Jess Ayling’s Career in Yachting

Jess Ayling is no ordinary Purser. This young lady started out as a deckhand and impressively worked her way up the ladder, gaining her OOW in the process. Her passion for her job is palpable, injecting an aspect of care into the industry that is oftentimes absent. She opens up about her career in yachting and how her journey took her from deckhand to Purser.

Did you always want to get into yachting?

Originally I considered yachting a kind of ‘stop gap’ before I went to university. I genuinely thought I would be in the industry for a couple of years. I had no idea the journey I was about to undertake. Thirteen years later I’m still here and I have no regrets.

What made you choose the deck route vs. interior when starting your yachting career?

There was no question that I would go the deckhand route when I first got into yachting. Growing up sailing, diving and driving boats,  it was a complete no brainier. Back in 2008, it was still quite uncommon to have female deckies. The yacht agents tried to convince me I should go for deck/stew roles. The best piece of advice I was given was to stick to my guns and tell them I only wanted to be considered for a full deck role. After being told I would struggle, I proved them wrong by having seven solid job offers after 2 days in Antibes, I joined my first yacht a couple of weeks later in Mexico.

What was it like working your way up on deck?

It was so much fun, I loved the comradery that comes with being on deck. I learnt to be tough and take a lot of jokes, however, at the same time I have only ever felt truly respected by the men I have worked with. Unfortunately, I know this is not always the case, and misogyny is still very prevalent in Yachting. As a female, I felt things get slightly more difficult when I wanted to start climbing the ladder and asking for more responsibility. There is a huge appeal of having a female deckhand. However, they become more sceptical when it comes to a female in a leadership role over a team of men. You certainly have to work twice as hard, study and get all your tickets before you are taken seriously.

Tell us what made you transition from a Second Officer to a Purser Role?

I was in a time of my life where I was unsure what direction I wanted to take in yachting, I loved being Second Officer however I knew I did not want to become a Captain. I had been playing with the idea of being a Purser as there are many transferable skills. I Spoke to one of the lovely ladies at Wilson Halligan for some advice, and they gave me the courage to go for it and put my CV out there.

Who has been a mentor/support for you in your yachting career?

My current Rotational Captains have been an invaluable part of my career growth as Purser and I have a great working relationship with them both, they are so encouraging. Throughout my entire career my sister, Nicki Ayling, who was also in the yachting industry for many years has always been someone I’ve looked up to as a strong female dominating in a male field.

What challenges do you face working as a Purser?

The past couple of years of ‘COVID madness’ has been extremely challenging as a Purser, I feel like I have learnt so much in a short space of time. I have learnt to prioritise and handle anything that is thrown in my direction and I simply do not sweat the small stuff anymore. Another huge thing I have to consistently work on is handling my emotions in a high-pressure role. I really care about my job, and the crew, but sometimes you have to try and detach as you can get overburdened by others’ expectations of you. When you are under pressure it’s easy to feel like this.

The only other huge challenge I face is coming down for lunch without being bombarded with questions about crew flights… but I guess that comes with the territory.

How do you feel about the future of the industry?

I am hoping to see some positive sustainable changes as we become more aware of the impact our actions have on the planet. COVID has made people evaluate what is really important.

What has been your favourite thing about yachting throughout your yachting career?

There are too many highlights for me and I have been to some unbelievable places and had unforgettable experiences. My absolute favourite thing is the people I’ve met and knowing that I now have friends all around the world to visit (when we can all travel again).

What is next in the pipeline for you?

Yachting has been my life since I was a green deckhand at the tender age of eighteen. I am currently lucky to be employed on a fantastic vessel so I’m really happy where I am right now. If and when things change I would still love to work around the industry somehow although I am not sure in which capacity.

What advice would you give young ladies looking to start their yachting career with regards to which path to take?

I would say I am a testament to the fact that if you are not sure which direction to go, you can always change your mind later on. A career in yachting is incredible and if you work hard you will reap the rewards, so go for it!

It’s clear that we can expect great things from Jess. As for her career in yachting, I doubt we’ll see the last of it for some time to come. Thanks for making the industry a better place Jess!

Limiting beliefs

Limiting Beliefs and How They’re Holding You Back

Why is it that some people are so successful and others are not? Sure there are sometimes extenuating circumstances that put others ahead but there are also those who seem to beat the odds. The majority of the time, it comes down to mindset. We can only achieve what we believe. Limiting beliefs are thoughts, opinions that one believes to be the absolute truth. They tend to have a negative impact on one’s life by stopping them from moving forward and growing on a personal and professional level. 

Examples are: “I’m bad with money”, “Every time I try and change, I fail”, “Work isn’t meant to be a joy”. These are just thoughts, and through continued affirmations they became beliefs. Our tendency to interpret new information as confirmation of our pre-existing beliefs is called confirmation bias, which means that we often believe what we want to believe.

Everyone has the potential to achieve great things, no matter their circumstances. But fear often holds up back, we tell ourselves stories, play it safe and only end up living half a life. We create stress and internal conflict by holding ourselves back from our true calling. When we change our stories to create a new truth about who we really are, then we start to feel happy and fulfilled. But why and how does this occur?

