Yachts go wherever they can; some even go where they can’t. If there is a body of water, whether it is salty or fresh, chances are there is a yacht of some description navigating it. Today’s yachts are venturing further afield than ever before; Antarctic expeditions, the Northwest-passage, Circumnavigations, you name it. Most yachts however chase the sun and dodge the weather, which leads them to the following stomping grounds. Where to go to find work on yachts? Well, follow the seasons. Summer in the Med and Winter in the Caribbean is the rule of thumb.
“The Med” season, as it is commonly referred to, generally begins in late April, when preparations are made to the yachts attending the Cannes film festival. It may not end until November, or even December for some. Suffice to say, this is where yachts and crews are put through their paces. For this reason, the yachting industry and the many industries that support it, thrive here.
Many flock to the shores of the south of France in the hope of working aboard the visiting yachts and experiencing the yachting life. Once on board, time blurs. Days of the week become meaningless in the midst of the hard work and dedication required to serve on board the premier yachts of the world.
Events including the Monaco Grand prix, Voiles d’Antibes, The Super Yacht Cup, and numerous boat shows make the Med a hive of activity and bring a non-stop-party atmosphere that does not let up. Add the ever present Mistral into the mix and the Yachts do a dance not dissimilar from the party goers in their attempts to duck, dive, dodge and hide in order to meet the needs of their guests.
Others are met with the reality that there may not always a job available, an opening on the guest list or even a seat at the bar, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
The Med: both a beauty, and cruel mistress.
The USA and Caribbean
Most would say that late November marks the beginning of the “Caribbean season” as it is also officially the end of hurricane season. Yachts departing the Med head States side, with Fort Lauderdale, Antigua and St Maarten taking the place of the Cote d’Azure as the epicentre for yachts and crew gearing up for events that may take them from Hawaii to California, from Boston to Trinidad and anywhere in between.
Some would say that as the yachts head south for the Antigua boat show, Christmas on a beach or New Year in St. Barth, time slows down. Others would argue that if anything, it speeds up. Island time and yachting time need to be reconciled and managed. Whatever the case, the islands and trade winds remain unchanged.
During this time yachts are sometimes as pampered as were their guests. In shipyards from West Palm Beach to Trinidad that cater to their every need. Crew begin the task of repairing, fine-tuning and improving their home away from home and of course, there is no shortage of places for them to treat themselves to some well deserved R&R.
Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific
While most yachts are destined for “the milk run” between the Caribbean and Mediterranean, there are a growing number that decide to head west, and tackle the Coconut Milk Run utilising the northeast trade winds.
Whether they are starting from California or Panama most are heading to Tahiti with possible stops in Hawaii, the Galapagos or Marquesas before moving on to Rarotonga, Niue, Vava'u, Suva, and New Zealand. Others venture even further west to Fiji. That is the beauty of sailing in this area. There are unlimited options in an incredible playground of sandy beaches, stunning anchorages and friendly locals.
Unlike the major yachting locations around the world, the South Pacific offers not only amazing scenery and unrivalled activities, but also the chance to feel like and actually be the only yacht on the water for miles. This is proving to be more alluring to many guests today.
The season spans from May to October with yachts travelling further south to New Zealand and Australia to take shelter from the hurricane season between November and March. This is a prime time to start putting the feelers out for jobs as the yachts settle in for yard periods over the festive season. Usually in Auckland, Sydney or Newcastle.