Captain's Corner: Life on board a charter superyacht
Captain Paul Harman
_Hanikon_, 50m

While charter guests come and go, captains are on board for the long haul. We spoke to a handful of skippers to find out what they love most about life aboard their chosen superyacht.

1. Captain Paul Harman, Hanikon

My favourite thing to do on board is finding remote or secluded anchorages away from the crowds in perfect weather conditions.

We have a new outdoor cinema system that has been very well received by guests. It can be linked to Airplay and the internal Kaleidescape system showing the latest movies. Our expansive sun deck and seating area is perfect for this. We recently purchased a brand new 6m inflatable slide which is very popular with family charters.

As for meals on board, I was lucky enough to sample a range of our award-winning chefs meals during the 2017 Antigua Charter Yacht Show. He has many technical talents but my favourite is poached turbot with coconut lime foam, burnt onions and yoghurt. It was fantastic!

It’s a difficult choice for my fondest memory of being out on a charter. It's between perfectly timed sunset cruises on the Amalfi coast or working as a team to pull off challenging charters in remote locations such as Cuba.

Managed for charter by Y.CO, Hanikon is available in the Mediterranean this summer with a weekly charter rate starting from €225,000 EUR per week.

Captain Mattia Dzaja
_Ohana_, 49.7 metre

My favourite thing to do on board? Sailing of course! Sailing on a superyacht as large as Ohana is simply unique, it is incredible to think that something so big and heavy can sail so fast and easily. Whilst I am aware that sailing on a smaller boat it is indeed more pure and closer to the sea, sailing on a superyacht is just impressive.

I also enjoy swimming in early morning when everybody is still asleep and no one is around. My favourite place to jump off the boat while at anchor is Salina in the Aeolian islands. You are so close to the shore that you can smell the grass, yet the water is a deep blue shade due to more than 100 metres below the keel. The world is just waking up, no noise, no wind, no swell, it’s the perfect time to centre yourself and to realise how lucky we are, how wonderful life is and what truly matters.

I am a sailor born and raised. My father, a yacht captain, taught me to pack just the bare essentials because everything else doesn’t matter when you are at sea. I find it is indeed true, but I always have a small wooden silver box with me, owned by a captain of the RMS Briton on 1898, which sits on my desk in my cabin. It holds a collection of my personal items that I cannot wear while at work: my wedding ring, my old watch, a couple of notes made by my children, my grandfather’s compass, a gold medal made by my grandfather when I was born and my father’s sailor knife made of sperm whale bones.

I enjoy a simple Mediterranean meal such as vegetables with white rice or pasta with olive oil and cheese as I often do not have the time to sit at a table eating when there are so many things to do during the season. Even when I am not busy I prefer to eat quickly and then to take a rest on deck. Of course, my crew doesn’t always agree with this idea so most of the time I kindly ask the chef to prepare something basic and simple just for me.

Sailing on a charter yacht is something unique, it has given me the possibility to meet so many different people and indeed to face many different situations. After 20 years on a charter yacht I have so many fond memories linked to each charter that it is indeed simpler for me to recall an area that I have visited. The Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia are memorable not only for their pristine white beaches and emerald waters, but also the lush green vegetation complete with waterfalls. In this primitive scenario, nothing has changed for over 170 years when Herman Melville sailed over there facing cannibals… One can almost imagine him running out of the jungle of Nuku Hiva followed by Taipi people trying to catch him!

Ohanais available for charter through Fraser, with a weekly rate starting from €150,000.

Captain Stephen Burke
_Sovereign_, 54.86 metre

I love helping create an amazing guest experience for the owners and charter guests in an exotic location, while supporting an enthusiastic crew motivated to make it happen!

We recently purchased a Go Pro 6 which has proven to be a gem for capturing guests enjoying water sports. Otherwise we have a really cool air chock system that enables us to move tenders and Jet Skis around the garage on the slightest cushion of air.

