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Illustration by Massimiliano Aurelio. Do you have a tale to tell? Send your story to thebitterend@boatinternationalmedia.com

Dear BOAT: “The crew had to trail them on the dockside to show they required security”

15 March 2024 • Written by Charlotte Hogarth-Jones

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

As Forrest Gump’s momma famously said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” This, certainly, has been my experience as owner of a charter yacht.

I was once very pleased, when taking over as a new owner, that we had some repeat clients expressing interest in returning for our first season. The couple were titled nobility who usually travelled with the same small group of friends. We immediately accepted, and our captain proposed that a gift might be in order for the noble couple, to demonstrate how much their continued custom was appreciated.

The suggestion was made for his-and-hers terry-towelling robes, with their individual crests embroidered on them. They were duly ordered and some talented embroiderers in Venice were commissioned to complete the task. Crew feedback revealed that the couple appreciated them so much that they wore them most days, all day.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that the noble couple were from the US rather than an old European family, and had actually purchased their honorifics rather than inherited them.

Their other quirks included black-tie dinners, which our captain was expected to attend at least once, and which he did not enjoy owing to his dislike of formal wear in the Mediterranean heat. They also insisted upon delicatessen produce sourced from an obscure providore in Sicily, so cold meats, cheeses and pâtés had to be flown to wherever the yacht happened to be, as did meat from one particular butcher in Monaco.

When in port, the noble couple liked to disembark the yacht after dinner and stroll the adjacent dockside in their evening wear, and insisted on several fully uniformed male crew members joining their procession, both in front and trailing their party, to show the adoring shore dwellers that they were so important as to require security.

Lastly, when using the tender for shore excursions, the crew were instructed that the personal crested burgee of each of the couple should be flown on the tender. I guess this was to alert the local population that they were to be in the presence of greatness once the tender docked...

The crew’s efforts were well received and the couple eventually purchased their own yacht – with enough space for an entourage!

First published in the April 2024 issue of the BOAT International.  Subscribe now and never miss an issue. 


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