[imagesource: Jeremy Suyker / Bloomberg / Getty Images]
When you spend the best part of two decades working on superyachts, you’re going to have stories of excess to share with the world.
The only problem is that you’re usually required to sign nondisclosure agreements which prevent you from spilling the beans.
One solution to that problem is to dish the dirt anonymously to a major news outlet, which is exactly what has happened with The Times of London.
Titled ‘Confessions of a superyacht insider’, the story outlines how “living the high life on the high seas is anything but uneventful” and “the wealth is inordinate and the exploits beggar belief”.
The insider says they have 20 years of stories to tell so let’s get cracking:
For the owners it’s all about one-upmanship: adding a 5m bowsprit to secure a longer total length than that of a friend’s yacht; commissioning the fastest boat in the world, as per the American entrepreneur John Staluppi’s 1988 Octopussy, built to break through the 50-knot barrier; or being the first to install a cryochamber, interactive wall display or staircase made entirely out of glass.
The list of tricks and gadgets I’ve encountered include full-sized padel courts, ten-person submarines and hydrographic installation systems to map the seabed. The 96.5m Faith, built by the high-end yacht manufacturer Feadship, even has a snow room in which guests can cool off.
A snow room is pretty much the opposite of a sauna.
There are stories of excess like a yacht owner who refuses to wear the same shirt twice (“I buy it, I wear it, and I throw it away”), balanced by stories of megawealthy owners who spend millions each year on humanitarian projects.
The scales are clearly tipped in the direction of the former:
I’ve found myself in dayheads (boat speak for the lavatory) covered from floor to ceiling in emerald-green snakeskin. And the stools of Ari’s Bar, aboard the late Aristotle Onassis’s yacht Christina O [below], are indeed covered in whale foreskin.
But even that doesn’t match the owner I met in Australia who likes to dine on fresh lobster whenever he’s aboard, yet never gives the crew notice of his imminent arrival. So they prepare fresh lobster every day of the year, just in case.
Whale foreskin is not a term I thought I would read today. It’s rumoured that Onassis enjoyed watching women sit on the stools, before saying “Madame, you are sitting on the largest penis in the world.”
A perk for the Ozzie crew to eat lobster all the time but my guess is that the owner is not all that pleasant to work for. You just have to suck it up:
It’s not uncommon to be woken up at 3am because the owner fancies a bacon sandwich and a massage. Or being berated for forgetting to swap over dresses in the master cabin from mistress to yacht-owner’s wife.
The idea that crew are modern-day slaves is outmoded, though. If you can hack the pace, the rewards are rich, with tips that can enter the thousands.
Props to those who can handle that sort of thing.
I know my patience would wear thin very quickly and I am certain I would be sacked with great haste.
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