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"I Took No Pleasure in Letting Andrew Go"

Captain Lee explains why he let Andrew Sturby go and why he's so disappointed with Kate Chastain's "towel art."

By Lee Rosbach

Arrrgh Mates,

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Tough week. As usual the scenery in the British Virgin Islands doesn't disappoint. It is simply spectacular and such a pleasure to be cruising these beautiful waters. You can easily see why I just love this place. How 'bout the crew's day off on a sailing cat? I hope they enjoyed it, because they have worked hard and it's nice to see them get off the boat and have some "me" time.

Now to the task at hand.

We all received a great tip from some great guests. Were they demanding? No, they just expected to get what they paid for. A five-star experience on a luxury yacht, delivered by a willing and smiling five-star crew. That's our job. That being said, let's get the Andrew thing out of the way first, because that is my most pressing concern. All of the crew got tipped out quite nicely, and the fact that Andrew got a share should not have surprised anyone. They all know how I operate. Andrew was not really equipped to handle his position on Ohana. Although he means well, this is not a learning format, it's not train as you go or an apprenticeship program. We have an obligation to the guests and to each other to perform to certain standards. Neither the standards nor obligations were met, and even though he committed the mortal sin of lying to the Captain, he still got a second chance.

With all of that being said, I think Andrew's motivation was OK, but his methods left much to be desired. In my position, it's my responsibility to make sure the crew stays harmonious in working together to provide our guests with the time of their life. If you can't step up in both of those categories, then I have to make a change for the overall good of the boat and crew, and that is why I let Andrew go. I took no pleasure in doing that. Not, I repeat, not because of any ultimatum from any crew. As I said before, had I known of the ultimatum there would have been two people leaving. Andrew just wasn't prepared to complete the task at hand and therefore should have never embarked on this endeavor without the necessary experience. I would like to see him get the experience and give it another shot -- he does have some good qualities that will work in his favor, he just needs to develop them, along with his work ethic.


Eddie is coming along nicely. I don't know how long we are going to be shorthanded, but it is going to present him with a new challenge to keep his crew upbeat and motivated. He needs to nip the prejudging of the guests in the bud. It won't serve him well if he doesn't. He also needs to keep an eye on the blooming relationship between Kelley and Jennice. That could be a minefield. He has a huge task ahead of him, and the pitfalls are many. He is going to have to step up his game. He dodged a bullet with me letting Andrew go before he had to deal with Kelley's ill-advised ultimatum. I'm wondering how he would have handled it. It's time for his crew to step up and support him, not weigh him down with petty complaints about stuff that doesn't matter. Andrew is gone, that horse is dead, stop kicking it. He did a solid job this week; but, he still has a way to go. Overall, I see him moving along nicely.

[video_clip_url:]Jennice continues to impress, despite that line toss when we were casting off. That will come with time and practice. I thought she handled her conversation with Andrew well. Still projecting that great attitude; although, I would have liked her to step up and help out with service without the dialogue. Notice I said dialogue, not complaints, because I didn't feel she was complaining, just commenting. It's not the first time that someone from deck has been asked to help with service. I have done it and have had other male crew members do it. It just made it easier because she is female, and we did have a dress for her and she fits the part well. Jennice is attractive, well-spoken, and has a good attitude with an infectious smile. My job is to put our best face forward at all times, and she fit that bill. 

Amy is doing well. She is maintaining a positive attitude and I thought her advice to Kelley was spot on. When it gets a little rough, you don't take your toys and go home. You suck it up. She cares about her little brother. Her attitude with the guests is great and you can see that she really is genuinely concerned with them having the time of their lives. It means more to her than a big tip. If you take care of the guests, the tip will take care of itself, most of the time. I find that refreshing. That sort of attitude shows through. I can sense her sincerity. 

Kat is progressing well this week. I know that she is putting forth a great effort to do things in the proper fashion. She had a better attitude this week. I thought the way she dealt with the dinner service being late was commendable. She is always gracious and accommodating, doing everything she can to make things work. I was impressed with her behavior off the boat as well. I thought she handled herself well. I was proud of her. She worked well with everyone on the boat and stayed on top of things.

Ben surprised me a bit this week. I saw some attitude that I wasn't accustomed to seeing out of Ben. "Have a few cocktails and you'll get dinner when I'm ready." Really? Didn't see that one coming. I don't think any of us realized how important timing was to the primary on this charter. That's not the Ben I know, so I was not at all shocked or surprised to see him rebound and deliver splendidly. I was impressed with the way he handled the guests and the plastic incident. You see shades of diplomacy that you probably didn't expect to see from Ben. That's what pros do.

Kelley, why are you still telling crew that if Andrew stays, you are gone? You're lucky I didn't hear that. That being said, in one way his job will be easier, and in another it will get more difficult. It's up to him how he handles it. We're short-handed, but he doesn't have to go over things and do it twice. Was the request about going down the slide out of line? Maybe a bit, but in the big picture, it would not be a big deal if you don't make it a big deal. To cop an attitude about it doesn't impress anyone. One shouldn't be dealing in hypotheticals. It was you that got the request, not someone else, so to speculate about how it would be perceived had it actually happened to someone else makes no sense to me. If you really felt uncomfortable doing it, then when you got the request, instead of calling on the radio, you should have excused yourself and told her you would check and see if it was OK. Then, come down to talk to me in person, away from the guests so you can express yourself without them around to make you uncomfortable and make your feelings known. No one thought you were a Geisha Boy, except you. We are there to please. I'm probably a bit harder on Kelley, because I see the potential he has, and it bothers me when I see someone not living up to it.

[video_clip_url:]Kate, Kate Kate, what are you thinking? Of course smiling is part of your job description and you know it! You are too good at what you do, too intelligent, too bright, too everything to actually think anything else. We are in the service industry, and we cater to paying guests, but that is not new to you, so I really don't know where this display of condescending attitude is coming from, or why. Not for a second do I think that you can't carry out your duties as chief stew and smile at the same time. Oh and about the "towel art." Let's see, the guest wanted you to smile. You didn't want to. They then asked you about it, not using the best terminology, and he was correct. He shouldn't have ambushed you. Then you get pissed and make a towel creatively look like a penis, because your feelings were hurt and you think he's a dick! Really? All of this could have been avoided with a smile, but you chose not to. I wonder how it all will play out? If one charter says you don't smile enough or they don't like your attitude, no big deal, that happens to everyone in this business. But two in a row? Is it a pattern, and if so, what's causing it? I guess we will find out. You are way, way too good to not get this. Oh and great job improvising with the flowers.

Well there you have it. We are only four charters into the season, and I'm seeing a trend I'm not sure I like. It seems like the crew has developed an "us versus them" attitude about the guests. Not all of them, but enough to cause me concern.


Until next week, fair winds and calm seas.

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