27th Captains’ Forum | Thursday 23rd March 2023


Thursday 23rd March 2023. Once again superyacht captains had their chance to speak at the 27th Captains’ Forum at the Yachting Day run by YCM during the 6th Monaco Ocean Week. The meeting is one of the activities organised by the Captains’ Club which federates 150 captains with the 3000 certificate, working on superyachts flying the YCM flag. It was their chance to exchange views and contribute to the future of yachting on the theme Superyacht Commitment: Management, Leadership & Mentoring.

From recruitment to motivation and above all consideration

“Without good team work we would be powerless,” began explorer Paul Rose. Regardless of the size of yacht, good working conditions are essential, where everything can be done easily, without a hitch, to avoid the slightest problem and guarantee safety of crew and guests. Management and leadership are key behind this micro-society of crew members who have a clearly defined role. “It’s a very interesting model to observe and it would be wise to draw inspiration from it,” he continued.

People have different qualities and will not necessarily act as you expect when you first meet them. But if you take time to get to know them, they can come out of their shell and surprise you. For Marianne Danissen, Director of Yacht Management – Camper & Nicholson, it’s important to “ensure that crew members feel comfortable on board and that their needs are being taken into consideration. All posts are as important as the captain. They’re linked and I wish there was more training to pave the way for more knowledge, sharing and caring as good teamwork gets you better results”.

The Covid 19 crisis has had a big impact on recruitment methods. “Over the last three years, leadership has been a very important topic,” says Laurence Lewis, President of YPI Crew. Panellists drew attention to the need to listen to crew members and above all not to let a situation deteriorate and risk seeing an individual become isolated. Titta Vaisanen, Life after Yachting consultant, highlighted the importance of monitoring a crew’s mental health, “It’s not always easy to go see your captain and say you don’t feel well but it’s necessary”.

Values and missions with common objectives

The value of each individual is an indispensable asset to a crew’s collective value and cohesion to ensure its mission is successful. All those who have been on deck can testify to it, how a person grows and develops within a crew and finds support. Being part of a crew is above all a constant means of self-enrichment and fulfilment. “A captain must be a leader focused on how to create the best environment possible to get the best out of their team,” notes Captain Greg Foster James (M/Y Symphony).

Consistency is also key to keeping a crew together for the longest period possible and giving its members the desire to grow with the boat. “Every time someone leaves, training starts all over again. Turnover is not irrelevant,” concedes Captain Chris Andreason, (M/Y Lionheart). Autonomy is also essential according to Captain Jan Rautawaara, (M/Y Tranquility): “I trust my crew. Everyone knows I’m here but I let them get on with it. You have to give them the opportunity to do things and learn. But before you get to that stage you have to be sure of your own abilities”.

A career with a future

“Generally, people start in this industry in their twenties, without much experience but it’s also very good to have profiles with a solid professional career behind them. Everyone comes with their own skills which helps develop the crew,” adds Captain Christophe Guégan, (M/Y Mimtee), “It’s all a question of balance”.  Marketing, technical, service, management, all come with baggage and bring their experience on board. The new generation is invaluable as young people have environmental awareness. “They are interested, asking questions all the time about fuel consumption, products used, how can we save on water, etc.,” added the Captain.

A career at sea should also be an opportunity to grow professionally by creating bridges and training. “It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves if we want to keep crew,” stressed Captain Pieter Ferreira (M/Y Yas). Giving crew time is also important, not considering a person as just a number, so communication is vital.

As part of the collective Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting approach, the Captains’ Forum again gave the floor to those with a key role to play in moving the industry forward. All stressed the need to train future recruits, a chance to highlight cutting edge courses dispensed by Yacht Club de Monaco’s La Belle Classe Academy training centre.

Press contacts: Yacht Club de Monaco – Tel: +377 93 10 64 09 – Email: presse@ycm.org