We caught up with Luxury Mega Yacht Captain Jannek Olsson to discuss life at sea, travelling the world and looking after his VIP clients.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Denmark and when I left school I decided to go to sea so I got a cadetship with Maersk Line, a container company, and settled with them for a couple of years as Junior Officer. I then decided to take a leave of absence to go and work on yachts to see what that was like. I spent seven months trying to get a job, it was really difficult coming from a commercial world. I got a job on some large Russian yachts and stuck with that and worked for Abramovich for eight years and then moved on to American owners on a private yacht. So that’s how I ended up where I am today.
What was it that attracted you to working on yachts in the first place?
Initially it’s the glamour of it all coming from commercial shipping wearing a boiler suit everyday! It seemed appealing, it was a new and interesting world but I didn’t really know what it entailed. The boats are so big today they operate like commercial ships with the added stress of looking after VIP clients. It’s kind of like running a luxury hotel on top of a commercial ship!
So how often are you out at sea?
I work half the year so I typically work two and a half months on and two and a half months off, that’s the general rota and it’s pretty much standard in the industry for the bigger boats.
Were you interested in sailing when you were growing up?
My dad was a marine engineer and his brother was a naval officer and his father was a marine engineer as well so I’m from a family of seafarers! To be honest I never really envisaged going to sea even though I could sail before I could walk. I always wanted to fly airplanes and be a pilot but somehow I ended up at sea!
What’s the most fascinating aspect of your role?
Coming into new places! It’s always cool coming into a port you’ve never been to before so I think that’s the nicest bit.
What’s your favourite place that you’ve been to so far?
Everyone asks me this! It’s hard because every place has its uniqueness and its drawbacks. Indonesia is cool and other than that I’d say Iceland.
Do you find it difficult to acclimatise being at sea for so long?
It is a drawback of the job having to leave your family at home for two and a half months, it’s never a nice thing. But having done it since I was seventeen it’s something you get used to. It’s harder than your family than it is for you I think, but people get used to a different way of living. The good thing is when you’re home you have all the time in the world to do what you want. I probably get more quality time doing this than a 9 to 5.
What tips would you give to someone else looking to pursue a similar career?
It’s good to have dreams and a vision but the most important thing is what is right in front of you. Focus on what you do everyday and everything will come by itself. The people that succeed in our world are the people who are passionate about what they do everyday; some people tend to focus too much on the career prospects and far goals. Worry about your job and what you do everyday and that will take you to the career you want.
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