How To Develop Loyalty On-board

Loyalty is defined as ‘a feeling of strong support for someone or something.’ This sentiment is imperative on a superyacht, where a strong team ethic is an essential facet for operating an organised and successful vessel. Like any team, maintaining good relationships with those you’re working and interacting with is essential, but when working in such close quarters (and living together) like that of a yacht environment, building a strong relationship with fellow crew members is absolutely crucial. Loyalty, respect, and trust are the foundation of these durable relationships. If even just one crewmember adopts the “I’ll only look out for myself” mentality, the whole crew can suffer. Remember that old adage “there’s no ‘I’ in team”? Well there’s no ‘I’ in yacht crew either.crew working-loyalty

So, how exactly can you build loyalty on-board your superyacht?

Nurturing strong relationships is crucial. It starts with respecting the yacht crew leaders (Chief Stew, Bosun and Captain) and, of course, demonstrating appreciation for reciprocated respect. Where animosity grows between workers and leaders, success cannot. We have identified 3 key components to developing respect: appreciation, fairness and communication.


build loyaltyShowing appreciation is not difficult – a simple thank you can go a long way. When crew members complete a task, or get through a particularly difficult and trying charter, acknowledging their efforts and hard work can be hugely beneficial, both to the individual and team morale.


Loyalty Thank youConcerning crew members, maintaining an impartial outlook is important. When favouritism starts to become apparent, resentment can quickly cause problems. Showing respect to each and every member of the team can prove to be a great way to build loyalty. Treating everyone fairly and as equals allows crew members to feel valued for their specific skill set. If you need to make exceptions, ensure that the team understands the reason.


Lastly, communicate – the nucleus of the three components. Communication is so important for building loyalty and maintaining healthy relationships. Effective communication skills will allow crew members to feel confident enough to speak up when necessary, and will, in turn, allow everyone to feel as though their voice is heard. Keep away from petty gossip and passive aggressive behaviour to avoid future conflicts.
loyaltyThere is no other experience quite like being a part of a yacht crew. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to handle the responsibility and demanding nature of the job. This is why developing a sense of loyalty between employers and employees is such a valuable asset in the modern yachting industry. Moreover, due to issues of confidentiality and security, the necessity of loyalty is increased. So, when looking for yacht jobs, consider whether you are the type of employee that can dedicate himself or herself to a position/employer in a loyal manner. After all, these are the most sought after employees.

Author: Maggie Peikon

Date: 02/02/2016


21 of the Fastest Superyachts Ready to Race Palma’s Superyacht Cup!

While only last month we got to see no less than 35 stunning sail yachts on display, during the Palma superyacht show, this month we’ll be able to feast our eyes on some of the sleekest and fastest vessels fighting it out in the Bay of Palma during the Superyacht Cup, the longest running superyacht regatta in Europe. What started out as an ‘end of season’ party for those leaving the Med for the Caribbean, almost 20 years ago, has grown into one of the top events on the racing calendar, and a regatta not to be missed.

The Cup is conveniently held smack-bang in the middle of Palma de Mallorca, a key hub for the industry’s main players; with hotels, restaurants, bars and even the island’s airport, all being close-by. Add the bay’s acclaimed blissfully consistent sea-breeze, pretty palm tree lined Paseo Maritimo, and the dramatically lit cathedral as a backdrop, and it comes as no surprise that the world’s most impressive sailors gather annually to be a part of the action. And although this catchall ‘Sailors’ Regatta’ has plenty to boast about, much focus remains on the fun on terra firma, which is one of the reasons it’s such a crowd favourite!

The Vitters built, Briand designed stunning sail yacht Inouï © Carlo Baroncini / Foto Arcobaleno

The Vitters built, Briand designed stunning sail yacht Inouï
© Carlo Baroncini / Foto Arcobaleno

Also this year’s line-up of 20-odd yachts is a mixed bag of boats, penned up by different architects and built by different yards. The 2015 fleet ranges from the beautiful Truly Classic 24m Heartbeat (overall winner of the Superyacht cup 2013), to the giant of the fleet, the freshly launched 60m Perseus^3. Her towering 75,8m carbon mast is one of the 3 tallest rigs ever built in the world, and her A2 with its 2602 square meters, is likewise the largest sail ever made. If you find this impressive…wait until you see what’s depicted on her spinnaker!

Perini navy built 60m super yacht Perseus^3

The Perini navy built 60m superyacht Perseus^3

Another newbie to the fleet is the Baltic beauty Win Win. With her sleek lines, wide transom and minimal weight, she has been designed to dominate on the race course and built to kick stern. This boat is the brainchild of Javier Jaudenes, a local Mallorquin designer who not just bagged winner of exterior design and styling award, but also Sailing Yacht of The Year, at this year’s World Superyacht Awards. From the whale-like 500 tonnes of the 60m Perini Perseus^3, to the ‘light as a feather’ Frers-designed 26m Tulip, the disparate in competing yachts is huge.

