Bon Voyage! (part 1 of 2)



Towards the end of our yachting time my wife and I were stationed aboard a 115′ Hatteras charter yacht.   We enjoyed and were adept at the duties of attending to the owners and guests needs, and also had the pleasure of a short tour of some out islands in the Bahamas.

Bahamian out islands provide a  slow paced  drowsy  lifestyle .  Drifting, bobbing,  riding the swells.  Whether docked or at anchor, the more remote Bahama destinations provided a uniquely relaxed environment .

Once our Charter was complete, It became time for us to ply the trade a bit more commercially.  That is to say, we were back to the daily grind of no guests aboard and plenty to do.

We found ourselves stationed once again on Paradise Island, near Atlantis Resort. As the tenancy of our yacht was only the captain and crew (4 of us),  we were directed to a less impressive (and less expensive) location for our dockage. We found a position in a channel beneath an active overpass. The current was strong here at times as it came in and out with the tide.  We missed being in the thick of things in Atlantis Marina.  This locale was more like parking in the alley. Add to that fact that the overpass was under heavy construction providing us with plenty of concrete dust to deal with on a daily basis.

I realize I shouldn’t play it down. After all, we were still on Paradise Island, on a yacht, in the Bahamas.  But it was definitely storage parking as yachting goes.

Carrie and I then spent the weeks to follow cleaning and repairing systems. There was plenty of work. The ship had to be detailed every day as the dust and tire debris from the overpass (which was, as I said, under construction) would float down on us coating the boat in a fine layer of white concrete dust Every Day.  Washdown became the daily morning routine.

Drag out the hose, brush, and a bucket of soapy water.

Spray down a section of the boat, brush it lightly, and rinse.

Repeat for the entire top and sides, then detail with a rag, and then wash all the windows.

Every day.

It wasn’t hard work, but it was routine and laborious.

Comparatively, when we were docked in the Marina with guests on board, a much abbreviated version of this effort was employed, generally skipping the full scrub and finishing most surfaces with a quick wipe.

Windows were always an effort, but it was a task I was up to.

Yacht washdown

All the yachts I worked on required an extreme level of cleanliness far beyond any I have experienced before or since. If an owner were to use the head, that bathroom had to be detailed and the toilet paper neatly folded in a fan immediately afterward, Every time.

If an owner walked through the salon and left footprints on the carpet, the carpet had to be re patterned with a vacuum or raked out, thereby providing virgin territory for the next high end pedestrian.

I recall one fine day while owners were aboard, I had walked down the narrow gangway outside the main Saloon. Inadvertantly I’d bumped the glass with my freshly sunblocked elbow.  The owners noted the single smudge and requested all the windows be rewashed as a result. Of course this was done, with a smile.

Another time, owners and guests were topside enjoying cocktails and chatter when word came down that a hair had been spotted on the deck. A human hair… egads…

I was called on to remove the renegade hair.  At first I thought I was being pranked, but the captain assured me this was to be my duty.

“Alright”, I said.

Determined to keep my sense of self worth, I grabbed a bucket, soap, brush, and a hose and headed up to the top deck where the soiree was ongoing, to attend to the rogue strand.

I arrived to the grins of the revelers who had no doubt expected to see a deckhand, performing under the control of his master, bow to pick up a hair, and leave.

I made my introductions, smiling broadly, and proceeded to politely ask those in attendance to raise their feet as I sprayed water, scrubbed, and rinsed the deck. Much to their delight.

When I had finished I said my goodbyes and bid them to call if I could assist them further. They didnt.

And that’s yachting for you, the owners priorities necessarily become your own.  If they don’t, yachting may not be for you.

(to be continued)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *