After ten years in the industry, first as crew and then as Charter Manager with Fraser Yachts and then IYC, Jenny Howarth now heads up IYC's Crew Placement division, which has been running for two years. It's a dream job in many ways, with winters based in St Martin and summers in Monaco! OnboardOnline recently caught up with Jenny to find out more about the milk run summers, the joy of turtles, and what it's like to finally unpack your bags.
How did you get into the yachting industry?
While travelling after university in South America in 2001 I met a stewardess and a chef, who told me a little about the industry. I then worked with a girl in New Zealand who had also been a yachtie. I decided to give it a go for a season, flew to Antibes and got a job within a few days. The rest, as you say, is history….
Is it how you expected it to be?
Yes and no. I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t expect to make it my career. I was in the Caribbean this winter with a stewardess friend of mine, and we laughed when browsing through our passports that neither of us ever thought ten years ago that we would be doing what we were doing- or doing it where we were doing it!
It was much harder work than I could have imagined but the financial rewards were greater too. I much prefer working in a land-based job in the yachting industry.
What do you love most about your job?
I love helping people getting on a yacht which is the right fit for the crew member and the yacht and hearing happy stories of crew who are having the time of their lives. I had something to do with that and it is a 'feel good' feeling.
I also really enjoy the marketing side of my position, as we are pioneering a crew agency which is not just about being a crew agent. We like to organize events which are fun for crew while giving back to charity. We did a great ‘Limitless Marathon’ with the crew of MY LAZY Z in the Caribbean to raise money for breast cancer. It was a great day. A lot of work, but it was definitely worth it when we raised over $5,000 for charity, and had a lot of fun at the same time.
What could you do without?
I commute from Antibes to Monaco on a daily basis. I don’t mind the trip itself but do mind the frequency of train strikes and problems with the trains. It makes commuting from the cabin to the crew mess seem like a dream.
If you weren’t working on boats, what would you be doing?
I left boats to move ashore into the position of charter manager. I was a charter manager for over four years- at first with Fraser Yachts and now with IYC. I was asked by IYC to establish a Crew Department for the company, as with my background as both yacht crew and charter manager they felt I was the right person. IYC Crew is not only expanding but we have a database which is growing by the hundreds on a weekly basis and jobs flowing in every day,
And if I wasn’t in yachting…well there’s a question…there is no industry like this and I love it.
What is your idea of the perfect day at sea?
Waking up at sunrise before the guests to set up breakfast in the Turks and Caicos while watching turtles dive in and out of the bay. No words can explain this sight – I was working but somehow it didn’t feel too bad! Or another great experience was swimming off the boat when at anchor and being the only yacht around and surrounded by stunning scenery. The best days were always off the boat though…
Where is the most beautiful bay in the world?
Portofino has it for me. Anchored to the wall is magical.
Where would you most like to drop anchor – for good?
I have. Antibes is home and I love it. Beaches in the summer and skiing in the winter. Perfect. And if you throw in that I get to spend January and February in the Caribbean, then I think I have a great combo of places to live!
What is your greatest experience on a boat?
The people you meet and the places you travel.
What is your worst experience on a boat?
A summer of ‘the milk run’ of back-to-back guest trips. It was the reason I moved ashore in fact…
What scares you most about the sea?
Nothing. I love it. I have lived most of my life living by or on the sea so I’m really a water baby.
What is the most incredible thing you’ve seen at sea?
A Great White shark chasing our fishing line, tossing a huge tuna like it was a leaf. It was sunset off the Bahamas. I was about to go for a swim….
What is your idea of the perfect boat?
It’s all about the crew onboard so a perfect yacht is a yacht with crew who are happy to get on with each other.
Generally speaking, which nationalities tend to be the best bosses?
Hard to say. Americans have the best rep for tips but as owners they can be hard on the crew. Russians are up there as far as owners and Aussies have a good rep too.
The best charter guests?
Americans. Not only for tips but they are the most laid back and fun.
What is your motto?
'What will be will be’
What is the greatest virtue?
Who do you most admire?
I think Mandela for me is pretty high on the list.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Having been given the opportunity and backing by IYC to set up a crew agency is one of the biggest achievements in my career. Our team is growing- and we are looking for a new member at the moment! We are also proud to announce we are launching our very own crew office in Monaco. Stop by and say hello or pop in for a coffee. We would love to meet you.
What is your greatest regret?
I think I left boats too soon as I still haven’t cruised outside the Med or Caribbean. I wish I had stayed to do a worldwide trip then I would feel satisfied.
What is your favorite story of the sea?
Mesulina the water goddess. I’d recommend that people read The Lady of the Rivers by Phillipa Gregory. It’s a beautiful story.
What will you be doing in five years?
I have no idea. The past five years have been an absolute rollercoaster, so I expect the next five years to be the same. It’s the way I like it.
IYC Crew is part of the company International Yacht Collection. A brokerage house offering Sales, Charter, Management and Crew placement. We have offices worldwide with our three main offices in Fort Lauderdale, Monaco (where the IYC Crew agency headquarter is based) and St. Martin.
The Crew department was set up and is successfully run by Jenny Howarth. Jenny worked on Yachts for four years before moving offshore in her late twenties to start a career as a Charter Manager with a yacht brokerage house. After five years as a Charter Manager, Jenny established IYC Crew, as her onboard and onshore experience made her the ideal person for the job. Her network is far reaching and she is available to yacht owners, captains and crew 24/7. You will find Jenny in our St. Martin office in the Caribbean months and in the Monaco office during the Med season. You can also catch Jenny at the boat shows - she looks forward to meeting you! Recently we have been joined by a new crew coordinator to strengthen the team at IYC Crew.
You can contact Jenny at: JHowarth@iyc.com