Take 2 on superyacht life

The month of probation onboard is over, favorably I might add. I now have a well paying and interesting job I love until at least September. We are still in pre-season with no guests aboard and just a skeleton crew. The job list shrinks and grows like a living being but slowly we are getting through it. The last few weeks have seen me sanding and re-paiting our Tigé wakeboarding boats engine. At 1.85m I am not the smallest ”deckie” out there and getting into the boats engine bay involved some rather interesting contortions of the human body. Sanding and fairing on our other tenders is on the list at the moment too. The weather has started to smile at last, despite a dark hail storm that rolled in from the North one afternoon, leaving the deck festooned with pea sized hail. The next day the decks at morning briefing were still frozen in places yet just days later the temperature soared upwards into the early twenties as the sweat rolled down and the shorts came out.

I still really miss surfing and wave riding but here I am gaining new skills and a career I love so all is far from lost. Many will tell you that the Mediterranean is wavless, a watery desert for the wave riding inclined. This is not so. Granted it is not full of glassy point breaks, in fact here in Mallorca it is just full of jellyfish, but there are waves. You just have to adapt, being a true waterman and having the skills to enjoy the ocean whatever the conditions. This week after work I spotted what looked like a rideable wave breaking across the bay from us. It looked sketchy at best but after a month and a half here it was worth a shot. As soon as we finished out working day I felt my excitement climb as I almost sprinted down the crew corridor to my cabin to grab my wetsuit (3mm shortie and a long sleeved rashvest). It’s amazing but the feeling was the same as any pre surf session, butterflys and a knot in my stomach, as I grabbed the 6’6” thruster that I found on board and my new GoPro Hero3 camera and sprinted across the dock to jump in and take my first strokes toward the waves. It was cold, very cold, numbingly cold  . Not only that, I could see dozens of jellyfish in the water around me. Such was my surf lust, my need to be in the water, that I just paddled on. The result after an hour was a half dozen stings on my lower legs which were, at least temporarily, offset by my numb feet. It tried to paddle into the small, closeout sets but it just wasn’t happening. The wave broke in ankle deep water over a jagged, boulder strewn rock bottom. Even so I spent an hour paddling up and down, trying to find a sweet spot that would alow me just one wave. I think surfers are unique like that, even when we KNOW that the are no or un-surfable waves we still try it on. Just to be in the water, to feel the power of the sea breaking over me, the stoke rose inside me and it wasn’t until I got out after running the jellyfish gauntlet again that I realised how numb my feet were.

Saturday is SUP day for us, fun paddling with friends, laughing and spalshing for a couple of hours. Check the video below:


Off season superyacht life

Well, it’s been almost a month now aboard my new job and home. Slowly things are starting to click, the feeling of being hopelessly lost that comes with the first few weeks on a new boat and job are now fading. There is still a hell of a lot to learn, which is probably the best part of being aboard. Being on board a superyacht for the first time I am finding it very different to being on the smaller sail boats that I have worked and lived on, especially as this is an MY or ‘Motor Yacht’. There is an element of grace that seems lacking on a MY, although many, this one in particular are beautiful pieces of marine architecture. There is so much to be said about the power of the wind, billowing clouds of canvas above you and the heel of a graceful sail vessel. But like I say, I am here to learn, trying to soak up as much as I can from the already expert crew whether it be painting, tender driving, safety checks, fairing, getting our sailing dinghy or hobie cat ready or splicing etc. Every skill is valued and on an 80m vessel there is a lot to learn or perfect.

From the sky-deck. Another timeless sunset, dipping into the Meditteranean with out sat and comms domes silhouetted.

From the sky-deck. Another timeless sunset, dipping into the Mediterranean with out sat and comms domes silhouetted.

The boat is being prepared for the Mediterranean season at present, the season running from May until September more or less. During that time we anywhere in the Med is on the cards, places such as South of France, Sicily, Greece, Turkey or Croatia. We run a Monday to Friday schedule right now, during weekends there are always people on watch but as we live aboard there are usually several of us around. An average work day for me now goes something like this:

-06.00h: wake up, strong coffee and 30 mins of cardio in the onboard gym.

-07:30: Breakfast

-07:50h: Morning briefing with officers and deck crew. From then on we knuckle down to our assigned tasks which are varied. Some are a weekly occurence such as rescue boat checks, battery checks etc, others monthly and then there are the day to day tasks as dictated such as repairs, cleaning, maintenance etc. Work is pretty physical and messy at times, nothing like a 3 day wash down to burn some calories!! Yes, it takes 3 days to fully clean our hull and 4 decks…..

-10:00h: Coffee break

-12:00h: Lunch. We are lucky to have two very good chefs cooking for us, providing plenty of healthy food. Tonnes of fruit and snacks on hand too.

-15:00h: Coffee break

-17:00h: Finish

After work I usually either run around to the SUP school at the Mar Balear Dive Centre opposite us in the El Toro (Mallorca) marina for a paddle or hit the gym again for some circuit training. SUP here feels a bit strange as the water is still really cold, although this week I braved it in boardies and a 0.5mm rashie…. I think it was a bit foolhardy as I can’t feel my toes still! There was a tiny wave breaking of the end of a little breakwater and it felt sooooo good to feel the board take of and accelerate on the small waves! It made me miss home quite a bit, warm water and waves!! 😉

SUP carnage....Nigel (left)hanging around while I (far right) drink a beer on the SUP jeje

SUP carnage….Nigel (left)hanging around while I (far right) drink a beer on the SUP jeje

The crew are getting into paddle boarding which has been fun, lots of laughs and splashes, and always great to spread the ocean passion. Paddling back to the beach as a cold sun set behind us reminded me of sunset surfs at home.

Evenings are for getting some food, watching a film and resting because tomorrow…. back to the bilges! jejeje
Sanding down the engine on our wakeboard boat in the tender garage, ready for painting.

Sanding down the engine on our wakeboard boat in the tender garage, ready for painting.