NEWS 4 STEWS
Interview By: Kate Tarratt Cross Go with the Glow firstname.lastname@example.org
From Ship to Shore – Nicky Obank How long did you work in yachting? I worked in yachting from 2010 until 2015 and then on and off until now. You never know what might lure you back again! Can you tell me about your yachting career – highlights, low points? I got my first job through a friend whose brother in law was the skipper on a classic yacht and he needed a cook / stew for the summer season. I had just finished a winter season in the Alps and was ready for an adventure on the high seas, so jumped at the chance. I worked for a lovely English family who had 2 daughters aged 10 and 7 years old. I immediately got on well with them all but
during my first season I often felt slightly out of my depth. I would frantically search for easy recipes while adapting to the limited shopping facilities all to impress the family and my discerning skipper. I was however, lucky enough to have some of my friends help out on deliveries. This gave me a lot in terms of moral support plus I had a hand with the cooking and night watches. My last season on the boat was spent in the Caribbean. We shipped the boat across to the US Virgin Islands, cruised the BVI’s before heading down to St Maarten in an epic storm just to be there on time. Over the course of the winter we also cruised The Grenadines and the gorgeous islands that are scattered north of Grenada all the way up to Antigua. The owners invited Simon Le Bon and his beautiful wife to the Antigua Classic Regatta. We had a brilliant week of fun and sailing with them and they mucked in like the rest of us! The Caribbean season was one of the highlights of my job. We had several weeks with no guests on board allowing us to enjoy a lot of down time while experiencing the fun of local island life in Antigua. I’d say the low points were the times when I felt very far away from my friends and family. We spent several weeks at a time away and although it wasn’t that long ago, we didn’t have the luxury of any internet and phone calls were
very expensive so I this often made me feel isolated. How did you know it was time for you to make the move to land? I felt that I had been lucky enough to work on a boat that I loved and with very understated owners. I did a short stint on a bigger sailing boat cooking for 6 crew and an owner with a difficult wife. The boat was falling apart and the owners kept changing their mind about when they wanted to use it so I decided life was too short and it was time to go out on my own. What was the most difficult thing about the transition? The money! Suddenly not having a nice guaranteed income every month and having to work all the hours that god sends to try and make a living. What was the best thing about it? Having the freedom to do things when I wanted and being able to move in to a house and start feeling settled. What do you miss most about yachting? Being on the water. I loved the sailing and exploring of new places. What do you do now? I started my own pie company called Coastal Crumbs which I did successfully for two years but for personal reasons I decided to stop. I was then approached by a friend who owns a well established sunglass business called Crew Eyewear. The business is a mobile retail unit that brings top quality sunglasses to crew on yachts. I am now helping to grow the business along the Côte d’Azur the whole time
highlighting the importance of looking after our eyes in an industry where eye care is often overlooked. We not only supply crew with high end and well-known sunglass brands, but also offer a service for personalizing sunglasses with the yachts name both for charter guests and for crew as part of their uniform. We have plans to expand in Barcelona and Mallorca so crew can look forward to stepping off the back of the boat and have a team member of Crew Eyewear there ready to help them find the perfect pair of sunglasses. At the end of 2017, Crew Eyewear teamed up with ACREW which has expanded the business greatly already. Do you have any advice for fellow yachties about going land-based? Make sure you have saved enough money before you take the plunge as you soon realize how expensive living costs are once you don’t have the luxuries of boat freebies and all your meals cooked for you. Have a good strategy for what you plan to do and research it thoroughly. There are lots of complications with running a business in Europe and it is essential to know what you’re getting in to.