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Tony’s Corner

What does it take to be a good captain anyway? Part III

Back in May, I put up a couple of posts regarding what it takes to be a captain. Maybe now some people are starting to figure out why. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are the links in case you’re wondering what I’m talking about:

First post Second Post

More than anything else, these posts were just for my own “therapy”, while projecting my own thoughts about a particular subject that was raised to me. I was also dealing with the situation that I’m about to talk about, in this latest installment. 

So, as many people out here may know by now, there is some particularly vocal discourse going on right now by Andiamo’s former “captain”, Fabio Brunazzi. 

At this point, let me just say that this is FAR from the worst  thing that has been happening with Andiamo. Trust me, you don’t know the half of it, and it’s the stuff novels are made of. Or, at the very least, bad reality shows. 

Since I’ve been the minority owner for quite some time now, and been essentially staying out of Panama as much as humanly possible, I haven’t had the kind of control I used to have, obviously. I placed my trust in some key people to keep things going smoothly without me. Instead, things have unfortunately gone rapidly awry in the operation of Andiamo in recent months. So much so, I found myself needing to step back even further, and disconnecting from the business and the situation (I posted about that here) even more. This fallout has far more to do with the majority owners and management than anything else. That story will be told in due time (and soon). It will, indeed. 

But for now, I shall deal with Fabio’s rather public declarations. 

This morning, I received an email that Fabio sent out, along with a PDF file of another letter. It’s a long, winding diatribe. He makes quite a few wildly inaccurate allegations, which he knows are not true. In any case, I will state my response, and everyone else can make their own determinations. Anyone who knows me, knows I am not one to mince words, or sugar-coat things. I’ll tell it like it is.

Much of the horrible stuff happening behind the scenes of Andiamo, are mostly having to do with the conduct of a certain person. Who, incidentally is named many times in the discussion I have with Fabio below. There is much more that will be coming out, particularly since it’s clear that Andiamo’s glory days are indeed over. This is thanks to an incredible amount of horrific misconduct and malfeasance.

As I was joking to Lena the other day, it appears to be ending like a tragic opera, where “everybody dies”. ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway, as I’m sure this is going to make for a lot of conjecture, speculation, and discontent, my goal is to spell things out as clearly and truly as possible. 


All Things Must Pass…

tony christening boat
Christening ceremony, July 2004, Biscayne Bay, Miami…

When I bought Andiamo, eight and a half long years ago, I had no idea what to expect. That was part of the excitement. Alas, suffice it to say that there is no way I could have predicted that things would happen they way they have over that time. How could I? How could I have possibly predicted all the adventures, misadventures, happy moments, tragedies, surprises, disappointments, and all the other stuff that ensued over these years? 

When my then-wife and I left Miami for the blue yonder, I suppose I had an entirely different idea (perhaps overly romanticized) of what to expect from this grand adventure. It didn’t take long after sailing off from Miami, however, to realize that things would go FAR differently than I or anyone could have imagined. The initial challenges and dilemmas came fast and furious. For awhile there, I felt like there was one big-bad-luck-schleprock cloud hanging over me. It was a shock to the system, a hard dose of reality. Yet, somehow I managed to get through it, and make it through to sunnier horizons.

Yes, there is much that happened over these years that I clearly wish didn’t. And yet, there is so much more that did happen that I didn’t expect to, and was glad that they came to pass. So in the end, it makes everything more than worthwhile. I always say, that the most profound experiences I’ve had aboard were also the most challenging, and even the most dangerous. 

So many people, so many experiences, so many connections (many of which I still hold dear and value to this very day), stem from this incredible time on my dearly beloved boat and home. My life will never be the same, thanks to Andiamo and all she’s brought me. What started as an abstract dream back in my younger years, out of crudely-sketched drawings of sailboats, palm trees, and sunsets on my schoolbooks, manifested itself into an amazing reality. I am living proof that dreams do come true. Although never in the straightforward, painless fashion that one would wish. Yet it has all paid off in what I can only call an amazing chapter of my life. 


What does it take to be a captain anyway? Part Deux…

capt ed smith

Capt E.J. Smith, RMS Titanic


So on my previous post, I gave a rather personal view of what I learned regarding being a good captain vs. a “faux” captain. Then, to further substantiate the topic beyond my mere opinion, I included some link resources to other sites and articles about the subject. These articles cover the various requirements, responsibilities and other criteria involved in the occupation. 

On this post, I’d like to render some advice for newer, less-experienced captains. Particularly those who are looking at getting their first “real” captain’s job. Then, what to do once you get it. And finally, what to do when you decide it’s time to move on.

