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A Transformative Yachting Journey: A Story of Personal Growth and Resilience

Hi! My name is Ty and I have been in the yachting industry for five years. I have worked on boats ranging from 24 metres to 95 metres. I have crossed the Atlantic Ocean 4 times and done numerous Mediterranean and Caribbean seasons, the Pacific coming soon. Yachting has provided me with incredible opportunities for personal growth. Today I want to share my story and offer some insights and advice that may be relevant to any yacht crew.

How did I get into Yachting?

When I was in school, I wanted to be an investment banker . I didn't really have any passions, and I just wanted to make the most money. I was pretty good at Economics and Math, so I thought banking would be a great option. I studied for 4 years ,and I got my degree. I worked in an investment firm for 3 months, and I hated it. I hated wearing a suit everyday and sitting at a desk for hours staring at a computer screen. I struggled to stay awake throughout the day, somehow just sitting at a desk felt exhausting. I longed for adventure.

I had heard about the yachting industry through a family friend. It sounded amazing, but it felt like one of those things that I say I would love to do, but would never do. After my experience in finance, I knew that a desk job wasn't right for me. A close friend of mine was in a similar position and interested in yachting too. I explained the situation to my parents, who, bless them, are the most supportive people in the world. They backed me 100%. I did my courses with PYT in Cape Town and booked a one way flight to Nice, France.

The Hustle

My friend and I arrived in Nice and we took a short bus ride to Antibes, the yachting hub of the Mediterranean. We stayed in a crew house called The Crew Grapevine (highly recommended). The vibe was incredible, hundreds and hundreds of aspiring yachties all desperate for their first job. It was a very social and exciting atmosphere. We met tons of great people and had a lot of fun.

I spent about three months in the South of France, dock walking, partying, networking, day working and partying again. I went to the Monaco Grand Prix and the Cannes Film festival. I stayed in Antibes, Cannes, Golfe-Juan and Juan-Les-Pins. In Cannes, seven of us stayed in a one bedroom apartment, it was tight but all about the hustle. Life was expensive for an unemployed twenty something in the South of France. Day work was scarce, (looking back, it was probably because I was partying a lot). I worked as a gardener for a few weeks to help pay the bills, €10 an hour for pulling out weeds. It wasn't the most exciting work, but I was just happy to be there.

Make or Break

After three months in the South of France, having a lot of fun, I had only done about three weeks of daywork. I was running out of money and had to make a decision, the first of many life altering decisions. It was June and the Mediterranean season was well underway. It was at a point where a lot of my friends had either given up the chase or already secured a job. I had to decide whether to stay or to give up.

I decided to move to Palma de Mallorca in Spain, another big yachting hub in the Mediterranean. Spain was a lot cheaper and had a more laid back vibe than the Cote d’Azur. I remember feeling lonely and quite discouraged when I first arrived, getting a job in yachting was not easy. I took things a lot more seriously, I decided in my head that as long as I put myself out there and dock walked everyday, eventually something would come of it.

Fake it till you make it

With my new mindset and a bit of luck I was able to get day work quite easily. I even managed to secure my first longer term position - six weeks as Deck/Cook on a 34 meter yacht. I knew nothing about cooking, but I felt that I had to take the opportunity and fake it till I made it. It was a real challenge, but I was proud of myself for putting myself in that position. I distinctly remember buying ready made tomato soup from the supermarket, adding a few fresh tomatoes and cream and claiming that I made the soup from scratch (Sorry Captain!) - the guests loved it! Shortly after that gig, I got my first seasonal position as a sole deckhand on a 24 meter M/Y. And just like that my yachting career had officially begun!

Shortly after the seasonal position, I was hired on a 40 meter new build. That year was one of my favourite years in yachting, we were a tight knit crew of 7 and we cruised all around The Med. *Fun Fact* this is where I met Shannon, the Co Founder of Compass Rose Crew. She was my Chief Stewardess! Those earlier years in yachting were amazing, it was all the honeymoon phase. I was young, I was earning money, travelling and having an absolute blast. It was light hearted and carefree.

My first work-life balance challenge

In my second year, I started to miss my family. It was a period at home where I felt that my family needed me, I was really struggling with the distance. For the first time I was confronted with how isolating yachting can be. I started thinking that yachting wasn't for me. This lack of commitment to yachting as well as yearning for a family life really played on my mind. I wanted a change and so I quit yachting.

