During Forever One’s brief stopover in Amsterdam this week, we caught up with the Captain of the 55-metre motor yacht, Kostis Sklavounos, to speak about their experiences cruising in northern Europe and visiting the Dutch capital.Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht Times
Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into yachting…
Through my family, I have always been into yachting and surrounded by the ocean growing up in Greece where I used to sail on 40/50 footer yachts. After completing my Master studies in Sociology, I worked for the United Nations’s human rights division while still carrying on sailing in the summer. It was in 1999 when I decided to pursue yachting as a full-time career. I first stayed in Greek waters working up from smaller yachts and in 2009 widened my scope by joining larger yachts, and for the past five years I have been with my current program and have worked my way up to the captain position on Forever One.
This is not Forever One’s first season in Northern Europe. What makes the boat keep coming back to this part of the world?
This region gives you a cruising experience that you will not find anywhere else. Where you enjoy a more typical summer holiday in the Mediterranean, up here it is all about travel and urban environments that you will not find in the Med. Coming here keeps it interesting for the owners and their guests but also for us, the crew. Following the success of our previous season in Northern Europe, we then confirmed that the boat will visit these waters more regularly.Photo: James Anderson
How does your location here in Amsterdam compare to other destinations in northern Europe?
This spot here beside the historic National Maritime Museum is the best in the city. We always try and get the owners and their guests as close as possible to the action wherever we go, and you cannot beat this location. It is still very early to tell of course as we are here for such a short time, but I can definitely see Amsterdam becoming an important port of call for us and other yachts that will cruise this region.Photo: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht Times
What can other yachts expect from this area who also wishes to experience northern Europe as an alternative to the Mediterranean?
The difference in climate is a big adjustment if you are used to the Med style of yachting. The water temperature and unpredictable weather of the region force you to plan more activities ashore. Where in the Med a lot of the attention is on the deck crew with tender service and watersports duties, here, the interior department is under a lot more pressure as guests typically spend more time inside the yacht in the case of bad weather. So at the end of the day, it comes down to planning and being creative as a team to ensure guests have the very best experience possible on board.Photo: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht Times
Which other destinations will you be visiting this season?
We just arrived from London and from here we will visit Hamburg, parts of Denmark and also back to Norway again, this time even further north than our 2015 visit. Other than that, St Petersburg in Russia and also Finland and Estonia.
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