Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dockwalk Party

If I would have known at, say, 20 years old that there was a whole industry where you could travel the world by boat on someone else's dime while making money and partying with some of the best looking folks in some of the most exotic places on the on the globe, well, my life might have turned out differently...

I'm talking about the yachting industry, where (mostly) young (mostly good-looking) folks take a couple of courses in order to qualify to work on mega-yachts as "stews" (stewards, stewardesses), bosuns, deck hands, engineers, mates, chefs and a slew of other positions catering to the rich and famous.  While we've definitely crossed paths with many mega-yachts in our travels, typically the "yachtie" set and cruiser set don't mix...not because of any sort of acrimony, but because we cruisers are (usually) cheap and the yachties tend to have a) more money to play with and b) are working.  There are negatives to this seemingly awesome job, of course (it is a job, after all): sometimes the owners of the yachts are jerks, you typically share a bunk room the size of a closet with one or two other people, and drama can ensue (as it does when you coop up young, hormonal people)... For the most part, however, it seems like a pretty sweet gig for a twenty-something; you have almost no expenses, travel the world, and make a decent salary doing it.

One of the "industry" publications that Scott and I have been reading since we started traveling is Dockwalk.  While it caters to the yacthie set more than the cruiser, it's a pretty interesting read and we usually have a copy or two lying around our boat at any given time.  As you can imagine, Ft. Lauderdale (being one of the yachting industry capitals) is full of yachties and because we are a week away from the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, Dockwalk decided to throw a little mixer for the industry folk.  Our friend Travis, a mega-yacht captain, invited us along and because grandma is here, Scott and I enjoyed a night out sans baby.  It was fun.  The place was packed and looked like an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog exploded.  No shortage of eye candy, but I think Emily and I had the best of the bunch and we owned that dance floor (wink).
Our Ft. Lauderdale friends, Captain Travis and his wife Emily.
If you're looking to travel the world by boat but can't seem to figure out how to do it on your own boat, perhaps you should try to work on someone else's?

7 comments:

Carly said...

Well it's not as peachy as that. Bloody hard work, long hours and like you said DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA!!! You tend to get burnt out rather fast. Take 6 months off and go back at it :). It's pretty much who you know in the indurstry and once you get your foot in the door the world is your oyster or playground from a shoe box room. That said, it's where I met my wonderful husband and a host of other lovely characters.

Brittany Meyers said...

Haha...yeah, I have good friends in the industry and I've heard it's very much "work hard, play hard" - a great way to spend energy in your 20's, but I'm sure you could get burnt out fast...it is the service industry, after all...and that can get old!

B.J. Porter said...

We came across a few megayachts up in Maine this summer. One in particular we ran into in Somes harbor.

As we were walking on shore around a young, trim, and fit young couple came back from what appeared to be a long sweaty run down to Northeast Harbor and back. I admired their looks as they went down to the dinghy dock, jumped in a dinghy not too much nicer than ours and motored out to this enormous, gorgeous sail boat moored nearby us. I did note this vessel had some seriously nice tenders at the dock that these two didn't use, but I figured they were the owners kids or something and on shore for a quick run.

Later, over drinks in the cockpit I was watching said vessel and I started putting two and two together. When I saw the same small "working" dinghy pull up beside the boat and the people on it go hand over hand up the side of the boat and under the lifelines something clicked. The mooring stairs (ladder?) were still in place on the deck and these guys just climbed on up...there's no WAY someone paying the bills or riding as a guest would do that! Later I saw the garbage bags come down into that same dink and go ashore and I puzzled it out that all these fiercely attractive and athletic kids were the crew.

The next day you could see the spit shine come on as the weekend approached and things started to get washed down and put together. I realized these kids were probably having a blast for 4 days out of 7 hanging in cool places and spending time with other similarly inclined kids on a beautiful boat, then cramming like mad for a day before the boss showed up and sweating it, sucking up and working hard for the weekend the owner was on board.

Probably a lot of fun at their age even if it involved two days of eye rolling per week. At my age now I still get to put the garbage in the dinghy and run it in to shore...but at end of the day at least it's my garbage and my boat!

Of course if I knew about these jobs when I was 22...

Brittany Meyers said...

BJ - great story! Yeah, as Carly said - bloody tough work, when we were in Grenada you ALWAYS knew when the owners were coming on board...the work would begin and the crews would be non-stop perfecting these yachts...again, I'm much happier to own a boat NOW, but if I was 20, I think it could have been a pretty great (maybe dangerous?) life for me!!!

ravenous-reader-book-reviews said...

Normally I love your blog posts, your humor, and your stories.

While I don't know the first thing about sailing, about traveling the way you do, or what it's like to be pretty, I never knew that you have to be beautiful to work on a mega yacht.

Learn something new every day...

Brittany Meyers said...

@ Ravenous reader - sorry if I offended you. I actually NEVER stated you "had" to be beautiful to work on a mega-yacht, it just seems to be the industry preference. I'm just calling them as I see them. I didn't say it was right or wrong, merely an observation that most people who know the industry will not argue with.

Arthur Smith said...

That actually sounds like a pretty good idea. That sounds even better than having to ride one of those hand-built wood yachts on your own. Wouldn't want to think about the sucky bosses, though.

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