Superyacht Services Guide Column: Value of Local Knowledge
Superyacht Services Guide shows the scale of planning that goes into ensuring charter guests or owners have a stress-free experience while cruising in Asia.
You’re on your way to your charter yacht in Phuket or your own yacht in Raja Ampat. Wherever you’re heading, the Captain and crew are anticipating your arrival, but how do they source what’s needed to cater to your specific requirements, as well as those of the yacht and the crew, particularly in unknown territories? Superyacht Services Guide finds out …
For all involved, a local cruise is a completely different proposal to planning within a new destination, as those working on board are familiar with the area, and know what their guests are looking to get out of the trip, and how and where to achieve these goals. But arriving in Phuket from the Mediterranean, for example, is a whole different bucket of fish!
Alastair Purves was, until recently, Captain of Aquamarina, a 47m Isa build. As the ultimate decision maker onboard, a Skipper’s planning must consider local conditions such as weather and tides, and safety for all on board, balancing such factors with the enjoyment expected by his guests.
“I always turn first to local information, from other Captains and crew, or a Marina Manager, who can normally provide great local insight,” Captain Purves tells Superyacht Services Guide. “I also rely heavily on a yacht services agent, but not so much for detailed local knowledge, more for working with the crew to action the individual requests that guests may come up with.”
On heading to new destinations, the overall considerations remain the same as local cruises, but the challenges are greater. One can imagine the engineer wondering if he can trust the fuel from a bunker company, a chief stewardess worrying about whether the florist will actually deliver, or the chef praying the lobsters he ordered will be as fresh and tasty as he hoped.
Of course, Google or other websites are a massive help, but do they really meet the need? Can the crew really trust what they read in this age of information overload, in order to make a trip as personal and wonderful as it should be?
Jacqui Turner, Chief Stewardess on a 49.7m Feadship, adamantly states “my first point of reference is my local neighbours. I soak in their information to share with the team onboard. There is nothing like first-hand experience and information from those in the same job. They already understand what we need, our concerns of deadlines and quality.
“Everything from sourcing that unusual wine request or who to contact at a certain resort in order to ‘make things happen’, to knowing how to contact a recommended doctor. Remember, not only do I need to manage the interior for the guests but also for the crew. The considerations are endless. However, don’t get me wrong, I love this aspect!”
Captain Purves says: “Preparing for a new destination can be a mammoth job, not only for the passage planning but imagine organising visas, crew rotations and a safe berth or anchorage.
“Such logistics may be ‘simpler in the Med’, but in Asia there is always an element of the unknown, so a selection of reliable sources must be found and back-ups are always needed. One of the major considerations these days is reliable communications. Of course, we have our satellite systems, but part of my job is also to manage costs!”
As for the notoriously ‘artistic’ chefs, how do they prepare for that next voyage in another country, with different cultures often dictating the local foods? There may not even be reliably fresh products available. I doubt many of us have had to deal with the scenario of preparing a week or more’s worth of elegant, high-end food in a new destination.
Chef Tracy Heath, previously on an extremely busy Asia-based 50m motor yacht and now ensconced in her Conde Nast-recommended paradise on the Philippine island of Siargao, definitely knows how to find what it takes to keep the guests happy.
“While I may rely on yacht service agents for actual procurement and delivery, it is key I get the best fresh, local ingredients, so my main source of information is from those who have been in the locale before me, the other chefs in the area or, when possible, the real locals, who are the best source of information and supply,” she tells Superyacht Services Guide. “The food is an integral part of any guest cruise and I strive to get it absolutely right.”
The preparation and research behind the scenes are what helps make a successful yacht. While we are all aware of the wealth of information available at the touch of a button, maybe we should remind ourselves where that information comes from.
Real-life communication and networking remains truly significant in our decision making and the ability to source the best there is to offer, so creating your unique, personalised onboard experience.
SUPERYACHT SERVICES GUIDE
Zara Tremlett, Bert van Muylwijk and Marieke Derks form the Superyacht Services Guide’s author team for Asia, the Indian Ocean and Australia. The SSG features personal recommendations from professional yacht Captains and crew for the best services used around the world. From a convenient marina, a reliable taxi driver, a five-star hotel for guests, that tiny but recommended engineering shop in town to the best hair dresser in a remote location, the guide has all the recommended services, big and small, needed to run a superyacht anywhere. The quick-search online directory is constantly updated, fast-tracking users to the most reliable, efficient and effective services available globally. Some Captains say the SSG is “by far the most-used publication on board”.
The original article appears in Yacht Style Issue 50. Email [email protected] for print subscription enquiries or subscribe to the Magzter version at: www.magzter.com/SG/Lux-Inc-Media/Yacht-Style/Fashion/