Being the chief stewardess of a private MegaYacht is anything but a 9-5 job, as Samantha Whitfield explains…
The life for any yacht stewardess is very unpredictable, and one that cannot be generalised as easily as say a typical 9-5. Every superyacht is unique to its owner who has different wishes, levels of expectations and uses for their pride and joy. This makes the typical life of a stewardess extremely varied, and exciting. Here are just five things that I’ve learnt during my time at sea…
1 Even the least domesticated people can make it
OK don’t judge me, but I will admit it, before I joined the industry you could have given Mr Messy from the Mr Men the award for domestic goddess of the year over me. I had lived quite a charmed life having had my cleaning, washing, ironing and cooking taken care of for me, and although sometimes I did feel a slight glimmer of guilt that perhaps at my age I probably should know how to iron a shirt, it still didn’t give me the drive to change. However, throw a nice wad of cash and travelling the world into the equation and, boom, that was that!
My whole outlook had changed and I took pride in becoming a domestic goddess! Soon cleaning every nook and cranny of a marble toilet armed with cotton buds and a toothbrush did not faze me. Just remember, you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great!
2 Toilet paper origami is an art form!
Once I joined the superyachting industry my enthusiasm for presentation and making an effort to impress the guests unveiled my addiction to origami and I took this concept to a whole new level! I discovered that toilet paper ends could be left in many complex designs that were much more elaborate than the tiny square. I became rather fanatical about folding towels, toilet paper ends and napkins for the guests – check out my origami guides on my twitter feed.
3 Patience is a virtue
The yachting industry taught me that if you want to survive and be happy, you have to just go with the flow and take each day as it comes, at the same time as being prepared for ANYTHING to happen or change at the drop of a hat.
Itineraries change by the second – one minute you are preparing yourself for some peaceful sailing in the Maldives, the next you hear the owner doesn’t fancy white sand and beautiful palm trees and instead wants to check out the cold glaciers of the Norwegian Fjords.
4 How to survive cabin fever
You may have heard the term ‘cabin fever’? It’s caused by an abundance of crew being rushed off their feet and not being able to leave the yacht to do anything deemed as ‘normal’ for weeks.
Sharing a small cabin space can create conflict mid-season from lack of rest or chill time away from the yacht and each other. Not placing your deck shoes ‘properly’ in the shoe rack will award you with a scolding from the captain. Even leaving an empty Lindor chocolate packet in the crew fridge turns the crew mess into a real life version of ‘Cluedo’ – whodunnit?!
5 You have to ‘man up’!
Before yachting, I was very much a girly girl, leaving all the jobs I deemed ‘dirty’ to the boys. When I was given my first ever familiarisation around a yacht, however, I was rather shocked as I was shown a small hole covered by a hatch and attached to a ladder.
“I have to go down there?!” “Yes this is where your interior stores are, as well as the freezer.”
I have to admit it, the idea of visiting the yacht bilges and the engine room did daunt me a little. But time was definitely a healer and soon it became second nature!
You can follow Samantha on Twitter at @SamanthaLW 99 for updates, guides and inspirational photos like this…!