Author: Gemma Fottles
Working as a superyacht captain is one of the most desirable jobs on the planet. Hard work is rewarded with the chance to travel the world and experience a breathtaking side to life. But a career as a superyacht captain also certainly has its trials and tribulations: crew issues, dealing with regulations and unreliable equipment are amongst the top headaches of a yacht captain.
It’s no secret that the yacht captain’s call home is often the cause as well as the solution to a lot of these headaches. That’s why it’s important to choose the yacht you work on carefully. Does the boat have ample crew accommodation, so your crew is not uncomfortable and restless? Is the equipment on board high quality, requiring little maintenance? Is the yacht comfortable, with good seakeeping abilities?
Captain Christophe Junca has ticked all of these boxes on board his current yacht, the Moonen 97 yacht, Nimbus. Sailing for over 20 years, Captain Christophe has worked on yachts of all shapes and sizes – including two other Moonen-built vessels – and certainly knows the importance of a well-built yacht for a happy life on board. Here he explains why working on a Moonen yacht has made his experience at the helm of a superyacht one of the enjoyable experiences of his career and sheds light on what to look for when considering your next yacht refit yard.
You’ve been captain of the 30m Nimbus for four years. What are your favourite aspects of life on board?
I’ve worked on a lot of boats over the years – from big catamarans and sailing yachts in the Caribbean to three different Moonen motor yachts. My favourite thing about working with a Moonen vessel is that you can trust them. They are reliable. Working as a captain you get to travel the world and, on a Dutch-built yacht like a Moonen 97’, you’re doing it in the utmost style and luxury. That’s an incredible thing to do, and exactly why I decided to be a captain in the first place. Being on a strong, comfortable boat enables you to live the dream and do your job well as a captain.
What is the typical cruising itinerary of Nimbus in the summer and winter?
We usually cruise in the Bahamas and Florida during the winter, and during the summer we try and find some more unexplored areas. Last year we went to New Foundland, New Foundland Island (Terra Nova) and Nova Scotia, the whole eastern coast of the States and we ended up in Newport. Over the past few years, we’ve also ticked off most of the Scandinavian countries. Some areas are so remote that as the captain, you’re very aware of how alone you are. That’s when I’ve also been pleased to be on Nimbus – you feel safe on a Moonen.
You’ve travelled pretty extensively! How has Nimbus performed on the way?
She’s been great. She’s easy to handle, and her hull shape combined with twin screw engines provide smooth sailing whatever the sea conditions. It’s not always blue water cruising in the north, and Nimbus allowed us to complete our journeys in comfort. The reliability of Moonen yachts makes everyone’s life on board easier. This is a definite advantage compared to other brands in similar size categories.
You oversaw an extensive refit of Nimbus at the Moonen yard in 2016. How was the refit management experience?
The experience with Moonen was great. I’ve done a couple of refits and new build projects with them now, and the experience has always been fantastic. What I like about working with a yard like Moonen is that everything is so well-organised. You get a warm welcome when you arrive in the town of Den Bosch. Crew and captain immediately feel like part of a family. With this refit, we had a stringent deadline. The owner had a big trip arranged, and the boat had to be finished, perfect and ready to go in time. We picked her up as scheduled and immediately embarked on our trip to Scandinavia without a hitch.
How important is the location of the refit yard for the crew?
It’s essential that you feel at home – you’re often at the yard for prolonged periods. Den Bosch where Moonen is located is a great place. Every time I have been there for work, I’ve enjoyed how beautiful and calm it is – not too big, not too small and for the refit of Nimbus, we had a fantastic Indian summer. It was November, and we were still on the Dutch terraces of the cafes downtown. As a crew member, you can find everything you need. I like to travel around the Netherlands when I’m at the Moonen yard, to Amsterdam and the tulip fields in Keukenhof when I can!
What do captains need to consider when considering the best refit yard to go to?
The price, the quality of the facilities and workforce, knowledge of the product and ability to meet the standard of the yacht going in. Delays are one of the most damaging aspects of a refit project. With our latest refit needing to adhere to an important schedule, the final decision of which refit yard to go with was an easy choice. We already knew the Moonen team very well and, as the yard which built the yacht, it was a logical choice to return Nimbus home to the Netherlands.