Written by Hillary Buckman
Name: Captain Nick Maccrossan
Current Yacht: M/Y Triple8
Past Yachts: Big Aron, Christina G, Grand Cru III, Al Anood, Akasha, Fantasy Island, My Way
OCEAN: How did you start out in the yachting industry, including your route to command?
It was a fortunate and unusual route. I had recently qualified and was asked to find a boat that had gone missing in the Caribbean, relieve the captain and crew of their positions and return it to the British Virgin Islands. Upon successful return to the BVI, I was asked to re-introduce the boat to charter and run her. Soon after that, I was approached by a well-known USA charter broker to run his personal charter boat for him, which was a huge success. From that point it was, so to say, plain sailing.
OCEAN: Where have you spent most of your time cruising as a professional yachtsman?
I have been lucky enough to have spent time in a number of regions. I avoid repetition, I have made it a goal to seek positions that offer “something new.” I have done new builds in Europe, Africa, and Asia. I have been based in the Mediterranean, USA, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Australia and South America. I’ve also been lucky enough to voyage the North and South Pacific Islands as well as the North and South Atlantic Islands.
OCEAN: Can you describe some of your most exhilarating and challenging adventures to date?
Most of the adventures involve weather, but I’m sure you hear enough of those so I won’t bore you. To date, I would say having an engine wrapped up solid in a large fishing net in the mid-Pacific would qualify. Being unwilling to have a crew member take the risk, I had to dive and cut it off while the boat was adrift in bad weather. I managed to drop a lot of cutters, saws, blades and other tools to the bottom of the deep blue, sorry if that contravenes any MARPOL conventions, but I did manage to keep most of the net and throw that away on land.
“Having excellent crew prior to and during any extended voyage is imperative, adequate funding to ensure that you have a well-equipped vessel is also a must.”
OCEAN: What is your favourite thing about being a superyacht captain?
That would be the ever-changing daily challenges that keep the mind stimulated.
OCEAN: Since leaving the East Coast of the USA, Triple 8 has cruised through Panama, Pearl Islands, Galapagos, Marquesas, French Polynesia and Fiji. Was this an easy process?
We have been 100 percent successful. With thorough planning and preparation, we have managed to avoid any problems along the way. We have been lucky enough to have had mostly excellent agents to assist us with our needs, the importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Having excellent crew prior to and during any extended voyage is imperative, adequate funding to ensure that you have a well-equipped vessel is also a must.
OCEAN: What makes Triple 8 such an interesting vessel to command?
Triple 8 is a superbly equipped ship. Built to the highest standard, she is a formidable seagoing vessel. We have the best equipment available, an unlimited budget to keep all running in perfect order and a very understanding owner.
OCEAN: What has been your favourite destination to visit in this region so far and why?
I really enjoyed all of French Polynesia from the Marquesas to the Society Islands. There was a remote feel to the outlying islands, which is fairly unique in this day and age. The French flair was underlying throughout but there was a distinctly “Island” feel present. There was everything you would need for an island holiday: good infrastructure, excellent food, beautiful islands, crystal water, good weather and excellent yacht support through Asia Pacific Superyachts.
OCEAN: Have you done any charters while in this region? How has the process been for you?
We have done a number of charters throughout the Pacific Islands and Australia. It has been relatively painless but for those wishing to go, I’d suggest using a reputable yacht agent. They really pave the way well for visiting yachts and can save you money in the long run.
OCEAN: You recently undertook some maintenance work. What work was undertaken? Where did you get this done?
Rivergate Marina and Shipyard are without a doubt the best place worldwide that I have ever been to have maintenance done. I have never before felt such confidence in the management as I have at Rivergate. Competitive quotes from multiple contractors are the norm and a personalised service commitment unlike I have experienced before. Upon completion of a year’s voyaging from the USA, we had a number of large and small jobs to perform from paintwork to fabrication. We managed to get everything done well within the time frame and at a cost well under what we expected. The first maintenance period was so successful that we returned for a haul out and more work simply because they were so good at their job.
OCEAN: On average, how much do you think your yacht spends while visiting each port?
We spend a varied sum depending on the need at the time. Dockage, maintenance, spare parts, contractors, fuel, provisions, consumables, car hire, entertainment and of course beer, lots of beer. I wouldn’t like to put a figure on it but it amounts to a sum that would probably shock a lot of people.
OCEAN: What is some advice you could give an owner thinking of bringing their yacht down to Australia or New Zealand?
It is a wonderful region, beautiful scenery, great people, skilled contractors and excellent value for money (especially with the current exchange rates). My advice is to take your time. It is a vast region and there is much to see. Plan your voyages to take in the different areas at their optimum time to visit – this will ensure good weather and calm seas. It is a long way from Europe or the Americas, so if you plan to come down here, spend a couple of seasons and make the most of it.
OCEAN: What advice do you have for the Australian maritime authorities on how to better serve the needs of private visiting superyachts and charter yachts?
Please would someone sort out the Great Barrier Reef yacht size anchoring restrictions? Superyachts are not the same as cruise ships, how can any yacht over 35 metres be classified as a cruise ship? We have professional, responsible crews and will have significantly less impact on any reef or sensitive area than the average day boat or over-packed small charter boat of any size. This discrimination makes visiting the Barrier Reef on a superyacht very unattractive. If we had known about this prior to visiting, we would have spent our time elsewhere.
OCEAN: If young Australians and Kiwis are looking to enter the yachting industry as a profession, what advice do you have for them?
Decide where you wish to work and on the strength of this decide which type of tickets to pursue –MCA or AMSA. At present, this can restrict your potential areas of employment.
OCEAN: If you weren’t in the yachting industry what do you think you’d be doing?
Something in the hospitality field, most likely a lot less interesting…. but I would have less grey hair!