It’s this immense imbalance in type, size and shape that makes it challenging for all boats to sail a fair race. This year the brand new ORCsy will be used during the cup, which promises each of the different kind of boats partaking in the regatta, a more equal chance to win. Tried and tested first at the Loro Piana Caribbean Regatta, and then again at the St Barths Bucket, this new rating not only proved the concept, but kicked it squarely at the goal. As Robbie Doyle, founder of Doyle Sails said: “For this rule to be working as well as it is, I’m blown away. I’m on the rules committee, just as a consultant, and I kept warning that there were going to be some teething issues, but right now people should be ecstatic.” Tweaked by its predecessors, the new ORCsy rule will come out stronger than it already was for the SYC, ensuring that, as Mike Sanderson (Elfje) said: “If you do a nice job with the variables, you should be able to win no matter which boat you’ve got, and that’s a really cool thing”. Well said.

The Baltic Beauty Win Win, here depicted high & dry in STP

Apart from the new entries, we’ll also see a lot of cup veterans. Back to battle it out is the 2012 winner, Royal Huisman’s Maria Cattiva. This will be her 5th consecutive SYCup. The beautiful 34m Nautor Swan Highland Breeze will also be making her 5th successive appearance. The 45m Visione, regatta regular P2 & the bright green Inouï were neck-and-neck at the finish of the St. Barths Bucket 2015, and will continue their close racing at the Superyacht Cup in June. Visione, P2 and Inouï have all participated at the Superyacht Cup before, but not all at the same year. Competition is going to be as tight as ever!

As every year, dockside drinks and off-board banter will continue during happy hour at the Regatta Bar, long after the sails have been packed away.. This year, enhanced by the amped up tunes from party-professional-Pacha’s prime DJ’s. And although after this 19th edition the Cup might be another year weathered and wiser, ‘our little island’s’ very own Superyacht Cup will continue to lure in the world’s top launches, the most prestigious regulars and the most talented sailors, ..and knows how to throw a party… 

Learning the Lingo

Whether you’ve just made the move to Mallorca, or are a seasoned expat with many years of living in Spain under your belt, I’m sure that your first ever priority, upon arrival, was to ‘learn the lingo’. Mine sure…was. When I first got to the island I started out at full speed and, with ‘mucho gusto’, sunk my teeth into the ‘Me llamo’s’ and ‘Hola, Que tal’s’ of the first few language lessons. I bought all the books and even organised for my teacher Miguel to be put on the crew list as a chef, just so he could troop down to STP twice a week to teach me some Spanish. However, a few months later, español took a dip behind those new, cool yoga classes I found in town and, a little later, became something I only practiced if there was any time left at the end of the week. Which, sorpresa sorpresa, there usually wasn’t. And still isn’t. So now, after having been a guiri for two whole years I can at the most label my skills as being basic. So, what happened? Or, to be more precise… que pasó??


It’s not that I don’t find it important, because I definitely do. I have oodles of reasons why I want to be able to speak Spanish.

Firstly, it’s a matter of respect. I’ve chosen to make Mallorca my home: I soak up their sun, slurp their Rioja, munch their patatas bravas and loll around their beaches. The least I can do is learn to ‘hablar espagnol’ while I enjoy these things, right?

Secondly, it makes life a helluva lot easier. Ordering a cafe con leche is one thing but getting vodafone to sort out your wonky internet connection is quite another, is it not? A man came unannounced to my house the other day in overalls and armed with a clipboard. I let him in and it took me a full 5 minutes to find out why exactly this guy was sniffing around my kitchen. Turned out he was there for the gas digits. I cook on electric. So only twenty minutes later we both knew we were completely wasting each other’s time. Hmmm, it made me think

Last but certainly not least, being able to converse makes every experience so much more meaningful. Shooting the breeze at the bus stop or having a giggle while standing in line at the supermercado; it’s little impromptu jokes and chats shared that make day-to-day life so much more fun. And equally as funny are the many mistakes. Just yesterday at the dog park I used the phrase “un ano y un pico”. I’d heard that being said somewhere, or in any case, something like it. The guy I was talking to belted out a big laugh and asked me what I thought I’d just said. Err…a little over a year? Apparently my concocted sentence literally meant a year and a shot of heroin. Quite an odd thing to say about the age of your dog…

text here-3But, unfortunately, as abundant as my incentives, so are my excuses: “This week I’m too busy with work”, “I’ll start next month, I’ve already spent all my money on a remote controlled boat”, “Today I have a cold and I’m sneezing too much to be able to speak Spanish’.

