With great pleasure we are bringing you the latest instalment of our #QuickQuiz feature. Today’s interview is a particularly special one for us, and for many yacht crew and business-people around the world.
Lars Molin is something of a yachting legend, and the work he has done for the industry in curating and maintaining his ‘Yacht Crew’ groups online has positively affected the lives of so many in our industry.
Lars through his venture has inadvertently created careers, spawned new businesses, co-ordinated search and rescue efforts, raised thousands for various charities and brought about life long friendships between people who would never have otherwise have met.
I think we speak for all of the industry in saying a massive thankyou to Lars for all of his amazing work so far!
Read on to find out more…
1. First, please describe to us where you are right now, or tell us something exciting you’ve been up to recently.
We have been sitting at anchor in Villefranche for quite some time. Not the worst place to be anchored considering the many quaint restaurants and bars ashore. Le Phare just up the hill is a super friendly bar with both wifi and a pool table. A great spot to sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine or for those with restricted internet access onboard to catch up with their mates online. The X Cafe close by is rumoured to have some of the best burgers ever, and like Le Phare it is quite popular with both locals and tourists alike. Some nights you will also find live music here.
Far more exciting than sitting on the hook is to travel the world in your own freetime. Earlier this year I backpacked around Cuba for a couple of months. The idea came out of nowhere, when I saw an article online mentioning Obama’s visit to Cuba had postponed the Rolling Stones concert to the following Friday. I thought “fuck me, I am going to Cuba !”, then went straight to Skyscanner, booked my ticket and landed Thursday evening in Havana. Friday morning I was at the gate. It was a free concert, so once the gates opened, fans were running for their life to get as close as possible to the stage. I got front row up against the stage – just magic ! Photography has been my favorite hobby for years, and what a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shoot Mick and the boys. Those with an interest in the Rolling Stones or concert photography can see my slide show on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwCRNpHNhb0
This was my 4th trip to Cuba. Twice by yacht and twice with the old dusty backpack. Since my first visit in ’96 it has changed dramatically. These days you meet tourists everywhere – and with reason. Cuba is a brilliant travel destination , and for the photographer a plethora of photo ops. Practically everywhere you look, you see a photogenic local, an old colonial style building, if it is not just another antique Cadillac cruising by.. However, the sooner you can go, the better. The island is opening up to US tourism and investments, so it won’t be long before highrises start shooting up ruining an otherwise beautiful old city. For music lovers and salsa dancers, a visit is a must, and of course also for those who enjoy a Cohiba or a glass of Havana Club. I can go on and on about Cuba.. If you haven’t been there yet, do what I did; book your ticket today and fly “tomorrow” !
2. What was your dream job growing up, and what do you do now?
I never had a dream job, but looking back I regret not pursuing a career in the Army or as a press photographer. I spent two years being green in my face. These days I am green with envy of those of my mates, who continued in the Service. What always appealed to me was the close camaraderie, the outdoors, the physical activities and the exercises, some of which relates to yachting as well. These days I spend my time living life in Palma and working on yachts in between traveling the world with my old backpack. Like so many others, I left yachting only to return again and again. Longing for the atmosphere, interacting with great colleagues of all nationalities, exploring new destinations and being out at sea keeps this old sailor from quitting.
3. Tell us what the highlight of your career has been.
I fell into yachting by coincidence, when an old mate of mine called me asking, if I was interested in dayworking on a yacht in Florida. At the time I was earning 7.50 doing construction with a bunch of crazy Irishmen, so when he mentioned the yacht paid 10 USD an hour, it sounded too good to be true ! The yacht brought me to the USVIs, where another yacht skipper took me on as relief mate on a 10-day trip around the BVIs. Shortly after, I met up with my first boat in St Maarten, but when the owner came, it was time for me to move on. Question was “where to” ? Back then, there were no crew houses, so I jumped on the ferry to Anguilla and crashed on a deserted beach over there for a few days, before deciding it was time to head back to St Maarten to look for work. On the ferry back I noticed a hot blonde girl up on the front row. Lucky for me she was by herself, and we hit it off pretty well. Whether it was my dimples, or simply because she felt sorry for me, she invited me to stay with her in a huge villa up by Maho Beach. One day her ex-boyfriend came by. He mentioned, there was a small yacht in Simpson Bay Marina looking for a deckie. Christmas came early that year, when I landed my first permanent job on a yacht. Never since have I been this excited, so landing my first job was probably the highlight to date!
