A New School aimed at, initially training Thai women for work as stewardesses, and chefs on board Superyachts has been set up in Phuket.
The Galileo Yachting School is the brainchild of Brian Murray, formerly with the British Royal Navy. He has sailed as superyacht Captain for 25 years, commanding superyachts owned by the likes of the Getty family. In his time as a yacht Captain, 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, with whom he once played pool in a bar Clapton owned on Antigua.
He and partner Alex Wheeler expect to place graduates of their 18-day courses on superyachts. 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 set up as an onshore version of a superyacht.
Stewardesses will be trained in etiquette, cleaning, and cooking for crew when the yacht’s chef is on holiday. Other subjects covered include 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 costing B118,000 (US$3700) per person 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 that with a superyacht market that is large and growing they will have no trouble placing trainees in jobs.
Most of the classes will be taught by long-time stewardess Julie Humbert (right) assisted by Joy Humskul.