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For the yachting professional on the Mediterranean

Sorry, did you really say that?

Article by ONBOARD Magazine

WE ALL TAKE IT AS READ, THAT WHAT GOES ON ‘ONBOARD’ STAYS ‘ONBOARD’. FOR SOME YACHTS, THE NDA AGREEMENTS PUT IN PLACE COME IN VERY HANDY. BUT IT WAS NOT JUST THE BEDROOM ACTIVITIES THAT MADE OUR STEWS BLUSH, SOME OF THE GUESTS’ REQUESTS WERE ABSOLUTE CLASSICS THIS YEAR

This summer season in the Med has been full of ups and downs, and ins and outs… job availability has been a little different from the usual crazy March to May rush too for various reasons. It definitely seems more of the usual Med boats have stayed over the other side of the pond for the summer, choosing instead to cruise up to Newport, or even further to Canadian waters.

An increase in the number of yachts heading to the Baltic has also been reported, which has left a few empty berths over summer in the Med this year which is, frankly, unheard of. Perhaps owners are getting a bit fed up with the super high mooring costs? Or maybe they just fancied a change of scenery.

One thing, however, that has not changed, is the amount of jaw droppingly funny and/ or shocking stories that emerge on a day to day basis, in our lives tending to the super rich. As the Med season draws to a close, everyone’s flat out exhausted, I find it’s always good to have an ‘End of Season De-Brief’ whereby we hear about some of the spectacular incidents that have been occurring (don’t worry, no names – we protect the innocent… and the not so innocent) across the industry, in order to reassure ourselves that someone had it worse than you did.

Why do some guests find it hilarious to call you up to the sundeck with cocktails when halfway through a gross prostitute ridden orgy? And why are they always so unattractive?

So I hope you’re sitting comfortably. Let’s begin with one of the many sex stories. “Why,” asks Stewardess Nelly, “do some guests find it hilarious to call you up to the sundeck with cocktails when halfway through a gross prostitute ridden orgy? And why are they always so unattractive?” A good question. “All I could think of was how bad I felt for the deck crew who’d be cleaning out the jacuzzi the next day. Ewww.” Another one from poor stew Freda, “I had an owner call from his cabin and ask for a bottle of champagne to be delivered to his cabin, and when I knocked and was invited in they were mid coitus and asked me just to open it and put it on the side.” Awkward, but at least they paused for her.

How about the swinger yacht? Well the guests wandered around pretty much naked all the time and the interior team never knew which room they’d all end up waking up in. The Mrs would ask the chief stew multiple times at breakfast to ensure her vibrator was fully charged. Let’s just pop that on the to-do list shall we… and AA batteries on the shopping list…

Anchored off with the family from hell on board. Vile children who dropped chocolate on the salon carpet on purpose, wiped their noses on the walls, smeared peanut butter on any shiny surface…

Then there was the 3am guest request in Naples for the chief stew to “go buy a goat to sacrifice in the main salon because we need to cleanse the boat”. What happened to just wanting a burger?

Ever have those charters where the principal’s kids are anything but sweetness and light? The ones who like to make life more difficult for all crew? Well this one little mite got his comeuppance. Captain Cory smiled at the memory, “Anchored off with the family from hell on board. Vile children who dropped chocolate on the salon carpet on purpose, wiped their noses on the walls, smeared peanut butter on any shiny surface… that sort of thing, and obviously the parents thought they were angels. My poor interior crew were close to melt down. So, the mom saw a plastic bag behind the boat in the water, told her 8 year old to grab it so we could put it in the bin. Turns out it was not a plastic bag, it was a jelly fish and the poor lad ended up with a really nasty sting. I shouldn’t laugh, but… “I’m not sure if anyone offered to pee on the child but suspect, judging from his behaviour, there would have been a line of volunteers.”

It’s not just the guests misbehaving. Oh no. One captain told me he had an issue with a decky who was good at his job but ‘creepy’ with the guests. Another told me they had a problem with a couple on board where she kept trying to sleep with other crew, and even made a pass at a guest despite the fact she shared a cabin with her boyfriend.

I had a cocky guest not listening when we were getting them into the tender. There was quite a lot of chop so we were trying to time it well but he wouldn’t listen. He made it into the tender but hadn’t got his footing right and his balance went and he fell out the other side… on their way to the airport.

A design flaw on one particular motoryacht has led to some rather awkward moments for the deck crew – the tender hangs off on the starboard side and overlooks the portholes of a guest toilet. Far too many times there’s been some pretty intense eye contact between crew and guest. Yikes.

