The Stewart family buy a boat, jack it all in and go sailing!

Past lives – working on boats

We’ve had some people asking about our past, before kids, when we used to work on boats.  We met working on an awesome 50m private yacht with a crew of 12.

This is a beautiful boat that just goes round and round and round the world, slowly, and the owners or their friends fly out and join the boat for a week or two.  Matt was on board for 2 years and completed a circumnavigation.  We met when I joined in Palma, Mallorca and we left the boat a year later in Seattle.  It was an absolute blast! We worked hard and played harder.

Some of the lovely crew – in front of a glacier in Alaska. Brrrr!
Anti-pirate shotgun training from ex-Naval Seals for the Straits of Mellacca passage.  It was nerve-wracking.
Matt in his loathed “whites” at Portofino
Refuelling in Malta.

We left this boat reluctantly, mainly because red-flagged vessels like this one (ie UK registered) don’t recognise Aussie maritime qualifications, and vice-versa.  So, so annoying.  (10 years on, nothing has changed.)

We joined a smaller boat with Matt as Captain and me stewardessing and another English guy as deckie.  It was a total rocket machine, Italian designed and built, and turned heads everywhere in the Med that season.

Transiting the Corinthian Canal,
On the bridge.
A spot of sewing on the aft deck.

Before I joined the 50m where we met, I’d worked on a couple of 50 foot sailing yachts on the Med/Caribbean circuit.  The first one was a lovely Chuck Paine design that I single handed in the Caribbean for a season for the private owner, who’d fly out occasionally for a week or two.  The other was a wonderful older Swan 51 that was run as commercial vessel, going round the Med regattas and taking paying passengers on for weeks at a time; racing or transitting.  I did several Atlantic crossings, one back from the West Indies back to the UK that I skippered and used the passage to take my Yachtmaster Ocean.  I loved both the boats and have very fond memories of those years.  Sadly I don’t have any pics of the Swan, no camera (actually it was lost during a riotous night in La Gomera, the Canaries, and was never replaced) and pre-iPhones!

Such a beautiful boat.

My brother came out to visit and we had a great time in the BVIs.  I’m the one with skin like an old handbag!

We both loved working on the boats but were very ready to settle down back in 2007, and bought a few acres in the Whitsundays to build our dream home.