How Self-belief originates

Up until the age of seven, we operate in brain wavelengths that closely resemble a hypnotic state, according to Dr Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief. This is where most of our limiting beliefs are formed. I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying kids are like sponges? They soak up and record everything around them including “bad” and “good” behaviours and emotions. 

When a child is treated with love and made to feel wanted, this turns into the belief that they are valued. Contrary to that, if a child is neglected or abused they will grow up with the belief that they are unwanted and undeserving. These will become their limiting beliefs. If you’ve ever heard that little voice in your head telling you can’t be or do something, that’s a limiting belief. Those thoughts are exactly that, just thoughts. They are not realities.

As humans, we are constantly aiming to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. This includes avoiding negative emotions like frustration, anxiety, anger etc. Limiting beliefs act as a defence mechanism to avoid these emotions. Often they are triggered by situations where you have experienced suffering in the past. You change your behaviour because your subconscious is trying to prevent this. It often ends, ironically in other negative outcomes such as procrastination, imposter syndrome, overthinking etc.

How to Take Back Control of Your Limiting Beliefs
  1. If you find yourself feeling fearful or resisting an activity, stop and be aware. You’re currently in a state of ‘low mood’ thinking.
  2. Write it down! What is it that you think you cannot do? Try and identify exactly why you are feeling that way. Understand that what you are thinking is not necessarily true.
  3. Look for evidence. Why aren’t you able to achieve XYZ? Are these legitimate reasons or just excuses? Are you able to overcome these? Is it just difficult and you are not willing to? That is also ok but it doesn’t mean you can’t.
  4. Be accountable. Thoughts and feelings come and go, they are not that truth about who you are. There are plenty of tools to help you combat negative emotions like stress and anxiety, use them! A brain is a powerful tool, you are in control of a lot more than you think (limiting belief). Breathe and recentre. 
  5. Talk it out! As the saying goes, friends are better than therapy. If you find yourself having limiting beliefs, I’m sure your friends or family would be shocked to hear what you think about yourself. Find someone you trust to share your thoughts.

Of course, changing a belief doesn’t automatically result in changed behaviour, you still have to do the work. For example, change “I’m not good with money.” to “In the past, I haven’t been good with money but I am working towards changing my spending habits.” or “I am learning how to be financially responsible.” Take one step at a time. 

“The quality of your thoughts creates the quality of your life.”

If you want to change your life, something needs to change! Create new empowering beliefs to enable you to achieve much more than you originally thought possible. If you tell yourself “I can’t” or “that’s not possible”, ask yourself WHY 5 times to get to the route of that belief. It may not be possible to the extent or exactly how you picture it but I assure you, nothing is impossible.

Create a new mindset and a new narrative, become confident and courageous, what have you got to lose?

Limiting beliefs

Busy Vs Productive – Which Are You?

It’s a busy world these days, trying to be successful at work, keep an exercise regime, maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep hydrated and the list goes on! Time flies and before you know it the end of the day has arrived and you haven’t accomplished nearly as much as you thought you would. The real question is… were you productive?

In our busy world today, many of us are good at being busy but not productive. Here are 7 differences between busy people and productive people. Which group are you in? 🙂

Productive is the difference between working hard and working smart.

Great work ethic is important, it gives people the drive to get things done. Busy people are always doing something because they have this drive. However, they work hard, not smart. Their focus is very linear and often they are too “busy” to consider a better faster way of doing things. Productive people first consider how effectively they can do something and then consider being efficient. They want to achieve their outcomes the quickest way possible.

There is a difference between being efficient and being effective. Effectiveness is finding the best way to complete a task whereas efficiency is just going through the steps of completing a larger task as quickly as possible. To be as effective as possible, try automating some of the steps you need to take or eliminating them altogether if they are not wholly necessary.

Keep your eye on the big picture as well as the details

Busy people get caught up in the details. Don’t get me wrong, details are important, just not every detail of every task. Sometimes getting caught in the details will be counterproductive, you’ll be running behind, you’ll get stressed and then get even less done. Sometimes it’s more important to make a decision or get a task done and refine it later.

For example, choosing between layouts of a home page of your website when you first start out could be agonising, because they all have different draw points. Choose one, test it and refine as you get feedback! There are going to be scenarios that details are, however, extremely important to pay attention to. For example, getting your logo designed. It’s something that represents your brand in my different settings. The trick is to focus on details that will affect your outcome, if it’s going to affect your end goal, then you can be a perfectionist. If you can, outsource the rest, follow the 80/20 rule or just get rid of them!

Busy people say yes to everything. Productive people say yes/no mindfully.

You may be familiar with this one…you can just never say no! Your schedule ends up being full of things that are keeping you busy, but not necessarily adding value to your life.

Busy people never say no: they say yes to everything. As a result, they fill their schedules with things that keep them busy but don’t change their life. Productive people are very mindful of what they say yes to. Everything that is said ‘yes’ to, takes time, and that time is taken away from another possible value-adding task. Constantly saying yes to the right things, will lead you down the right path, and the one to success. The same thing for constantly saying yes to the wrong things, don’t get sedge-wayed but the shiny stuff! Stay focused on what will serve you.

