16 October 2015
Interview James Griffith Superyacht Captain
Captain James Griffith has just got off his racing bike. After a three-day 850 km charity tribute ride from Barcelona to Antibes, James, sponsored by Fraser Yachts, and his fellow riders have raised over 252,000€ for cancer. Just before he set off for the Cogs4Cancer charity bike ride, we met up with him on board superyacht IMAGINE, to ask him a few questions about how he got to be captain of one of the most impressive yachts on display at the Monaco Yacht Show 2015.
James is the captain of superyacht IMAGINE. She is a 65 metres Amels displacement motor yacht designed by Tim Heywood, with an interior by Andrew Winch. She had a premium berth during the yacht show on the Quais des Etats Unis in berth E01 allowing visitors to appreciate her beautiful side profile. IMAGINE for over four years, three years as Chief Officer, and more recently as Captain. IMAGINE was launched in 2011, and James, with a Master Three certification, took the Captain’s position last September when the ex-Captain left the yacht to go back to the UK to spend more time with his family. James now finds himself managing 16 multinational crew on board this Amels superyacht for sale. “Fraser Yachts have four Amels at the Monaco Yacht Show including IMAGINE, and they have just sold a 74 metre Amels Limited Edition” James commented, “It’s a really great yard, they are doing really well. I've worked on many Amels’. My first boat back in 2001 was an Amels, a fifty metre called TEDDY. I did my first three years as deck hand, then I went back for a year and a half as a chief officer. I then worked on a 52 metre called RADIANT for two and a half years, and then ended up on this one as well. As well as the build and the quality, even down to the little fixtures that come with it, it's a great build. They are very reliable as you can see on here, with the age of the boat it really stands out. We've had a lot of comments at this Monaco Yacht Show on the quality. IMAGINE is a highly successful charter yacht, and James has spent the last few summers on Mediterranean yacht charters as well as Caribbean yacht charters taking guests to all the hidden spots as well as the places to be seen. Often in Bonifacio, in Corsica and Porto Cervo in Sardinia, he tells us of the technical qualities he and his 1st mate require to keep guests safe, as well as getting into port. “You've got to back in to the berth, so you have to spin the yacht around in the commercial part and it's a big straight, going stern first, so you trust the eyes on the aft deck doing those manoeuvres. Martin is first officer, and he also has his masters ticket as well, so it's that extra ticket on board that helps.” Talk of charters stirs James, and he lets us into a yacht secret, his most favourite place on earth: “Chartering the San Blas Islands, they were unbelievable. Different from what I'd ever experienced. Just the scenery, the islands, the localscoming out on their home made boats and trying to sell you things, but it's what makes it. It's always nice to go somewhere a bit different.” Captain James Griffith spends a lot of time with charter guests on Pampelonne Beach in Saint Tropez up close to Club 55, and in Sardinia. The north east area is probably the most coveted area: Portisco, Porto Rondo, Porto Cervo, the Madeleine Islands. The southern tip is also picturesque though, close to Porto Vecchio. Other desirable charter destinations include Venice, Montenegro, the Corinth Canal, Greece and Turkey, all spots IMAGINE visited last summer. “May/June is the best time. Mid June to the end of June the winds start picking up in the Aegean and then July/August, yeah it's quite a windy spot. Again, it's just knowing the right places to anchor.” James and his crew have done the Atlantic crossing eight times, though not everyone goes, some fly and meet up with the boat in the Caribbean. Deck crew tend to want to do the crossings so they can get their sea-time as well as see the sights. It is a journey not to be missed feels Griffith. “We do a traditional stop in the middle, have a barbecue. Everyone jumps in and swims around the boat, you are swimming in depths of one thousand six hundred meters, even more below. We just stop slap bang in the middle of the ocean for a few hours, drift around. The last crossing we did, a sail boat turned up and said hello, right in the middle of the Atlantic.” The crossing from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean takes IMAGINE nine days. Usually blue skies and an Atlantic swell accompany the sailors as they cruise on this super yacht at 14 knots. “Well, you get the swell, but the Atlantic swell is very big, so it's not like a Med swell where you're up and down, it's a big six, eight seconds between so it's a lot more comfortable in the Atlantic. Once a heron joined us in the middle of the Atlantic, it just appeared out of nowhere and lived on the sun deck for about a week. It was a free lift to shore. He became best friends with all the crew although he was very, very timid. You see, you get a lot of birds, a lot of wildlife, sort of lost I guess and they join the boat and make a home on the bridge deck aft and the crew feed them. Lots of fish, lots of fishing to pass the time.” James drops the speed to six or seven knots and they trawl fish over the back of the boat catching Tuna and Marlin, and then the BBQ gets lit up for dinner time. James discussed the best features of this Amels motor yacht for sale and charter. “For charter it is the sun deck forward especially, we've got a swimming pool and Jacuzzi and bar area, so you've got three seats in the pool and you can sit at the bar or you can take one seat out and there's a jet which you can swim against as well. On the sun deck aft, we have a helipad, that also gives an extra space for sunbeds when it’s not being used. We have a big cushion area called the bunny pad, and it's just a massive area for chilling and sunbathing. We also have a big slide that goes from the sun deck aft down to the waterline which is very popular with the yacht charter guests. The toys we have are a big swim platform, water-skis, wake boards, jet-skis, jet surf, all that sort of stuff. It's very popular with the guests and it keeps them busy all day every day.” IMAGINE seems perfect for big families or groups of families with children. The last Mediterranean charter James was involved with included two adults and seven children. “The crew love the kids, it makes the charter much more enjoyable for the crew as well. I encourage the crew to get involved and get active. The girls are very good, if there are any babies on board, it makes a difference.” James also talks of themed nights, cocktail parties, as well as BBQs ashore in lit up caves. “We organise beach set ups and barbecues ashore with awnings, tables, chairs, all that kind of thing. You find a nice little beach somewhere if the guests request it, or if they don't you offer it, because it's something they may not have thought of but you want to give them that experience. We fill the caves with candles and lights, set up the table and BBQ. The effect is magical.” M/Y IMAGINE and James Griffith seem to be the ultimate team. If you are looking for a charter vacation this summer, or are looking to buy a trusted superyacht from Amels, a leading shipyard, IMAGINE might be exactly what you are looking for. Contact Fraser Yachts for more information about M/Y IMAGINE.James Griffith is from Liverpool in the United Kingdom and has been on board