31st January 2023
A day in the life of a Guardiennage Captain


We would like to take this opportunity to formally introduce our new Guardiennage Captain, Giles Walton. We welcomed Giles to Berthon Spain in November last year. Giles has been working in the superyacht industry since 2002, when he started out as a mate on a 34m Royal Huisman. Throughout his 20+ year career he has accrued over 100,000 nautical miles, including 5 Atlantic crossings and substantial cruising in both the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. He has many years of experience as both captain and engineer, and therefore finds an ideal fit within Berthon Spain’s professional team.


As Guardiennage Captain, your days are varied, to say the least. The fleet of yachts now cared for by Berthon Spain amount to 17, three of those being catamarans (which is pretty much double the work!). His day starts with a check on the weather. Rain? Better make sure everything is stowed below decks or under covers. Sun? Are the biminis and sun covers up to help keep the interior cool? Wind? What strength is forecast and from which direction? Lines and fenders need to be checked, to protect each yacht from its neighbours and from the dock. We care for a variety of sailing and motor boats ranging from 11m to 23m, and each has a different operating system and range of equipment. There is a lot to learn!


As part of the guardiennage care package provided by Berthon Spain, each vessel has a list of checks that need to be completed routinely. This list has been compiled based primarily on the safety of the yacht, for example, each seacock on board needs to be exercised regularly, the bilges are checked for any water ingress, the engines and generators are started and run under load to check performance and the battery levels and shore power chargers are reviewed. On top of this, all the interior and exterior systems must be inspected from the navigation lights, to the air conditioning units. In our experience, when these systems are left un-touched for extended periods of time, they are reluctant to start up again.

We find that the majority of our clients will leave their yachts at the end of summer with a list of jobs they would like completed before the start of next season. These can be anything from repairs to items lost or broken on their last trip, to plans to improve the functionality of something on board. It is easy to forget that each yacht is unique in its specifications and layout, therefore coming up with creative solutions to individual problems is a highly valued skill.


At this time of year, Giles is doing numerous trips back and forth from marinas to the yard for haul outs, and then returning to marinas after a short time on the hard. Before each trip, the seaworthiness of the vessel must be checked and all preparations for a haul out made well in advance. Once back in the marina; shore power plugged in, fenders in the correct positions and lines pulled tight. Storm watch takes up a lot of the days during the winter months, when the weather is changeable. A rogue gust or wave, or even the arrival of a new neighbour, can disrupt the best laid defences if left un-attended over a long period of time.


If you would like to know more about our services, contact us via email andrew.fairbrass@berthonspain.com.

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