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Q&A: Captain Nolan Ross, M/Y Serenity J

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Like so many in yachting, Nolan Ross ran away from a desk job and never looked back.

15 years later, he is captain of  Serenity J, a 55 m motoryacht launched this year from Amels shipyard.

He talks to OnboardOnline about his best moments in yachting and his belief that the industry suffers from short-term thinking. 


OnboardOnline: How did you get into the yachting industry?

Nolan Ross: I'd had enough of commuting in a suit.

OO: Is it how you expected it to be?

NR: I didn’t even know it existed so had no expectations.

What do you love most about your job?

The view.

What is the single biggest issue affecting yachting at the moment?

I think the single biggest problem affecting yachting is 'short-termism'. From owners, management, crew, brokers. Too few seem to think of how it can be sustained and too much thinking about now. 

From the crew rushing to be qualified without getting the experience, to the broker selling a yacht to an owner without letting him know what he is getting in to. Caviar today, starvation tomorrow. 

What keeps you awake at night?

The holding at the anchorage.

Serenity J 600

What would you change if you could?

More time off!

What could you not do without?


If you weren’t working on boats, what would you be doing?

Doesn’t even bear thinking about.

What is your favourite yacht?

The one I run, obviously.

What was your greatest experience on a boat?

Taking charge of the new yacht from the yard.

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What was your worst experience on a boat?

Breaking my leg (although strictly speaking it was on the dock).

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on a yacht?

What is the weather going to be like in the Balearics in July? (said in May)

Generally speaking, which nationalities tend to be the best bosses?

I don’t know if nationality is the hallmark to be honest.

The best charter guests?

Americans probably.

Where is the most beautiful bay in the world?

There are a couple in the Seychelles that have a special place for me

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Who do you most admire in the world of yachting?

Anyone who manages to put up with working for me.

What does the future for yachting look like?

Hopefully rotation!

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?

My son.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

Being with my family, music, reading, sleeping, bowhunting, travel and lunch.

das boot 250Which three objects would you take to your desert island?

A good book, a fishing rod and a solar powered iPod.

What is your motto?

Worse things happen at sea.

What is your favorite book or film about the sea?

Das Boot.

What will you be doing in five years?

Who knows? And that is the whole point!

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