Continuing with our ‘Life after yachting’ series, we’re talking to Robert Shepard, former yacht crew and current president of Edmiston Americas.
- Role on Yachts: Chef
- Time on yachts: 22 years
- Current Role: President of Edmiston Americas
How and when did you start out in the Superyacht industry?
RS: Back in 1982 I was working as a chef in a restaurant in Stamford Connecticut. The restaurant was next to the marina and one Friday a lady came in from one of the yachts in the marina. Her chef had just walked out and she asked if we could help prepare the food for her weekend cruise. One thing led to another and in the end I asked my boss if it would be easier for me to just go and cook on board for the weekend. He agreed and, following a successful weekend the owner offered me a job. How could I say no?
What sort of yacht did you work on and what did you do after yachting?
RS: It was a 72′ Broward which I ended up working on for a year. After that, I was lucky enough to work for some very experienced and well known yacht owners over my time. I built up great experience and worked my way up to a 60m Feadship which resulted in me being able to be involved in the build of this yacht. As well as a hand in the interior and galley design.
Why did you leave?
RS: The time comes for everyone doesn’t it? I had been doing it for over 20 years by this point and my knees and back couldn’t take it anymore. Too much time on my feet. So, it was time for a change!
When you left your last yacht did you have a job to go to? Did you have a life after yachting plan?
RS: Not at all. I hadn’t really thought about it. One day I was one of the best paid chefs in the industry and the next, no job! I had no idea what to do.
I ended up having a chat with owner of the yacht I had just left. He suggested I should have a try at being a yacht broker. In his words “You have good contacts, you are well connected and you work hard. Find a company and offer to work for nothing + commission”. So I did. This was back in 2004 and, at the time Y.CO was just starting out and I happened to know one of the founders through my time on yachts. I gave them a call and the next thing I know I was a yacht broker!
So in 2008 you moved from Y.co to Edmiston and you are now in the enviable position of President of Edmiston Americas?
RS: That’s right. A lot of time and effort later and I find myself in one of the best jobs in the world – The president of Edmiston Americas
Name two things you would do differently if you had your time in yachting again:
RS: That’s actually easy.
- Save more money from an earlier age. I spent too much time living like the owner and not enough time thinking about my future.
- Keep a more detailed journal of my time on yachts. It is so easy to think you will remember it all when you are young.
We still hear the same from crew leaving yachts now – “I wish I had saved more” or “I should have planned more for my future”. What’s your thoughts on this?
RS: It’s too easy to get caught up in the lifestyle, probably even more these days. But that would be my advice to the 21 year old me. Save more and record your memories.
Check out former chief stew, Gemma Heyns went from yachts to becoming the ceo of a luxury south african safari agency by clicking here.