Mick Long is a freelance skipper on the French Riviera, and regularly captains our fleet of luxury day boats available for charter from Cannes, Antibes, Saint Tropez and Monaco. During the Summer, if you see a VanDutch 40, VanDutch 55 or Riva 38 on the French Riviera, there is a good chance Mick is at the helm!
Very often, our guests say that Mick was a highlight of their day. With years of experience as yacht captain, an unbeatable knowledge of the coast and a larger-than-life personality, Mick is a highly valued member of the 212 Yachts team!
Here, Mick answers some questions about his role as a luxury day boat captain with 212 Yachts and gives a glimpse into his lifestyle. If you have any questions for Mick, you can get in touch. Of course, when you book a luxury day boat charter with 212 Yachts, Mick may very well be your captain for the day!
How long have you been a skipper for?
I’ve been a skipper here in the Mediterranean for the last 14 years. Prior to that, I was sailing and racing yachts in the UK. I’m also an ex-lifeboat helmsman, based at Clapton Sea in the UK for 8 years. Now I’m a skipper during the summer for 212 Yachts, where I drive mostly the VanDutch 40 and the Van Dutch 55.
What is the role of a skipper?
The skipper’s primary responsibility is taking care of the guests and ensuring that everyone is safe, comfortable and happy. Driving the boat comes secondary. We know the local area like the back of our hands, and so we know the best places to take our guests. We also know the local laws, the speed limits and the danger zones! As skippers we need to find the right balance between being discreet and professional, but also friendly and fun, especially if we have children on board! The right skipper can work out how to approach and deal with their clients within the first 15 minutes! It’s important for guests to be able to communicate comfortably with their skipper, and so I’m always happy to answer any questions or deal with any concerns that our guests may have, and this should put guests at ease, especially if it’s their first charter.
What do you love most about being a skipper?
Firstly, driving a luxury boat such as the Van Dutch or the Riva on the French Riviera doesn’t feel like a job. Secondly, I love the client interaction. I really enjoy meeting all the guests, especially when I can see a dramatic difference in the demeanour throughout the day. It’s great watching them relax and enjoy themselves, and I know that I have done a good job when they are much happier than when they arrived. When you’re with your guests for 8 – 10 hours, you learn a lot about who they are. Sometimes guests are very open and they let you know what they’ve done, other times, it can take a couple of hours for them to open up and share with you.
What day charter itinerary would you recommend from Cannes?
Cannes is a great departure point for a day charter. It’s perfectly located so that you have the time to head east along the coast towards Nice and Monaco, or west along the coast to St. Tropez. Or if you would prefer to save on fuel and explore the local area, the Cannes Islands are very relaxing and great for a swim. Deciding on a day charter route would depend on the guests onboard. If I had a young group of guests, I would generally suggest taking them to St. Tropez where there is a great party atmosphere. The restaurants along Pampelonne beach have tables for large groups of guests, and it doesn’t get better than this. If I had a couple, who wanted a more private charter, I would also head in the direction of St. Tropez, but rather than take them to the beach, I would suggest each lunch in a restaurant in the town. If the guests were a young family with kids, I would propose sailing east and stopping off for a swim and snorkel in the bays along the coast. There’s certain bays that with a slice of bread, the kids can be surrounded by fish within seconds, and that’s always fun to watch their reaction. We would usually stop off for lunch at Mala Plage, before returning to Cannes via the Islands. It’s a great place to spend the afternoon and early evening, and the guests will have their last swim as the sun goes down. When we’re on the Van Dutch 40, we can always go in very close to the shore, and the kids can swim to the islands and play and swim back.
What is the most stressful part of your job?
The most stressful part of my job is if I have to say to a guest that we’re unable to do what they would like to do, as the prevailing weather conditions have prevented us from doing so. It’s always tough saying to a guest that we can’t do something, because they don’t want to hear that, and they want to hear that we can make it happen. At the end of the day it has to be our decision, our final word. We will also try to provide a day charter that is just as fun and entertaining, but sometimes, when the weather is bad or it’s really windy, it can be difficult.
What has been your most memorable charter?
When I was Captain on board a Ferretti, one of our guests was performing at the wedding of Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco. He invited us along as his plus ones, and that was an incredible experience!
What do you think of the VanDutch 40 and the VanDutch 55?
I love the shape and the style of the VanDutch, it’s sleek yet minimalistic. Although it’s not the biggest boat, it always receives a lot of attention especially when we’re coming into a port. Everyone stops and looks, because it always looks superb. It’s a really great choice for a group of friends or a celebration, because it’s an experience that you’ll remember for a long time. It’s comfortable and spacious, and there’s a great dancing space and music system if you’re looking for a party!
What is life like when you’re not being a skipper for 212 Yachts?
I really enjoy gardening and spending time with my family. I also love cooking and having friends over to the house. I’ve been in the south of France for 15 years, and if I had to live anywhere in the world, it would be here. Whenever I leave here to go somewhere else for work or holiday, I can’t wait to come back home. I don’t ever feel like I need to go on holiday, because I have everything that I could want right here.
If you could choose a guest for a day charter, who would you pick?
Robin Williams would have been a great guest to have had onboard, but I would love to have Jennifer Anniston there too.
For more details about luxury day boat charters with a captain (and/or crew) on the French Riviera, please contact 212 Yachts.