Captain, 90-foot Claasen Jachtbouw sailing yacht Atalante
Date interviewed: December 2010
A number of well-respected charter brokers say you are one of their favorite captains. How did you get into the charter business?
I’m from Cornwall, England, and my parents owned a small boat from the day I was born. We’d sail to France every summer, from the time I was 2 months old. We’d be on the boat for three months at a time.
When I got older, I taught windsurfing and dinghy sailing while attending marine college. I wanted to be a professional windsurfing teacher, but it gets too cold for that in England in the winters. The company I worked for had a 48-foot sailing yacht, so I worked as a deckhand. I earned the title of captain at age 19 and ran the boat as a day-charter boat for high-end clientele. We had lots of celebrities onboard.
Some of my friends were doing day charters in the Pacific, and I would visit them in Australia. I needed money for those visits, so I sailed to Micronesia as a mate on a sailing yacht. That introduced me to the cruising lifestyle and the way that longer charters worked. I really, really enjoyed it.
What was your first proper charter yacht?
It was a 55-foot sailing yacht in the Caribbean, back in 2003. That owner was very keen on chartering, and I thought it was fun. People really appreciate what you do for them on a charter. Private yacht owners are good, too, but charter clients are really wowed and make you feel great.
When did you join your current command, the 90-foot sailing yacht Atalante?
In January 2010. I sailed her in the Caribbean last winter, and in the Mediterranean this past summer. She’s the only Truly Classic 90 model on the water, so a lot of our charter clients are people who are interested in buying a boat like her. They really want to put her through her paces.
What else makes Atalante unique in the charter market?
We only take four guests, which is a small number for a yacht in our size range. With three crew, we can offer an excellent standard of service, and the boat just feels huge. You’re not crammed in. At the cockpit table, you could squeeze six, but with four it’s absolutely fantastic.
Both of our cabins have queen-size beds, so while we enjoy families with children, two couples is really a great charter party for us.
How does she sail?
Really, really well. Incredible, actually. She’s extremely light on the helm. In 15 knots of wind, we’ll do 9 or 9 and a half knots. All our sails are top-of-the-line race standard, so we can really move. It’s fantastic.
Where are you and Atalante headed next?
We’re finishing the winter season in the Caribbean, and then we will be based near Antibes in the South of France for summer 2011.