One week rolls into another until suddenly you’re a year further and you can still only converse in the present tense (hands flapping forward means the future, hands flapping backwards means the past, well, what else?)

This is the thing though: learning a language is hard work. A couple of lessons won’t do the trick nor even doing your homework as we’re talking daily dedication to get to that unimaginable level of being able to use the preterite and the imperfect tenses, perfectly.

And while there’s plenty of apps and sites to help you on your way at home, nothing beats having an actual teacher, with fixed times, dates, a healthy dose of pressure and you promising you’ll really do your homework.

Un copa de vino blanco  por favor ;)

Palma based language school Glossolalia boasts scientifically proven, modern learning techniques like Superlearning and Suggestopedia. It sounds pretty snazzy and it also actually really works.

We’ve teamed up with this school and will be running a little quiz monthly from the start of May. A sort of win win situation really, as we’ll be able to learn bits and pieces and be in to win a bottle of vino tinto on top. Perhaps, that’s just the kind of incentive I was looking for…

At Glossalia they make learning fun, and wouldn’t it be cool to finally have full on conversations in Spanish rather than just being able to order a glass of wine? 😉

How polishing stainless steel in Venezuela brought boat captain Agus Vera to start saving sharks!

Classically trained chef Agus Vera spent 7 years cooking his socks off in Barcelona’s best restaurants before he made the move to boats in 1997. He started out on a 40m motor yacht before he jumped ship to join the stunning classic schooner Shenandoah where he stayed for the next 3,5 years, sailing everywhere from Scotland to South Georgia and from Singapore to the Seychelles!

A 25m long, 140 tonnes weighing, slightly disgruntled, very large shark!

A 25m long, 140 tonnes weighing, slightly disgruntled, very large shark!

Agus, already a keen diver before boats, was lucky enough to bask in the world’s most beautiful dive spots, flapping fins next to anything from tiny clown fish to 5m manta rays. He was a shark-nut as a nipper but became even more intrigued after swimming with reef sharks in French Polynesia. He then submersed himself in the subject of sharks which is how he got to know all about the problems these much-feared fish are facing.

Although illegal in many countries, shark finning kills 60 to 100 million sharks every year. Shark finning is the practice of slicing off the shark’s fins while the shark is still alive. The rest of its body is thrown back into the ocean where it can take days to die a slow and painful death. Some sharks starve, others are slowly eaten by other fish, and some drown, because sharks need to keep moving to force water through their gills for oxygen.

Shark fins are a prized ingredient, especially on the Asian market. A kilo of fins can sell for as much as 500USD and are used to prepare the despicable shark fin soup. An extravagant and perverse gastronomic custom that is devastating to our oceans. Sharks, inhabitants of the oceans for the last 450 million years, are key to the balance of the marine ecosystem and are essential in keeping the environment, hence the earth, healthy.

To raise awareness and funds for this cruel and useless practice that’s bringing these amazing animals to the brink of extinction, Agus created Kharmeg, an action packed adventure comic starring a 25m long, 140 tonnes weighing, slightly disgruntled Carcharodon Megalodon! The comic is a condemnation of the killing of these most misunderstood and imposing of sea creatures and in this tale, a vigilante pirate hunter and an antagonistic activist join forces to fight against it..

Untitled design-20

The idea for Kharmeg was born in 2007 onboard motor yacht Cheetah Moon (while polishing stainless steel anchored in Gran Roque, Venezuela) and it’s taken Agus many years to dream up all the characters and all that happens to them!

One of his concoctions in particular, the Sealogic, probably took the longest to perfect. A powerful carbon fibre catamaran, 30 meters in length with a 15 meter beam, a draught of just 60 cm and weighing only 13 gross tonnes! The Sealogic has two electric motors powered by batteries which in turn feed on solar energy collected by tens of photovoltaic panels, arranged across the deck. It also has two 60 kWh generators which can help Sealogic easily reach speeds of over 40 knots and are put into action to steer away from pirates and corrupt coastguards..

The super fast Sealogic!

The super fast Sealogic!

Curious to find out what happens in the comic Kharmeg? How, for example, the beautiful marine biologist Elise Gray, meets John Verin and Maxwell Hart, ex super yacht crew thirsty to revenge the ruthless pirates that held them hostage? And off course how the three friends get to team up with this colossal creature from the deep depths of the ocean? In this page turner you’ll see everything from Somali pirate attacks to state-of-the-art catamarans and from mafia groups to mega yachts. Plenty of blood will be shed and prepare for a good dose of violence, all artfully penned unto paper by the very talented cartoonist Mariano de la Torre and brought to life in colour by the artist Fran Vazquez.


