Flotilla Skippers - Q & A with Emily Summers

" As a Flotilla Skipper i'm responsible for the day to day running of the flotilla, ensuring safety of the guests, crew, and yachts."


Flotilla Skipper - Emily Summers Working as a Flotilla Skipper Q&A with Emily Summers

Can you tell us what an average day working as a flotilla skipper looks like?

As a flotilla skipper your first job in the morning is to check the weather and conduct a briefing. In the briefing you'll explain the itinerary for the day, including information on the next destination, suggest places to stop for lunch and a weather report. 

Once the briefing is over you will be on the dock assisting customers with their departure. Once all the yachts have left you will then set off to the next destination and ensure you are the first to arrive.

Upon arrival you will organise the mooring spaces for all yachts, this is more of a challenge in some ports than others. Once you have a mooring for each yacht you will then be responsible for insuring no other yacht takes the space. When the yachts arrive it is your duty to guide them into their mooring with the assistance of the technician or host.

The last part of the day is the social activity which the host will organise, you will take part and assist the host to ensure this runs successfully.

What is your favourite part of working as a flotilla skipper?

The freedom. You live on board a lead yacht and won’t ever have guests onboard -you can just jump in the sea to cool off when you get too hot and enjoy a quick swim. I also enjoyed the challenge because everyday is different and you learn a lot.

Which part of the role have you found the most challenging?

The most challenging part for myself was being a female skipper. I had to work extra hard to gain respect from some harbour masters. I found that once I had proven to them that I am capable they were more helpful with saving spaces for the flotilla and letting me get on with my job.

What kind of clients did you have on your flotillas?

The clients are mostly families or middle-aged couples. Generally very friendly and just ready to have a good time.

What skills have you gained from working on flotilla?

Manoeuvring yachts in close quarters is something you do every day so it doesn't take long to get very good at it. I also learnt how to instruct and guide customers with their manoeuvring and sailing.

You will find some customer skippers have only just passed their Day Skipper or ICC while others will have sailed for years but have never done a Mediterranean mooring. The client’s ages and experience range massively and the amount of support they want will differ from yacht to yacht so you need to be able to adapt your style. Some yachts will require full instruction while others will only want you to direct them if they are about to go wrong, you have to be able to put the clients wishes first but know when to step in before it all goes wrong.

Why would you recommend to others to work on flotilla with Sunsail?

Leading a flotilla improved my confidence massively. I constantly strived to be a fun, friendly skipper but all while staying professional and in control.

What has your journey with Sunsail looked like so far?

Sunsail has given me the greatest opportunity to grow within the company. I started my first contract as a Flotilla Host in Croatia (2017). I then spent my winter training for my Yachtmaster with the help of Sunsail so that I could work as a Flotilla Skipper in Croatia the following summer (2018). I then completed a six month contract in The Bahamas as a Technician and currently I am working as a base technician in Port Solent (2019).

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44 yrs
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