Interview with 57m Volpini 2’s Captain, Nathan McFadyen. How a superyacht captain is responding to the covid 19 emergency?

With the coronavirus spreading worldwide and governments deciding for stricter lockdown measures, we checked in with superyacht captains to see how this emergency is forcing them and owners to make different plans for the upcoming season and what kind of changes are expected in superyacht life.

Amels 188 – Volpini 2

Q1: In front of this emergency, what are the decisions of your yacht owner for the next season? Did he give you new instructions yet? “Our owner wants nothing to do with the med this season due to the handling of the crisis or anywhere that the virus has a strong hold. We are looking at the Pacific and all the islands as our starting point. From here on to Australia and NZ”.

Q2: Will he and his family prefer to cruise or stay in one of their villas at the sea? “I think we would stay longer in one place than normal and only fly private between the yacht and their home”.

Q3: In terms of itinerary, which destinations will be preferred? “Ones with strict controls over the epidemic”.

Q4: What will be your suggestions to your yacht owners and guests as prevention, once on board and visiting destinations during the cruise? “Don’t go off if you don’t need to, don’t go to places which have no large groups, wear a mask, take and use hand sanitizer. We will have to be very regulated until this virus passes. If we are in countries that have eradicated this from their shores things could be different”.

Q5: How do you evaluate marinas’s response to this emergency? Or, what do you expect from marina to help captains and crew face this period of strict measures? “The Marinas have to take control in regards to giving us clear information. Are they open to departing and arriving vessels? Can they show us a specific plan in regards to the virus that is suited to them. Are there any vessels in the marina with the virus onboard (health declarations). Good Security not allowing the public in etc.”.

Q6: How are you managing crew hiring in this period of time for the next season? Are you making interviews online? “Normal process, through agents and via telephone and online interviews. The big issue is flights and then quarantining them once they do arrive, so we don’t risk the other crew. We have to presume everyone as it”.

Q7: More in detail, how has the outbreak impacted on crew management and life on board? “We haven’t been to impacted to be honest. The major change is not being able to leave the yacht at all not even for exercise. All our daily jobs are the same. There are a lot of people due holidays and also crew to rotate which is all on hold.. We are on day 27 of full lock down in Spain”.

Q8: Have you implemented any special precautionary measure at the moment? “No outsiders on board, we wipe down 5-6 times a day onboard with alcohol. Everyone carries sanitizers and we wear masks and gloves when provisions are delivered. If a crew member is sick they are isolated in a room on there own”.

Q9: In your opinion, do you think that disinfection, sterilisation and sanitisation rules will be introduced among standard procedures on board megayachts, once this emergency is over?

“I think yachts where already ahead of this with regards to the cleanliness onboard. Maybe we could be better with outsiders, checking temperatures on arrival and better personal hygiene”.

Q10: As regards shipyards or the supply chain, did you receive good assistance in this period of time? “There has been good communication but supply has slowed down. Slower to get items that we need. Somethings are not being made at all during full lockdown”.

Q11: What kind of services that before the emergency were provided interacting with people physically, can now be digitalised or offered online without losing quality? “Most of them could be done with out seeing people but that wouldn’t be very human, we need the interaction”.

Q12: A new epidemic, such as coronavirus, triggers irrational fears in people, it is the fear of the unknown. Do you think that once this emergency is over, new habits or trends can be adopted to keep distance among people as phobia or prevention? For example, arriving at a marina I can choose not to have my dinner in a given restaurant but ask that restaurant to have the meal delivered on board… do you think this emergency will lead to a new superyacht lifestyle? “There will be some changes with distance and even personal hygiene etc. People will be wary at the start. We need to slowly come out of isolation. I do think people will fall back into their normal routines quickly including all their bad habits! I don’t think restaurants will survive with take always only, as you go out for the dinning experience not just to eat. Food being delivered just doesn’t taste that good no matter who cooks it”.