Yachts move around…. No surprise there hey! Yachting revolves around two main seasons: the summer season and the winter season. For all of those joining us from down under, we’re talking about the Northern hemisphere summer and winter seasons.
On this page, you will find out more about:
The Three Yachting "Routes"
Yachts will typically follow one of these routes:
- The “Milk Run” = European Summer/Caribbean Winter. The summer season starts in May with the Film Festival in Cannes and the Grand Prix in Monaco, followed by the European schools summer holidays (July/August) and some cooler weather cruising in September. Yachts will then either get ready for their winter sleep in Europe or lick their wounds and get ready for a Caribbean season. This happens around October/November. Once ready, they’ll either head over the pond by themselves (mostly sailing yachts and larger motor yachts) whereas the smaller motor yachts get shipped over on larger vessels. Many of these yachts head over to St. Maarten & Antigua, where the season kicks off with the Antigua Charter Yacht Show early December. Alternatively, yachts head over to Fort Lauderdale, where the season starts with the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS for short) early November. They can then head straight to the Caribbean, go to the Bahamas or get things patched up in one of the many yards around Florida (LMC and Rybovich being some of the main players).
- The “American Route“: Yachts spend the winter as said above, starting in Fort Lauderdale, maybe going to the Bahamas or the Caribbean for the season, and at the end of the winter, they’ll head up North. North being Newport and the likes, as the Floridian summer becomes unbearably hot. Newport also boasts its own yacht show.
- The “Global Cruisers“: The few lucky ones, who get to see the whole world whilst getting paid for it. Typically, these yachts will start off their journey like a regular Milk Run yacht. They’ll spend the summer in Europe, head off to the Caribbean and then go down to cross the Panama canal, have a pitstop in the Galapagos islands, cross the Pacific, end up it New Zealand, go up to South East Asia, live the dream in the Maldives, battle the pirates in the Red Sea and end up back in the Med.
This last one is still on my bucket list… Anyone doing a world-cruise, hit me up for my CV!
Back to serious things…
When are you supposed to go where?
Generally it’s recommended to go to the yachting destination of your choice a few weeks before the start of their season.
If you’d like to start in the Med, you’d want to get there in March/April. Lots of boats will come out of hibernation at this point and have a need for dayworkers or will be hiring for seasonal crew. The yachts that are arriving from the Caribbean and America will also need to get their boats ready for the season, and consequently need dayworkers. Extra hands will be needed for the boat shows and the prep for the Film Festival and Grand Prix. Another great time is when the summer season ends, around September/October. There’s still a few boat shows, including the Monaco Boat Show at the end of September and the Barcelona Show mid-October. Plus, there’s the crew change. Most yachts and crew are reluctant to change crew mid-season as for crew it looks bad on your CV and for the captain and department heads, it’s tough to train someone new when you’re going from one guest trip into the other one. So when the season comes to an end, people start to hand in their resignations or being let go. Perfect time for crew looking for their first gig! Then there are also the yard periods which require extra manpower.
Are you looking at making your first few steps in the industry in the Caribbean? Make sure to get to Antigua a week or two before the Charter Show (late November). Lots of boats arriving from the Med and America in need of a good scrub and… some crew will be “disembarked” upon arriving. As in: they got hired in Europe/America but didn’t make the cut by the time they got to the Caribbean. When the Show is over and you didn’t get that dream job, don’t despair, the Caribbean generally sees another big crew change after the Christmas & New Years charters, again due to crew not living up to the expectations. St. Maarten (the dutch side of the Island of Sins) used to be a major yachting hotspot in the Caribbean too but suffered terribly during Hurricane Irma and hasn’t quite recuperated yet. Let’s see what the future brings for this island…
America… Same story: head to Fort Lauderdale or Newport before the shows and see if you can get some daywork. Then take it from there! You could also head to the big shipyards and see if anyone needs a pair of extra hands?