I started sailing as a boy in 18’ hobies with my father. Then I skippered in New Zealand, crossed the Atlantic in a 36’ sloop and sailed around the UK. I heard about working as a skipper in the Med and was told that I needed to do the Skipper Academy prior to working. I honestly thought as RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and Cruising Instructor I didn’t need to do such a course and said as much but Chris from the Skipper Academy encouraged me to do it regardless. I am so glad he did for three main reasons.
First reason is the huge learning that happened during the course. I thought I knew about sailing but really had no idea about flotilla techniques; Med moorings, moving rafts, circle rafts and all the other skills that are only taught at the Skipper Academy. These are the guys who developed many of these techniques in the first place so they teach them better than anyone. I found the Academy to be a specialist course in maybe the most social genre of sailing. Which brings me to the second reason.
The brotherhood. The guys and girls I met during the course were all like-minded people from every corner of the globe. The culture of the Skipper Academy is second to none. I found everyone wanted for my success which naturally encouraged me to encourage everyone else. Such a positive environment is helpful as the Skipper Academy can be very, very challenging at times. During the relatively short time in the Skipper Academy I made more profound friendships with more people than I have ever made in my life.
Finally the work opportunities that open up to graduates are second to none. I still can’t believe that you can actually sail someone else's yacht around the Med during the summer with fantastic people, have all your costs paid and actually receive a decent wage on top of that. A number of times during the season I pinched myself in incredulity. But it doesn’t stop there. With a season of service and the reference letter that comes from that a whole world of new opportunities are opened up.
If you are wondering whether you should apply for the Skipper Academy, I can honestly say that it is one of the great things you will do in your life. Best of luck.
Academy Prep Course
After spending 9 months of my so-called “Gap Year” volunteering, sailing round the Mediterranean was exactly what I needed! Having been sailing since I was 10, skippering seemed the next logical step. I used to help on a race committee boat in Wales every summer and loved every minute of being on the water. I had a couple of friends that had skippered for Skipper Academy and their partners and had told me how amazing it was, it sounded unreal. I’d never really skippered a yacht before so thankfully an Academy Prep Course was running, taking me from being a relative rookie to a skipper in the space of 4 action packed weeks.
Initially, the prospect of being on a boat with 8 strangers seemed daunting, but after a few short hours I knew that the experience was going to be one I’d never forget. Whether it was riding through the streets of Mykonos on Vespas or sailing at sunrise, the time spent on the Academy Prep Course helped not only develop my skills as a sailor and a skipper but also as a person. The instructors on the course were amazing and got the balance between teaching us how to be skipper and having the most amazing time ever absolutely spot on. They had a tough challenge on their hands; turning 6 novices into something similar to seasoned skippers. We spent the three weeks learning everything from the names of the different ropes and sheets to anchoring in bays, mooring, rafting and most of all taking command and skippering a yacht and crew. We were tested and challenged everyday but I would recommend it to anyone. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
The Skipper Academy followed on from the Academy Prep Course, developing specific techniques that are designed to facilitate the social nature of the flotilla skippering. This week put everything I’d learned in the Academy Prep Course into practice. Although it was intense and physically demanding, the experience taught me vital leadership, crew management and social skills. During the Skipper Academy I built on my basic knowledge acquired from the Academy Prep Course and developed skills I’d never imagined I was capable of! Thankfully, with the help of my instructor I was able to successfully pass the Academy and all the hard work I’d put in had paid off! The skills transferred seamlessly into skippering itself, allowing me to enjoy its entirety.
That was it; I’d managed to pass Skipper Academy and bag my dream job for the rest of summer skippering for one of their partners The Yacht Week. This summer I sailed round the Croatian islands and had the time of my life. You can’t describe the experience without people not believing you, it was nothing like anything I’d ever experienced before.
There is a saying: “Life is like a book – Those who do not travel only read one page!”
I love to read and in May 2014 I started on a new chapter in my book – this chapter was called: The Yacht Week.
When I joined the Skipper Academy in May I was told that I would make friends for Life. What they didn’ttell me was that I was about to experience a summer which would be the best in my life.
When you step on board on a yacht you step away from your everyday comfortzone. Suddenly you are surrounded with people 24/7 and you can’t just take 2-3 hours away from the crowd when you feel like it. It might sound terrifying but it is not. Something happens to people when you know you are going to spend a lot of time together. We lose our façade and become mind-liked people. We open up – we discover – we care about each other.
As a hostess your main duties is to take care of the guest on board; serve and cook them daily meals, clean the boat and together with the skipper make sure that their holiday is running smoothly. It is both a challenge and big responsibility but also absolutely amazing!
But the job is not only about cooking and take care of your crew- it much more than that! It is a chance to “pause” you normal life and take a step in to what they call “the unreal life”. A life, where you meet like-minded people with the most amazing stories and mentalities, a life, where you discover so many new ways of doing things but also a life where you are enjoying the little moments every single day; Like waking up every morning to the most beautiful sunset and a day on the water! We are often so busy running from A to B in search of something better. “This better” is your job as a hostess abroad.
The staff working for the Yacht week becomes the family you chose yourself. A lot of people are talking about this certain “brotherhood” and “sisterhood” which exists among the staff and I can only confirm itsexistence. When you work as a hostess you feel needed and you feel you make a difference.
My summer abroad working as a hostess is one of these great chapters in a really good book you just want to read again!
Working on a boat far away from home is not only a chance to explore the world but also a chance to challenge yourself and make a change: To step outside your comfortzone for then later realize it wasn’t that comfortable at all.
If you would love to explore the unreal world with real people, great sailing and a summer job field with great cooking, happiness and memories that will last a lifetime, then working as a hostess is the job for you!