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SEA
When you’re planning to charter a yacht there are many areas that tick the right boxes; the Greek Islands, Turkey, Croatia, the Caribbean. But few destinations can offer the diversity of cultures which are to be found in the countries of Southeast Asia.

The wealth of history and mystery to found in these beautiful and exotic locations, some of which have only become accessible to tourists relatively recently, can overwhelm the senses. It would certainly take more than one lifetime to discover all of its secrets.

Exploring the coastline by boat gives you the advantage of being able to access areas that are all but impossible to access by land. You will find fantastic deserted beaches, hidden temples and, if you snorkel or scuba dive, you can interact with the stunning variety of marine life to be found in these waters.

In Thailand the tropical climate is matched by the warmth of the smiles and the genuine welcome you will receive from the Thai people. With more than 3000km of coastline, sailing across the turquoise water you will discover awe inspiring rock formations, white sand beaches and some of the best diving areas in the world.

On the west coast, starting your charter at the tourist centre of Phuket, you have access to the coast and many islands of the Andaman Sea, including Ko Tapu which has become better known as James Bond Island after Roger Moore’s stand-off with Christopher Lee in The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed on the beach here.

Nearby is Koh Yang where you can anchor your yacht and take a ride in one of the long-tail boats to Sea Gypsy Island which is a village constructed entirely on stilts and rafts. Standing guard is a huge limestone monolith rising out of the sea behind it.

In the Gulf of Thailand the sailing takes you to diverse extremes from the wild party town of Pattaya, where you can really let your hair down, to the Koh Chang National Park which consists of around fifty islands. Here you can take jungle treks into the rain forests to find hidden waterfalls and where you’ll meet the local wildlife.

Indonesia, with over 18,000 islands, is the largest archipelago in the world. Many of the islands are uninhabited so dropping anchor in a secluded bay is a heavenly and peaceful experience.

You can sail through the Banda Sea or around the islands of Raja Ampat but the most popular location is the Komodo National Park. Here you will find deserted beaches, stunning lagoons and some of the most unique wildlife in the world including the famous Komodo Dragon.

Under the water the scenery is also spectacular with amazing marine life which makes for fabulous diving and snorkelling. If you prefer to stay above the water you can explore the coastline in a tender or kayak.

Burma, or Myanmar, has only been accessible to foreigners since the late 90s and there are some fabulous sailing areas here. The Mergui Archipelago is a group of mostly deserted islands in the Andaman Sea in the south of the country. Beautiful white palm-fringed beaches backed by dense jungle and with glassy turquoise water lapping at the shore.

If you’re lucky you might spot monitor lizards and gibbons at the edge of the trees while eagles soar overhead.

For those who like a bit of isolation you can go for days without meeting anyone other than an occasional fisherman in a dugout canoe. The local natives are known as sea gypsies and live a simple life. You can go ashore to their villages, see them making the dugout canoes and barter for some fish.

This is your opportunity to explore a world that very few people get to experience.

Cambodia is another recent sailing destination and is a country of deeply rooted religious significance. The coastline has pristine beaches and a little exploration will lead you to waterfalls and Buddhist shrines.

It is well worth taking an excursion inland to visit some of the finest temples in the world. Angkor Wat, covering an area of 400km2, is the largest temple in the world. Also, Ta Prohm temple, where the roots of the trees have wound themselves around the monument, has an eerie mysterious atmosphere which will stay in your memory for ever.

Chartering a yacht in Southeast Asia will leave you wanting to come back many times with each country seducing you with its own unique charms, history, customs and cuisine.

When you’re planning to charter a yacht there are many areas that tick the right boxes; the Greek Islands, Turkey, Croatia, the Caribbean. But few destinations can offer the diversity of cultures which are to be found in the countries of Southeast Asia.

The wealth of history and mystery to found in these beautiful and exotic locations, some of which have only become accessible to tourists relatively recently, can overwhelm the senses. It would certainly take more than one lifetime to discover all of its secrets.

Exploring the coastline by boat gives you the advantage of being able to access areas that are all but impossible to access by land. You will find fantastic deserted beaches, hidden temples and, if you snorkel or scuba dive, you can interact with the stunning variety of marine life to be found in these waters.

In Thailand the tropical climate is matched by the warmth of the smiles and the genuine welcome you will receive from the Thai people. With more than 3000km of coastline, sailing across the turquoise water you will discover awe inspiring rock formations, white sand beaches and some of the best diving areas in the world.

