Monthly Archives: November 2016

And the winner was……….?

Me I hope – generally, after all isn’t that what it is all about?

It was a tough few days I can tell you.  Some times during my more thoughtful moments, a sickly feeling appeared in the pit of my stomach. Yes, I know, something of a cliché but it was true.  Right up to my midday deadline and even 3 hours past it, I still didn’t know which way to turn.

I wrote two acceptance emails in the hope it would push me in a certain direction but it didn’t.  Careful not to send one of them by accident, I saved them as drafts – after all, I would be needing at least one of them right ?

My self imposed midday deadline approached and a song came over my speakers that would give me the all needed surge into one direction.  A stunningly beautiful song, performed by a rather class act.  The lyrics also seemed to fit so well.

The song reminded me of those rare moments you get at sea.  You landies just wont understand but I will try to explain.

Most of the time I am sailing in shit weather.  Its wet, cold, dark, big waves trying to wash me off the boat every ten seconds or so. The boat is rolling from side to side at such angles that washing machines no longer work, taking a shower becomes impossible, taking a dump without covering yourself in it becomes the second biggest challenge of the day – second only to trying to stay alive.  If you’re trying to sleep and the boat is cresting sizeable waves, you lift off your mattress, just like when you drive over a hump back bridge a little faster than you should.  Conditions are so rough you either sleep in your clothes or spend 20 minutes trying to dress yourself in the most basic of gear.

And you get that for two weeks at a time if you are unlucky.  Two weeks of relentless pounding, walking the boat holding on to anything you can find, like a drunk trying to get along the bar to his taxi at the end of the night.  It can be a constant fight for survival.

Until you have those moments of clarity.  Sure, they don’t come very often.  Alone on the deck, helming at sunset and a random song comes on.  Purely by coincidence, it is the perfect sunset tune.  It happens maybe once a year.  It’s that moment of clarity that makes it all worth while.  Perfect timing with the sunset and that random song make for four minutes of absolute bliss.  Now I don’t mean absolute bliss as those twats that claim to be ‘living the dream’ might proclaim – let’s be honest, they are the same twats that post photos of burgers on their Facebook feeds and claim the same.  This bliss is beyond a level they could comprehend. The battle is not yet won, just survived – there is another battle not far around the corner. Always know where your life jacket and rescue beacon are.

The song ends in perfect harmony with the sun disappearing over the horizon, your mind clears and you focus on night time duties.  Keep everyone safe, and arrive at the next port of call.

I can’t imagine those moments being anywhere near as spectacular from the inside of a bridge on a Motor Yacht as they are standing behind a wooden helm on an open cockpit.

I have Birdy to thank for that – stop reading and have a listen to this…..

Suddenly all of the pain, struggle and strife of the last few thousand miles disappear and it is worth all of the grief. The ocean calms and your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness.  The hard earned spoils of offshore sailing drift away waiting to be discovered again like a long ago launched message in a bottle.


It was also that same fight for life, that clamber and struggle to dress, the 6 hours a day in the weather of an open cockpit, surprise squalls with excessive wind speeds that threaten to tear the rig in two, a boat constantly leaning at 15º for days at a time that made me think a little harder.

For all the romance, beauty and style of a sailing yacht – it doesn’t offer stability in turbulent waters.  Imagine being able to shower at any time, to have a poo with out clinging onto your towel rail.  Getting dressed with the light on in less than 20 minutes  because you dont have to worry that you will wake your cabin mate up who has just had an equally harrowing watch on the helm.

Yes, Motor Yachts are typically vulgar floating masses but that mass offers options.  Options like your own cabin, your own shower or better still, your very own toilet – no more cleaning up other people’s mess.  There is also the benefit of a full size engine room, stand up head room everywhere, two huge V16 diesel engines with 7000 horse power between them and two big 175 kW generators to keep me company.

Add into the facts that it is a little better paid, has 90 days paid leave instead of 60 and paid in $ – it had to be the better option right?  It seems writing two acceptance emails actually did pay off.  Seeing everything written down for clarification made the two roles stand out.  No more getting dressed in the dark, no more head hitting in an engine room to small for an elf (a bit of irony there).

Even with that clarity, as I hit send on the acceptance mail draft, I still had that ‘oh fuck’ moment where I doubted myself.  One thing I am certain of – if I took the sailing yacht job, the first time the weather got rough, or I stubbed my toe on something or twatted my head in the engine room – I know I would have been cursing my choice.

After the end of my last relationship – it’s time to move on to something different, after all, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.


It’s Quiet Company





Stop bitching you moany old twat

I think I will keep a running commentary for you this weekend.  I have told both boats now that I will take the weekend to think about it and let them both know on Monday.