As for best meal on board, that's a tough one! Recently, I had probably the most succulent duck confit I’ve ever tasted on top of rich mashed potato and sautéed onions.

Last summer, I had the pleasure of taking some charter guests to a naturally beautiful restaurant nestled discreetly on the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. We were lucky to have a tender that could just clear safely under a very low bridge. Pure tranquility in crystal clear water on the mildest of sunny days.

Sovereign is available for charter with Worth Avenue Yachts, with a weekly rate starting from $250,000.

Captain Alexander Aslou
_Bacchus_, 44.5 metre

My favourite thing to do on board would have to be exploring new destinations. Being a young captain, there are more than a few places that I have yet to explore. I find it extremely rewarding to compile an extensive itinerary and dropping anchor on a new section of sand. All of the time and effort pays off when not only is the location better than I could have imagined but that the entire trip itself turns out to be better than the last unforgettable trip.

I must say that the best feature on board our yacht has to be the newest addition to Bacchus, our swim step staircase which unfolds into the ocean. Shortly after joining the vessel, I was informed by ownership that we were going to increase the length of the vessel by 1.2 metres. The extension, along with a number of other great improvements, was an extremely well thought-out addition to making her a fantastic charter yacht. Initially, I thought this would benefit some of our less active charter guests but in fact it has proven to be a valuable asset for the variety of guests that we have entertained.

I have to say that the best meal that I’ve had on board was when I first joined my vessel and I was invited to sit with the owner, his wife and their kids for dinner. The chef had worked diligently to prepare a fantastic meal, which consisted of a seared octopus appetiser and the main course was a rack of lamb with a red wine and mint jus. For dessert, the chef coincidentally made my favourite, a perfectly prepared Tiramisu, which was the icing on the cake for the entire experience.

My fondest charter memory comes from a recent seven-day charter cruising from St. Maarten to Antigua. We were tucked away nicely in my favourite anchorage near St. Kitts. Here my zero speed stabilisers could be rested as no matter the weather, there was only the slightest ripple on the water. While at anchor, everything that Bacchus had to offer was out and in use and our charter guests were taking full advantage. Everything was as it should be, the crew were at their best and nothing mechanically “had an issue”. Everything that could go right for us was, there is something to be said about a day on charter without any “surprises”.

Bacchusis managed for charter by Fraser and has a weekly rate starting from €160,000 in the summer season and $150,000 in the winter.

Captain Bob Nabal
_Beluga_, 34.7 metre

I really enjoy joining the guests in the water. As a free diver, I enjoy spearfishing around the reef and allowing guests to join in on the fun. I also love sports fishing – we have a fleet of game boats that we offer as additions to our charter itineraries providing the ultimate combination for our guests desired activities. Casting for giant trevally and jigging for dogtooth tuna is a ton of fun.

We have two Seabobs on board Beluga which are great fun for scooting along the reef’s edge and diving down around bommies to check out the marine life.

Our chef prepares the most amazing meals on board Beluga and fresh seafood is her specialty. My personal favourite is freshly caught dogtooth tuna, served up as sashimi.

The Great Barrier Reef provides some of my favourite memories on board. It has spectacular sunsets which change colour as the sun sets – bright oranges to intense pinks and purples sparkle over the water at dusk.

Beluga is managed for charter by Ocean Alliance and has a weekly rate starting from $88,000.

Captain Pascal Pellat-Finet
_Tiara_, 54.3 metre

Without a doubt my favourite thing is when the sails are up and Tiara is cruising along at full speed. Guests are completely awed by the magic of sailing such a big boat.

The best gadget on board is the sailing console, which allows you to do everything by yourself, to run all the sails. I think the crow’s nest is also a great feature to have on a sailing vessel.

My fondest memory was when we were chartering during the Rolex Transatlantic Race from New York to the UK with 12 guests on board. We sailed for 12 days non-stop in all kinds of weather.

Tiara is managed for charter by Y.CO and has a weekly rate starting from €180,000.