Will and Emma Seal have been here on and off since 2016 but became permanent residents in 2019. | Erica Lay


Each week Erica Lay, owner of EL CREW CO International Yacht Crew Agency talks to a crew member who’s managed to make the transition from working on yachts to a land based role -effectively, from ship to shore, here in Mallorca. For more info on any of our stars featured here, you can contact Erica directly on erica@elcrewco.com

This week I’m chatting to British couple Will and Emma Seal, who, after eight and three years respectively in the yachting industry are now running their own company based in Mallorca: Seal Private Dining. They’ve been here on and off since 2016 but became permanent residents in 2019.

What attracted you to the island? What do you like about living here?

We came here just to seek yacht work, but fell in love with the island; it’s a bustling hub for yachties and a great place to meet people, but also the more we explored the island the more we liked it. We love the outdoor life and the 300 days of sunshine but also the pace of life and how important good food is to the locals. We are also grateful for the community we have met, a real mix of nationalities and people from very different walks of life who make up our Mallorca family.

What’s the hardest thing about living in Mallorca?

Living far away from family and friends is difficult. We also struggle with the languages, we were doing well learning Spanish, but then we moved to the Manacor countryside to discover the main language around us was Mallorquin. It’s certainly a challenge but we have our 5 year old translator who speaks it fluently and we’re getting better!

How long did you work in yachting?

Emma for 3 years. Will for 8 years until this April.

Can you give me a summary of your career?

Will-I sailed on a range of vessels from smaller sailing boats up to 100m+ motor yachts. I preferred sailing boats as they allowed me to use some of my sailing knowledge as well as cook. I loved exploring the Med, there are so many beautiful spots, amazing towns and food markets, cultural spots, beautiful harbours and seaside towns. Miami was the low point, we did struggle there… enjoying your environment is so important when you're working hard. Bocas del torro (Panama) and the Galapagos were awesome; beautiful waves, wildlife and people.

When/why did you decide it was time to move ashore?

Em stopped because she was pregnant with Otis which wasn’t planned but the universe had other ideas. We agreed that when he was no longer a baby we would do what we could to be all together, so when he started to voice his opinions on how much he hated Daddy being away we knew it was time for Will to stop.

How did you make the move, did you plan it or was it spontaneous? Did you have to retrain/do courses/get residency etc?

During the winter of 2018. We didn’t do much planning, we rented short term in Palma, then after lockdown in 2020 we moved to the middle of nowhere near Manacor. We are all residents since Brexit gave us no choice.

What were the challenges/hardest parts?

The admin side of moving here and getting residency.

What are the best things about being land based now?

Being together as a family everyday and running our business which we’d planned since we first met 12 years ago.

What do you miss about yachting and working as crew?

The crew camaraderie, travelling to beautiful places and the security of the salary.

What’s the best thing about your job? What do you enjoy most?

After more than 20 years working in hospitality for others, it’s great to be working for ourselves.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The unpredictability and seasonality of the island, working for yourself is a bit scary when you don’t know if you’ll be able to pay the bills each month.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Enjoying good food, wine and music with friends. Walking in the countryside or on the beach. Will loves kiteboarding and surfing.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to make the move ashore from yachting?

Prepare financially and have savings. Structure and discipline are essential and a bit of patience. ‘Normal life’ is very different to yacht life and adjustment takes time.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Still in Mallorca? What’s next for you?

We hope to have established Seal Private Dining and have grown the business to the point where we have employees. We love living here and you would have to drag us off the island!

Anything else you’d like to add!

Will-Yachting was one of the best decisions of my life, I had great adventures, met amazing people, travelled the world and cooked everywhere. But, it was hard and I missed some of my son’s childhood because of being away. Totally worth it but always have an out plan!