list of priorities and I had an idea for something we could possibly both do together…
In my early twenties I was a stewardess on private super yachts for a few years. I was lucky enough to get jobs on 6 different boats ranging from ‘smaller’ 37 metre motor yachts to an insane 119 metre multi-million dollar mega yacht. I got to visit countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, USA, Italy, France, Croatia, Holland and Spain whilst getting paid extremely good money, tax free and with no rent to pay. It was honestly so crazy! If you have ever watched Below Deck on Netflix, it’s pretty much exactly like that.
Those years were some of the best of my life and I always kind of regretted leaving the industry, so being able to get on a boat with G would be awesome! It would be the most ideal situation, but sadly not the most realistic as couples positions are the hardest to find.
After I had told G about all the amazing experiences I had while working as yacht crew it was easy to convince him that it was something we should both persue. So, I renewed my yacht courses and he did his for the first time. Even if we couldn’t get a position together we hoped that we would be able to at least get some day work or a temp position for this year, make some money and then come back next season with some recent experience under our belts.
Becoming a ‘yachtie’ isn’t easy. Especially when you don’t have any experience, but if you know someone already in it, then its a bit easier. The first step is doing an STCW’95 training course which covers first aid, sea survival and fire-fighting. You also need a sea-farers medical certificate to prove you are in good health. If you want to be a deck hand, you won’t get very far without a power-boat level 2 license for driving the tender.
We had to fly to Palma two times to complete our courses. The STCW’95 is a week long course so we stayed in an Airbnb and made a little holiday of it each time. The fire-fighting part was just as hot and horrible as I remembered it from the first time, you actually have to go into a burning building, climb a staircase all in pitch black whilst carrying a heavy hose and fight a fire. Such a crazy experience!
After we had all of our certificates up to date we could register with all the yacht crew agencies online to see if there was anything suitable for us, but ideally we needed to be where the yachts were to have the best chance at success. Barcelona is a fairly big hub for yachts and thought it could be a good base for us to live and find day work on the yachts. So, we decided to take a trip to Barcelona and see about moving there.
I have been to Barcelona a few times and absolutley adore the city. But after meeting with the estate agent and seeing the sorts of places we could get for our money we had to come up with another plan! Properties are really, REALLY expensive in Barcelona, if we sold our 3 story beach house with a shared pool and gardens we would be able to buy a tiny one bedroom apartment just outside of the city. We quickly realised that wasn’t something we wanted. So…
We came up with a Plan B, to rent our house out and drive to Antibes. Antibes is the biggest yacht hub in Europe. They have lots of yacht crew agencies based there and even have special accomodations for yachties trying to find work. These crew houses can be booked open ended so you can stay there until you are successful in securing a crew position… or until you run out of money and have to go home!
It seemed like it was meant to be when we were contacted by an aquaintence asking if we knew of a place for rent for the summer for their daughter and her boyfriend. It fitted in perfectly with our plan, they were even happy to take care of the kitties while we were gone so we didn’t have to worry about finding a solution for them!
The couple arrived very quickly, keen to start their summer in our beach house in the South of Spain. As soon as our new tenants were settled in, we packed as much stuff as we could fit into our little car and set off on our journey to find a job for the summer working as yacht crew.
Have you ever worked in the yachting industry or do you know anyone who does? Let me know in the comments below x