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Experts: Be Careful who you Listen to

Jodie Clarke SOS3

Plenty of people are eager to offer their expert advice, but how much do they really know? 

It’s not unusual for people with a little bit of knowledge to think they’re experts, while those with a great deal of knowledge are often more humble. When I started learning about wine, for example, I quickly thought I knew it all. As the years progressed and my knowledge increased, I became aware of just how vast the subject was and came to the conclusion that actually I knew very little, despite many years of studying and touring wineries around the world. 

The definition of expert is 'a person who is very knowledgeable about, or skilful in a particular area.' In yachting we’re required to have well-rounded knowledge on a vast array of subjects. Take the typical interior crew member: They need to know about fire safety, personal safety, water safety, food hygiene, mixology, barista skills, high end service, luxury surface care, laundry care, basic vocabulary in at least a couple of languages, and so much more. It’s simply not possible for them to be an expert in all of these fields. 

Having a decade or two of crewing experience tends to make crew feel like they’re experts. But ultimately we’re only as good as the education we’ve received along the way. Too often that knowledge has come from third parties who aren’t really experts either. We’ve no doubt been tainted with inaccurate information along the way. 

Stew iPad4

Even personnel working in training facilities, since they’re required to be knowledgeable about so many different things, may have expert knowledge in one or two areas with little deep knowledge in others. They merely pass on what they’ve been taught and there’s no guarantee it’s always 100% accurate. 

The very nature of yachting means that crew often find themselves in new and unfamiliar locations, in need of information on how to proceed. Word of mouth has always been key in yachting industry and now, with social media, we have an explosion of voices offering free counsel. In many ways that’s a positive, but often you have no idea who's behind the keyboard or what qualifies them to provide you with advice. It’s also difficult to know if they’re referring you to a third party in good faith or if they have commercial motives. 

After discussing the problem with industry peers, I was motivated to find a solution. My idea was to create a database of quality-controlled knowledge that crew could turn to with confidence. Initially the plan was relatively small until Joey Meen, Director of the GUEST Program, shared her vision for a much broader approach. That conversation was my inspiration to build a comprehensive database of expert knowledge, incorporating the multitude of operational procedures, care, maintenance and high-end service that crew perform, and the Luxe Knowledge Centre was born. 

SOS Upright iPad

I set out to find experts who could contribute reliable knowledge and it became a huge project given the scope and innovation in luxury fitout and operations. It also became clear that it’s simply not possible for individual yachts to take on this daunting task, even if such information is so important to the quality of their operation and service standards.

The database covers everything from paint application guides, teak deck maintenance and signal flag identification to marble maintenance and top shelf cocktail recipes and more. We also use a stringent vetting process for Luxe experts and, to maintain integrity, none of them are paid. In just a few clicks crew can access a wealth of information and reference cards can be copied and renamed. For example, the Aniline Leather Cleaning & Care reference card can be copied and renamed 'Skylounge Barstool Cleaning'. 

Unlike the many keyboard warriors, the Luxe Knowledge Center provides reliable information that yacht crew can trust, regardless of the topic or the task at hand. Luxe helps crew raise the bar in maintenance, care and service standards, while reducing accidental damage to luxury fitout.  

As much as we like to think otherwise, even veteran yachties can’t be experts on everything. Until now, that is!

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