My biggest advice to any crew, new or old would be to make the most of every experience. | Erica Lay


Each week Erica Lay, owner of EL CREW CO International Yacht Crew Agency talks to a crew member currently in Mallorca either seeking work or based here to learn a little more about our local yachting community. For more info on any of our stars featured here, you can contact Erica directly on

Today I’m speaking with British Chief Mate Sam Dacombe. Sam’s been based in Mallorca working on MY C-Side, a 35m Feadship built in 1972 since 2020.

Q. — What attracted you to the island?
A. — Everyone raves about Mallorca! I had to see if it lived up to expectations - I can safely say it smashed it out of the park! There’s something for everyone. You like mountains and hikes? The island is full of them. You like the beach? Mallorca has some of the best in the Med. Consider yourself a foodie? Palma has some of the best places to eat I’ve ever seen.

Q. — What’s your background before yachting?
A. — I was a Watersports instructor, so the leap onto yachts felt natural. The standards are a massive step up but in terms of the people you meet and work with on a daily basis, it’s similar.

Q. — When/how did you join the yachting industry?
A. — I joined in March 2019, after finishing my Yachtmaster. One of my closest friends had been in the industry for over a year, working on a charter boat. The stories he told convinced me it was worth pursuing. I’ve never looked back.

Q. — What training did you do?
A. — I did the cadetship at UKSA in 2018-2019. After covering basic qualifications like powerboat and STCW, it concluded with Yachtmaster Offshore. The first part of the cadetship lasts five months but I added extra courses. The next stage is Officer of the Watch (OOW).

Q. — Any achievements or special things stick out?
A. — My first time on a proper sail yacht, it was a beast and I remember having my mind blown instantly. Luckily after that I managed to wangle my way onto a brand-new carbon performance yacht, which blew everything I’d ever sailed before out of the water. These boats are built to such levels you can’t find that sort of thrill elsewhere easily.

Q. — What’s the best thing about your job?
A. — Sunsets. People travel around the world and queue for hours to view sunsets we consider normal. If you’re lucky enough to catch a green flash as well, then it’s been an epic day!

Q. — What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. — The day-to-day interaction with crew and neighbouring yacht crews. You meet such a variety of people and make lifelong friends. We are lucky enough to be able to experience so many different cultures and views on life, no single interaction is the same.

Q. — What’s next?
A. — A global itinerary, the Pacific or heading up to North America.

Q. — Think back to when you were completely green – what advice would you give yourself?
A. — Absorb all the information you can. Your biggest tools in the first six months are your ears, so listen. Be confident but also know when to be humble and ask for advice or help. Any good crew will be happy to offer a word of advice or coach you.

Q. — What’s your dream yacht to work on?
A. — Anything made by Baltic yachts [sail]. Having already worked on my dream yacht, I can’t think of another boat builder I could ever choose over them.

Q. — What do you like to do when you’re not working?
A. — Either exploring Mallorca or travelling. I recently visited Madeira with my partner.

Q. — What’s the most memorable guest request you’ve had?
A. — I’ve had a guest ask me to become their dog carer for the summer - I was given a puppy for several months and it was awesome.

Q. — Who in the world would you love to have on board and why?
A. — I’d love to bring my dad on for a passage. He’s not fussed about the fancy stuff, but he’d love to do a sailing passage from Mallorca to Greece. Every time I send him photos, I can feel the envy through my phone.

Q. — Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A. — Hopefully still on yachts and in Mallorca! Ideally on something fast and adventurous that comes back to Mallorca in the winter so I get the best of both worlds.

Q. — Any final words?
A. — My biggest advice to any crew, new or old would be to make the most of every experience. We live incredibly privileged lifestyles. Everything moves so fast that sometimes we forget to just enjoy the moment!