To find out more about Agus’s shout out to sharks check out the crowd funding site Verkami where you can high-fin these extraordinary animals by pledging some money to help Agus reach his goal and, if not for our finned friends, then do it to read an ultra cool comic or even to get your hands on one of the awesome rewards. Apart from signed copies of the comic, also having the artist draw you in the comic or coming out for a sail in Agus’s 6m classic sail boat: ‘Tuna’.

Agus Vera, onboard the stunning classic S/Y Shenandoah

Agus Vera, onboard the 55m sail yacht Germania Nova

And even if all the reasons above still make you go ‘mwah’ join in because this guy is one of the most passionate people I know and had the ‘cojones’ to spend all of his spare time and saved up dough to do something he strongly believes in.

And just this is worth something now, isn’t it?

To check out the project click here.

Palma’s Superyacht Show: only the best exhibition of super sailing yachts worldwide!

Sail makers, surveyors, all the super yacht services you could possible think of and STP, one of the Med’s biggest and most renowned shipyards: They’re all situated in Palma de Mallorca. For quite some time now the European super yacht hub, as it seems as if every month a new business opens its door focussing on super yacht owners, captains and crew. From painters to polishers and from florists to fresh faced newby crew looking to find their first gig at sea, if it’s related to the wondrous world of super yachting you’ll be able to find it in abundance on the beautiful Balearic Island of Mallorca. 

The stunning Eleonora

The stunning Eleonora

So, it comes as no surprise then that like Monaco, Antibes and Ft. Lauderdale Palma has its own super yacht show and with the month of May marking the beginning of the season the Palma Superyacht Show, with its optimum timing, is the perfect opening act!

Since its debut in 2013 it has developed into a show of standing and this edition promises to be the best to date in terms of participating yachts and exhibitors. From Fairline to Furuno and from Horizon Yachts to Hoek brokerage; they’re all taking part and what separates the Palma show from the others on the boat show scene is that it is organised by the industry for the industry.

In the words of the Balearic Minister of economy Joaquín García: “There are more requests from companies who want to participate than available space” something that reflects with no doubt that, “This Boat Show has positioned itself as a national and international leader in the nautical world”.


What we find particularly interesting is that the show is characterised by a higher percentage of sailing yachts as opposed to motor yachts (in water) than any other yacht show in the world with a ratio of no less than 60% sail to 40% motor.

Where the Monaco show features mainly motor and it’s super sized yachts like the 92m Oceanco Equanimity or the 86m Aquila that steal the show, Palma comes back strong showcasing predominantly sail yachts like the beautiful, classic sail yacht Silver Spray (originally built in 1916 as one of the Dutch North Sea pilot schooners) or the sleek and stunning, super fast SY AEGIR.

With more than 70 boats of up to 65 meters this year’s event is only considered the best exhibition of super sailing yachts worldwide!

With so much sail packed away in port it’s a good thing that this will be balanced by plenty of carbon flying in the bay with the Palma Vela scheduled on exactly the same days as the show.
This means you can go for a sail in the morning and come back in the afternoon to buy one of the yachts on display whilst still leaving you with just enough time to stock up on a few cases of Sancerre and decide on where you would like to sail your new yacht to this summer season! 😉

The fact that the show takes place in the heart of the city of Palma, the capital that proudly sits up top of the list “Best Places to Live in the World” according to a recent article featured in the Sunday Times, will no doubt attract international visitors and buyers as they can spend a long weekend in sunny Palma escaping the colder climates enjoying the huge array of top notch restaurants and hotels the city has to offer, all in walking distance from the super yacht show.

Mallorca! The best place to live in the world!

Mallorca! The best place to live in the world!

But also if you crew on boats instead of planning on buying one of them the show has plenty in store for you like the crew training courses which will run from the ACREW Lounge, an area for crew to relax, enjoy some food, drink and network with other crew as well as leading business professionals. Also the Captains, Crew & Exhibitors Party, themed: Cowboys & Indians scheduled for the 2nd of May promises to be an event not to be missed!

Or indeed just drop by to gawk at the breathtakingly beautiful SY Eleonora, an exact replica of the schooner Westward, arguably one of the most famous and best known racing schooners in the world!

So! We’ll see you at the show?

The Palma Superyacht Show

30th April – 4th May 2015

Mis en bouteille en Mallorca

Normally, by 11am, I’ve walked the dog, written half an article and answered all my emails. Today, however, I’ve done nothing but slurp two glasses of vino tinto and am about to start attacking the third! 😉 I’m not, as you might suspect, slumped on a barstool having confused Saturday night with Tuesday morning, but am actually engaged in a civilised chat with Javier Jara, owner of Son Sureda Ric.