On the west coast, starting your charter at the tourist centre of Phuket, you have access to the coast and many islands of the Andaman Sea, including Ko Tapu which has become better known as James Bond Island after Roger Moore’s stand-off with Christopher Lee in The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed on the beach here.

Nearby is Koh Yang where you can anchor your yacht and take a ride in one of the long-tail boats to Sea Gypsy Island which is a village constructed entirely on stilts and rafts. Standing guard is a huge limestone monolith rising out of the sea behind it.

In the Gulf of Thailand the sailing takes you to diverse extremes from the wild party town of Pattaya, where you can really let your hair down, to the Koh Chang National Park which consists of around fifty islands. Here you can take jungle treks into the rain forests to find hidden waterfalls and where you’ll meet the local wildlife.

Indonesia, with over 18,000 islands, is the largest archipelago in the world. Many of the islands are uninhabited so dropping anchor in a secluded bay is a heavenly and peaceful experience.

You can sail through the Banda Sea or around the islands of Raja Ampat but the most popular location is the Komodo National Park. Here you will find deserted beaches, stunning lagoons and some of the most unique wildlife in the world including the famous Komodo Dragon.

Under the water the scenery is also spectacular with amazing marine life which makes for fabulous diving and snorkelling. If you prefer to stay above the water you can explore the coastline in a tender or kayak.

Burma, or Myanmar, has only been accessible to foreigners since the late 90s and there are some fabulous sailing areas here. The Mergui Archipelago is a group of mostly deserted islands in the Andaman Sea in the south of the country. Beautiful white palm-fringed beaches backed by dense jungle and with glassy turquoise water lapping at the shore.

If you’re lucky you might spot monitor lizards and gibbons at the edge of the trees while eagles soar overhead.

For those who like a bit of isolation you can go for days without meeting anyone other than an occasional fisherman in a dugout canoe. The local natives are known as sea gypsies and live a simple life. You can go ashore to their villages, see them making the dugout canoes and barter for some fish.

This is your opportunity to explore a world that very few people get to experience.

Cambodia is another recent sailing destination and is a country of deeply rooted religious significance. The coastline has pristine beaches and a little exploration will lead you to waterfalls and Buddhist shrines.

It is well worth taking an excursion inland to visit some of the finest temples in the world. Angkor Wat, covering an area of 400km2, is the largest temple in the world. Also, Ta Prohm temple, where the roots of the trees have wound themselves around the monument, has an eerie mysterious atmosphere which will stay in your memory for ever.

Chartering a yacht in Southeast Asia will leave you wanting to come back many times with each country seducing you with its own unique charms, history, customs and cuisine.

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When thinking of leisure holidays on a sailing yacht, we picture beautiful white sails catching the breeze, a smart wooden deck, a small galley kitchen area and a couple of cabins with small en-suite bathrooms. Those are the dreams that some of us are lucky enough to afford. Then there are the super yachts, for the super wealthy, that surpass them all…
Sea-Cloud
A fairytale in the making

Think 30 sails, 32 cabins and a never ending 360 feet of pure sailing pleasure. The Sea Cloud is all this – the true Queen of the Seas with the history to match. Built in 1931, this magnificent sailing super yacht is a vision of old school charm, and boasts an incredible story to go with her appeal. She was commissioned by Wall Street stockbroker Edward F Hutton as a gift for his heiress wife, Marjorie Merriweather Post, who was first introduced to sailing on Hutton’s three-masted schooner, Hussar. Originally named Hussar II, this beautiful sea farer, built in Hamberg, boasted seven luxurious cabins and panelled saloons. After the couple divorced in 1935, Marjorie claimed the yacht as her own. She later remarried, to United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph E. Davies, and together they renamed the yacht Sea Cloud. The vessel then served as an unofficial embassy, with many VIPs being entertained on her, including the then queen of Belgium, as well as various US and Soviet officials.

Serving for a nation

In 1941 Marjorie offered the ship to the US Navy, however the president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, felt that she was far too beautiful to be used in service. However in 1942 they agreed to charter her at $1 a year, and she was refurbished to include weather observation equipment, at the same time removing four masts and painting her regulation grey. In 1942 she served mostly as a weather ship, before being re-commissioned to the Navy in 1943, serving as a patrol vessel off the coast of New England. She was retired once again to serve as a weather station in 1944.

