The Galileo Yachting school is aimed firmly at the Thai market, initially targeting Thai women for work as stewardesses, and Thai chefs.
The school is the brainchild of Brian Murray, who is ex-British Royal Navy and was a superyacht skipper for 25 years, commanding superyachts owned by the likes of the Getty family.
He and partner Alex Wheeler expect to place graduates of their 18-day courses on superyachts, with pay starting at B100,000 a month, rising – for those who become chief stewardesses – to as much as B420,000 a month.
And that doesn’t include tips.
Mr Murray started years ago in the recruitment business, sourcing engineers to look after gas turbine engines when they began to be used in superyachts.
At that time, the only place to find such engineers in Britain was from the Royal Navy. With his connections, he quickly became the “go-to guy” for engineers.
Yacht owners then began asking him to find other types of crew – chefs, captains and stewardesses.
From there, in order to fulfil these requests, he stepped into training, running a school specifically aimed at training superyacht crew, first in Monaco and then in San Remo, Italy.
With costs climbing out of sight in Europe, and regulation becoming oppressive, he was looking for another, cheaper place to set up.
“Two years ago I was on a Thai Airways flight and I was astounded by the level of service. Amazing compared with service on European airlines. Then I stayed in a five-star hotel in Bangkok, and it was the same.”
Pretty much immediately, he decided Thailand was the place to establish a new school – it had the low costs, the less stringent rules, and the right raw materials: the Thai people.
The courses will consist of 14 days intensive training in a luxury villa not far from the Thanyapura complex – an onshore version of a superyacht.
Stewardesses will be trained in etiquette, cleaning, cooking (mostly for when the yacht’s chef is on holiday, or for crew), flower arranging, understanding wine and champagne and how to serve them, table settings, shoulder and neck massage and, on the more robust side, basic seamanship and navigation, along with tender driving.
At the end of the 14 days trainees will be sent for a four-day course in safety in Bangkok, to acquire the essential Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping certificate, which covers such delights as first aid, fire-fighting and survival techniques.
The courses will be limited to 10 people at a time, with trainees being taught 12 hours a day by Julie Humbert, a French chief stewardess of 10 years’ experience, and her Thai assistant, from a hotel training background. Alex will also teach job application and interview techniques.
In addition, guest chefs will be brought in to teach cooking, and one of the world’s top experts to teach flower arranging.
Brian and Alex are confident they will have no trouble placing trainees in jobs. The superyacht market is large and growing.
“It’s massive. There are 10,000-plus megayachts around the world – that’s vessels over 24 metres in length – and the average crew for each of these is ten, so that’s 100,000 jobs,” Brain says. “That doesn’t include the thousands of superyachts, under 24 metres.”
And the market is growing, especially in places like China, which turns out new billionaires almost on a daily basis.
“If you want to buy a new yacht from Perini Navi in Italy, for example, you’ll find there’s a seven-year waiting list,” he points out.
The training comes at a price: B118,000, though Brian stresses that a stewardess fresh out of the school can recoup that from her first month’s pay aboard a superyacht.
And the life can be very glamorous. In his time as a yacht skipper, Brian sailed to some of the most exotic places in the world, and guests on the various yachts he captained included Uma Thurman, the McLaren Formula One team, Whitney Houston, Julio Iglesias, Rod Stewart and guitar ace Eric Clapton, which whom he once played pool in a bar Clapton owned on Antigua.
More information on the Galileo school can be seen at galileoyachting.com or call 084 840 5822 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.