What goes around, comes around. The potential of rotation schemes


Engineers are behaving like divas! A little bit of provocation in a written piece is never out of place is it? But if you are dealing with engineers regularly you’ll know exactly what I mean. They are high in demand and they know it. They’ve spent a lot of time and cash on their tickets and now they want the good life.

I believe the definition of the good life is: a rotation scheme on a yacht based in Palma all year round. After a few months of unemployment they loosen up a little and think it’s ok if the yacht leaves port in the summer. I’m obviously writing all of this with tongue in cheek. 

However, it is mainly because of engineers that owners and management companies are starting to warm up to the idea of rotation schemes. In my opinion it shouldn’t be for diva’s only. (am I going to get hit by an adjustable spanner now?)

We’ve come a long way since Commander Vernon E.B. Nicholson decided to charter his own yacht Mollihawk in Antigua in the late 40’s. Today’s owners and charter guests have become more demanding but ironically, crew have become more demanding as well. We all want the best of both worlds. I can tell from my own experience that it is indeed fantastic to have a good balance between being away from home, doing the work that you love and spending time at home with your family.

When Invisible Crew started off as a team of quality freelancers I managed to string jobs together at pleasant intervals. It made me realise that rotation schemes would not only help to reduce the desire of experienced crew to step ashore, it would also keep all levels of crew fresh and appreciative of the unique working environment that yachting offers. 

Keeping that in mind we have persuaded one of our clients to work with two captains in rotation. Considering the yacht is only 76ft long, this is quite a unique situation but it makes sense for all involved. The two experienced and passionate captains are glad to have found the balance between private and yachting life and happily take the financial cutback in return for valuable family time. The owner knows he has two highly experienced professionals on board whose skill sets are cost saving on more than one level. He pays a premium in travel expenses but with a bit of flexibility from all parties involved that too is kept to a minimum.


So why don’t we run all yachts with two sets of crew? (I should probably start a “2 for the price of 1” campaign!!!) Crew change travel budgets could be decided and agreed upon beforehand. Senior crew will probably be inclined to use their budget to fly home while junior crew can stay in the exotic locations the yacht has taken them to. When the time comes to go back on board, everybody will be well rested. They will have either spent time with family or have experienced what it is like to visit these locations as tourists, so now they can fully focus on providing a professional service.

As a result, crew will last longer and there will be less turnover. It’s all well worth the extra travel budget.





Jens Oomes






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