CAPTAIN – STEVEN FRENCH
Certificates/Education: Marketing Degree, Master 500, Chief Mate 3000
Steven aka “Frenchie” grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. He spent most of his late teenage years playing professional rugby for the Natal Sharks in Durban and enjoying water sports with family and friends. Steven has a deep passion for hospitality and turned his focus to the yachting industry in 2007 where he started his career as a junior deckhand on large Superyacht, 235’ KOGO in the Mediterranean. Steven spent eight years on this vessel and traveled the world while systemically working his way up to Chief Officer. Steven has also worked onboard 269’ ALPHA NERO, 153’ DAYBREAK, 126’ T-ZERO, and more. Steven is now focused on running his own program as Captain. He has a wealth of Maritime experience in building a strong foundation and guiding daily activities of the vessel to ensure the ultimate enjoyment and safety onboard. Steven has a relaxed but firm attitude and is confident with guests so they have the best experience while upholding the vision and goals set forth by the owner and charter guests, forging transparent and honest relationships with the crew, owners, clients, and management. Steven has a passion for fitness and healthy lifestyles.
CHIEF STEWARDESS – Kristin Stanford
Education/Certifications: Business Administration Degree
Languages: English, Afrikaans, Basic German
Nationality: South African
Hailing from the enchanting region of Stellenbosch, South Africa, Kristin grew up amidst the picturesque wineries that dot the landscape. Her childhood was an active one, where most of her time was spent in the mountains, horse riding, trail running, or mountain biking, often accompanied by her equally active mother, brother, and sister.
Growing up, sports were her passion. Kristin became a world champion in her division for Karate, achieved national recognition for vaulting, and earned colors for both music and hockey. In her free time, she honed her entrepreneurial spirit by freelancing at cafes, eventually opening her own coffee shop after high school. Kristin successfully ran the shop for three years, obtained her degree in business, and then decided to embark on a career in yachting.
Having sailed Hobie cats as a young girl, Kristin's transition to the world of yachting was a natural one. As Chief Stewardess, she ensures that everything in the yacht's interior runs seamlessly. She possesses a remarkable ability to read guests, and she is unwavering in her commitment to maintaining clear lines of communication to ensure that their every need is met. Kristin's desire is to create an environment that evokes a sense of being at home, one that is relaxing and deeply caring.
Beyond her career in yachting, Kristin aspires to become a sailing instructor and open her own sailing school. In her spare time, she indulges in kite surfing, yoga, and her musical talents, which range from playing with fire and the piano to her current endeavor of learning to play the guitar.
SECOND STEWARDESS – Samantha McCririck
Education/Certifications: STCW, ENG1, GUEST Cigar Service, Senior Stewardess Course, Bachelor Primary Teaching/Bachelor of Arts, Food Safety and Hygiene L2, Crowd Management, Medaire First Aid, PADI Open Water Diver
Meet Samantha, a vibrant and multi-talented Stewardess, who brings a wealth of experiences and a zest for creativity on board SWEET ESCAPE. Hailing from the coastal beauty of Australia, Samantha's childhood was a tapestry of sun, sea, and adventure.
Before setting sail in the world of yachting, Samantha spent seven years as a dedicated primary school teacher in London. Her love for the ocean and working with people of all ages and cultures mixed with her desire to work at sea, naturally drew her to yachting. Samantha's greatest asset is her creativity, nurtured through her passion for dance, painting, and drawing. She then refined these skills as a waitress and a teacher, setting table decorations for functions, creating exciting and engaging lessons for children, and choreographing dance pieces. One of her favorite things to do is to plan a themed party for guests to enjoy on board. She wants charter guests to leave with the feeling that their time on board surpassed their expectations.
For Samantha, the small details are what make a trip memorable. From creative table settings, scented hand towels, welcome drinks, and themed nights to personalized touches like scented knowing the guests' names and what they will ask for, even before they ask for it. Developing a good rapport with the guests is highly important. Samantha believes having a happy and positive presence will make the guests feel the same.
Dance and yoga are not just pastimes for Samantha; they're her passions. In her spare time, you can find her engaging in both of these activities, helping cultivate discipline, confidence, and creativity.