It sounds like a real dream situation doesn’t it?  Two jobs that if they came along at different times I would drop whatever I was doing and take them.  Problem is, they are both here right now, while speaking to boat 1 for the first time this week, my phone rang with the captain of boat 2.  Both need me to fly out on the 15th of December, immediately after finishing my course updates.

Mince Pie Queen Shazza suggests a flip of a coin – maybe that is the solution and I should stop fretting. Mr. D M A Hewson suggests chasing the sailing boat with the Millionaire female owner.  Curious that one – so I did a little checking.  Seems the female owner of the sailing yacht is the estranged wife of one of the Google billionaires.  In addition to that, she wasn’t bad looking either!!!

First email I read this morning was from Boat 2.  Captain was telling me that they have some more ‘wriggle room’ to negotiate with.  Damn, that didn’t help at all.  I decided to be honest with him and told him that I do not want to get into a ‘to and fro’ battle with him and boat 1 but it might be a good idea if he gave me his best case scenario as a final offer.

Honesty is always the best policy.  I didn’t tell him that he was NOT my favourite this morning though.  There are a couple of down points to the sailing yacht you see.  This morning, after sleeping on board last night, in a bed too short for me and equally too narrow, I was glowing at the idea of my own cabin with a better sized bunk.  My back was crooked and I struggled to get moving – the sailing boat will inevitably bring more of that pain.  The other killer decision is the open cockpit.  You may not be able to understand my pain here but open cockpits are good for day sailing, you have absolutely no protection from the elements but can see and hear everything clearly from the helm.

That sounds oh so romantic as you pull into Porto Fino but a 16 day transatlantic crossing can be murder.  Cold, wet and salty with no escape from the elements and not being able to shower due to the excessive angle of lean.

The other side of that coin is this simple fact.  For a boat to find a good engineer, it is tough, real tough.  There are lots of tossers out there, I know, I have taken control of boats from many of them.  To find a good engineer that can also sail a large super yacht across the Atlantic is as easy as finding hens teeth or rocking horse shit or a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  It is one of the reasons why I stayed on sailing yachts rather than take the easier, more comfortable route of Motor Yachts – I was saving one of those roles for my twilight years.  Right now – I have the pedigree that these people want.

Always in the back of my mind now is me being 47.  Not that age is a problem in my role, the Captain and Engineer are two jobs you should always fill with very experienced people, I do just wonder though how much longer I can keep doing this job.  The answer to that is simple – for as long as I can keep passing my ships medical exams.  Because of that, I do want to pursue my next level of license for one simple fact – when my legs are too unsteady to work at sea I can take a job as a project manager or build engineer with a ship builder .  I will need to have the next license up for that.  All this thinking made me check my qualifying service time last night and surprising to me, I do have enough sea service now to take my next license.

That raises the question, should I blow both boats out and go and study for three months?


Damn it

East or West – which is best ??

Every now and then, an opportunity comes along that is too good to miss.  Jobs are getting harder to find, especially with my set of requirements.  So what do you do when you are lucky enough to have two boats chasing you – both with outstanding financials and programs that you are unlikely to find again – but you cannot decide which way to turn?

I had a little chin wag today with my old chum Jacqui to help me along the way but I also think I should ask my loyal followers too.  Your guidance or advice is welcome either by message here, text or email.


Boat 1, Outstanding US dollar salary, old technology, new geographical area.

Boat 2, Equally outstanding Euro Salary, latest cutting edge tech, old stomping grounds.

Boat 1, Thailand, Singapore & Indonesia

Boat 2, Caribbean & East Coast of the States

Boat 1, 90 days paid leave per year + a months salary as bonus at the end of each year

Boat 2, 36 days paid leave per year – no bonus

Boat 1, Own Cabin

Boat 2, shared cabin

Boat 1, 7 year old American built Motor Yacht

Boat 2, 2 year old Dutch built Sailing Ketch

Boat 1, Flight allowance of $2750 paid annually in addition to salary

Boat 2, Flight allowance, two return flights annually paid for by the boat

Boat 1, joint owned by 4 individuals, one being a Saffa

Boat 2, solely owned by an American Lady

Private medical and dental provided by both boats


So you see my dilemma?  Admittedly it is a very good dilemma to have but which way would you turn?  Go somewhere new but with older tech that you already know about or go somewhere that you already know about with front line tech that you will have to learn about?  Financially boat 1 is worth $11,000 a year more and longer holidays.

I need your help

Time for a change ?

For those in the know, Rue was here for a week but now is languishing back in the tropical temperatures of the UK.  During the week here, we tried to explore a little.  One thing I found was a shopping mall (I really hate saying mall instead of centre) with a theme park inside.  The roller coaster looked half decent on YouTube at least so we headed out to find the place.

