We meet Captain Luke Humphries, who cut his seafaring teeth in Tasmania, and is now in charge of the successful charter yacht Galaxy.
Place of birth Hobart, Tasmania
Current yacht Galaxy
Number of crew 15 (19 with rotation)
Previous yachts Bel Abri, Quinta Essentia, Katara, Serenity, Dilbar
What was your first taste of the sea?
Travelling across Bass Strait between Tasmania and Victoria on board the ferry MS Empress of Australia. When I was growing up, my family would load up the car and take the overnight cruise to mainland Australia for holidays. It was the adventure of a lifetime back then to drive on board and explore the ship.
Which destinations do you most look forward to visiting?
Anywhere that still has an element of adventure about it. We visited the Turks & Caicos for the first time last winter with the owner and everyone loved it. The owner has mentioned the Scandinavian fjords a few times, so fingers crossed!
What are your favourite onshore hangouts?
I live with my family in the South of France so a great beach club or restaurant is always high on the list of to-dos when home. La Jette in Juan-les-Pins or Eden Plage at Plage Mala are two favourites. We spend time in Ibiza every summer and the Blue Marlin is also very tough to beat. I also love spending time at home losing track of time in my music studio – priceless!
What’s the one place in the world you’d like to cruise to that you haven’t already?
There are a few on the list but at the top it has to be the Galapagos. We spent three months on standby in Costa Rica a few years ago but sadly it never happened – so close yet so far!
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry?
When I joined yachting in 2003 the ISM code was in its infancy for yachts, though familiar to me from commercial shipping. It had many in yachting complaining bitterly or licking their lips at the money to be made from it, but for me ISM has always simply been a way to standardise the safe operating practices of a well-run operation.
What do you like most about your current yacht?
Galaxy is the ideal size with a huge volume and the right number of crew to handle a 24/7 operation over back-to-back seasons. After her refit during winter 2013/14, she’s a pretty fine-looking girl, too!
Which is your favourite on-board toy?
We purchased a Flyboard last summer that has proven a huge hit with the guests and crew alike! It’s great for bringing a charter group together because as soon as one of them sees it in action, they are all lining up for a turn at being ‘Iron Man on water’!
What would you change about the superyachting industry?
Abolish MLC 2006 – it was never a convention designed for yachts.
What’s the most curious request you’ve had from a guest?
We had charter guests on for the Cannes Film Festival a few years ago who at the end of the charter wanted to carry on and cruise to Morocco. They were deadly serious, too!
What’s the worst weather you have encountered on board?
Back in merchant navy days, hove-to riding out a cyclone off the North Island of New Zealand. The ship was a bulk carrier about 180 metres long and she behaved more like a submarine! Once the storm had passed and the full extent of the damage was revealed she had been stripped of all the aluminium walkways from bow to stern.
Who is the most eccentric/strangest/funniest member of your crew?
Our lead deckhand Saul. Eccentric is an understatement!
And the most troublesome crew member?
I’ve had some strange experiences with stewardesses who share the same sociopathic character traits. Scary stuff!
What’s the most stressful part of your job?
Keeping up with the ever-increasing workload required for the successful running of a busy charter yacht keeps me on my toes.
Who would be your top five fantasy charter guests?
Sir Anthony Hopkins, Dave Grohl, Sir Richard Branson, Monica Bellucci, Dave Matthews.
What’s the biggest cock-up you’ve ever seen another captain make?
Being a crew member on board a yacht many years ago that went aground on a rock. The horrible feeling of striking that rock is something I will never forget.
Wrestling with a mooring pole in Venice. It was a lesson in bridge-resource management but the responsibility was mine.
The 56-metre Benetti Galaxy from 2005 charters in the Western Mediterranean this summer through Burgess for €238,000pw (low season) and €266,000pw (high)
• a version of this feature appeared in SuperYacht World issue 44, July/August 2015. To subscribe, click here.