This small, family-owned boutique wine estate is located in Mallorca’s Manacor area, and produces red wines made from ecological grapes. Apart from the growing and harvesting of the grapes, also the aging in barrels, bottling, labeling and sale of wine is all carried out on the property, making the way they work and their philosophy very similar to those of the French Chateaux.

We’d heard quite a few people rave about this place and the first-rate wine, so we were eager to venture out to the island’s east and find out what the boozy buzz was all about.

Bodega de la finca Son Sureda Ric

Bodega de la finca Son Sureda Ric

We drove out of Palma’s rush hour traffic and ended up, an hour later, at the end of a grassy road where we encountered the sort of gates that require you to hop out of the car, unlatch, slide across and swing open; something which already made us feel a little less like city slickers! At the house we were greeted by crisp country side air, a few barking dogs and Javier on the terrace looking out over his three hectare vineyard.

Bodega de la finca Son Sureda

The Son Sureda vineyards

We started our tour in the grounds where we saw Jaime in a far corner busying himself with the vines. No, the others were not having a tea break; it’s just Javier and his wife Carme that run this petite wine producing estate with Jaime lending a helping hand every so often.

Javier grows Merlot, Callet, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, all ecological, which culminate in the production of about 6000 litres of wine a year. Not a lot compared to most mainland wine producers, as the typical Rioja bodega owns anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 oak barrels, whereas Son Sureda’s cellar shelters no more than 20. The Son Sureda set-up is small and only the very best of grapes are allowed access to the house, ‘the VIP grapes’, as Javier calls them. The selection is super strict to ensure each bottle of wine is a high quality product which means that in a good year, only 60% of the grapes are harvested but, for example, in 2013 only 30 % of grapes were tip top enough to make it into the tank.

They're full of vino!

They’re full of vino!

After touring the fields we trooped into the farmhouse, arguably one of the most architecturally unique estates on the island. The history of this building goes all the way back to the 15th century. Taking in the ancient stone work and interior arches magically takes you back to medieval times as it seems that surely every nook, corner and cranny have quite some stories to tell! Well, we reckon definitely the not-so-subtle flail nailed to the wall could tell us a tale or two.

We first paid a visit to the tanks, and the scent of the red wine that hit us as we stepped through the centuries old archway actually made me giggle. We had a sneaky glass of a 100% Cab Sav straight from the tank. (No I didn’t make any stupid jokes about wanting to lie under the tap of the tank, apart from inside my head, thankfully…)

Afterwards we had a peek around the cellar, where we see an endless collection of wine bottles along the wall. These are of a slightly lesser quality wine, that will never be sold from this boutique bodega. We brought these up a few times hoping to cut some sort of cheeky deal but to no avail, as Javier is adamant only the finest of vino tinto leave the estate! This is also where the French oak barrels are kept, patiently ageing the wine over a period of two years.

The cellar

The cellar

Last we went to the tasting area where we tried two of the four types of wine sold: the Espira and the Ric Pur. Both elegant and exquisite. I won’t try and bore you by trying to sound like a connoisseur as I’m by no means a buff, but I have imbibed enough to know what I like and can surely detect a superior wine over a bottom-shelf supermarket one. And this guys, is the good stuff. The sort of stuff that begs to be sipped and, however much you slurp, won’t leave you with a sore head in the morning.IMG_2676

Wine maker Javier Jara.

Wine maker Javier Jara.

Want to try for yourself? Keep an eye on their website as they’ll soon start ‘open days’ on a set time and date every week where you can enjoy a tasting in absolutely stunning surroundings.

Both Javier and Carme are very warm and welcoming, making it feel like a visit to friends. Friends with a monumental amount of wine that is! 😉

Alternatively you can email Javier at to book a tour.

You should, as it really is quite special. IMG_2692

Happy Birthday to A Bucket list regatta: The St. Barths bucket 2015

The St. Barths Bucket is recognised as one of the world’s top events in yachting, and the dinged and dented bucket trophy is one of the most coveted! And as this year’s event is extra special with the Bucket celebrating its 20th anniversary we take a look at how this race has become one of the regattas not to miss!


It all started during a particularly boozy evening ashore in Nantucket in 1986 when debate raged between the Captains of yachts Volodor, Flying Goose and Mandalay as to what each yacht and crew could bring about, and the stage was set for bragging rights!

So in between the clinking of glasses and the ordering of more drinks it was decided to settle the score the following day: seven yachts sailed a fifteen mile course in Nantucket Sound – marking the very first of the Bucket Regatta’s..

Between 1986 and 2001, the Nantucket Bucket boomed, becoming one of the leading big boat regattas attracting the planet’s most prestigious sailing yachts to sail in the sunny spirit of bona fida camaraderie and wholesome competition.

cc metoc

Under CC license image by Metoc

The first St. Barths Bucket was sailed in 1995 with a fleet of only 4 yachts. Just a handful of super yachts showed on the start line in the early years which was a pretty informal event – note: fishing played a big part of those first few races!

