An Exciting Development AND, Consequently, Addition to the Book
I’m not gonna lie: I caught wind of the fact that Bravo TV was planning a reality show about yacht crew early on. In fact, I’d heard rumors about it dating back to 2010 and learned it was in the works in 2011-12. But I never looked into who might be in it or when it would be filmed.
So, when Bravo announced in April 2012 that Below Deck was to hit the television airwaves sometime in that near future, it occurred to me it might be time to re-release The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess (originally published in 2006).
I mean, let’s face it, aside from it being time to update the job-finding resources and address other outdated details, the fact that a piece of work I put so much effort into might actually be able to reach a wider audience this time was pretty exciting.
Now I realize that to have sold around 4,500 copies of my first edition was nothing to scoff at. For such a small niche, and for a book about an industry most people didn’t even know existed (let alone that there were jobs within it), I never expected to even sell that many. I had long since come to terms with the fact that the accomplishment was that I wrote the book, not that it sold. And I was cool with that.
To be honest, the personal emails and letters I received from young men and women on what was practically a monthly basis for seven years straight, with such heart warming words of gratitude for helping them discover and break into the industry, were reward enough. That was really what it was all about all along anyway, as I talk about in this book talk I gave at Bluewater Books & Charts in 2007, shortly after the first edition came out:
Sure enough, not only have I since met and corresponded with dozens upon dozens of hopeful yacht crew from around the world, but I’ve seen many of them go on to have terrific careers in yachting. In addition, several of the top yacht-crew training schools tell me that, to this day, they have students walking in the door with my book tucked under their arms. Captains and chief stews tell me they keep a copy onboard for all crew to read.
And believe it or not, a few yacht stews have even contacted me to report sightings of my book on their yachts, such as on the bedside stands of their yachts’ owners (perhaps a sign that these owners endeavor to learn more about the day-to-day work it takes to keep everything running smoothly aboard their most prized possessions).
So by July of 2012, I had made the decision to put out a 2nd Edition of The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess. Television show or no television show, I felt it was also time to make sure the information my readers were getting was the most up to date and accurate. (And there had been quite a few changes in the yachting industry that made that no longer something I could say.)
You can read all about the changes that were tackled in bringing the first edition to it’s second edition form in this post. And a huge thanks for Diane Byrne of MegayachtNews.com (my editor) and Kate Chastain (a chief stewardess, who helped me with a lot of research and updates) for all their help in doing that!
Long story short though (and numerous delays later), by May 2013, I was nearing a point of completion when I logged on to Twitter one day to see that Bravo had announced Below Deck for a June 10th premiere! (Which meant I was going to have to throw things into high gear, as I had about a month’s worth of work left to do.)
I immediately went and looked up the crew who had been cast, and when I sent out a tweet of support, this is the response I received from chief stewardess on Below Deck, Adrienne Gang:
And it wasn’t long after that when I learned that Kat Held, the 2nd Stewardess on the show, also had personal experience with my book. On Kat’s BravoTV.com bio, she references the fact that she broke into the yachting industry using “a book” she discovered when she became curious about jobs aboard yachts. And in Kat’s interviews with media, she has since come out and said that it was, in fact, the first edition of The Insiders’ Guide that guided her way.
You can imagine not only my shock to learn this, but also my excitement. Again, not gonna lie: I cried when I read both of the above tweets from these Below Deck crew and cast members. (I wouldn’t be surprised if my parents cried, too.)
Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with both women, Adrienne and Kat, via social media. They have been so gracious and kind as to mention my book in their interviews with media and in their social media postings, even calling The Insiders’ Guide the definitive resource for learning about and getting started as yacht crew.
Fans of #BelowDeck, if you want to work on a yacht, read this book. Both @KatOState & I swear by it! http://t.co/tu6lGaZqpj (Foreword by me)
— Adrienne Gang (@AdrienneGang) July 30, 2013
What inspired me to leave everything behind and find an AMAZING job in yachting ??? Check this book http://t.co/JJrEZRl3Kz ! You'll b amazed
— Kathleen Held (@KatOState) August 1, 2013
I can’t thank them enough. Especially Adrienne, who offered to write the Foreword to the 2nd edition of the book. When we first spoke after our initial Twitter conversation, Adrienne was adamant about wanting to make sure that there were no negative repercussions for the yachting industry due to the show. She is a dedicated professional (as is Kat), and both women have great respect for the industry and all the crew in it.