Boss’s wives have been in full flow this summer with their demands, various yachts have reported being forced to pull out all the stops and have things flown to them, including live lobsters from Barcelona, crates of champagne by a sea plane when they ran out whilst partying (and the chief stew assured me they started with A LOT of stock), a very particular brand of handmade gelato from Italy (and they kept it frozen!), a doctor with a supply of viagra, weight watchers jello crystals came in from the USA to Monaco, and the old favourite, hookers! Good times.

One set of guests required 75 cupcakes with varying decorations, to be displayed only during breakfast. A grand total of two were eaten, then the stews were instructed to clear them ready for next days ‘theme’. Lucky chef!

Then there’s the case of the owner’s wife turning up early to surprise him. Imagine his delight! As he informs his mistress who has to have her holiday cut short…. Fortunately the helicopter pilot gave the captain the heads up – cue a crazy manic mission by the crew to remove all traces of the mistress before the missus arrives including wardrobe and bathroom toiletry changeovers, clean fresh everything… best part was when the mistress made it known she was not happy by taking the owner’s laptop, car keys, and phone, marching to the bow of the yacht and chucking them overboard.

I was asked to make more of an effort plating the dog’s food. Haunts me every time I walk down the pet food aisle or see a Whiskas ad

She was then hidden in the tender garage until the owner’s wife was onboard and inside, and the deck crew snuck her out under cover of darkness. And who says yacht life isn’t glamorous?

Deckhand Annie happily remembered a run in with a difficult charterer, “I had a cocky guest not listening when we were getting them into the tender. There was quite a lot of chop so we were trying to time it well but he wouldn’t listen. He made it into the tender but hadn’t got his footing right and his balance went and he fell out the other side… on their way to the airport. Obviously, we got him straight back on board and he wasn’t amused – I managed to keep a straight face until the other guests started laughing at him then it was fair game!”

One charter guest wrote on the preference sheet “Allergic to bee stings so most probably allergic to stingrays.” Because they’re totally in the same family aren’t they? Crew had to show the guest they had his epi pen close by whenever he went for a dip. Just in case.

Then there’s the request for a jar of coconut oil… which was promptly found as handprints on the suede headboard in the master. So many stews reported they have to ‘de¬pip’ all cherries. Daily. A team of stews had the task of scrubbing all the shine off a box of apples, a chief had to peel the chocolate off a magnum icecream because they didn’t like the chocolate….

A chef was requested to do a quail egg white omelette and confessed after the first day, realising how labour intensive it was, she cheated for the rest of the charter. And another chef had to make a quail’s egg quiche on a regular basis.

Another chef favourite is the bacon eating vegetarian. Yes you read that correctly. The vegetarian who requests crispy bacon with all his ‘strictly vegetarian’ dishes. And then there was the actual vegetarian chef who was also fond of bacon. And duck. Not to mention the vegan guests who complained they weren’t served fish.

One Chief stew told me she had a request for “Chocolate ice cream. But only if it’s cold.” Which was interesting as another was asked for “Room temperature ice cream.”

A Shirley Temple with vodka. Please don’t tell my parents.

Then there’s the diet coke connoisseur, who requested all diet cokes had to be between certain dates, and would go through a few cans each time we opened one saying “it doesn’t taste right.”

Then there’s the Madame who requested 5 litres of full fat milk every day. To wash in. Well I guess if ass’s milk was good enough for Cleopatra than cow’s milk is good enough for the boss lady.

At the start of the season, one chef was asked to send photos of his hands along with his CV – he realises now he should have run for the hills then, let’s just say it was an interesting season. “I was asked to make more of an effort plating the dog’s food. Haunts me every time I walk down the pet food aisle or see a Whiskas ad.” I thought I’d seen everything until a chef sent me a picture of designer donuts – complete with Louis Vuitton and Chanel logos on.

How about the guests who request empty jars to collect the ‘different colours of seawater’ wherever they go? This was a common request across the fleet this season.
And a teenager requesting a ‘Dirty Shirley’. When asked what exactly he meant, he said “A Shirley Temple with vodka. Please don’t tell my parents.” Because that’s only going to end well.

Well I think we should wrap it up there, although I believe we could probably get a book’s worth out of all the tales this season. So far. Can’t wait for the Caribbean Catch Up! Stay safe out there, and remember – life’s too short to not stop and have a giggle. Especially when it’s at someone else’s expense!