The turning point came during the year of the infamous LeMans start – With the fleet at anchor in Colombier, one of the crew would down a cocktail on the beach, jump in the tender and hightail it to the yacht to sail her off anchor. Then at the end of the race, sail back onto anchor, again dive in the tender to full throttle it back to the beach for another daiquiri. Wehey! This was the first and last time the “LeMans” start/finish took place although we can’t for the life of us figure out why.. 😉

But it is after this event that the sailing became a bit more serious and the event more polished albeit without losing those bucketesque shenanigans.. Think spinnakers packed full of feathers, so when it was hoisted, there were feathers everywhere, or crew arriving to their yacht to find it completely wrapped in police tape or even with a toilet placed on the foredeck, complete with a blow-up doll positioned on the seat!

CC Tiarescott

Under CC license image byTiarescott

Last year 38 super yachts including seven new launches making their bucket debut competed during which “The finishes were extra close, and class wins were decided by just minutes, if not seconds, on the last day” said event Director and Race Chairman Peter Craig. Combined with a consistent 15-22 knot trade winds -epic sailing conditions- it was Bucket racing at it’s best!

This year sees the bucket sailing towards it’s 20th anniversary and while yachts are making their way to their berth in swanky St Barths as we speak we’ll be able to look forward to seeing some great sailing in what’s known on the super yacht scene as the world’s leading super yacht regatta where ‘the fun comes first’.  I mean, which other regatta awards the Golden Pineapple for “Win the Party” hospitality or The Skulduggery for “non-adult behaviour”?

Apart from acres of colourful spinnaker, nail biting finishes and post regatta partying until well after the decks have been washed down, this particular regatta is also one of the racing calendars best events to both bump into old friends you haven’t seen in ages and meet new sailors and super yacht professionals, as seasoned sailors, newbie crew, owners and designers all crowd around the same bars to enthusiastically talk boats, slap each other on the back and congratulate each other on a job well done.

Under CC License image by James Temple

Under CC License image by James Temple

This year promises to be an equally grand event with no less than 33 sail yachts signed up ranging from the 56m Rosehearty which weighs a whale-like 500 tonnes to the sleek and slippery, Southern Wind carbon bullet Windfall.

Although we won’t be able to tell what the weather will do and how the racing will pan out one thing is surely certain: All crew members of the 33 strong fleet will wear the same ear to ear sun-cracked smiles after racing! Team Brunel’s Bouwe Bekking hit the nail on the head last year when he said: ”The racing is completely different,” it’s wonderful because you see so many friends and other beautiful yachts on the water, but of course you still try to do well. You always want to look back and say you did your best job or ‘what can we do better?,’ but the priorities here are (in this order) to sail safely, have fun and then do a good job on the water.”

French Super Yacht Captain Romain Mouchel goes Offshore Solo!

This winter Palma’s STP has seen plenty of prodigious tents hiding boats as big as the 74m M/Y Ilona, and while these oversized super yachts had their hulls painted or their teak replaced, an equally impressive amount of work took place inside STP’s smallest tent, where SY AEGIR Captain Roman Mouchel and his sailing sidekick Eric Santene spent 3 months grinding, laminating, melting, welding and weighing (lead!). Two weeks ago we saw the result: Romain’s 6.5 meter mini proto went back in the water, albeit now with a bigger rig and overall being a better boat than she was before.. and at the start of October Romain is going to cross the Atlantic on her!!

Back in the water!

Back in the water!

Romain got a taste for the wind and the water as a young whippersnapper when he spent all his summer holidays in Brittany but he never thought that sailing would be for him what it is today. Not only is Romain captain of S/Y AEGIR (twice winner of the Maxi Rolex World’s in Porto Cervo) he’s also scheduled to take part in this years Mini Transat: A transatlantic race starting in Brittany’s Douarnenez and 4020 nautical miles later finishing in sunny Guadeloupe, which means Romain will be spending 30 days alone at sea on a boat the size of a cramped crew cabin. No wifi, no chart plotter, no bunk and no snack cupboard 😉 as it’s back to basics with a simple GPS, VHF, paper charts, packets of freeze dried food and a jetboil kettle.

There will be no one else on board with him to stand watch and nothing else around him but 106,400,000 square k’s of Atlantic Ocean, so we’re sure you can understand why we had to meet Romain in STP’s DockBar to hit him with a few questions about this fascinating project..

When did you start offshore racing? I’ve wanted to sail on the mini 650 circuit since I was 16 years old and sailed my first big offshore singlehanded race, Les Sables-Les Açores, in 2012. Les Sables runs on alternate years to the Mini Transat and consists of two legs, France to the Azores and back again, covering a total distance of 2540 nm. Apart from Les Sables I’ve taken part in numerous mini races but this will be my first Mini Transat, the big one..

