Answering the questions is Wayne Foulis of the 45.7-metre Palmer Johnson Vantage
Place of birth Durban, South Africa
Previous yachts Pure One, Deja Vu, Claire
Current yacht Vantage and her fleet
Number of crew 9 on Vantage, 20 total
What was your first taste of the sea?
The hospital I was born in is situated on Durban beachfront, and my father surfed and was a surf lifeguard, so I have been immersed in the ocean since before I can remember.
Which destinations do you most look forward to visiting?
I am currently living the dream, exploring the South Pacific. I have always wanted to get out to this part of the world and cannot wait to discover the rest. We have based the fleet – Vantage, our three-man Triton submarine, our 55-metre Damen support vessel Ad-Vantage, and our Van Dutch tender – in Tahiti, a world away from the usual superyachting hubs. The sea life here is awesome including whales and sharks, so it’s handy to have the sub. There are plenty of islands to visit in the area and I am looking forward to pulling up in our slinky Nuvolari Lenard-designed Palmer Johnson in places like Bora Bora and Moorea. The diving here is incredible, and apparently the surfing is too, so there is never a dull moment for guests or crew.
What are your favourite onshore hangouts?
It’s tough to say as I prefer to be on the water. I am probably most at home in the garden.
What’s the one place in the world you’d like to cruise to that you haven’t already?
The Indian Ocean sounds great, and I would love to explore there. Having a support vessel as part of your command gives you a real flexibility, as does an owner who is keen to explore.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry?
The increase in regulation making it tougher for crew to get qualified, the introduction of Vsat, and the new social media generation flooding the junior ranks.
What do you like most about your current yacht?
I have a great owner who is excited about the yacht, uses it to the full potential, and is keen to explore new places.
Which is your favourite on-board toy?
The submarine is a definite favourite amongst the guests. It’s a unique experience drifting down into the depths of the ocean. It can be a bit eerie but there’s no better way to see marine life up close. My personal favourite is the Sub-wing – an underwater wing that you hold onto while it is slowly towed with a tender over the reef. You get a feel for how sea creatures glide effortlessly through the water. The wing gives you a form a bit like a manta ray so you can make some pretty graceful moves and you get a lot more up close and personal with the sea life than you would with the sub.
What would you change about the superyacht industry?
I wouldn’t change too much really. It is an evolving industry that adapts to the demands and regulations thrown at it.
What is the most curious request you have had from a guest?
Once, while cruising Alaska, a charter guest requested a 12lb baby goat for dinner.
What’s the worst weather you have encountered on board?
Four-metre confused seas off Fraser Island, Australia.
Who is the most eccentric/strangest/funniest crew member?
Barry the sub pilot.
Who was the most troublesome crew member you ever worked with?
I once had an engineer, who on a night out with the crew, managed to get my entire crew put in jail the night before a charter.
What’s the most stressful part of your job?
Any advice for an aspiring captain?
Stay safe; consider advice from experienced crew; and keep owners and guests enjoying yachting as it should be, and coming back for more.
Who would be your top 5 fantasy charter guests?
Jack Sparrow, Will Ferrell, Jack Black and Borat. The fifth would be Morgan Freeman, to narrate submarine dives.
What’s the biggest cock-up you’ve seen a captain make?
Wearing Crocs on deck.
Erm, wearing Crocs on deck?
Vantage, a 44.7-metre Palmer Johnson built in 2010 (with a 2016 refit), charters for $192,500pw all year round through Ocean Independence. She’s accommodates 12 guests and nine crew and is spending this summer and winter in French Polynesia, Fiji and the South Pacific.
• A version of this article appeared in SuperYacht World Issue 51