Integrating history

Sea Cloud also holds the honour of being the first racially integrated weather ship in American history. In 1944 the then serving captain, Lieutenant Skinner, introduced black sailors on board, and within a few months they had fifty black sailors, including two officers, stationed on board.

Shattered dreams

In 1947 Sea Cloud retired permanently from naval service and her rigging was reassembled, with new sails being added and a splash of white paint, with a gold eagle painted on her bow. Following her divorce from Davies, Marjorie kept her beautiful sea farer, however after realising how expensive it would be to run a 72-strong crew, she decided in the end to sell to Dominican Republic President Rafael Trujillo, who renamed her after his daughter, Angelita. He was however assassinated in 1961, and five years later the vessel was sold to Operation Sea Cruises. The dream was to make the yacht, now called Antarna, a sea school, however after a dispute she ended up docked for 8 years.

Back to the beginning

Antarna was eventually bought by a group of Hamburg associates, including one Harmut Paschberg, who once again named her Sea Cloud. Together they sailed her to Hamburg where she spent eight months being repaired, ironically in the same yard that she was built in. She underwent a complete overhaul, creating enough space for 64 passengers and a 60 strong crew. She took her first official passenger cruise in 1979, and is still in operation today.

Be apart of your own story

Sea Cloud currently sails the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, offering 5-star accommodation, world-class chefs and pure luxury. However not all of us can afford this ultimate in luxury, so why not start your own story by joining Sail & Power SA on one of our Yacht Crew Training courses, or even start off smaller by learning to sail your own, more affordable smaller vessel. At Sail & Power SA we offer skipper and crew training for both sailing yachts and power vessels, so sign up now and be a part of the dream.

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There are now many apps available for sailors, some for fun but others that can help with the safety aspects of boating. Here are five of our favourites on the market.
Navigation-Apps
Imray Marine Rules and Signals
Obviously we’ve all completed our professional courses with a registered training school (haven’t we?) and we’ve learned the “rules of the road”, signals, flags, etc. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need a quick reminder, this app is a great reference tool. Comprising of steering and sailing rules, day and night boat markings, restricted visibility sound signals, distress signals and all other forms of signals and communication at sea, you can use it to refresh your knowledge at any time, not just when an emergency arises.

Navionics Boating
This boating app has loads of functions and has the advantage that you can try it for free before you buy.
Charts can be downloaded for whichever location you need. You can record your tracks and create and edit routes based on your cruising speed and fuel consumption. It also has a wind prediction function with sun and moon cycles. The map options include Safety Depth and Easy View and you are able to overlay geotagged photos.

All this information can be shared with your friends and family while you are on the water via email, Twitter and Facebook!
Various upgrades can be purchased such as sonar charts, marine directories with information on ports and marinas, advanced route planning and more.

WeatherPro   
WeatherPro provides you with three hourly forecasts for the week ahead giving you temperature, wind speed and direction, air pressure, humidity and the probability and amount of rain.  You will also receive alerts for extreme weather warnings anywhere in the world. You can receive weather reports from over two million locations around the world and it has global satellite and animated radar.

If all that isn’t enough there is a premium version which has fantastic high resolution maps with advanced weather information including heat maps, cloud cover forecasts and precipitation types. It even shows lightning strikes!  There are also weather reports for ski resorts in 17 countries and for sun seekers the UV index and water temperatures for many holiday destinations.

Predict Wind
Claimed to be the most accurate wind forecast tool available Predict Wind gives you high resolution maps, graphs and tables providing amazing detail. When you are planning a trip it will show the optimum departure day, the fastest route with the wind conditions and real time graphs. With GPS tracking your family and friends can follow your track.

Compass Eye
Not just for sailors, this tool can be used on land too. Using your device’s live camera view a compass is overlaid which is accurate in all directions and has an 8x digital zoom. You can set bearing or collision markers and the red and green bearing lines can be dragged into position. It will give you triangulation bearings and you can set magnetic or true north depending on your location. With GPS enabled it will show speed over ground and course over ground.