Ready to race!

Ready to race!

What can you tell us about the Mini Transat? And why do you want to compete? It’s the longest of the Transats on the most extreme of boats. It’s the breeding ground for the worlds’ top short handed sailors, including Michel Desjoyeaux and Dame Ellen McArthur. (Ellen MacArthur said in1997: “It is the Mini-transat which gave me the taste for Ocean racing. I will never forget”) The Mini is the most accessible offshore class for single-handed racing as compared to the other races it’s reasonably ‘affordable’ to run a campaign and sailing in the Mini will enable me to get together with 84 (other) crazy Frenchmen equally as passionate about sailing Mini’s and single-handed offshore racing. I know all these guys by now, we’re like a big family and although it’s war on the water, ashore we have a lot of fun!

And your boat? It’s a Prepreg carbon, super light boat. It’s a French design and well built by the boats’ previous owner. It’s a good boat, one of the ten best..

A bigger rig and even better boat than she was before..

A bigger rig and an even better boat than she was before..

How are you going to prepare for the race? I’ll be training here in Palma until the end of March then we’ll bring the boat back to France where I’ll be competing in 5 races prior to the Transat. I’ll be spending lots of time on the water and in the gym, getting fit and also gearing up for 20 min naps instead of my usual 8 hours!

What are your expectations? The boat’s capable of being at the front of the fleet. But ‘just’ crossing the Atlantic solo is no mean feat and I reckon 30 sunsets and 57 degrees of longitude later that first sip of rum in Pointe-à-Pitre is going to taste pretty sweet

How are you funding the project? I’ve paid for a lot myself but I’ve also had a lot of support from STP, Rolling Stock, RSB Rigging, TechnoCraft, Trabajos en Cabos, Wavelength electronics and Armare who donated ropes, paint and plenty of other racing essentials..

How can people get involved? Everybody that wants to get involved can get involved! (Please have a look at Romain’s website to see what you or your company can do and how you could help.) Amounts as little as 20€ really make a massive difference as with 100 20€ donations I would be able to get a new sail! But at least as valuable as the financial backing is the inherent moral support. I will be seeing the names of those assisting me written down in the cockpit which will continue to give me strength during those solitary days at sea!

At the age of 25 Romain has clocked up an impressive 50.000 miles and without a doubt will be one of the youngest competitors on the start line in October. We’ll definitely be keeping you posted on his progress!

Romain: Good luck!

©Jesús Renedo

©Jesús Renedo

Check out Romain’s website to find out more about him and his adventure here and/or follow him on Facebook.

Palma’s best place to buy fresh fish even better for boozy brunches!

We’re slurping down French oysters and holding a sizzling glass of Laurent Perrier, which might make you think we’re seated in a swanky seafront restaurant but actually, nothing could be further from the truth! We’re at the ‘Mercat de l’Olivar’, Palma’s prime spot for fresh foods where you can find anything from sobrasada sausages to the Mallorquin Ramallet tomatoes but where you can also get the best of bubbles and a sumptuous seafood lunch for roughly the price of a glass of water and a salad in most upmarket, sit down seafood restaurants on La Isla!


Spanish ‘mercados’ have always been the go-to places for great, local food and Palma’s Mercat de l’Olivar is no exception. Here in the fish section visitors arrive early morning to peruse the 35 stalls, selling everything from small sharks to skinny sardines but this particular part of the market is as much about snacking and sipping as it is about buying fish.

For example there are four sushi stalls which sell sushi from fish so fresh it talks back and serve chilled glasses of good quality vino blanco.. Savvy stall holder Tolo however got the idea to sell oysters and glasses of the extra classy stuff (pink cava, champagne and blow-the-budget bottles of Cristal!) after he saw something similar at Madrid’s ‘Mercat de San Miquel’.

Before setting up shop he secured his permission to sell champers first because as Tolo told us: “Eating oysters just doesn’t go with drinking water”. We couldn’t put it better ourselves. And seeing as Mallorquins are fans of all things fish and are big on small portions Tolo’s stall serving cava and oysters per-piece was soon a great success. Now, aside from oyster and sushi stalls there are prawn, cod, fried fish and shellfish bars which serve stylish snack style portions and feature big buckets of bottled bubbly just itching to give you a cheeky mid-morning buzz.


Daniel Sorlut Oysters..

Saturdays are packed! Vivacious high noise levels and using your elbows are part of the game as you balance your plate and wave your glass over the heads of others to not have it knocked out of your hands. We love the paradox here of people dressed for meeting their friends and sipping sparkles while their heeled feet are stood between fish tails and the guy next to them is loudly negotiating the price of a whole plaice.

