Today we talk to Captain Sven who claims he was born on the boat as has spent all his life in yachting. After ending up as a captain in the Balearic Islands we learn all about his story.
Tell us a bit about your life as a captain:
My father had a shipyard and I was practically born there so I’ve spent all my life on the boat. On weekends and after school I would always go to the shipyard and help my father repair the boats. After working and repairing boats I decided I wanted to sail them as well. My first job as Captain was on a classic SY at 19 in 1999 from Amsterdam to Greece and then to Antigua to charter.
2. How did you end up in Balearic Islands?
The first time I came here to visit was with my father’s boat 1996 as a teenager.
In 2001 I left the classic SY in Antigua and moved back to Palma where I found a little apartment close to Bar Cuba and was one of the first yachties living in Santa Catalina. At that time, I did my dock-walking and found work on a 140ft SY sanding the hull in STP (back then called boatyard Palma) I was covered in red anti-fouling paint for 2 weeks.
3. Which of the Islands is your favourite and why?
Well my favourite has always been Formentera but it’s very overcrowded nowadays. The best time to visit is June, July or September. We tried to go last summer and it was just impossible. With that in mind, I’d have to say the north shore of Ibiza and Mallorca as they are less populated.
4. What do you get up to here on the islands?
Mountain biking and swimming are my hobbies and sports. In my time off in the summer I also enjoy going to calas like Portals or Illetas and enjoy my own boat and hang out at Roxy beach in Portals.
5. What’s your favourite part of the job?
Charter guests usually allow themselves be led by the Captain and crew. They want to absorb as much as possible about the whole experience: sailing, the wind, the boat life, and the boat culture. They really enjoy every minute of the trip and trust that you are taking them to the best spots. It’s hard work, but a good charter and happy guests is very rewarding for the crew in the end.
What are your most proud of during your time as a captain?
Helping fellow sailors reach their goals and make a career in sailing. I’ve made a lot of good friends with previous crew. Also, having the opportunity to build a new 30m performance SY in Finland from scratch for a very good owner.
7. Can you tell us a one of your best experiences in the Balearics?
I’d have to say racing in the Copa del Rey or Palma Vela. The sailing is fantastic and the RCNP host some really nice events. Also, the sailing, wind conditions, vibe and the location are very good.
8. Describe each of the Balearic Islands with one word:
Ibiza – party
Menorca – picturesque
Mallorca – yachting
Formentera – chill
9. Which is your favourite beach in the Balearics?
Salinas beach in Ibiza. I used to hang out there and was anchored there for months with my father’s boat. The beach bar has a great vibe and you can meet lots of people and dance. Back then in 1998/1999 it was true Ibiza vibe but now it’s a bit different.
10. For you, which is the most beautiful building in Mallorca?
Well, the Cathedral, right? But I have to say La Lonja is also very nice and people tend to forget about it.
11. What’s your opinion about the future of the yachting industry in the Balearics?
It’s growing very quickly, even more than people will accept. The problem is not the industry but the type of people who come here. Years ago, people wanted to have a job in yachting without thinking about the money, we just wanted to sail. Nowadays, people come with less experience.
12. What advantages do you think the yachting industry has in the Balearic Islands, compared to other places?
How its positioned – next to Spain, Italy and France. The weather is great, people are nice and Palma is a really nice city with everything you need. STP has all the services you need for your boat too.
13. What advice would you give to a new captain before coming to the Balearic Islands?
Start low and humble and be patient in finding the right job…