Turns out that the roller coaster wasn’t all that.  The theme park was all for kids so a little bit tame to say the least.  Still, I soldiered on and found the indoor kart track, complete with electric karts.  I tried that once before in Vegas and loved it, so I talked Rue into having a go (by that I mean I paid !).

Turned out to be a right good laugh and we had 10 minutes of very close racing.  How close was actually flipping amazing.  When we got off the karts, the staff were staring at the timing screens, keen to point them out to us.

0.001 seconds


So I had been beaten by just 0.001 seconds – of course that victory was gained by a death move at the hairpin which included Rue nerfing me off the track to get by.

It was a good vibe but I had lost – after all, it was Cheap Trick that once said that there are no points for second best.  I plotted my revenge.

On Tuesday we headed back to the track for the rematch.  The stakes were high, we were BBQing on the 20th floor.  Rue pulled out first and slowed to let me take the lead – fatal mistake.  What followed next was 19 laps of sheer magic.  I pulled a lead that extended to the length of the start/finish straight  and try as he might, he couldn’t get near me.  It’s fair to say, in Formula 1 terms I absolutely annihilated him – almost 0.3 seconds faster.



So it was done.  I had more than made up for the 0.001 seconds defeat from the previous week.  I gloated all the way to the coffee house as Rue kept telling me he wasn’t competitive anyway.  I comforted him saying that at least he had improved on his previous time but as I just looked at both photos, seems he didn’t manage that so I shall gloat some more next time I see him.

Not competitive eh?  That’s why you rammed me off the track in the first heat !!


There – that done, my time here in Qatar is almost over.  This brings me to another dilemma.  I am heading back to the UK next week to tie up a few loose ends (not a metaphor for bondage), complete some training updates and then decide whether to find a new job or stay off for a few months and take some more exams.

Two days ago, I had a very good job offer from a boat in Thailand that spends its time between there, Singapore and Indonesia.  It was a seriously good job offer too.  Wicked Salary, 80 days paid leave and a months salary as a bonus at end of year.  There was also a short discussion with another sailing yacht currently in Mallorca but heading to the Caribbean and Americas Cup.  I kind of dismissed the sailing yacht as the captain sounded very distant and uninterested on the phone.

The more I thought about the Thailand gig, the less I wanted it.  Last night I typed a mail to the captain explaining that his job wasn’t for me and held it in my draft box.  I was of the mindset that I would also tell the sailing boat the same thing and knuckle down and do my next exams. Then today the captain emailed me with an offer that just blew everything else away, clean out of the water, to the point that I just cannot ignore it.  I am sure that was his plan, to make it impossible to say no.  He has offered me more than a 20% increase over my last job – that is massive!

So now I have a dilemma.  Tonight I will talk to the current engineer to get his take on it all, then I might start negotiations.  Not to be cheeky but I reckon I can squeeze more out of him.


Lets see what happens next.


Good Luck America

You’re gonna need it !!!

Guns don’t kill people – Rappers do

Am I the first person ever to fall asleep while inserted into an MRI scanner?  The noise and vibrations were so harmonic, I actually nodded off for a while.

She said it was a 40 minute session but I don’t believe her, I think she short changed me.  For the first time in 21 years, I had to pull my ring out – not what you are thinking…..!



Surprisingly, that ring section is hollow.  I thought it was a solid pin but hollow ends can’t be all that hygienic.  I did also ask the nurse why you can’t put metal inside the scanner. She laughed and said it would stick to the sides and never come out.  You would be pretty screwed if you had artificial joints now wouldn’t you.

Anyway, lets talk a little more about Qatar.  Interesting place, lots of Indians, Kenyans and Philippinos in the workforce.  it’s all very very polite and friendly too.  Clean as you like apart from the desert sand.  If shopping is your thing ladies – there is Mall after Mall after Mall.  Very westernised – there are many times when it feels and looks just like Florida.  Petrol is cheap, around a quarter of the price in Europe.

Lots of work happening in preparation for the World Cup, a new underground system is under construction as we speak with tunnelling just finishing last month, major road improvements too – but still the place is two thirds empty.  I also got my temporary driving licence




You might think that my name is Wayne Thunder from that – but it’s not!  I was also not born in 1922.  That said, they did give me a 4.0 ltr Toyota to spunk around in, and a 75 ltr per week fuel allowance – not too shabby I guess.




So I guess all that’s left for me to do now is sign off with something smart and witty – problem is, I am feeling neither of those this evening.  For us, the weekend is here.  Friday and Saturday are the weekend, Sunday a normal working day.  So Thursday evening and guess which fool is on watch?  Still, all being well, at 8am tomorrow morning I could be stood down for the weekend.


Let me leave you with a little something from back in the day from Goldie Lookin Chain






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