Cap­tain Sean Read


Yachts International - - On Charter - For more in­for­ma­tion:, or any char­ter bro­ker

Is what they say true, about be­ing in the right place at the right time?

“My route into yacht­ing was via For­mula 1,” says Sean Read, Bri­tish cap­tain of 180-foot (55-me­ter) Amels Elixir. He was work­ing with the McLaren team in the late 1990s, driv­ing a truck to Grand Prix events with the team’s sup­plies—a kind of lo­gis­tics man­ager. Dur­ing an off-the-cuff con­ver­sa­tion with David Coulthard, Read learned the cham­pi­onship driver had just bought an 80-foot mo­to­ry­acht.

“I asked him if he needed a chef aboard, and soon I ended up as his chef/deck­hand,” Read says.

Read par­layed that job into other sea­sonal yacht jobs, and even­tu­ally worked for the Saudi Royal fam­ily aboard their Golden Fleet.

“I started as cap­tain aboard the 100-foot sport­fish Golden Os­prey, run­ning along­side Golden Odyssey and Golden Shadow,” Read says. “Work­ing with Mer­chant Navy per­son­nel for the fol­low­ing seven years helped shaped me as a cap­tain. There is a nat­u­ral hi­er­ar­chy aboard a yacht. I be­lieve a good cap­tain should be firm but fair. I have an open-door pol­icy: Any of my crew can come talk to me at any time.”

Read (now 51) orig­i­nally saw his life go­ing a dif­fer­ent way. As a young man, he worked in en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion be­fore de­cid­ing to pack it all in and go trav­el­ing, work­ing in hospi­tal­ity and as a dive-boat chef in Aus­tralia be­fore tak­ing the For­mula 1 gig.

To­day, aboard Elixir, he has landed the ul­ti­mate sweet deal. Read shares the po­si­tion of cap­tain with Si­mon Lad­brooke. They each have 10 weeks on and 10 weeks off.

“This is the holy grail of ro­ta­tions,” Read says, as it ob­vi­ates burnout and al­lows for vari­a­tion on the job. This sum­mer, for in­stance, Read will be off all of July and Au­gust to spend time with his wife, 16-year-old daugh­ter and 11-year-old son.

Once again, Read is in the right place at the right time. —Jill Bo­brow

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