Philip Atkinson

M/Y PLANET NINE

I lead by example and strive to really look after what I believe is the owner’s best investment, the crew. Treating the crew with respect and providing a positive atmosphere, both during and after work is, in my experience, the most important part of my job as Chief Officer. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what alterations were made in the last refit, how loud the sound system, how fast the internet, or how expensive the toys, crew will always have the biggest impact on the success of each trip.

This was showcased in our last charter in which I was thrust from Chief Officer/Crossing Captain to Charter Captain, as COVID-19 travel restrictions meant crew were unable to return to the yacht. That wasn’t exactly how I had envisioned my first command, but it was a real privilege to have led the crew through these unprecedented times, and an experience I can’t forget. Every day was a new challenge as we dodged closure after closure, all of them peppered with concurrent “unknowns”. Under extremely difficult circumstances we pulled off a highly successful 3-week charter, which simply wouldn’t have happened without an excellent crew. 

One of the great aspects of yachting is the “freedom” you can experience. I know it doesn’t feel like it when you’re flat-out on back-to-back charters. You can’t remember your last day off. Heck, probably can’t even remember what country it was in.  You once dreamt of fancy restaurants and trendy nightclubs, now you dream of just one uninterrupted meal in the crew mess followed by a full nights sleep.

As my mates back home were grinding out 9-5 jobs struggling with rent and mortgages, I rode a BMW 70, 000 km’s in 11 months from above the Arctic Circle to the end of the road in Argentina, ultimately crossing the Antarctic Circle as the grand finale. This is enjoying the freedom of yachting.

I am very excited to have been nominated for this award. I want to keep growing through experience and continue to mentor crew as they navigate their way through the often-turbulent waters found in our world of yachting.