Monday, January 14, 2008

Aye, Aye Captain or rather Bye, Bye Captain

Well Captain Paul “worked” for four days and then went on Xmas holiday. He was due to return on January 7th. He called on January 4th to say he was not coming back! I’m not a mind reader, but it seems pretty clear to me what happened. Antibes, which is about a half hour from Nice, is a big oasis of ‘yachtees’ and along with that comes a certain conglomerate of ‘crew culture’. In fact, there is the PYA which is the Professional Yachtsman Association, but they use it in the ‘Med’ to refer to Antibes crew as “Pratts on Yachts in Antibes”. Most in this culture are addicted to partying, working as little as possible and constantly looking for the next best thing.

Now I’m not saying that Paul was your average Antibes worker, but he had certain expectations which didn’t include working in the off season. He has a girlfriend and an apartment in Antibes and I believe he was looking to kick back this offseason and do, well very little work.

But the owners have a brand new boat and understandably want to use it and as soon as possible. That means that there is lots of work to do and no time for sitting back on our heels. Paul realized this and decided to bow out. At least that is my take on it.

So we are back down to a crew of two, Glenn and I. And Glenn is only contracted to stay through January although he will probably stay through February. Much of the reason for his longer stay is to help me in my new role. I am now to become First Mate/Chief Engineer and Glenn is going to be my trainer. A boat our size has a very low engineering requirement so it seems to make sense. The boat is new, under warranty and doesn’t seem to have any major issues so in theory the engineering comes down to typical maintenance.

On a boat our size to run the boat we are required to have a minimum crew of three. A captain, a mate, an engineer and a deckhand. Ah, you say, but that’s four crew. True, but someone can do double duty as long as it’s not the captain. So I’ll need to take a 5 day course, Engineering 101, and then I’ll be qualified and satisfy the legal manning requirements for the boat. It has a slight disadvantage because my sea time will be split between ‘deck’ time and ‘engine’ time, but in the end I think it will be good to have on my resume. I’ve always been keen on diversity of skill so I happy to do this even though it will definitely increase my work load.

The challenge now is to crew up. The owners want to use the boat as soon as possible, in fact there is talk of going to Turkey in the beginning of March. However, it won’t be going anywhere without a crew. And March is going to be here in no time. As a mate once again without a captain I’m now back on double duty and about to start on triple duty training as engineer.

A bit of good news: I renegotiated my contract and got a nice raise and a decent bonus coming if I stay through October. And I’m headed to the London boat show this Thursday. After that I’ll be driving with Neil back to Nice in his new truck which is a custom boat hauler for his little Riva motorboat.

I’ll give you the update next week….