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Old 16-10-2009, 08:43   #1
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Professional Advice on Career Change Needed

Hi all,
I am 47 yrs old and have spent over 20 years in the mountains of USA,Canada, France & Australia at a professional level. I have reached saturation (not to mention having pulled out one too many victims from under an avalanche). I have decided to make a career change. What to do? This is where you're professional opinion comes in. You see, I would like to embark upon an unfulfilled dream and passion and that is yachting. I don't have serious experience, only part of a season on a 30m MY in the great barrier reef off Cairns Australia back in 2000, powerboating, and some sailing in Sth France where I have been living now for 15 years. After some heavy researching I have discovered the Fastrak approach. Having studied the options I would be interested in RYA Yachtmaster (offshore). Sailing schools around Europe are offering these for around 8000 . My ultimate goal would be working aboard superyachts off the French Riviera. I did say ultimate goal & not expect to walk into a SY job with a yachtmaster qualification alone. But I have no clue of the feasibility or potential of this. I've asked around but opinions differ from one guy to the next. So what do you think. Am I too old for this. Remember that this would be a professional career change and taken very seriously. Its not just to go boating. Having analysed an ideal scenario, I would be aiming for Skipper/Captain of a MY in 3 years. (RYA Yachtmaster Ocean would follow). Please tell me your views on this. Realistic? No Chance? Stick to skiing? Thank you for your replies.
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Old 16-10-2009, 09:11   #2
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I'm thinking the market may be flooded with captains right now?
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Old 16-10-2009, 14:24   #3
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actualy the market is not flooded i completed my commercial yacht master fast track last yr you may wish to look up www. uksa .co.uk and i am glad i did
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Old 16-10-2009, 20:20   #4
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Do as I did,start in the bilge and work up the ladder.
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Old 19-10-2009, 15:24   #5
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I too looked up this issue last year and Engineers are even more in demand than Captains right now. Learn how to work on and repair engines, watermakers and the lot. You will have lots of choices of where to work all over the world. It's also a good way to buildup sea time to get your masters license - then you can be a Captain somewhere.
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Old 19-10-2009, 15:38   #6
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Wolf,

Going to sea as a living is a young person's game. Frankly I think you're too old. At your age you should have had a Master's ticket long ago or, if you prefer working down below, a Chief Engineer's ticket. Look at the crew on those yachts, the deck crew (most visible) are all very young. No matter what qualifications you might get at this stage you will have to start off as a deck hand. Sorry, but that's the way it is.
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Old 19-10-2009, 17:57   #7
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You will be competing against 30-40 yr old who have 25-100,000 sea miles and 10-15+ years at sea. How would a 49 yr old new to skiing fare turning up on a ski mountain and announcing that he was going to learn to ski and and in 3 years be head of the ski patrol?

However, the YM Fastraks are a reasonably good training system.
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Old 19-10-2009, 21:26   #8
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I have much more fun being in the engine room and "making sure the hot things are hot...the cold things cold and the engines going suck squeeze bang blow"

I am not a "wheelhouse engineer"

Having been aboard Tugs, Large Yachts, there is nothing quite as mind numbing as driving a boat some times.

The Looooooooooongetst trip I ever took was a 2 knot Tow from The C&D Canal to Norfolk......towing one of the largest Floating Cranes...

We came back "Light Boat" and it felt like we were on a rocket sled.
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Old 20-10-2009, 01:41   #9
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I know a couple of handsome 20somethings with dozens of ocean crossings who are falling on themselves to be yacht captains and would probably work for free for a year to just get a decent crew spot on a nice boat. I'd wager it would be challenging at your age, to say the least. But nothing is impossible.

But then, I have no personal experience with it, so I'll point at the example someone posted about ski patrol, chuckle, and go to bed.

;-)
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Old 20-10-2009, 07:30   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer View Post

The Looooooooooongetst trip I ever took was a 2 knot Tow from The C&D Canal to Norfolk......towing one of the largest Floating Cranes...

We came back "Light Boat" and it felt like we were on a rocket sled.
76 days, Melbourne to Hongkong but that was a little while ago. And you're right, once we dropped the tow it felt like we were a motorbike.

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Old 22-10-2009, 10:05   #11
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I think a bigger problem you'll have (well, maybe not bigger, but big) is that you don't have any connections. The waterfront is all who-you-know. There's a guy who runs a sport fishing boat over here, and I could probably end up as backup-skipper once I get my ticket, only because I know the guy and drink beer with him.

There's a ton of the who-you-know thing going on around here. If you do decide to go this route, it takes a while to break through the barriers. There are a lot of people who are fly by night. They get the boat bug, are hot into it for a few months or a year, then go back to wherever disenchanted.