4. Would you rather own a yacht or prefer to charter it?
Chartering a yacht makes sense to me, although it also depends on, how often I would be using it. You don’t have to deal with the many issues and problems that can arise with owning a yacht. Yet, you are free to travel anywhere, there is a yacht available for charter. The downside, of course, is that crew doesn’t know your habits, likes and dislikes other than what is mentioned in the preference sheets. The upside to owning your own yacht would be returning to see the same familiar smiling faces again, sleep in your own bed and spending your holidays in common surroundings.
Disregarding superyachts, yes, I would love to own a small yacht. I spend a great part of my life in Mallorca, where there is great sailing, a fairly long season out on the water, short distances between the islands, beautiful anchorages and world-class swim spots. The majority of these places we visit on superyachts are quite easy to get to on your own, so why not anchor up next to them and enjoy life for once ? Admittedly, I find the idea quite appealing ! So, one of these days, you will be seeing me island hoping on a nice 45’er in the Med and eventually in the Pacific with a parrot on my shoulder, cold beers in the fridge and Bob Marley singing something about not to worry, but to be happy.
5. Imagine you’re now out cruising on your yacht- are you partying on the sundeck until daybreak; seeking relaxation in the superyacht spa; or exploring hidden coves with your camera at the ready?
Oh man, that’s a no-brainer ! I want to see the world, learn about other cultures and take photos all along.
6. Who is the person you look up to most in the superyacht industry?
There are people, who are doing very well for themselves. Young yachties, who pursued their business ideas such as Edward Thomas of Gym Marine, Tony Stout of YachtNeeds and Jodie Richards of YotHop just to mention a few. They are all people, I admire for their vision and will to succeed.
I also have a lot of admiration for the girls moving on to “male territory” in positions ranging from deckhands to captains. It is great to see a bit of diversity in the various departments, and someone with the will to succeed despite going against the flow.
Last but not least, I have a lot of respect for all the young people moving abroad to Antibes, Palma, Fort Lauderdale etc.with no guarantee of a job. Some really struggle, while others get lucky almost on day 3 or 4. Not long ago, I was sitting on a train next to a group of dayworkers heading to Monaco to hand out CVs. They got on the train in Antibes somewhere around 06.30 in the morning to be on the dock at 8am. One of them had been looking for 6 months and another for 3.5 months. With money running low, a Schengen visa about to expire and the season going on its last leg many greenies deserve respect. Something to keep in mind, next time a dockwalker comes to hand out a CV. Most of us have been there at some point in our life, so be friendly and share a minute or two of your time. Any leads or advice is always appreciated. Even a smile goes a long way!
7. Name your top 3 dinner party guests, dead or alive, celebrities or friends, and tell us why.
I would give anything to see my deceased mother just once more. She passed away last year having suffered with Alzheimers for several years. Like my dad, she meant the world to me, so having the opportunity to smile, laugh and enjoy each others’ company just once more would be magic. And then why not invite my grandparents to join us – my grandfather in particular was a huge personality!
Should I invite someone more well-known, then it would be interesting to meet over a beer with some of the great explorers such as Lewis and Clark, Ernest Shackleton and Thor Heyerdahl. Surely, the stories would carry on throughout the night. Better make sure, there are plenty of cold ones in the fridge..
8. Everybody loves a boat show: Monaco, Antigua, Barcelona or FLIBS- which is best?
The hottest and latest megayachts are on display in Monaco, so for that and the people watching, my choice would be Monaco. Antigua Boat Show is always fun and laid back with some great parties. This is where Champagne and Gucci loafers are swapped with Mount Gay and flip flops. A clear favorite of mine!
9. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
On a little yacht exploring the 4 corners of the world. I think, the easy going lifestyle in the cruisers’ community would suit me perfectly well! What a way to retire – call it wishful thinking, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming and to pursue your dreams, is there ?
10. Last one, most importantly, what is your favourite cheese?
Okay, I am real cheese monster! Cheese, ham and wine, por favor.. I don’t have a favorite cheese, but a nice Manchego cheese sprinkled with olive oil and dried thyme will do me nicely. Or when in France, how about a baguette with lettuce, sliced green peppers and Morbier or Brie? Heck, why did you have to ask that question ? Now, I got the munchies..