Justin’s looking to go places on larger, dual-season superyacht

There’s no hint of the back-to-work blues this week for Justin Moir – but then who wouldn’t look forward to flying to the Seychelles to join a superyacht.

The Raglan-raised 21 year old, who has just enjoyed two weeks at home and another fortnight in Bali with a few old friends, was to have left New Zealand yesterday to join the crew of what will be his second superyacht, the 92-metre Lady Lara.

Though Justin’s recently completed a 17-month stint as a junior deckhand on another Russian millionaire-owned vessel, his new posting is set to take him in some exciting new directions – both literally and career-wise.

It’s a dual-season yacht this time – sailing the Mediterranean from April to October then the Caribbean from November to March – and for Justin it’s another step on the way to becoming an officer.

“You just work your way up,” Justin explains of the superyacht industry he’s chosen to stay in, having started his big OE two years ago in London.

That’s where Justin completed the basic safety training course for all seafarers and then – through an agency – landed his first superyacht job aboard the 50-metre Lady Sura, which was based at the time in Barcelona.

From there he got to cruise around the Mediterranean – Italy, Spain, Greece and the south of France – and had a paid trip back home in March last year during his regulation month off.

“We also crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Miami three times,” Justin says. That’s a 20-day journey covering 3800 nautical miles at a rate of just 10 or 11 knots.

Justin was the youngest of nine crew members aboard the Lady Sura, sharing a tiny cabin with one other. His work included taking superyacht guests out jet-skiing and wakeboarding, for instance, but also involved the less exciting task of cleaning the boat.

A “glorified” boat-cleaner is how he wryly describes the job, though he found it a good overall experience. “I learnt a lot, saw a lot of crew come and go, met all different kinds of people … it was relaxed, it was serious at times.”

A big plus was the adventures he had when ashore. Justin recently went skydiving in Florida and visited the Everglades National Park there – a 1.5-million-acre wetlands preserve through which he took a flat-bottomed fan or swamp boat ride to see the wildlife.

He’s trekked in the large Italian island of Sardinia, and in France where a highlight was the Verdon Gorge – a river canyon often considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful.

And he’s climbed the Rock of Gibraltar with views from the top of both Spain and Morocco.

He also flew to Amsterdam in the Netherlands and did “the tourist things”, and spent an idyllic seven weeks on the Greek isle of Mykonos during a large chunk of time off.

Having left the Lady Sura in November last year to complete a yachtmaster qualification in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Justin’s now ready to take on more responsibilities as one of a 29-strong crew aboard the luxurious Lady Lara.

A bonus is a bigger bed and an Apple TV in his room this time round, he laughs.

And he’s keen to combine academic study with practical paid work aboard the motor mega yacht as he sets out now on a career path to officer status. He’s got one of the seven modules – Officer of the Watch – already under his belt and will tackle the Efficient Deck Hand course next.

It’s definitely a good way to do your OE, Justin reckons: “You leave Raglan and you don’t look back.”

Not that he doesn’t wish he’d had just a bit more time at home.

There’s a few other young Raglanders, including Luka Brunton and Jade Klenner, back this month enjoying life in their hometown before heading off overseas again for second or third superyacht seasons in Europe.

Others like Matti Thorley-Symes have more recently joined superyachts. He’s spent his Christmas-New Year in dock in Barcelona, where many superyachts head in the off-season.

Edith Symes