Royal Navy sinks even lower


Ahoy, Billionaires: The Royal Navy Is at Your Service

PORTSMOUTH, England — In 1805, British Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson set sail from this seaside town to engage Napoleon Bonaparte’s fleet off the Spanish coast. The Englishman’s victory at Cape Trafalgar established Britannia as ruler of the waves.

Today, the navy that sank Napoleon has a new gig: tending the yachts of the rich and famous.
The Royal Navy and contractors have teamed up to train yachting crews. With the rise in production of yachts, the navy has embraced the sector, teaching everything from napkin folding to fire fighting. WSJ’s Stacy Meichtry reports.

In recent months, a Royal Navy contractor has started training butlers, skippers and stewards who ferry billionaires in their pearly white pleasure boats to exclusive vacation spots. One of its first clients is the captain of Ecstasea, the 285-foot vessel of Russian oil magnate Roman Abramovich.

A descendant of Lord Nelson’s isn’t amused. “I don’t expect anyone thought of such a thing in 1805,” says Anna Tribe, the naval hero’s 78-year-old great-great-great-granddaughter. If drill instructors divulge too many trade secrets, Ms. Tribe warns, the Royal Navy risks “Mr. Abramovich and his compatriots very suddenly coming to war with us.”

But Stephen Mackay, the retired Royal Navy commander who is running the program, says he’s fighting a more immediate threat to Britain’s national security: the Royal Navy’s need for cash.

 story at The Wall Street Journal

16 Responses to “Royal Navy sinks even lower”


  1. 1 Williwaw

    Being a professional mariner, I don’t believe it is such a bad idea that the Royal Navy offers training to their civilian counterparts. To work on any “crew for hire” ship (in the U.S.) takes years of sea time and countless credentials for any sailor or officer to work in their capacity regardless of their skill and knowledge. I would be happy to train with the U.S. Coast Guard (again) in any facet as I am sure it would reduce the cost and increase the viability to the individual mariner.

  2. 2 Moby Dick

    The “Navy sinks even lower” blog would be worrying if it were true, but it is not. If you read the original article, printed in the London Times on Sat 2nd March, you will see that one of the contractors that provides training for the Royal Navy, Flagship Ltd, is allowed through its contract with the RN to sell any spare capacity in its training facilities, after it has fulfilled its agreement with the Navy. Many of Flagship’s trainers are ex RN, and the end result will be that other mariners, superyacht crews possibly included, will be taught to the same high standards as demanded by the RN. No one sets higher standards around the world.

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