Have you ever wondered what life is like for those who live and work on board a superyacht all year round, rather than just holidaying a few weeks during the season? How did they get into the business of yachting and what's it really like to be on charter every day?
To find out more, we decided to go behind the scenes on Blu 470, a beautiful 49m Feadship yacht who spends much of her time on charter in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean. We met with the crew and asked them to tell us more about living aboard a superyacht. First up, meet the Captain.
Peter Cook is an Australian with 25 years’ experience as a charter captain. He’s visited pretty much every country you can think of and some more besides. He has spent years sailing charter passengers around the world on superyachts and recently became captain of superyacht BLU 470. Here is his unique take on life at sea.
SYM: So Peter, how did you get into yachting?
Captain Cook: For me it was a natural progression from sailing small boats to yachting. I left school in 1985 and undertook a 5-year boat building apprenticeship at Lloyds Ships building superyachts. I then went into professional yacht racing and competed in many major races including the Sydney to Hobart Rolex Race in Australia. I took my first role as captain on a racing yacht at 22 years old and then moved into sailing large motor superyachts. I have been a superyacht captain for quite some time now and still love every day of it.
SYM: What are the pros and cons of working on board a charter yacht in comparison to a private yacht?
CC: I enjoy the Charter side very much as it’s always great to meet new guests, and we generally travel to very different locations which keeps life interesting. In my 25 years as a charter captain I can truly say I have enjoyed all the charters. I love to give charter guests a unique experience and see them enjoying themselves.
SYM: How long have you been on your current boat?
CC: Blu 470 is new to us and we have only been on board for 4 months. However, I have been with the owner for several years working aboard his previous yachts.
SYM: Tell us a little bit about your position and what it is you do on a day-to-day basis?
CC: I’m lucky, I have a great crew to help me so my role is now more about organisation and management. Dave, Blu 470’s First Mate is terrific at organising the crew which leaves me to concentrate on the management of the vessel, everything from budgets to travel itineraries and the maintenance programme.
SYM: What do you like best /least about working on a yacht?
CC: I love the uncertainty of working on a yacht, especially a charter yacht. I’m not very good at sitting still and I like to travel. Another plus for me is never knowing where I could be in the world come next week, I really enjoy that side of things.
SYM: What has been the best place you have visited as a Captain so far?
CC: The place I love the most is the South Pacific and in particular, some of the islands in Tonga.
SYM: How do you cope with being away from home?
CC: Well, I left home when I was 17 so this is just my lifestyle, but it can be difficult to miss special occasions with family and friends.
SYM: What’s been the most dumbfounding moment of your career so far?
CC: I have had many great experiences and moments during my career all of which are fond memories, but what I remember most are the people you meet along the way.
SYM: Do you see yourself still living on board in 10 years’ time?
CC: IN 5 years I can still see myself working in superyachts. But in 10 years I will be sitting under a coconut tree in Tonga!
SYM: And finally Peter, do you have any tips on how to beat sea-sickness for your guests?
CC: I’m one of the lucky ones and I don’t suffer from seasickness, but I have heard that eating bananas or custard is good. It won’t cure you or make you feel better but at least it will leave a nice taste in your mouth.