Chosen from a total of 263 applicants from all over the world, Zhara Bathe was the Interior and Grand Prize winner of the Superyacht Scholarship Competition launched by Alison Rentoul, The Crew Coach. Just two months on and Zhara has already landed her first job on board a new build 50m launching this season.
Originally from Cairns in Australia, after leaving school Zhara obtained a Diploma of Make-up Artistry before starting a Dive Master traineeship. In 2015, like many young Australians, she got a taste for travel and spent four months in Southeast Asia.
"When I returned I worked in hospitality before moving to the Sunshine Coast. I continued to work in hospitality during the evenings, while utilising my cosmetics qualification during the day, as well as keeping house for a former Chief Stewardess.
After saving enough money I travelled to India, Dubai and Nepal for six months. While in Nepal, the 2015 Earthquake hit which was a life-changing experience. I decided to stay and do relief work in one of the villages where I helped build homes and supply the villages with medical aid and food.
After returning from the East, I knew that I wanted a career that combined my loves of the ocean and travel. Superyachting was the first thing that came to mind, but I recognized that I lacked industry specific training which I simply couldn't afford to obtain.
While researching other options, my good friend Alison Thomalla forwarded an email with The Crew Coach Superyacht Scholarship application. I submitted my application and was lucky to win this opportunity of a lifetime! I moved to France to begin this amazing adventure and start my new career in yachting.
I've become very aware of just how competitive and difficult it is for new crew to get a foot in the door and, without the incredible support and education I've received from my mentors and training providers, I wouldn't have eased into the industry with such confidence,” said Zhara. "I've recently accepted my first position as Stewardess aboard a new build 50m yacht launching this season!"
Starting out in yachting, which transferable skills do you think will be most relevant or useful?
I believe I have a lot of transferable skills, such as hospitality, customer service, communication, a Dive Master qualification and administration. Being a qualified Make-up Artist might also come in handy at times.
What makes yachting such an appealing career?
It's an opportunity to create a career which involves my three greatest passions of life: Travel, the ocean and providing quality guest experiences. Along with experiencing different cultures, being rewarded for hard work is also appealing.
What are your thoughts on winning this scholarship, what does this mean for you?
This scholarship has changed my life and taken me in a direction that I am not even sure I would have gone down otherwise. From not knowing much about the yachting industry only two years back, to being introduced by friends and then having been granted an opportunity that wasn’t available before, has been mind blowing. It has changed my outlook in every aspect of my life and given me the chance to excel, not only in my career but, within myself.
Do you keep abreast of the industry through the media? What do you find particularly interesting about it?
Being new to the industry I follow social media and groups that provide tips and inspirational ideas. What I find most interesting is innovative ideas and materials used on superyacts to become more environmentally friendly.
Is there anyone in particular who inspires you in your work/life?
Yes, there are many people who I look up to and who inspire me. Outside Alison and Jay Thomell, my friends and family are my biggest supporters. Alison Rentoul, Fran Gerrod and Cobie have been great mentors and teachers, giving me the confidence that I have what it takes.
What are you most looking forward to about working in yachting?
I'm most looking forward to the on board community, travel, being on the ocean and watching my bank account grow!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Going on outdoor adventures such as hiking, water sports, meditation and yoga. Socializing.
Which three objects would you take to your desert Island?
Flint - for fire; Knife - for versatility; Mask & Snorkel - for seeing underwater to hunt food.
What is your motto?
Asked what inspired her to create the Superyacht Scholarship program, Alison Rentoul says,
“Every year hundreds of hopeful young people arrive in Antibes, France, intent on getting their big break as crew onboard a luxury superyacht. They spend thousands on training, accommodation and travel expenses not to mention countless hours walking the docks – I’m sure a lot of people reading this article can relate to that!”
“However, not everyone can afford the high cost of entry into yachting, so we wanted to make it possible for those who might not otherwise have afforded it.”
“Of course this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our wonderful sponsors: Interior Yacht Services, Zephyr Yachting, Secrets de Cuisine, Warsash Superyacht Academy, The Glamorgan (The Best Crew House in Antibes), Deckers Uniforms 4 Yachts, Horizons Financial Solutions for Crew, PYA, Onshore Cellars, Camper & Nicholsons Crew Agency.”
Each of the four scholarships includes training courses, uniforms, crew accommodation (in Antibes), free travel insurance, a CV and career guidance package, a personal mentor, yachting association membership, and dedicated crew agency support in finding a position. Valued at more than €2,800 each, the scholarships were awarded in four categories: Interior, Exterior, Galley & Engineering.
As part of her scholarship prize, Zhara was able to take part in the superyacht GUEST program (Guidelines for Unified Excellence in Service Training), with Interior Yacht Services. She also won the Grand Prize worth more than €6,700.