Palma, Mercat de l'Olivar

Palma, Mercat de l’Olivar

Sure, you can spend Saturday morning sleeping in or sipping cappuccinos but when there’s also a place which is all about spirited snacking and where more bottles are being popped per minute than you can shake a swizzle stick at -well, there’s no guessing where we would rather be..

Adress: Plaça de l´Olivar 4, 07002, Palma de Mallorca

Phone: 971 72 03 14


Monday – Saturday 7:00h – 14:30h and Friday 14:30h – 20:00h.

Mallorca’s Plastic Problem and how to make a difference with your own Dos Manos

If you’re reading this blog there’s a good chance you’re lucky like me in being able to say you live on the beautiful Balearic island of Mallorca. Strolls along the Bay of Alcudia, sunset drinks in Portixol and Es Trenc tanning sessions; it’s all everyday stuff for us 😉 But because of those stunning beaches Mallorca’s hardly the Med’s best kept secret!

Only last year over 9 million people flew in to soak up some rays and slurp on seaside sangria’s which is why you’ll hear anything from Danish to Dutch, and from Mancunian to Mallorquin on any of La Isla’s abundance of beaches. Our beaches are bu-sy and this gets reflected in the amount of rubbish left behind every day of which the sight alone is enough to make you shake your fist in fury! But apart from blighting our beaches it’s affecting our marine life and ecosystems in ways that will be impossible to reverse. Last year it was estimated that no less than 250 billion pieces of micro plastic are floating around the Mediterranean, turning the sea into a plastic soup ingested by fish and even plankton, the base of the whole food chain! Also according to a study recently conducted in Barcelona 70% of Balearic shearwaters, a critically endangered species, contain plastic fragments! 70!

The Balearic shearwater, a critically endangered species.  Licensed under the CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

The Balearic shearwater, a critically endangered species.
Licensed under the CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

And while I’m no beach bum myself I still prefer my beaches bottle less thank you very much, which is one of the reasons I love Dos Manos, Mallorca based Asociación Ondine‘s approach to dealing with plastic pollution . ‘Take 30 minutes and two hands to clean up yOUR world anytime, anywhere’ is their slogan. And while they support the spirits of the big international clean up days Dos Manos call upon people like you and me to organise an ally (or not), pick a date and see what you can do with 2-4 hands in thirty minutes. And it’s this taking things back to grassroots what makes this project so cool as it concentrates on the things you and me can do for the places we care about anytime we want. Whether that’s picking up the crisp packets and plastic cups along Palma’s Paseo Maritimo, the chocolate wrappers and coke bottles on Cala Comtessa’s fine, soft sand or the random pieces of plastic in the port of Pollensa. And whether you do it because you’re concerned about the state of the Med, you want to protect seagulls from getting entangled in plastic six-pack rings or the sight of the abandoned remains of a picnic on your favourite stretch of sand is enough to wish you could track down the culprit and chuck him in the middle of the Pacific Trash Vortex, what you or you and a mate can do with two manos is easy.

Only a couple of minutes into the clean up!

Only a couple of minutes into the clean up!

So how does it work?

1) Get gloves, a bag / bucket together and download the Dos Manos audit sheet

2) Spend 30 min picking up as much plastic pollution as possible

3) Take a pic of you and your ‘haul’

4) Dispose of the collected rubbish correctly

5) Post your pic on the Dos Manos Facebook Page, sharing the results of your activities and letting the Dos Manos people know what plastic pollution you have removed from our beaches.

Me? I live a very fortunate 5 min from Anima beach in Palma and was curious to see how bad things are in winter. From afar the beach seemed quite clean but on closer inspection the shore was actually chocker with trash. So I set out last Saturday morning and after half an hour had collected a confused jumble that could inspire most contemporary artists to create a masterpiece! I picked up: 59 plastic bottles, 9 crisp packets, 18 plastic cups, 7 random bits of foam, half a chair, part of a trolley, an umbrella, torn police tape (?), a paint tube and a big heap of plastic bags which all together culminated in half a k of cleaned up beach.

I’m fully aware I didn’t save the planet that Saturday morning and definitely don’t deserve a big pat on the back but I did make Mallorca a teeny, weeny, tiny bit cleaner and that’s a helluva lot better than sipping cafe-con-leche’s complaining about those lousy litterers right?

And just imagine if half of all 858.313 Islanders would use their two manos for half an hour to pick up some plastic? This would result in no less than 214.000 km’s of beautifully, clean, clear beach. That’s the equivalent of all Mallorca’s 179 beaches… times 4280!

Just sayin’.. 😉

30 min and half a K of clean beach later!

30 min and half a K of clean beach later!