These apps are all useful to have but any electrical device can fail so you should always be able to revert to the old fashioned methods of pen, paper and charts as taught during your training.
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As much as kids enjoy the great outdoors and look for fun wherever they go, they can be somewhat reticent when it comes to trying out something new, particularly when it could be considered a little bit “scary” for them. As much as we try and tell them to give it a chance with the “I promise you will love it” line, they may still be a bit reluctant! So how do you give them that confidence boost they need to get into the water? Here are a couple of tips to get you started, and ultimately, into the water together!
Watersport-Children
1. Monkey See, Monkey Do!

Show your kids how much fun it is, by doing it yourself! Let them see you rolling in the waves, being dunked and having the odd sinus wash while still laughing all the way. If they can see that even when their perceived “worst” happens it’s still all good, they may be more open to the experience. You may have to take them out a few times to see how much fun you are having before they decide to give it a go. My kids for example always come on the boat with us when we go kneeboarding or waterskiing and my 10 year old is now in the water too, having a blast on the tube. Her naturally more reserved younger sister however still needs to have a few more goes watching, although throw in a couple of fishing rods and she’s there like a bear!

2. Speak their language – use technology

It’s scary how much kids know about technology these days. My 8 year old can spend ages on the iPad watching funny cat videos on YouTube – and guess what – I never once showed her how. Kids love anything to do with technology, so start showing them videos of the watersports you want them to engage in. Let them be inspired by watching kneeboarding, waterskiing, or even young kids tubing. Don’t push them, but let them get used to the idea while they see how much fun the people in the videos are having. Let them see a couple of (not too intense) wipe-outs so that they can see that even when you fall, you are still okay and ready to go again. (Click here to see some of our own videos of training in action)

3. Play it down

Yes, your weekly surf is everything to you. You spend thousands on your wetsuits and boards, and think it is the most gnarly thing in the universe. But play it down when encouraging your kids. Don’t push them too fast if they are not ready, or they will simply push back and keep refusing. Keep a positive attitude while still keeping your cool. It’s no big deal really (yes we know to you it is, but if you overplay it to your kids they will think you are just trying to make it a bigger deal that it is and they will lose interest before they’ve even started).

4. Ask the big question… again if necessary!

If you feel the time is right, by all means, ask them the big question: are they keen. If the answer is “yes” – brilliant. If not, back off, and try again another time. I know from my own kids that as soon as I push I get a “you can’t force me” and then they want to try even less! Let them feel comfortable with the idea first and let them splash around and play in the water and watch you first until they feel ready to give it a go themselves.

5. Think about their age, their ability and their personality

Kids develop at different rates, and some are fearless from birth (my older daughter), while others like to watch from the beach until they feel ready (my younger daughter). Some kids are also naturally more adept at certain things than others so they may not take to watersports as quickly or naturally as you expected. If your child is younger and shows signs of being keen, however, consider organising a couple of lessons to get them started. As they get older you can take over the reins, however that grounding that a trained instructor will give them will go miles to making them confident and secure in the water.

We at Sail & Power SA teach kids, families and individuals dinghy sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and standup paddle boarding, as well as running a series of multi-activity courses over long weekends and during school holidays where kids can try out a range of watersports in a fun, relaxed environment. It’s a great and fun way to build water confidence while interacting with other kids. See our website for more details.

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FitCruisingSo you’ve taken the plunge and decided to spend a year cruising the Mediterranean. You imagine yourself lying around in your bikini, living on all that healthy seafood and olives, without picking up an ounce of fat – you could always climb all those steps in Santorini to keep fit right?

Wrong. It is easy to have plans and ideas for staying fit, but once on the water and away from your regular fitness routine, it’s easy to let the cruising lifestyle take over, and fitness falls along the wayside. The first and foremost when setting out for a long term cruise, is to know what keeps you motivated. If yoga is not your thing, for example, don’t pack all those yoga books because you will never open them.

Exercise, Anytime...Anywhere

The easiest way of staying fit on a cruise is walking when docked. Everywhere. When you arrive at shore, don’t catch the first taxi to the local market. Find out where it is, and walk. Need to stock up and worried about having to lug too many grocery bags around? Go again tomorrow and split the load. This is one of the easiest and most simple ways to keep in shape. Of course if the terrain of the destination allows, by all means go for a run whenever possible to get that heart rate up.

Swim Your Heart Out

Another excellent form of exercise always available on a yacht is of course swimming. Swimming offers an excellent cardio workout, while the resistance of the water works those muscles even harder. Take along a snorkel and explore the local marine life – of course only if weather conditions permit!

