bitter end - june

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Illustration by Massimiliano Aurelio

Dear BOAT: “I instructed the captain to tell the rock star: the owner doesn’t do credit”

19 April 2024 • Written by Charlotte Hogarth-Jones

Every month, Charlotte Hogarth-Jones gets the skinny on all the most treacherous tales from the high seas...

I was thrilled when my broker once contacted me about a particular yacht charter booking: an international rock star, albeit now somewhat faded, whose numerous number-one hits I could remember singing along to in my youth.

There was just one sticking point – they wouldn’t agree to paying the customary Advance Provisioning Allowance of 30 per cent up front. Due to a previous bad experience, they wanted to pay 10 per cent, and then fund the rest as the charter progressed. Reports of the rock star’s wealth led me to believe that they could purchase the boat several times over, and so I agreed. Mistake – big mistake.

The charter started well, with the star, his spouse, children and factotum happily aboard and berthed in a rather expensive marina for the first two nights. They entertained several guests in suitably extravagant style, and soon our captain was in frantic communication with the broker about the dwindling pot of funds. Several demands to the guest resulted in a drip feed of more euros. This coincided with the vessel relocating to probably the most exclusive marina in the area, where another party was thrown.

The following day the captain again sought top-up funding, this time unsuccessfully. He contacted me and I told him to officially notify the broker and the primary guest – should funds not be received by noon the next day, the vessel was to immediately leave the marina and go to anchor offshore. Furthermore, if funds had not been received by close of business the same day, the captain was to disembark the guests with a message to the star: “The owner doesn’t do credit.”

Remarkably, another dribble of funds arrived, thus preventing the image of a refugee rock star, and from then on the factotum would accompany the stewards and chef when provisioning occurred and pay the bills by credit card directly.

At the same time the captain almost tore out what remained of his hair while keeping the accounts and having to provide twice-daily balances to the star. Strangely our guest was also hounded by paparazzi everywhere, despite our ensuring client confidentiality for every other trip…

Our crew had been pleased to see the fabled rocker – but not so pleased when the star “forgot” to leave a tip. We were surprised to receive their charter request again the following year. It was politely declined.

First published in the May 2024 issue of BOAT International. As told to Charlotte Hogarth-Jones. Do you have a tale to tell? Send your story to

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