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TURNING THE PAIGE


Paige Hanekom talks to Frances and Michael Howorth onboard Mimi La Sardine, looking back on her first year in the industry


What was it that made you want to join the superyacht industry?


It is something I have wanted to do for years! My older brother as well as my uncle had been in the industry years before I joined and told me so much about it. I have a passion for travel and adventure and I find that the yachting industry allows me to do just that.


What was your first superyacht and when did you join her?


My first superyacht was the motor yacht Z. She is a 65 metre Amels. I joined her at the beginning of April 2018.


How long have you been aboard your current yacht and what was it that made you join her?


I joined Mimi La Sardine at the beginning of January 2019. She is brand new, and was still in the yard at Cantiere delle Marche in Ancona when I joined. The boat was looking for 6 crew members, and I was offered the 2nd stew position. It has been a real privilege to be a part of the journey in setting the boat and her interior up from the very beginning. It has such a unique interior and I am really proud to work on board.


Why did you join the interior crew rather than deck crew?


I am actually a stew and a deck crew member! So when the deck team need assistance and I have a spare moment from the interior I step outside and am able to help wherever I am needed.


What is your favourite restaurant or bar in the Mediterranean and why is it special? Currently it is a rooftop bar in Barcelona, above Hotel Ohla. Considered by many locals as one of the best roof top bars in the city to have a drink at sunset, it has terrace that features includes a 13-metre-long glassed walled swimming pool. They make incredible cocktails, and have greats snacks and tapas! The vibe is always great and the view of the city is breathtaking.


Which is your favourite Mediterranean shop and why do you like it?


I love Natura! We don’t have the chain back home and I could spend hours in one whenever I walk in.


40 | SUMMER 2019 | ONBOARD


How does working aboard a yacht affect your family life?


My family is extremely close and it can often be difficult when they are all together and I can’t be there to join in on the festivities. However, I have the most supportive family and they are thrilled that I am doing what I love. I am sure my younger brother will be joining the industry within the next year or so too!


Do you have a pet hate and if so what is it? My pet peeve is hearing people chew loudly.


If you had a magic wand what would you change in job?


I would do away with passport and visa restrictions for all yachties - it is quite a burden for a lot of us. It would be fantastic if the process and all the admin was made a lot simpler to allow us to do what we love.


What advice would you give to someone thinking of working as a stew on a yacht? Arrive with a willingness to learn - no matter how many courses you do, you will always learn best through experience. Be prepared to start at the bottom and most importantly come with an open mind.


What makes you stand out as a stew? I like to think that I have a diverse skill set. I pride myself in my ability as a stewardess to provide high quality service, housekeeping and laundry services. However, I am thoroughly enjoying improving my skills out on deck too. Growing up with 3 brothers has taught me that I can do whatever the boys can do and I am loving the learning process. I am down to earth and personable which I think is important when it comes to meeting so many different types of people.


What tip for doing your job better are you willing to share?


Organisation is key. Writing lists of things that need to get done and providing deadlines for each project is extremely helpful in ensuring that everything is complete on time, especially when things start to feel overwhelming. Always walk into a cabin/ on deck with the perspective of a guest and ask yourself “what would I want here? What would I like this to look like?”


What were you doing before you starting working on yachts?


I studied at the University of Stellenbosch where I obtained a BCom degree in Business management and my BCom Honours degree in Financial Management.


What would you like to do when you cease working on superyachts? I would really like to incorporate my university education within the yachting industry. I plan on working towards becoming a full time purser on board a yacht, and eventually over time start some sort of my own business.


QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS


Are you a morning or night time person? Morning - once I’m awake


How do you like your steak? Medium-well


What is your favourite style of cuisine? Italian


What is your least favourite food? Oranges in baked goods


What would your last supper be? Pesto pasta


Name 3 dream dinner party guests? Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama & Elvis Presley


Where in the world would you visit if you had the chance? Japan


Where would you want to retire? Mallorca, Spain


What sport do you most like to watch? Rugby


What is your nickname? Paigey Pooh


What superpower would you like? To fly


What’s your guilty pleasure? Watching really bad reality TV shows


What makes you angry? People who are unnecessarily rude to others


What have you done spontaneously lately? Learned to play squash


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