Today we're celebrating the women who've shattered the glass ceiling as a yacht charter captain. Over the past 5 years, we've watched the list grow & admired their skills as more women have chosen careers as captains aboard yachts of all sizes.
Admiral Linda L. Fagan: Sworn In As Commandant of U.S. Coast Guard, Becomes First Woman Leader of Any Branch of U.S. Armed Forces. Admiral Linda Fagan, who became the 27th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on June 1, 2022. She is the first woman, and first mother, to lead any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Admiral Fagan began her 36-year career as a deck watch officer on the Seattle-based heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star.
Capt. Sandy Yawn, whom we've all watched on BravoTV, has over three decades of yachting experience under her belt. A renowned super yacht captain and mentor in the yachting industry, she is always looking to support crew members to reach their full potential. Sandy knew she wanted her career to revolve around the ocean from an early age and wasn’t discouraged when she discovered yachting to be a male-dominated field. She has created interest in female-operated yacht charters with her no-nonsense management style.
Some Interesting Facts:
There are over 11,244 captains currently employed in the United States.
34.6% of all captains are women, while 65.4% are men.
The average age of an employed captain is 41 years old.
The first female yacht captain we ever met was on our own charter vacation in 1991. Capt. Gwen Hamlin was the owner/operator/captain/chef of Whisper, a dive/sail charter yacht in the Virgin Islands. Immediately we were fascinated with her career path and the lifestyle of living & working on a yacht. Her mentorship changed our very lives. By 1997, we sold everything we owned and purchased our 3rd monohull. When Gwen stepped onboard the following May, she gave her blessing of approval for our choice of a charter yacht.
Soon after becoming charter yacht brokers in 2015, we met charter yacht Captain Kathy Pennington in Antigua. And yes, we were definitely impressed with how she managed her crew and successfully hosted a wonderful party aboard 125' Sailing Yacht Twilight. She has the innate talent of great hospitality as well as knowing how to introduce her guests to new ideas, people and cultures & lifestyles.
Meet Captain Kathy Pennington aboard:
125' SAILING YACHT TWILIGHT
Sleeps 8 Guests in 1 King, 2 Queens, 1 Twin
Bio: A Captain for over a decade, Kathy’s career in Superyachts has taken her a long way from her original home in Cape Town, South Africa.
Her most recent role was as Skipper on the 36 metre sailing ketch “Tiziana”, a well known Med-based charter yacht with a great reputation which cruised all over the Mediterranean during her time on board.
Immensely proud to be amongst the few female superyacht captains, Kathy learned her trade at a very early age. Her father has been ahuge influence in her life and his passion for sailing surrounded and inspired her formative years when they sailed together in Cape Town and on the Vaal dam in Johannesburg.
Soon realizing sailing as her first love, Kathy sought to make it her chosen profession. Following the completion of her qualifications Kathy trained and worked as a full-time scuba diving instructor, gaining further valuable experience restoring boats and undertaking Yacht deliveries on her journey to achieving Captain status.
Kathy and her dedicated hands-on team are delighted to welcome you on board Twilight, and together they will work hard to make your time on Twilight a truly unforgettable and wonderful experience
Meet More Female Yacht Charter Captains:
Captain Valentina Vela aboard:
51' CATAMARAN VIENNA
Location: British Virgin Islands
Sleeps up to 8 Guests in 4 Queens
Our Crew onboard Vienna
Valentina Vela and Simone Seri are both Italian, born and raised in Rome.
They met while working in a digital marketing agency and then moved to Ireland together where they gained extensive experience in various large multinational firms. Moving from Rome to Dublin was not their biggest change in life, as this happened a few years later, when they chose to live and work at sea.
Ever since they have been having the time of their lives, while working they have built up their extensive experience and their passion for the yachting industry has grown. They are looking forward to bringing their skills onboard Vienna.
Valentina was introduced to sailing at the tender age of 9. She attended the French sailing school "Les Glénans", took her RYA sailing qualifications in Portugal, France and Gibraltar and crossed the Atlantic ocean with the ARC+ Rally. She is also an RYA Sailing Instructor, with 15 years experience in the yachting industry, there’s no better person to show you the ropes and introduce you to the sailing world!
While Simone will share his passion for food with you!
As a child, Simone loved to help his grandmother cook and to this day he is still discovering the secrets of his family’s recipes. However, his culinary knowledge is not limited to Italy, having worked across the Mediterranean on multiple yachts, spent 7 months travelling in South America, as well as Vietnam and Namibia, he has picked up flavours from around the world.
He's also a RYA Day Skipper and when not busy in the galley you'll find him working on deck, hoisting the sails or dropping the anchor.
Valentina and Simone both have their licences and all the necessary experience to take guests ashore to explore, have a desert island lunch or be whizzed around the bay on one of the many water toys aboard. They also enjoy recharging their batteries with yoga so why not join them for a sunset session on board.