Don’t get caught up in the trends

Busy people will jump onto every business trend. They hear you can make money blogging so they immediately jump into a blog. Everyone is adding an app for their business, so they get busy with this too. Productive people understand that trends are actually market movements and will come and go. They consider how much value it will add to their business before deciding to buy-in.

You are given endless choices in this day and age, but it’s important to analyse them in your context to determine if they are worthwhile. Weigh up the pros and cons, the cost analysis, and most importantly, if you actually NEED it.

Busy people don’t seem to have any time. Productive people make sure they have time to focus on the important things.

For example, setting and re-valuating your goals is just as important as working towards and achieving them. Time is a construct and hours and days of the week are labelled in order to communicate and collaborate with others accurately. Your day fills up with “to-do’s” and often others peoples “to-do’s” fall under that. You need to actively choose what you are letting into your day otherwise your time will be taken up with unproductive tasks. Productive people make time for the important things, even when they are busy.

Sometimes the thing you’re putting off the most will be the thing that has the biggest impact on your life. In business, for instance, setting and evaluating your Q2 goals is something that everyone puts off but is so important for your companies achievements.  MAKE the time.

Productive people understand that using the right tools and resources enables them to do their job effectively. Busy people try and do everything themselves.

Working on day-to-day reoccurring tasks, especially when you don’t have the expertise can be draining of both your time and mental resources. Having to learn new skills and try and do everything yourself can be extremely unproductive and disallows you from concentrating on the high-level, core tasks.

Hiring can be difficult in terms of finding the right person to do the job. However, with platforms like Fiverr, Upwork and People per Hour, outsourcing has never been easier! Read our article “The Ins and Outs of Outsourcing” to get up to speed!

The right technological tools and platforms are also extremely important. Using social media planners such as Hootsuite and Planoly or email automation such as Zapier enable you to plan ahead and execute while you get on with other work. With regards to overhead costs when running a business, these are minimal costs and enable you to maximise your time.

Busy vs Productive

Now you need to ask yourself, do you want to be busy or productive? Do you want to be effective and efficient or running around, directionless and stressed? Take a breath, analyse and reset. Just because you aren’t doing EVERYTHING, doesn’t mean you are doing nothing. Time is precious and a finite resource. Use it wisely and productively. Check out our article on Time Wasters for more tips on how to manage your time more effectively!

Luke Humphries

Captain Luke Humphries – On board Superyachts

Luke is an  Australian Master Mariner with 25 years in the game (time flies when you’re having fun!). He began in 1995 as a Deck Officer cadet in the Australian Merchant Navy spending 8 years on a variety of vessels from Tankers and Container Ships to Ferries and Bulk Carriers. This lead to time in the Oil and Gas Industry which he also continued during periods of relief work in the early days of his yachting career. For the past 17 years, he has worked in the Yachting Industry on reputable Charter and Private yachts cruising extensively worldwide. Today Luke enlightens us about his experience and journey on board Superyachts.

Your career has been long and exciting, can you tell us a little about your background and where you’re from?

I’m Australian and grew up in Tasmania spending much of my youth in a little fishing town called St Helens on the East Coast. At school, I was a jack of all trades, master of none and had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. In year 11, I saw an advert in the Australian Newspaper for ‘Careers at Sea’ with a Global mining company ‘BHP Billiton’ where they were offering cadetships for Deck and Engineer Officers, and so I started looking into it. The idea of travelling the world and training as a Deck Officer caught my attention. I would be responsible for navigation, fire, safety and medical care all whilst being paid for it! At the end of year 12, I applied to a shipping company ‘ASP Ship Management’ and was accepted in their cadet intake for 1995.

Coming from the Australian Merchant Navy, what did you find appealing about making the move to on board Superyachts? 

The change was huge, I’m not going to lie. I had worked on a variety of Cargo and Passenger ships as well as spending time in the Oil and Gas industry. I worked my way up to Chief Officer but yes, yachting was a little different. Friends of mine who I studied with as Engineers found the yachting industry a few years after we graduated in the late ‘90s. They would come back to Tasmania and tell stories of Fort Lauderdale and Antibes, the money, travel and lifestyle. They were doing extremely well and some of them were working as couples with their girlfriends from college days. My girlfriend at the time (now wife and partner of 19 years) and I spoke about the idea a few times and it was really her idea to take the plunge. She was finishing University that year and so we packed up and headed to Fort Lauderdale the following February. The original plan was to spend two years working on yachts to travel and save money for a deposit to buy a house back in Australia. As you can see the rest is history!!

How would you describe your favourite part about a career on board Superyachts?

It’s the thrill of not knowing what’s going to happen next, who you will meet, where you will travel. Also the exhilaration of pulling off the most amazing and impossible plans for the guests at the drop of a hat. It’s one of the most satisfying things for me, knowing you’ve played a part in bringing it all together by providing a special experience and blowing them away! It’s amazing!

You’ve been to some incredible destinations in your time, can you tell us about your most memorable/favourite destination and experience?

One of the most memorable was diving with a previous Owner, a drift dive on a reef shelf in the Los Aves Archipelago off the Venezuelan coast. The Archipelago was amazing, totally uninhabited and the dive spectacular in itself but, as we were diving, we heard a pod of dolphins calling nearby. We didn’t see them until almost the end of the dive when they came out to see who was playing in their backyard, amazing 🙂

What challenges do you face when travelling to remote destinations on board Superyachts?

Logistics is always so key in planning successful trips in remote locations. Typically you’re on your own so you need to think of the worst-case scenario for pretty much everything, communications, provisions, medical aid, transport, stores and spares etc. The key is having an experienced team on board who can brainstorm and draw on their collective experiences to work through and mitigate the issues as best as possible. Curveballs will always come but if they didn’t, it wouldn’t be yachting now, would it!?

As a Superyacht, what additional pressures do you face for navigating during COVID?

COVID has been extremely tough on everyone and the world is no longer the same as a result. The biggest challenge has been managing the crew during long periods away from home and listening and supporting them as much as possible in dealing with the issues the pandemic has brought to each one of us. It’s easy to forget about COVID when onboard in our ‘yacht bubble’ and in many ways, we are very lucky, however, we all need to be reminded now and again not to get complacent on board or at home in order to protect our work colleagues and families, and to manage the owner’s expectations. I feel that we are not out of the woods just yet and will be feeling the after-effects of the pandemic for years to come.

What would you say has been the most rewarding aspect of your career on board Superyachts?

I would say it’s being in a position to mentor and following the rise of the careers of those who have worked with me previously. Seeing them grow and develop from green crew to senior crew of the highest calibre and knowing you’ve played a part in that is the biggest reward.

What has been your drive for your career on board Superyachts? Did you have a mentor?

We all know that yachting is infectious and my experience is no exception. I never expected to be in it for the time that I have, however, 19 years after first dock walking in Fort Lauderdale, here I am! I have had a couple of mentors over the years and they know who they are. The one thing I will say though is that you never stop learning, every day is different and everyone you meet can teach you something.

Given the opportunity, what advice would you give a green deckie starting out in yachting who dreams of Captaincy?

Take your time, listen well, work hard and learn your craft. Soak up as much knowledge as you can from those around you, be respectful, stay true to yourself and enjoy the ride. Don’t rush and aspire to the dizzy heights before you’re ready because the easy part is getting the job, the hard part is keeping it!

And finally, what’s next for you?

The pandemic has meant extended periods away from home the past 18 months, so trying to balance work and family life and reconnect with family and friends is at the top of my list 🙂

Luke Humphries

Luke’s proven track record for successfully exceeding expectations is reflected in his history as a sought after Captain who is admired by all of those who know him, however, this is not something he takes for granted. Bringing enthusiasm, positivity, professionalism, and drive to the forefront, Luke takes pride in maintaining a vessel and her extended operations to the highest of standards. A plethora of in-demand qualities, a role-model to many, and a true industry leader; this is a Captain to aspire to.

It was an absolute pleasure chatting with you, we wish you the very best on the rest of your journey on board Superyachts!

Chief Officer Richard Craven’s Take On Mental Well-Being On Board

Richard is from a small town but that had no effect on the limit of his dreams. With a cruise ship background and an upgrade to a prestigious yachting career, Richard is well on his way to landing his own Captaincy. Mental well-being is well and truly on his radar, he is absorbing best practices from superiors he admires in order to carry those through to his own Command one day. We caught up with Rich to delve into his career and journey, weighing in on COVID and mental well-being onboard in today’s current climate.

You’ve had an exciting and varied career – can you tell us a little about your background and where you’re from?

I’m from Selby, North Yorkshire in the UK although I now live in Newquay, Cornwall. I began my career at sea with a cadet ship with Princess Cruises. I then moved across to yachts at the age of 23, having worked on 4 different yachts to date, ranging from 60-160m. 

How did you first get involved with the superyacht industry?

I first came across yachting during my stint on cruise ships. I viewed it as the pinnacle with the high standards they set so, with the help of a colleague who made the jump a few years earlier, I transferred across.

What has been your most favourite part about a career in yachting?

My favourite part of yachting has been the opportunity it has given me to see so many different parts of the world. 

Is there an achievement or contribution within your career that you are most proud of?

Achieving my Master Mariners Unlimited and first stepping up as Relief Captain is my proudest moment so far.

Looking after the mental well-being of your crew is a huge part of your job, how prepared for that were you when you first climbed the ranks?

I don’t think this is something you can ever be fully prepared for. I covered as Relief Captain during the peak of the COVID pandemic and managing the crews’ mental health was one of my biggest challenges. I have been fortunate enough to have worked under some great captains and I followed their lead in taking the time to regularly check in on everyone and actively promoting an open door policy so that crew would know I was approachable whatever their issue.

In your view, what are the biggest pressures and factors which contribute to poor mental well-being at sea?

I think long contracts away from loved ones is one of the biggest  pressures on mental well-being. I think the yachting industry is doing a great job of moving towards better rotations over the past few years for all crew and I hope to see the commercial sector follow suit. Additionally; improvements in communication has made it easier to regularly contact home, and I believe this has helped with mental well-being in our industry, particularly during the pandemic.

What does a healthy working environment for mental well-being on board look like to you and how do you go about creating it?

I believe it looks like a workplace with both internal and external support systems in place. With the opportunity to take some time away from work to relax, socialise and enjoy some of the advantages of our industry such as seeing a new location.  Although we all live and work in a tight space, a ship can actually feel like loneliest place if you’re having a hard time so it’s important people know there is a support network around them.  This can be achieved by hiring the right people, organising crew events, and working as a team to bring the crew together so they become friends rather than just colleagues so as to watch out for one another. Then by setting up a mental health service such as offered by Medaire that crew have access to that gives an external support system if crew want to speak to someone other than their colleagues. 

What are some ways that you look after your own mental well-being whilst you’re onboard?

My number one way to mentally reset is to take an hour out for the gym each day. I see a lot of yachts promoting crew circuit classes, yoga, fitness challenges etc. which is great. Additionally I find a few hours ashore once in a while or an evening off to spend with the crew is great for my mental well-being.

As discussions surrounding diversity and mental well-being are slowly increasing within the industry, what would you like to see in the industry in the next 10 years?

I would like to see mental health awareness have its own segment as part of the STCW medical courses. The more crew who can recognise the signs of mental health issues, the quicker we can respond and help one another. 

And finally, where to next for you?

Next for me is to continue understudying experienced Captain’s on my current vessel so that I’m ready to step up to a permanent Captains role when the time is right. 

It is clear that we can expect great things from Richard and we can’t wait to follow his journey in the industry.  With mental well-being onboard being a priority, we look forward to watching him shape into one of the fine Captain’s of today. All the best, Rich!

Outsourcing

The In’s and Out’s of Outsourcing

The Ins and Outs of Outsourcing

Outsourcing essentially refers to the function of getting tasks or jobs completed outside of your organisation. It has been seeing an upward growth trend since 2014 with the market size for global outsourcing reached $92.5 billion before the pandemic. There are many different types of outsourcing and a great deal more benefits.

More than 93% of organisations are considering or have already adopted cloud services to improve outsourcing. Cloud technology allows companies to become more flexible and responsive to their markets, enabling faster global communication and growth. Contrary to popular belief, the main motivation for businesses making this move is not to lower costs by cutting jobs but to be more competitive and increase innovation.

There are many different types of outsourcing including multi-sourcing, knowledge process outsourcing, IT Outsourcing, but one of the most common being Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). This refers to outsourcing the more mundane business activities such as administration, correspondence, scheduling etc. Customer service and lead generation are also useful tasks included in BPO.

There are so many great things about outsourcing for both companies and contractors alike. It offers flexibility in terms of services provided, they can be tailored to exactly what the company requires and they are paying for those exact requirements. Flexibility is also great for contractors because although they are working within deadlines, they are often able to create their own working hours.

It is also easier to access expertise through an outsourcing company as they have vetted and screened all their employees already to ensure that they possess the correct qualifications, skills and competency to match the clients’ requirements. Although generally cheaper, this has nothing to do with the quality produced. Reduction in cost related to full-time employee expenses such as benefits. Outsourcing companies rely on their reputation and positive client reviews to remain successful in attracting future clientele so they are fully invested in creating top-quality output.

It is believed that outsourcing is only an option for large corporations, when in fact, the opposite is actually true. Outsourcing allows employees to focus on their core business operations while contractors take care of area’s they may not be experts in. Sites like Fiverr have allowed small business owners to access expertise at a fraction of the cost. With the focus being directed at core functions, there is an increase in productivity and an opportunity for company growth.

Another misconception is that businesses are more prone to data breaches if they outsource. The truth is that every major corporation is at risk. Outsourcing partners take extreme care to protect their clients’ information, often adding layers of security and constantly updating their protocol. With NDA’s, anti-virus software, cloud storage and modern tools such as YubiKeys, small outsourcing businesses as just as secure when handling sensitive information.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is not only economical and adaptable, but additionally, it promotes the opportunity for rapid growth. With cloud-based technology, it is more accessible, affordable and safer than ever. It really is a no-brainer solution for small and large companies alike.

Time Wasters

Time Wasters And How To Avoid Them

Time Wasters and How To Avoid Them

We are all about organisation! In order to get organised, you have to know where to start. There are endless tasks we have to accomplish during the day and knowing what to prioritise when can overload our decision-making thought process. Not to mention all of the distractions we experience throughout the day that derail our perfect plans. We’ve put together some time wasters and how to get around them for a more efficient and effective day.

Time waster no.1 – No time boundaries

Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time allotted for its completion.”

Remember when you had a deadline to meet and you put it off constantly. “I’ll do it tomorrow”, and tomorrow comes but you’ve got another week, right? So you leave it for another day and suddenly it’s due the day before next. You’re in a panic but you work hard and somehow manage to finish on time (and nail it!). This is because we usually don’t give ourselves enough credit and can often complete tasks faster than the time you allocated for it.

