PYA GUEST Awareness Day on M/Y Moonlight II

In Nice, on the 24th of June 2016., the Professional Yachting Association GUEST program held another successful ‘Awareness Day’ onboard the Burgess managed 91m Motor Yacht Moonlight. Attended by over 20 charter brokers from a range of top brokerage houses including Burgess, YCO, Northrop and Johnson, YPI and Worth Avenue Yachts, the day was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Created with the aim of raising awareness of GUEST within the brokerage and management community, these Awareness Day events are designed to both inform the attendees about the benefits of the GUEST Program and demonstrate the level of training involved. As an Association it is vital the PYA ensures the upper echelons of the yachting industry have a full understanding and awareness of the high-end education being offered through the GUEST program and how it could positively and/or negatively affect their clients.

Joined by a team of GUEST Approved Trainers from all over the world, June’s Awareness Day onboard Moonlight II comprised a variety of fun and interactive workshops giving participants a taste of a selection of the practical elements taught in the actual training, as well as explanation of where the training program came from and how it came into being. There was also lively discussion around issues arising from non-trained crew, giving the PYA essential feedback in order to continue focusing on the training needs of crew in general and the interior in particular.

The day was introduced by PYA Director of Training and Certification and founder of the GUEST program, Joey Meen, who gave participants a brief history of how the training was developed and why it is so essential in our industry, before handing over to MY Moonlight II’s Captain to say a few words on his experience of GUEST. Having recently invested in an on-board GUEST accredited training program for his interior crew, Captain Theodore spoke extremely highly of the calibre and content of the training, and the vast increase in confidence and competence he has seen in his interior crew as a result.

The programme for the day then kicked off with accredited GUEST trainers Lynne Edwards and Sarah Whitlock of The Crew Academy and Georgie Vintner of Yachtwork who hosted a highly entertaining and informative session on the importance of etiquette and understanding protocols for guest interaction. Much to the amusement of the audience, experienced ex Chief Stewardess and trainer Sarah Whitlock acted as a variety of different ‘challenging’ guests, putting the participants to the test in terms of how to appropriately behave and respond.

Following this the group were treated to a session on flower arranging on the top deck, hosted by Sachiko Katsurada of The Crew Academy, who demonstrated an easy technique for creating a beautiful bouquet, as well as sharing her very helpful tips and tricks for floral arrangements and the care of tricky indoor plants such as orchids.

Next the Art of Laying a Table & Service Styles was hosted by Peter Vogel & Renata Balla of Interior Yacht Services, who put the attendees through their paces, teaching them the intricacies of synchronized service and discussing the many different theories about the ‘correct’ side to serve and clear from, depending on the nationality and culture of the guests being served. This session was held in the dining room where the beautiful glass topped tables showcased gorgeous sculptures underneath, giving guests a taste of the opulent surroundings our interior crew must maintain and respect in the course of their work.

Having earned their lunch, the groups then reunited on the upper aft deck for a sumptuous buffet lunch prepared by Chef Ruth Williams, brought in for the day by specialist chef recruitment agency Amandine, and whose founder Kate Emery was also part of the Awareness day attendees. With a mouth-watering selection of delicious quiches, salads and desserts, the group enjoyed a lively lunch where they were joined by Sarah Lycett of Monaco-based Riviera Radio who was on hand to interview participants about their experience of the day.

After lunch the group split into smaller teams for a fascinating session about cabin set up and turn downs, as they rotated through a range of settings and scenarios in Moonlight II’s opulent cabins. Hosted by Peter Vogel, Lynne Edwards, Sarah Whitlock, Georgie Vintner & Renata Balla these sessions made guests aware of all the minute details interior crew must take care of in order to make guests feel comfortable in their new ‘home’ from the first moment they arrive.

The groups then reunited in the upper deck lounge for a session with Georgie Vintner and Alison Rentoul of The Crew Coach, on team communication and leadership. Georgie kicked off the session with a great exercise, challenging teams to create the tallest structure possible with clay balls and toothpicks in 3 minutes, afterwards inviting them to analyse their communication in relation to the success or otherwise of the group project.

Alison then went on to reveal some thought provoking statistics about the rate of growth in the industry: by 2020 we will need 20,000 new crew and 40% of these (8,000) will be interior. Alison used these statistics to highlight the real need to better train and retain high quality candidates in order to meet the growing demand for excellent crew. This led into a sample leadership training session on Situational Leadership, explaining the importance of applying different leadership styles at different stages of development on different tasks.

Last but not least, the group moved outside to enjoy a fascinating wine tasting session hosted by wine expert Paul Hammond of Onshore Cellars. Focusing on sparkling wines, Paul took the group through an interesting journey of discovery, explaining the variety of processes involved in creating the wide variety of these popular wines, from every day prosecco and cava to vintage Champagnes.

Topping off a wonderful day, Peter Vogel then presented Moonlight II’s interior crew with their official GUEST training certificates, to rousing applause by the Awareness Day participants who were touched to see the pride and gratitude of the students as each received their certificate along with a glass of bubbly to celebrate.


With kind thanks to the sponsors of the event - Burgess, Interior Yacht Services, The Crew Academy, Neko, Sachi Flowers, Onshore Cellars, Amandine, Katie Jane Howson Private Photographer.