THIRD STEW / Mischka Kriel
Education/Certifications: STCW, PDSD, ENG 1, Food Health and Hygiene Level II, SYSA Interior Introduction Module, SYSA Basic Wine and Mixology
Languages: English, Afrikaans
Nationality: South African
Mischka is a dedicated Stewardess bringing a touch of South African charm and a passion for excellence on board SWEET ESCAPE. While her roots may lie in the city, Mischka's heart has always been drawn to the allure of the ocean which is why yachting has long held her fascination.
Her journey began with a career as a nanny, where her nurturing spirit and attention to detail were first honed. Now, she channels these qualities into ensuring that guests have a high-quality experience while on board. Her warm hospitality and meticulous care are an integral part of the guest experience. She is dedicated to making every guest feel welcomed and cherished during their time at sea.
Beyond the world of yachting, Mischka's adventurous spirit knows no bounds. She aspires to visit each continent at least once, embracing diverse cultures and landscapes around the globe.
When not serving guests with a warm smile she unwinds by reading a good book or indulging in the thrill of a good tennis game.
CHEF- Jessica Deuerlein
Certifications/Education: Culinary diploma, Niagara college
Originally from Ontario, Canada where she completed her studies in Culinary Arts. She has been working on yachts for about 10 years and is very lucky to have had the opportunity to travel to wonderful places, exposing her to a variety of cuisines from around the world. Before yachting her interest primarily focused on the arts. She studied Fine Arts at Ontario College of Art and Design. She also dabbles at guitar and loves to craft and garden. Jessica moved to the beautiful Bahamas and she's enjoying every minute of its splendor.
FIRST MATE - LEE COUVE
Education/Certificates: 3 Year International Marketing Management, Yacht Master 200 ton
Languages: English, Zulu
Lee grew up on a farm near the coast in Durban, South Africa. He used to bass fish and hunt on the windy days, and on better days spent his time surfing and fishing on the warm Indian Ocean. Before joining the yachting industry in 2013, he studied full time and worked a few small side jobs doing promotions and barmen. Onboard Lee ensures the safety of guests and crew, maintenance of decks and safety gear, watersports, and navigation. He has sailed the whole east coast of the States from Canada to Belize as well as the Mediterranean. Lee has mainly worked on busy charter/private motor yachts including 190’ SEAWOLF, 164’ OCEAN CLUB, 149’ AMORAZUR 2 130’ PLAN A, and others.
In his spare time Lee enjoys surfing, fishing, working out, and working on modules to get his Marshall Island 350 license. Lee can’t wait to welcome you aboard 130’ SWEET ESCAPE for a life changing experience.
ENGINEER – Bill Pantrr
Education/Certifications: Y3 coc
Meet Bill, the skilled engineer behind the scenes of the luxurious yacht, SWEET ESCAPE. Hailing from the stunning Gold Coast, Bill has always been deeply connected to the ocean. His favorite pastime was catching waves along the beautiful Australian coastline, mastering the art of surfing.
In 2008, Bill decided to combine his love for the water with his engineering expertise and embarked on a journey into the world of boating. As the engineer on board SWEET ESCAPE, he ensures that the yacht operates at peak performance. His technical prowess and attention to detail are crucial in providing guests with a safe and enjoyable experience. But Bill's commitment to excellence goes beyond the technical aspects; he is also passionate about creating memorable experiences for guests. He takes great pride in maintaining the yacht's systems so that guests can relax and revel in the beauty of the open sea without a care in the world.
Outside of his duties on the yacht, Bill cherishes his spare time with his family.
DECKHAND – GUSTAV VON MANSBERG
Education: Tender Opps, Deckhand Course, PWC, Radar, Radio and Powerboat level 2
Languages: English, Afrikaans
Gustav aka “Goose,” grew up in a town called Vanderbjilpark in Gauteng, South Africa with his three siblings. Prior to joining the yachting industry, he was doing draughtsman work for his uncles' company starting at the early age of 16. He has since been in yachting for just over two years after taking his cousins advice that it wasn’t worth studying something that he would never enjoy. Gustav is responsible for making sure all charter guests are safe while enjoying every moment outside. If there is a water toy requested, Gustav will have it in working order. He has also worked on 164’ CHASING DAYLIGHT and 108’ BAD ROMANCE and hopes to become an Officer on a motor yacht one day.
When you can’t find Gustav on the exterior of the boat, you can find him working out, skating, longboarding, exploring new places, doing videography and photography or watersports. Gustav wants guests to fully enjoy the whole experience of the exterior, providing an adventure like no other.