There’s a handy technique called the Pomodoro technique wherein you break up your tasks into 25-minute blocks and take 5 minutes of rest after. If your task ends up taking more than 25 minutes, evaluate your process and start again, adjusting for the next 25 minutes. You can also always set your time and challenge yourself, it makes the work exciting!

Time waster no.2 – Touching things twice

Ever heard of something called a holding pattern? You have now, and let me tell you, it’s a waste of time. Have you read a text and not replied? Opened an email or an invitation and left it for later? The time it takes to close your “task loop” is the holding pattern, and here’s what you can do about it:

Apply the 2-minute rule. If it’s going to take you 2 minutes or less, get it done there and then instead of putting it off until later. Otherwise, automate, eliminate, delegate and carry on going!

Time waster no.3 – Holding on to the past

We’ve all had that thought, “Uggg I should have done it yesterday!” or if only I had done that a week ago. It goes without saying, living in the past or the future, means you’re not here for the present.

This one goes without saying: being stuck in the past prevents you from living in the present. Immersing yourself in unnecessary drama and complaining too much won’t get you where you want to go. Dwelling on the past is literally wasting time so as much as possible, acknowledge it, learn from it, and move on.

Time waster no.4 – Indecisiveness

Taking the time to make decisions is a grey area and of course, it really depends on what kind of decision you are making! However, have you ever been out with a friend to a restaurant, you are starving and they are taking forever to decide? The longer they take, the later your meal will arrive! Same concept when making decisions in life. The more time you take to decide, the longer it will take to see results!

Sometimes it’s even better to deal with fixing a decision that was the wrong one, than never making a decision at all. What you can do is take all the important information you have RIGHT NOW and make a decision that way.

Time waster no.5 – Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking was once thought of as a skill to be revered, it was the ultimate way to get things done. Recent studies show that this isn’t the case. Switching from one high-level task to another takes your brain up to 20 minutes to refocus and identify thought processes necessary for the new task. It is both an inefficient, ineffective way to get things done.

A better method for handling your tasks is called batching or scheduling. This is when similar tasks are grouped together that can be done in sequence or at the same time when possible.

Now that you’re more aware of what can actually waste your time, you can implement these tips to help you and you’ll become an organised ninja in no time! Remember, time is the one commodity you can’t get more of in life so use it wisely!

Neal Roche

The Journey To Become A Captain With Neal Roche

The Journey To Become A Captain With Neal Roche

Captain Neal Roche is one of those rare people you find in life. His commercial background brought him into yachting and on to his first command, the prestigious 162m M/Y Dubai. Always looking to improve and never afraid to get his hands dirty, Bec and Dom have both had the pleasure of working with this inspiring Captain. He has completed his Masters Unlimited, has a degree in Nautical Science with distinction, a degree and Masters in Marine Surveying, and is a qualified member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. There’s just no stopping him!

With his Irish charm and good nature, he is certainly a role model to keep your eye on. Neal has kindly offered some sage advice for those wanting to become a Captain, allowing us some personal insight along the way!

What inherent skills / attitude does it take to become a Captain?

There’s nothing inherent that is needed to become a Captain. Everything can be learned, but this of course takes time and patience. A new Captain will often think that they should know everything because of the position they find themselves in, but just like any person finding themselves in a new position or job, they will need time to learn the ropes. They should be prepared to be honest enough to say if they don’t know something or ask for information/advice. It is important to be respectful, both of those you work for, and those that work for you. Your crew will look up to you for guidance and to set the tone on board, it’s important to be respectful of them because of this.

What advice would you give someone starting their first drive when they become a Captain?

Allow yourself the chance to learn the job, understand that it will take time, and do not be afraid to ask for help or advice. Learn to prioritise your tasks to avoid becoming overloaded, there is a lot going on and you won’t always get to it all! Understand that delegating tasks is not seen as shirking the workload, it is giving the jobs to more appropriate people rather than trying to do it all yourself. People want to have tasks given to them, it gives them purpose in their role, and the chance to show their Captain that they can do a good job.

When you become a Captain, your crew are your biggest asset. This is the most important one. You should work even harder for them than they do for you. It’s important that from time to time you are happy to help do the menial jobs such as handling stores, to show that you are not above them. Whatever issue they may come to you with must be treated with importance, because they will not have mentioned it to you if it was not of importance to them.

Get to know them and about them, and speak to them on a one to one basis regularly. To be a Captain is a privileged position, but it is only so because of the hard work and support of your crew. If your crew are happy and feel that they are listened to and respected, they will have no issue to go the extra mile when needed, particularly on Guest cruises, which will be the difference between a good and a great result for your Guests.

Describe the best part of your job

Firstly, working with a diverse bunch of really great people, and seeing a crew knit together, knowing that you had a part in that is extremely rewarding. Hand in hand with that is seeing a happy Owner or Guest knowing that your team made them happy. Of course, a big perk is being out at sea in a beautiful yacht, it never gets old! And finally being able to bring about visible change and improvement in your working environment. I am extremely grateful to have the job that I do!