Go For A Paddle

Kayaking also offers great upper body strength training and is a great way to explore the local shoreline. Do this as often as you can to keep your upper body in tip top shape.

Zen Out On Board

Although the inside of a catamaran is generally small with very limited space, activities such as Pilates and Yoga don’t require a lot of room – just a small space for a mat. Practice some core exercises here such as roll ups and “hundreds”, and bring along a couple of different bands for resistance training as well as a Pilates hedgehog, which can be used for balance training – brilliant core workout.

Step It Up

Another good workout spot in your boat is the steps leading up to the deck. Make a point of doing a set of step workouts once a day to keep your leg strength up. Step exercises are great for your hamstrings and glutes. You are also likely to find plenty of steps on land to supplement this when you are not at sea.

Everybody Jump

Finally, every catamaran has the most perfect place for exercise – think space, comfort and slight balance training – yes, the trampoline. While in stable waters or at port make use of this space for any of your usual exercises. You may get some funny looks from the shore but at least you know you are staying strong and healthy – and best of all, should the boat suddenly rock, you will have a soft landing (even if a somewhat embarrassing one!)

Really there is no excuse for not doing your utmost to maintain your fitness leaves while on the water. While general boat work does give certain muscles a workout, you need to keep engaging with every part of your body to stay strong and healthy. Make exercise a part of your daily routine so that when your year is up and you head back to your regular life (if you can!), you are happy in yourself and ready for the next challenge.

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TWCoverI
Working as a crew member on board a luxury yacht can be a great way of seeing the world while earning a good wage. Whether you are considering this as a long-term career or the chance to travel for a couple of years before settling down, visiting exotic locations and mixing with the rich and famous can be an exciting prospect and you will certainly have some stories to tell.

However, the work is hard with little free time and you will generally be living in cramped quarters, often shared, and you have to be able to get on with your crew mates for long periods at sea. Also, forming relationships is almost impossible. If that doesn’t put you off, getting your foot on the first rung of the ship’s ladder is not easy, so you need to give yourself the best chance of getting aboard.

The days when you could walk the docks and marinas asking at each boat if they needed crew are pretty much gone and, at best, you might pick up a day or two of hard cleaning work. Boat owners and skippers now want to know who they are taking on, their background and qualifications and they are far more likely to recruit through an agency.

There are many agencies and you can register with more than one to make the most of the opportunities that are out there. But, however wonderful a person you may be, starting out with no experience is difficult and gaining some relevant qualifications will put you way ahead of those without.

All crew members should have the STCW 95 Basic Safety Training Certificate which includes modules in Basic Firefighting, Personal Survival, Personal Safety and Social Responsibility and Elementary First Aid. This course has to be renewed every 5 years and you are unlikely to be hired without it.

If you’re aiming to start out as a deck hand, some sailing and boat handling training will give you a great advantage. Also, with many super yachts being equipped with jet skis and powerboats, qualifying as an instructor and being able to train the yacht owners and guests in the safe use of these vessels can put you streets ahead of your competition.

For those who are intending to take on a service role, undertaking a Stew Training Course, or ‘Interior-Crew Training’ as it is officially known, will similarly help you on your way to that first position. This incorporates four elements; Interior Introduction Course, Interior Basic Food Service Course, Wine and Cocktail Introduction Course and Food Hygiene Course for Catering. After this you will be the proud holder of your Yacht Junior Stewardess Certificate of Competence.

All the qualifications in the world won’t help you if you can’t be contacted at short notice. When this type of vacancy comes up it will generally need to be filled quickly and, by the nature of the job, it could be anywhere. Always let the agency know when you are not available because if they put you forward for a position but can’t get hold of you they might not bother with you the next time.

Call into the agency frequently to keep your face fresh in their minds and your profile on top of the pile. Update your profile if anything changes or you gain new qualifications.

You need to be able to present yourself well at an interview as the prospective employer is likely to have extremely high standards. Always keep your cv up to date and have a copy with you along with certificates and references. Be punctual and smartly dressed. Do some research so you know what the job entails, be prepared for any questions that might be thrown at you and ask some questions of your own. Don’t criticise previous employers and always appear to be positive and confident. Smile!

Once you have gained that first job on a luxury yacht you are on your way and, if you work hard and prove yourself to be a valued member of the crew, you will have a new reference and valuable experience to add to your cv.

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