It worked out quite well that I was seeing someone who could help me get on my feet on land.I worked as a photographer and ended up living between Monaco, France and Switzerland for 2 years. Working land based provided the opportunity to see my loved ones more often. However, I always missed yachting. I struggled to commit to the relationship because I felt that I needed a more adventurous life. Again, I longed for adventure.

‘Finding Myself’

I went back to yachting. After being out of the industry for 2 years ,I had to start from scratch again. I knew it would be a challenge getting back into it. However, I recommitted to yachting and managed to get on a good boat.

18 months later, I had another life-crisis and seriously considered quitting the industry. I settled with taking 6 months off to pursue the things that I had been putting off. I went to South America, trekked in the Amazon rainforest and hiked the mountains of Patagonia, hoping to find what I was lacking. I found nothing, I was more lost than ever. I sat in a small town in Uruguay and have never felt so alone, it was horrible . I was confronted with the decisions I so desperately wanted to make which led me there. I wanted to go home, to my support system.

Buses to and from this little town only came twice a week ,so I was stuck for a few days. The town was tiny, no tar roads, x2 restaurants and I probably saw about 10 people in the 5 days I was there. For a long time I had wanted to be alone, sit with my thoughts and ‘find myself’ . But, for the first time in my life I really understood the value of community, the value of having friends to speak to and a family that loves you.

I got back into yachting, not quite starting from scratch, but each time I left I definitely slowed my career down. I didn't settle and found a boat that aligned with my values. I knew what I wanted out of this job. I knew myself better, and committed to my plan. Now, when things get tough I have these experiences to fall back on and remind myself to stick to the plan. It may not be great advice for everyone everywhere, but it is good advice for someone somewhere.

Personal Growth and Lessons Learnt through Yachting

Through my yachting career I have been exposed to so many different life opportunities and challenges, opportunities that I don't think I would have experienced had I stayed at home and worked behind a desk. The biggest lessons I have learnt over the years:

Just Show Up

In my first year when I was struggling to find work, I made a decision in my head to show up daily. If I dock walked, visited crew agents and kept networking, eventually something would come up. I didn't put a timeline on it, I just trusted the process. It may sound obvious, but after months of very little progress it's difficult to have faith in just showing up.

Relationships Required Active Management

Being far away from friends and family is difficult, they are your support system. It becomes more difficult when they are having personal troubles and you can't be there to support them, or vice versa. It can feel like you are slipping away and the relationship is taking strain. What I realised was that I cant just expect relationships to remain solid without both sides putting effort in. I wrote about this in another blog post , when you are both living in the same city it is easy to meet up , bump into each other or chat on the phone. When you are on the other side of the world, in the middle of the ocean, they may be far from your mind. I had to actively make time in my day to phone friends and family, and keep putting effort into these relationships.

Being Alone and the Value of Community

I've always enjoyed spending time on my own, I enjoy self reflection. For a long time I had this idea that If I went away and spent time alone, I would be able to understand myself deeper and find my path. When I went away on my own, in a remote town 1000s of miles away from anyone I knew, I was confronted with a deep sadness. I suddenly understood how important human connection and community is. The crew that I work with are not just colleagues, they are my community, and we all affect each other subconsciously. I do believe alone time is extremely important, and there is something to be said about going off on your own, but knowing the value of human connection is just as important.


When I joined yachting, I had a plan. The plan was to save money and buy property. I didn't realise how hard it would be to stick to the plan when things got tough. I instantly gave up. It's difficult to know when to stick to a plan and when to adjust. However, what I learnt was that when you commit to something, the longer you stay with it ,the more you will see the benefits. When you plant a seed, it takes time and care before it blossoms.



My journey through the world of yachting has been nothing short of transformative. It has pushed me beyond my comfort zone, tested my resilience, and offered me unparalleled opportunities for personal growth. The highs and lows of this unique lifestyle have taught me invaluable lessons about commitment, the importance of community, and the art of balancing relationships across distances. Yachting has opened my eyes to diverse perspectives and ways of life, challenging me to question the conventional path and embrace a world of possibilities.

As I reflect on my journey, I realise that taking the leap into the unknown was the best decision I ever made. It has shaped me into a more adaptable, open-minded, and self-aware individual. Far from perfect, but always learning.

For anyone standing at the edge of a new adventure, my advice is simple: Take the leap. The journey may be unpredictable, but the growth and experiences you'll gain are immeasurable


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