What misconceptions are there about being a Captain?

When you become a Captain, people assume you have limitless authority and this is definitely not the case. Like any CEO role, despite the position, we are constrained by budget, management, Owner requests, weather, scheduling etc.

What has been your career highlight so far?

Again I have to mention a few! My first Guest cruise onboard M/Y Dubai, which was my first Captaincy, was an exciting moment for me.  I am also proud of becoming Captain of M/Y Dubai, one of the world’s largest yachts, not many can say that! When I became Captain of the M/Y Barbara build and subsequent operational Captain was also a great highlight. The build was a pleasure, the boat is really great, and there was & is a great crew onboard. My current position of Build Captain of project Z1010 is proving to be a fantastic experience and I am looking forward to seeing it through to fruition.

How does your relationship with your crew change when you become a Captain?

When you move to the Captain’s role, a clear separation from the crew has to develop. It is possible to be very friendly with the crew, particularly the junior ones, but not to be their friends. This works both ways; You need to be able to have a broad overview of your crew structure and morale, and they also do not need their boss to be their friend. The crew will also appreciate a clear and respectful demarcation, and not to see the Captain as someone trying to relive their youth with them.

For the Captain this often results in quite a solitary role, but it’s the same for any leadership position. If you feel that this is the case, you are doing the job right.

What would your ideal itinerary be?

The answer is twofold. My personal ideal itinerary is a wide ranging world cruise, visiting both warm and cooler destinations. From a professional point of view, I would wish to have an itinerary that I am familiar with, so as to ensure that the Guests have the best experience. Visiting places for the first time always brings an element of concern for something out of the ordinary happening due to unfamiliarity.

Neal Roche

To anyone who is lucky to work with Neal, keep your eyes peeled and make sure you collect the nuggets of wisdom that he so often offers. We are all looking forward to the launch of project Z1010 and wish you every bit of that Irish luck!

Captain Sally-Ann Konigkramer

Captain Sally-Ann Konigkramer’s Career in Yachting

Captain Sally-Ann Konigkramer on Her Career in Yachting

Everyone’s career in yachting is a unique experience, however, we still find common ground in the challenges we face and the triumphs we accomplish. Sally-Ann hails from South Africa, but it was in Italy that she launched her career in yachting. Wide-eyed and eager to learn, her passion for achievement in the industry still burns strong. Below Captain Sally-Ann offers invaluable advice to those seeking a career in yachting, taking us through her journey from fledgling deckhand to accomplished Captain, where quitting was never an option.

Tell us how your career in yachting began.

I started my career in yachting as a deckhand onboard a 116-foot Azimut in Viareggio. I had no clue about the industry or what was expected of me. All I knew was that I wanted to be a Captain. At the time I only had about €1000,00 to my name. I was very fortunate enough to meet great people along the way. I remember catching a ride with a painter to France who showed me the crew house in Antibes. He kindly gave me a quick twenty-minute crash course on how to get day work. Sustaining myself on bread rolls and salami, I read a lot of books and stayed out of trouble. Quitting was never an option.

What initial career path did you want to take?

Before joining the industry, I always wanted to be a pilot. It seemed a far-fetched dream as my father was not going to pay for the schooling. During that period, females making careers as pilots and captains were not very common. It seemed like a childhood fantasy at the time. If I could not become a pilot, a Captain was the next closest thing when I realized I was good on the water, so I chose a career in yachting. I left South Africa at 20-years-old already knowing I was leaving to pursue my dream of becoming a Captain. The only time I returned was for a 2-week vacation in-between seasons.

Tell us more about your training.

It took my whole yachting career to get my Master 3000. I went from RYA Yacht Master to OOW to Master 500, to Master 3000. I climbed quickly, as I never took time off and was dedicated to reaching my goal. I am still hungry for more and am now I am pursuing the commercial route with Solent University. I did my training all over the world, some at Warsash University in South Hampton, some in Fort Lauderdale. Some in Antibes and one or two courses in South Africa.

How have you dealt with the challenges you have faced along the way?

I had to learn how to control my emotions, and not let the job get the better of me. I had to remain calm and strong in all circumstances. People will always behave badly or have something nasty to say, it is just the nature of striving to get to the top. During my career in yachting, the biggest challenge has been to never let anything knock me down. Trust me, it is a hard road, and you don’t have the time to be knocked down. People are constantly watching you and judging your every move, especially when you’re a female.

What experiences have made a career in yachting worth all the hard work?

Being in the position I am now allows me to share my journey and motivate others. I love to mentor people and help them grow. I love to share my knowledge and watch others succeed. My ultimate experience was driving the media chase boat for the Louis Vuitton American Cup in Nice France. Now was that adrenaline pumping! It was such a great experience to be part of the action!

Describe some positive influences you have during your career in yachting?

I am one of the luckiest people there are! I have had such great people in my life, from captains, their wives to brokers, you name it. The abundance of support and strength along my career in yachting has been a very humbling experience. I am surrounded by positive people constantly, which makes me want to better myself daily. Never stop pushing, never stop trying! 

Have you been influenced by anyone you would deem your mentor along the way?

YES! LJ Houghting from CharterWorld and Adam Steel, one of my former Captains, and the biggest mentor being my family. My brother and father are the strongest men in my life and have guided me through everything like absolute men of honour.

What is important to know about being a Captain?

A Captain is just a human being, like everyone else. They hold no superpower. They have not opened up the Red Sea with their arms. They should be expected to behave and act just like any other, and in fact, with more integrity. Being Captain does not excuse you of any behaviour or any law. Being Captain should make you work harder, not less. Yes, you have earned your stripes, but wear them with pride and honour, with morals that one can look up to.

What advice would you give a young female contemplating a career in yachting to become Captain?  

DO IT! DO NOT LOOK BACK, and every sacrifice is worth it if being a Captain is your goal. It’s a long, hard and lonely road but the reward of being a respected leader is worth it. Becoming a person that can positively impact other people’s lives is beyond describable. 

What is in store for your future career?

I want to go bigger and better! Potentially offshore on oil rigs as Unlimited Master. I’m not sure if ultimate dream job is a title. I would just want to be fulfilled with happiness and satisfaction. That’s enough for any job to be a dream come true. 

leaders in yachting

Young and ambitious, Captain Sally-Ann still has big plans for her future career in yachting and beyond. Bringing honour and energy to the role of a Captain, she radiates true leadership and is an inspiration to all aspiring Captains. We wish you all the best for your future and are thrilled to watch you continue to succeed!

Captain Liz Brasler

Leaders in Yachting with Captain Liz Brasler

Passionate about the yachting industry, professional achievements, and personal development, Virtual Pursers are focused on keeping everyone in the loop and encouraging our industry peers to reach for the stars. With our new and exclusive Q&A segment, we sit down each month to discuss career development and hot topics with captivating industry leaders in yachting, providing personal insight through the eyes of those with experience. Leaders in yachting play a vital role in guiding the future of the industry; we are thrilled to dive into their distinctive narratives and find out what is next.

This month, we have the privilege of chatting with Liz Brasler on her inspiring journey to becoming Captain.

Feel free to comment below!

All leaders in yachting have to start somewhere. How did your career begin?

In February 2006 I had just arrived in St. Maarten after another Atlantic crossing aboard my parent’s Sailing Yacht. I had completed my schooling and had read every book on board. I gazed out at the yachts moored near the bridge and wondered what it was like living on something that big compared to the boat I grew up on since the age of 9. I assembled a little resume, you could hardly call it a CV, with the most relevant qualification being PADI Divemaster. I walked the docks at Isle de Sol, and one Captain overheard my conversation. He chased after me on his bicycle as I ran for my RIB that I had left at the dinghy dock. (Access was strictly controlled from land, but arriving by boat was totally normal for me, I was not being sneaky) John was very kind and offered me a temporary deckhand job provided I could quickly do my STCW modules. Enter Jan and Veerle from MSWI who had a no show on the day the course started. I was accepted on the course and the yacht.

Did you always dream of becoming a Captain?

When I first joined yachting I did not think of becoming a Captain, however, as time went by, I found myself wondering what I would do in a particular situation if I was the Captain and explored the possibilities.

How long did it take you to get your Master 3000 and where did you do your training?

If you count my time on that first yacht, through M/Y A, and all the others, it took me from 2006 till 2019 that’s 13 years, 8 of them with a Chief Mate 3000t ticket.

I did training at so many schools if you include the RYA stuff. Honestly, the hardest modules for me were Stability and Celestial, and I passed those with self-study. I found a heap of educational videos online and knuckled down to understand them completely in every way instead of exam-cramming.

Being a female leader in yachting, have you encountered obstacles along the way?

I think all of the usual problems a woman expects. Girls reading this who are thinking about this career must know that everything you do, must be done 4x better than your male counterparts, no matter how unfair it is. The upside is that as a woman you can deal with that unfairness better It’s sad but true, the expectation of failure is higher if you are female.

What have been some of your career highlights?

Obviously passing my Master’s Oral Exam ranks high among them, but otherwise just personal milestones and small successes.

Describe some positive influences you have had in your career?

I never googled other female leaders and Captains, honestly, the most positive inspirations were the new crew just setting out who asked questions and seemed inspired by me, when in fact I was inspired by their energy and optimism.

Have you had any mentors along the way?

No, unfortunately not. I have heard of some though and envy the ladies who have had them

What advice would you give future leaders in yachting contemplating a career path to Captain?

Try to find a boat where you will be mentored. It’s a lonely path when you go alone.

Where to next for you? What’s your ultimate dream job?

Next? Well with Covid all around our plans will need to be even more fluid than usual. My partner and I will both be looking for a new position taking into consideration the current global pandemic and restrictions.

Ultimate dream job?

That’s a tough one as it very much depends on the vessel and situation. Either a couples position with my Chef partner, on a research or owner only, adventure yacht or joining a  new build and setting up a vessel in the shipyard which is always an exciting challenge.

Liz has successfully managed to hold her own in the industry and her hard work has paid off. She is an inspiration to future leaders in yachting everywhere