Essentially if you're not going to spend the rest of your life on the water (regardless of how far you get career wise), you're going to have a hard road of it.
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Old 22-10-2009, 10:28   #12
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I understand your need to be active outdoors. I too have two passions Sailing and Skiing. I do neither professionally (I’m an Telecom engineer). I volunteer for mountain watch (ski patrol) here in . Once a week 4 hours (free seasons passes for the family ++). And I sail, sail, and sail. Could you not find a situation where you could Volunteer for a reserve coastguard or something and continue your profession within (skiing and mountaineering)? I know there is lifeboat rescue here …your on call.. It may not be as exotic as a delivery Captain but it’s an alternative.
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Old 22-10-2009, 10:29   #13
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I just realized he put up one post and didn't come back.. I guess it wasn't his thing after all LOL
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Old 22-10-2009, 20:15   #14
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I just realized he put up one post and didn't come back.. I guess it wasn't his thing after all LOL
Don't we see that often enough?!

Good folks here put down their thoughts which would be valuable advice if paid for, and the original poster doesn't pop back in to see it? Maybe he did just hasn't got arround to saying thanks


Vasco is brutal, but its reality that the crews on superyachts in St Martin seem to be selected on the basis of out of work swimwear models and sandy-haired california beach boys with a few Errol Flynn look-a-likes in command.

But the biggest thing I wonder aboout when I see them is what their REAL job is: Polishing and varnsihing! 150 foot of shiny crap to polish in the hot sun, and the closest you get to the spa tub is to precisly fold the spotless beach towels.

A friend worked on one and she said they varnish all the hand rails before EVERY charter.

Theres gotta be an easier way to earn a quid.
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Old 24-10-2009, 06:10   #15
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Wink I'm still here!

I can understand you thinking I've disappeared, but it's not the case. I've been busy on this project and more specifically visiting and speaking to as many Captains as possible in Sth France. I've been away from my laptop.
I would like to thank everyone that replied for your comments thus far. Some conflicting opinions as well. From what I've discovered to date in talking to the pro's in the industry, it will need perseverance and dedication. What most captains want to see is someone with a mission. Predefined goals. They're looking for professional and serious individuals that are determined for the long term. Not young boat hoppers. They are fully prepared to invest alot of their time in training up these types that demonstrate a first class approach and know what they want to achieve. Some Captains I spoke to would gladly share their knowledge to help someone along a career path. Others, most notably the minority had other points of view that followed the classic route. One other wouldnt give me the time of day. How does he belong in this industry I ask? Anyhow, most were of the opinion that it was worth a shot after listening to my story. I'll be headed to Antibes again next week for for research.

@James S
doesnt seem to be the case in the med

@beneteau-500
congrats with your ticket. Thanks for your positive advice. I've checked them out.

@Delaminated
Seriously man, if I was 20 I'd do it as you did it

@Rockin_Rick
that brilliant advice Rick, only that engineer work is not my thing. I appreciated the career path options but in the end I have to make the most logical choice relative to my personal situation. Thanks

@Vasco
I dont have problem with starting out as a deckhand. I have no intention of walking onto a yacht and straight into some officer role for example. You and I both know its not going to happen that way. So deckhand it is, I just dont intend to stay there too for long.

@Moondancer
i see your point of view but cannot agree. Your analagy is good but the correlation is wrong. I see it more like someone who has never driven a car in their life, decide to take a bunch of lessons, get a minimum of experience, pass the test and then go drive a rolls royce, not a F1 racing car. There is a difference.
Thanks for your advice on the Fastracks.

@Chief Engineer
Glad to hear that you have found what you enjoy. Thanks for your input.

@HobieFan
Well, I'm one of those that has the 'nothing is impossible' attitude. Why should age be a factor. I'm 47 not 87. In my book i have another 30 good years of working professionally. As for the 20 somethings, I been there done that, I know how they think if its anything similar to the ski industry. Professionally, i think i can outsmart most of them.
Thank for your reply

@Vasco
Great shot Visco. Melbourne is my home town. Your journey must of been a great experience. Carna Tigers! Thank You

@rebel heart
You are right Rebel. I do have some contacts, but I do need some key ones. I'm working on building a network right now. Back to the docks next week. It is after all, a numbers game. So many refusals then then bingo, get a foot in the door. BTW, for me its not fly by night, I'm talking career change, not just looking for a job. Thanks for your comments.

@Solitude (1)
Some good possibilities in your comments but doing this would maintain the seasonal aspect of the job. In this case havinh 2 home bases. One by the sea the other in the mountains. I want to set up base on the cote d'azur and work full time in the one industry, then develop it from there.

@Solitude (2)
You shouldnt shoot people down in flames so prematurely. I have genuinely been busy but i can understand you coming to a foregone conclusion. I'm sorry for the delay.

@MarkJ
Now here is someone sensible folks! You gave me the benefit of the doubt. Nice one Mark.
Yeah, you can certainly rough it as deckhand, but its the obligatory path to better things. I know I am going to have to get my hands dirty but I have an objective in my sights. After being used to management and responsibilites in my current role, I will accept that I will need to take 2 steps back to leap alot further. BTW, I had a good look around the other day on the docks, there were no Brad Pitt or Baywatch bombshells in sight. Must of been an off day

I'll keep watching over this post with great interest and will respond to everyone of you in due course.
Have a nice day!
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