Growing up near Cape Town, South Africa, Emile Coetzee thought he was going to become a city planner. Then he joined the military, and a friend talked him into exploring beyond South Africa’s borders—but he didn’t have any money for plane tickets. So he took a job as crew on a 70-foot schooner and sailed into Antigua in 1988.
The world’s cities would have to make do with planning by somebody else.
After stints working on yachts in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific and Southeast Asia, Coetzee earned his captain’s license. In 2003, he upgraded his certifications and scored the top job aboard 164-foot (50-meter) Amels Thunder Gulch. When that owner took delivery of 164-foot (49.9-meter) Feadship High Chaparral in 2004, Coetzee moved over to the new boat.
He’s been with the same yacht owner ever since, today in command of Hurricane Run, the 175-foot (53.5-meter) Feadship that launched in 2009. And in all that time, Coetzee and his crew have been known for the experiences they offer charter clients in the Caribbean each winter. The owner has long lived aboard his yachts in the Mediterranean during prime summer dates, limiting charter availability there to a week or so in late September.
That’s changing this year. The owner is making Hurricane Run available out of the yacht’s home port of Monaco from May 1 through June 15, July 1-14 and August 1-9.
For Coetzee and his crew, the Mediterranean charter dates are a chance to show clients how well they know everything the region has to offer.
“We spend most of our time in the Mediterranean,” Coetzee says. “We’ve been in the Western Med, but also as far as Cyprus. Just last year we were in Greece, which we’ve done three times. We’ve done Venice through Croatia. We recently refueled in Albania. We’ve done Montenegro and the Peloponnese, the Turkish coast all the way to Antalya, and we’ve been going to Ibiza in Spain for the past three years. We’ve gone from Cyprus to Seville and everywhere in between.”
All the while, Coetzee says, the owner has made it a key part of his job to ensure that Hurricane Run remains in tip-top shape from audiovisual to air conditioning.
"No expense is spared to maintain this vessel in as-new condition, things the guests can see and that they cannot see," says Coetzee. "We have kept up with IT on the boat and communications, so we can provide whatever the client wants. We have a Crestron architecture for our remote controls and have translated that into iPad, so in the master areas and public spaces, we have iPad control of our audiovisual equipment, air conditioning, blinds, everything."
Hurricane Run also has plenty of ways for charter guests to work off any overindulgences, Coetzee says. While the yacht has never been known as “heavy” on water sports, he says, she does have a 215-square-foot (20-square-meter) swim platform where guests can launch the yacht’s Seabobs, personal watercraft, wakeboards, water skis and more.
But more than anything, Coetzee says, he is eager to share his love for and local knowledge of the Mediterranean in all new ways this summer. The yacht’s lowest weekly base rate for charter will be €245,000, or about $263,000 at press time.
“Bring your family, bring your friends,” Coetzee says. “We know where to take you, we know the restaurants, we know the shops and the markets.”
For more information: Camper and Nicholsons International, camperandnicholsons.com