The weird and wacky world of provisions

It doesn’t take long for yacht provisions to become used to the bizarre requests from the yachts they supply. Several clients of Yachting Pages Media Group spoke to Jo Morgan of Onboard Online about their wacky requests.

Over time, all provisioners become accustomed to the pressure, strange requests and moving destinations of the yachts they supply. In fact, all provisioners contacted for this piece by Jo replied that the wildly changing demands are completely normal, after a while. You might then think that it would become routine: the same year in, year out.  But that wouldn’t account for fads, and fads in the yachting business are legendary.

For an event, Shore Solutions was asked to provide three-tiered wedding cakes for a three year old child’s birthday party, which had to be delivered to a yacht by tender in force 5 winds.  Not just one cake either;  the cakes had to be delivered for several days in a row in case the child wanted to change the day of her party.  Shore Solutions were also asked to provide 20 palm trees and three tonnes of sand to decorate the boat for the party, which, incidentally, never happened.

Provisioning in regions like the Med and the Americas is one thing, but as yachts increasingly visit countries with less yachting exposure and infrastructure, the challenges of global provisioning grow.

Joost van Gorsel, manager of NeKo Yacht Supply describes a case where the remote location of the yacht provided some obstacles. “Our toughest challenge was a delivery in Salalah in Oman. The owner came on board at short notice and the chef called me for six pallets of fresh provisions. We had to fly it from London to Muscat to the desert and then transport it 11 hours by road to Salalah because the planes from Muscat don’t take any cargo there. It was a bit tricky, the agent said it wasn’t allowed but once the owner stepped in and said ‘It’s for me’, all the doors were opened!”

Whether global or local, all of the provisioners that were spoke to, talked of 24 hour operations, 5am starts in the marketplaces and getting home long after dinnertime to face hours at the computer. Getting up in the night to go to the bathroom, checking their phones with bleary eyes and finding themselves instantly back at work.  

Gabi from Gourmet Deliveries explains, “In summer our warehouse never closes, the boys do the fruit and veg during the night- they go out buying from producers, they start at 10pm…In summer we just don’t close. It just doesn’t stop- and you don’t say no to a client- you don’t get to say, ‘no, I’m not coming to deliver your order because I have two days off. It just doesn’t work like that!

In short, yacht provisioning is the art of possibility, imagination, problem solving, flexibility and sheer logistics.  It is having a contingency plan for every plan, and a contingency plan for that one too.

For the full article please see here

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