Here’s a list of almost completely unrelated things that I have learnt during my season working on board Moonlight II.
No sea sickness for me.
I knew quite a lot about myself at the age of 24 when I joined the yachting industry, but whether I suffered from seasickness or not was yet to be determined. My first experience at sea was a crossing to Corsica on a beautifully still night – smooth sailing one might say (although we weren’t sailing). However I still managed to convince myself of feeling a little queasy, so I popped a pressure point wrist band on each arm along with a pill and nodded off to sleep. The pill sure did its job in knocking me out and worked throughout the whole next day keeping me feeling well and falling asleep everywhere. But, as it turns out, not even the roughest seas have managed to get me down this season. As a crew member on a sailing yacht sometimes I’m at sea even when the winds are pushing gale force (although not often) and the calm lake that is the Med becomes unwelcoming and violent. As long as I’m on deck I’m A-OK and glad to say I have never felt like emptying the contents of my stomach.
French swear words
6 months on board as the only non-French crew member has taught me a few things- one of them being that the French swear almost as much as they smoke. And that’s a lot. Us English speakers are quite boring and tend to use the beloved ‘F**k’ as a noun, verb, adjective, exclamation and more. There is no equivalent in French. So they switch between various naughty words and if my crew represent the majority of all French people, then this is a country of potty mouths. A favourite of theirs is Putain (Pew-tah). It’s strange how a word literally meaning ‘whore’ can be used in situations of any kind. And it rolls off the tongue ever so easily for anything from an urgent need to pee to something more deserving of an actual swear word. The French have somewhat of a reputation for being…… difficult. And my qualitative ethnographic research has shown this to be true. Reputation well-earned I’d say. Saving them is their tasty cuisine, wine, pastries, rich culture and quirky sense of humour.
Crew members bowl movements
Moonlight II is and isn’t a small yacht. At 30 meters she is a good size for a sail boat, but compared to 100 plus meter floating hotels out there she is but a mast atop some drift wood. Guest cabin sizes are impressive, always bigger than first time visitors expect to see. As for the crew mess, this is where things get a little cosy. Which is why one becomes aware of one’s crew members bowl movements. Some go three times a day, each meal passing straight through not leaving much time for digestion. Others perhaps once a day and the unlucky ones less than that- owing to the uncomfortable situation of having everyone know when you’re doing your business I guess. The loud pump-action flushing system doesn’t keep things discreet either. You become immune to these things very quickly.
The force of gravity
Throw a ball up in the air and it’s guaranteed to fall back down. Tip a table over and whatever’s on top will crash to the floor. Take a sailing yacht, put some wind in her sails and you have a once perfectly balanced boat now moving through the water at an angle of sometimes 70 degrees -depending on the wind. In other words, take a sailing yacht, put some wind in her sails and anything on board that could possibly move- does. Thanks to our powerful friend gravity, tables and chairs need to be fastened to the floor, flowers, candles and fruit bowls need to be stowed away. Cabinet doors securely fasted and unlike in aeroplanes’ overhead storage spaces, things will actually have moved throughout the journey and are likely to fall out once opened. Somehow I often seem to forget this- especially when I open my bar fridge for the first time post-sail. Guest cabins need to be checked before setting sail as items will shift from the open cabinets into the toilet bowls. Prevention is always better than cure. The better the sail the more of mess the boat is afterwards.
Never buy a boat
If you are rich, or if you plan on being rich one day then I suggest that you think twice before buying a boat. You know how they say buying a car is a bad investment? Well buying a boat is way worse. Why? Things on boats are ALWAYS breaking. I’m yet to meet someone who works on a boat that isn’t in constant need of repair. There is always something broken and ten to one it costs a fortune to fix. Supposedly when you buy a boat you pay X-amount for it. The next year you will spend 10% of that X-amount on it. In its second year, 20% of X-amount and so on. This, I’m assuming is if you’ve bought the boat brand new. Also, you will pay your awesome crew a ridiculously high salary compared to other labour-intensive jobs. The owner of my boat has been trying to sell it for 11 years- since the day he bought her basically. Knowing what I know about her, it would be daylight robbery taking someone’s money when you know the bag of problems they’re going to inherit. Instead you should charter a boat if and when you make your millions. Being a paying guest might come at a hefty price but you’re only paying for what you get- which is an awesome holiday and nothing more.