Place of Birth: Los Angeles
Current Yacht: Vango
Number of Crew: 10
Previous Yachts: Vango, Serengeti, Carpe Diem, Lady Hawke
What was your first taste of sea?
Since my dad threw me in the water of Catalina Island and said swim, I’ve been sucking salt water. Dad was great – we always had a wooden family sailboat that every weekend my brother and I would maintain with paint and varnish. Sailing was the reward!
How did you become a captain?
I started when I was 15, deckhanding on a sportsfisher during summer. After college I could not imagine working in an office for the rest of my life so went to maritime school. I’ve been in this industry as a captain since I was 25 – I’m now 53 and love it just as much as the first day. Someone successful told me: “If you do what you love and love what you do, it’s not work”. I haven’t ‘worked’ in 30 years.
Which destinations do you most look forward to visiting?
Alaska stands out: the sheer size of the Inland Passage and its wildlife make it a very special place. We watch bears among snowy mountain peaks and waterfalls. To be the only yacht there is perfect.
What are your favourite on shore hangouts?
Albany Golf Club and Resort Marina, Nassau is one of my homes away from home. And of course Irvine Ranch, where I live with my best friend, a Boston terrier named Brady.
What’s the one place in the world you’d like to cruise to?
The Maldives is on our radar for cruising and diving. We are designing a 50-metre sailing catamaran project specifically for the area, due for delivery sometime in 2019.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry?
The IMO, MCA and USCG implementing and standard training moving into the yacht industry, over a decade ago. I am big supporter of keeping crew and captains accountable.
Which is your favorite on-board toy?
The N120VT Eurocopter EC-120 – the ultimate yacht tender. The ability to fly guests to the yacht and land them safely in remote locations is an incredible way to start a trip. It also gives us a radius of about 60 nautical miles to play and explore. In Alaska, we can fly the owner to a remote lake 3000ft up to fish for trout.
What do you like most about your current yacht?
Presently we are selling our 50-metre Westport and negotiating on a new 50-metre Westport, so you might say we like just about everything! She has great fuel economy and is one of the few of her size with a master on the bridge deck, and she is a great working platform for diving our favorite spots in Belize and Turks & Caicos.
What’s the most stressful part of your job?
We’re in the building process, so working between the owner and shipyard to stay on target and delivery date.
What’s the next big thing in yachting?
Carbon fibre manufacturing; increased fuel efficiency; ZF pods coupled with dynamic positioning. How nice to be able to spend the night over a reef in Turks & Caicos without disturbing the environment.
Any advice for an aspiring captain?
Choose to be a captain in aviation – most owners have a private jet, so the pilots fly them in, then stay around the pool while me and my crew are entertaining guests and owners 24-7! Seriously, go maritime commercial, get tonnage and a ticket, and your options are unlimited.
Who would be your top five fantasy charter guests?
James Bond, James Dean, Miles Davis, and Doc Severinsen – one of the coolest cats I’ve ever met.
What’s the biggest cock-up you’ve seen a captain make?
Everyone has off days, some more than others. On those days, the best of us minimise mistakes and stay aware. Anyone who says they’ve never made a mistake, just wait – it’ll happen.
Taking our 12-metre 3-OE Intrepid up a small stream to go fly fishing in Prince of Wales, Alaska. It was pushing the envelope but the owner’s father was aboard and wanted to get upstream for better fishing. We made it to our spot and anchored in about two metres in the middle of the stream. The salmon were all over, hitting on almost every fly casted, and I realised – too late – that the tide was too low to get back over the bar at the head of the stream. Luckily I had plenty of beer and Padron cigars for the guest and owners, who hardly noticed we were high and dry. It all ended well with about 50lb of smoked salmon, which lasted us a year!
Vango is on brokerage with Westport, asking $40.495 million.
Tel: +1 954 316 6364. www.westportyachts.com