Take this advice to heart, and it will bode well for your future as a captain:

1. Be genuinely enthusiastic for the job. Don’t pretend. 

Don’t just say what you think your potential employer wants to hear, mean it. Many employers can tell the difference, no matter how good you think you are at faking it. 

2. If you don’t feel right about the boat or the operation, don’t take the job.

It’s really that simple isn’t it? If, after going through the interview, you don’t feel comfortable with the operation, or the boat, then perhaps the gig isn’t right for you. It’s ok to be honest about it. Ask hard questions and demand answers. If it doesn’t feel right, move on. Your prospective employer will just keep looking. Whatever you do, don’t just take a job to fill in until you find another job somewhere else. Captain’s jobs are almost always temporary in nature, anyway. That much is understood. Regardless, to “use” a captain gig while you’re looking for greener pastures elsewhere at your employer’s expense never looks good on a resume/CV. Don’t worry, future employers will know how to spot it. 

3. Be honest and detailed about your previous job(s), and your work experience.

For example, if the previous boat you were supposedly “captaining” was one where nothing was working aboard and you didn’t really need to worry about maintenance and upkeep of essential systems. That’s an important piece of information to share. Be honest about it. Never had to work on the boat’s DC electrical system due to the fact that none existed? Be clear on that. If the furthest extent of any diesel maintenance entailed changing the oil or tightening a belt, fine. But don’t tout yourself as a mechanic.

This is the kind of information that is relevant to your prospective employer, and his hiring criteria. If you think that touting a previous boat you worked on as being the same or similar model to the boat you’re trying to get work on will give you an edge, then great. It is important, however, that you be clear and specific about what you did and did not maintain on that boat. Be sure to tell the prospective employer everything regarding your experience. 


What does it take to be a captain anyway?

simpsons seacaptain

Having just seen a transition to Andiamo’s latest captain get completed albeit haphazardly, I find myself reminded yet again about some important life lessons. The lessons I went through in my own journey to become a captain. Something even I refused to call myself for most of my early years as an actual captain. First, aboard my maiden boat “La Dolce Vita”, and then of course, aboard “Andiamo”. 

See, I developed my love of sailing and yachting with absolutely no interest in it ever becoming a “business”. I had the benefit of sailing and crewing on several different boats over the years, just for the love of it. Because it was (and still is) a big passion of mine. Despite this, suffice it to say, my humble beginnings in yachting all those years ago came from paying my dues in the charter trade. After first doing charters in Caribbean for more than two seasons (7 day charters, working 14+ hours a day, is HARD work. Even in paradise.), and one season in the Med on a private motor yacht (which, for a sailor like me, was DREADFUL, but worth the experience), I came to understand the “business” side of what it took to be a captain. And quite frankly, at least then, I wanted none of it. Being a deckhand or a first mate was hard enough. 


This is the new stuff…

Holes in the Foam…

Ok, so I know I’ve been saying for awhile now that I was planning on doing some serious writing. And needless to say, things have gotten in the way of that in recent times. Though I still am surprised at how much writing I’ve managed to get done despite it all. Now, in an effort to affirm my commitment to my latest vocation of becoming a desperate, hapless scribe, and to try to keep my other various projects and ventures from clouding my field of vision, I would like to introduce my newest blog ventur: “Holes in the Foam…” . (more…)

The Creature of Seat 27E…

Over the last few years, I’ve found myself on planes quite often traveling to my various points of the globe. Most times, I’ve been lucky to meet some really cool people on flights. Even some REALLY cool people. Sometimes, I meet nobody at all. And yes, I’ve also met some incredibly annoying people as well.

But nothing, I tell you, NOTHING could have prepared me for the evil, insanity incarnate that I was about to experience on my most recent flight from Orlando to Los Angeles. What was supposed to be a rather uneventful five and a half hour afternoon flight would no doubt become the ultimate test of patience, tolerance, and will. (more…)

Pop, and mastering fear….

So, that time of year rolls around again, the anniversary of Pop’s death. It’s been six years now, and I still wonder if I will ever get through one milestone unfazed. I always seem to think that the “next time” it will be easier or less taxing, but it just doesn’t seem to happen. At least not yet. ๐Ÿ™

Anyway, here I am, going through my usual introspective grieving period that I have now grown fairly accustomed to. I start looking for some inspiration on what to write about regarding Pop. On one hand, I have to be grateful for these milestone periods I go through regarding my parents. Because it seems to be the sole force that makes me have to sit down and write. (more…)