Adrienne expressed to me over the phone that she wanted to make sure if people watching Below Deck were encouraged to want to try to become yacht crew, that they be directed to my book as “the right way” to go about it. (I was honored and humbled to hear that and thank Adrienne tremendously for her support of the book.)
“Following several years of improvisation, close calls, short cuts, and lucky guesses I was really beginning to wonder if I was ever going to put all of the pieces together. As if by divine design a captain of mine, seeing my obvious struggle, handed me a copy of Julie Perry’s book The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess. I was ecstatic to finally have a resource in my hands that had so many of the answers to questions I had been scouring the earth for in the previous years.
“Over the years, I have given or recommended this book to any woman or man thinking about getting into yachting, and I keep my own personal copy on hand at all times. I know that when living on a yacht, space can be limited for your personal effects, but this book is definitely worth its weight.”
—Adrienne Gang, Chief Stewardess on Bravo TV’s “Below Deck.” Taken from the Foreword to The Insiders’ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess, written June 2013
I got the chance to meet and spend nearly a week with Adrienne back in June at the Newport Charter Yacht Show in Newport, Rhode Island, and we’ve since collaborated to plan a book signing coming up in my hometown of Indianapolis at Barnes & Noble at The Shops at River Crossing on Monday, August 19th. We’ll also have a viewing part of the show that night at a local bar. More details to come.
Meanwhile, in closing, I hope that my book’s second edition will continue to serve not only to educate, but also to entertain and inspire both those interested in working in the industry, and those simply looking to learn more about it. The first edition was my way of paying homage to the glorious years I spent as a luxury yacht stewardess, and I am thrilled at the prospect that it will carry on helping others discover similar life-altering experiences and fulfillment.
Warren MANGAN says
Always wondered about becoming a boat ‘bum’ as we used to call them (ie:working you way around the world in the yachting industry). Almost did it too but pulled out when the small boat I was going to sail to the BVI from GB was going to finance the trip on credit cards then skip the country!
So I ended up working in the boatbuilding industry for a while in the USA and never got a chance again to be a boat bum. Now I sail and race sailboats for fun.
I enjoy the tv show but am really disappointed it became a paid reality show. The unprofessional attitude of many on the show some of the time is really a shame. I would so much more enjoy seeing professionals doing their job properly and how they deal with issues that arise . Oh well I guess I am in a majority of one!
Maybe I’ll get a copy and see what I missed.(30 years ago)
Julie Perry says
Hi Warren – Thanks for your comment! Sounds like it’s a good thing you backed out of that trip to the BVIs 30 years ago. Pretty dodgy. But I’d say racing sailboats and working in the boat-building industry are both quite enviable by a lot of people I know! For a boat lover, it sounds like paradise to me.
Glad to know you are enjoying the show. While yes, some of the crew seem to be there for the wrong reasons (15 minutes of fame and no desire to ever work in the yachting industry — or for some, anywhere even near the maritime world), collectively, I think they represent the wide variety of types who attempt a career as a yacht crewmember. The professionals that are on the cast, such as Captain Lee, Adrienne Gang, and Chef Ben Robinson, are doing the best job they can to counteract the behavior of the types we’d rather not see stick around as crew. (CJ and Sam come to mind there.)
To each his/her own though, and hey – it’s not for everyone. Who knows what everyone’s real intentions are for choosing to do a reality show. But what I do know is that the result is turned out to be pretty entertaining, anyway! :)
While my book is mostly a how-to guide, I’ve received feedback from many people that they love the first-hand accounts and “memoir” potions. Even people with no connection to boating. With your marine background, I’m sure you’ll find it even more of interest. I hope you’ll consider grabbing a copy!
Meanwhile, take care, and keep racing those sailboats! Thanks again for the comment.