Claire Sinclair is a Mancunian who has led an interesting life, full of career switch-ups before finding her calling as a client manager. We had the opportunity to interview Claire of West Nautical, to ask her all about her life and career.
How did you start your career, and what led you to this point?
I came into the industry pretty late in my career. I already had a family and various experiences in business in the UK via clubs, bars, and restaurants that are all family businesses. It served as an introduction for me to hospitality and events management. I essentially stumbled into my career after I went through a divorce and took an adult gap year. During this time, I completely re-evaluated my life and it helped me realise I didn’t want to be working in a corporate office job anymore. I fell in love with travelling and being on the water after joining my friends on sailing boats throughout this time, which led me to find work as a Chief Stewardess. So, I’d call it all a happy accident.
Do you think it’s a good career path for ex-yacht crew?
Absolutely! I think people who’ve worked on yachts can bring a wealth of experience and value. Especially in the charter side of things, which is what I do, ex-crew can bring so much insight and understanding to the role. They know how the boats work, how they’re run and know all about client expectations. There are truly so many reasons as to why the role fits.
How long have you been in the industry, and what are the significant changes you have seen in this time?
I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now, so not been the longest time to be able to have seen significant change. However, from what I’ve seen, the pandemic has been a massive change. Something really promising I’ve seen is the increase in interest in eco-friendly boats. Clients are specifically asking for this now, and it’s a direction I’m really happy to see the industry going.
You mentioned the pandemic, what has been the biggest impact of Covid for you?
Probably just the extra level of organisation that’s required. There’s also a lot of rearranging contracts and making sure charters can move should there be any covid related issues. I’ve been quite lucky and have only had two trips that had to be moved this year. So yeah, lots of extra paperwork!
What do you most enjoy about your job?
The freedom, the flexibility, the fact that you’re putting together dream vacations for people. It can feel like you’re going on vacation with people sometimes too!
You don’t get jealous?
Not really, because I’ve already done it myself. That was the great thing about working as a crew, was that I really got to live that life. I find I’m just excited and happy to share the client’s excitement rather than feel jealous.
What’s your experience of working in a male-dominated industry?
I don’t want to be negative, as I don’t think it would be fair on the many amazing men I work with all the time. Having said that there can sometimes be bigger egos involved, and I believe women can bring a softness to the industry, which I think is important. I’ve always worked in male-dominated industries, so feel I am quite used to it at this point, which might make it a bit easier for me.
So do you have any advice for women wanting to get into the industry?
Go for it, don’t be deterred by the gender imbalance, change has to start somewhere. I would love to see more female captains, for example.
Finally, what do you think the three most important traits for someone in your position are?
Enthusiasm first, because what’s the point in doing something if you don’t love it? Also flexibility. Being able to think on your feet and come up with solutions that aren’t always immediately obvious. Lastly, I’d say knowledge. This comes back to what I was saying about working on boats making you better at the job. With that practical knowledge of how everything works you’re already a huge step ahead.
For our most recent interview with “The Yacht Guy” click here