When Valentina and Simone took this path, they had two goals in mind: to make their guests happy, and to learn every day from their guests and the fantastic community of people working in the sailing world!
Captain Tina Mraovic aboard:
49' CATAMARAN SERENITY
U.S. Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
Sleeps up to 8 Guests in 4 Queens
Born and raised in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, Tina studied at the Faculty of Kinesiology. As an elective, she took a class on sailing, and as she says, "Once you try sailing, you get hooked for life!" She has been a captain now for the last six years, sailing the Mediterranean, from Turkey to Greece and Croatia.
Captain Kelly Gordon aboard:
106' MOTOR YACHT FREDDY
Sleeps up to 10 Guests in 1 King, 2 Queens, 2 Singles
US East Coast
Great Lakes and Inland Rivers
Captain Kelly J. Gordon is an accomplished motor yacht captain whose start was far from the water as she grew up on a farm in small town Indiana. It was her drive to succeed, learn, and thirst for adventure that led her to a career in yachting. Her path into yachting was a unique one that started in Beaufort, North Carolina, where she now claims as home base, and has since allowed her to navigate many different seas.
Capt. Kelly most certainly takes pride in her ability as a motor yacht captain, but also has a soft spot for the young adult and especially those that come with questions. As a former chemistry professor, she loves to teach and it is certain that she will always find a moment, or many, to share what she knows with others and looks to encourage and inspire those that dream of a career in the yachting industry.
Licenses & Certificates / USCG 500T / PADI Diver- Advanced Open Water
Education / MS in Chemistry. Univ. of NC at Wilmington
Captain Christiana Virgilio aboard:
M/Y BIG EAGLE
Antigua, Bahamas, St. Martin, St. Barths
Christiana grew up in San Diego, California. Her childhood revolved around the water; sailing, diving, surfing, windsurfing, and waterskiing. Almost every summer was spent on her family's sailboat. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in Economics she decided to travel and have some fun working on sailboats. Twenty-three years later the yachting industry is her career. Christiana has captained Big Eagle through the Baltic, the British Isles, Panama, the Eastern and Western U.S. coastline, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean from the very mouth of Gibraltar to Turkey's most Eastern shore. She is a dive master and enjoys guiding the guests on dives.
A Special Thank-You To:
Yacht Charter Broker Jessica Perraton of The Charter Yacht Company for inspiring us to write this article! We treasure the longtime friendships our village of amazing supportive coworkers!
About Us: Your Charter Yacht Brokers: Capt. Randy & Shelly Tucker!
If you want to experience a luxury yacht charter vacation first hand and up close, there is no better way than on your own privately crewed yacht with a full-time professional Captain and Chef/First Mate. We've been sailing and chartering for well over twenty-five years. The U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands were our "backyard" which we came to love and cherish. So much so, that we sold everything in 1997 and moved to Charlotte Amalie, USVI as owners & operators aboard the 72' sailing yacht Three Moons. We do know the ins and outs of this special place & the people who live there. That's what makes us an official Caribbean "Yacht Charters Guru”!
Never been on a chartered yacht vacation? We will help you personally design your charter yacht vacation. Imagine being able to sail into small bays with beautiful white sands & fantastic snorkeling. Chartered yacht vacations are a great way to spend time with your friends or family. Choose from an extensive list of yachts, including our spacious and stable catamaran charters, power catamarans, traditional monohull sailboat vacations, or high-end luxury motor yacht charters in the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Belize, Croatia. Greece, and the Mediterranean.
We do not sell yachts like many other agencies so there is no conflict or distraction in our focus for your yacht charter. Our service is free to you. We travel extensively to boat shows and yacht charter shows year-round to personally view and inspect as many of the yachts as possible.
6 Reasons Why We are Qualified:
1. As Members of the Charter Yacht Brokers Association, The Virgin Islands Professional Charter Yacht League, and the BVI Charter Yacht Society, we maintain contact with the yachts to keep abreast of the very latest information on crew/yacht conditions and new yachts entering the arena.
2. We stay on top of local and Federal Governments to keep informed about changes in our industry, as well as involve ourselves with the changes in the environment in which we offer charters.
3. We engage in open dialogue with local publications to help keep the government and the public aware of this important industry in our islands.
4. We attend multiple charter yacht industry shows in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, go aboard each of the yachts, meet the crews, attend association meetings and seminars. We'll happily share our notes about changes to the boats and crews and confirm any newly added features and upgrades as well as re-fits to the boat’s decor like new carpets, interior and exterior soft goods & fun new water toys.
5. As a seasoned charter yacht Owner & Crew, we have access to the "inner circle" and know all the insider facts.
6. We've developed a longtime friendship with vendors of services such as local taxi drivers, ferry companies, good places to stay on land, great restaurants, and much more.
Yacht Charters Guru is Accredited by the Following Professional Associations: