Captain Laurance Ottley started sailing in his early teens,some would say a bit late for a Brit, progressing from dinghies to off shore cruising and racing in both modern and traditional vessels. After a career int he decorating trade he took up sailing professionally in 1996. For the next 6 years he was employed first as mate, then as captain, aboard the 30 meter traditional wooden sailing ship IRENE in the Caribbean charter trade.
From 2004 to 2006 Laurance was full-time captain aboard another period wooden sailing ship, Thames Sailing Barge Kitty, doing corporate charters with up to 46 passengers before moving into the superyacht sector. In 2008 he took command of the Hoek-designed 30 meter ketch APHRODITE cruising extensively in the Med and Caribbean with the owner and guests over a period of three years. 2012 presented the opportunity for Captain Ottley to return to IRENE on a voyage around the Atlantic with sail trainees and cargo as part of a sustainable transport initiative.
On land Laurance loves to be 'let loose in the galley'practicing skills he has learned from working with great charter chefs over the years. Cycling is another passion. He rides road, cyclo cross and mountain bikes and tours on two wheels. He once completed a 1,500km six week ride through Europe including the Swiss Alps and Pyrenees mountain ranges.
Having been on board SY REE since May 2013, Captain Ottley takes pride in his excellent crew management skills and maintaining the vessel she commands to the highest possible standards to ensure owners and guests experience the fullest enjoyment wherever they cruise.
First Mate Keaton Johnson (Cape Town, South Africa), our athletic second in command comes to us from sailing large classic yachts.Growing up in the rugged countryside of his homeland on the family’s saw mill taught him all about hard work and self-reliance. But with a mother as a university lecturer Keaton was more than just brawn, or so it seemed until sailing interrupted his plans for higher education. After High School Keaton left home ostensibly on a gap year, only to be beguiled while travelling on the Cote d’Azur into getting paid to do what he loved most, being on the sea and sailing. Keaton rose rapidly in professional sailing and has now swapped out a university degree for studying for a Master’s ticket. His taciturn and humble nature belie a thorough grasp of his job, he’s a man on a mission for sure.
South African Engineer Anthon Muller's working life started early on when as a school leaver he was recruited by his local bank. Here his aptitude for accuracy and arithmetic were put to good use as a teller for the bank's commercial customers. After the confines of the backroom but still only 18 years of age, Anthon bought himself a plane ticket to the UK and quickly found work in the tough world of the door to door salesman. His essentially honest and sincere nature evidently won him many good customers and after two years away from home he had made enough money to be able to return to SA and put himself into training as an electrical/mechanical engineer. After three and half years of academic and on the job training Anthon quickly rose through the ranks of his state's electrical company, becoming regional supervisor quality controlling the work of hundreds of other electricians, all by the tender age of 26. The qualities that brought Anthon to that point are great self reliance and an acceptance that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Just the qualities needed of an on board Engineer where no two days are the same and quick and sometimes imaginative action is required to keep a yacht's services and equipment running smoothly whatever the circumstances.
When not working Anthon is a keen wake boarder and regular participant in triathlons. At home he keeps and maintains his own speedboat to facilitate his wake boarding so whilst his small craft seamanship is already very good, we are currently putting him through his paces in learning the ways of sailing a large yacht. He has a great way of assimilating all the important in formation very quickly so we have high hopes of making a sailor out of him in no time at all!
John Jones AKA JJ, grew up on the family hill farm in the mountains of North Wales, a rugged environment that conferred on him anon-nonsense attitude and the need to be adaptable. On graduating high school he gained a thorough grounding in the culinary arts via an apprentice Chef program and then 16 years on the job. Latter he became Head Chef and then worked in private ski chalets where his employers were so impressed with his approach he was retained to train other Chefs in that role. After years on land and starting to find it all a bit too easy, he has recently decided plying his trade on the high seas is the extra challenge he needs to keep his interest alive, though to be honest we think he still makes it all look all too easy –the mark of a true master. His principal style is modern European: the best of French, Italian, and Spanish with the heartiness of British. He is equally at home with Mexican, Caribbean and Asian styles too.
In his spare time, if he had any, he would like to be behind the wheel of a rally car…
Chief Stewardess Gaelle Andries is a Belgian who really knows her chocolates. She worked in high quality hotels and restaurants in London, Barcelona and Tenerife progressing through different departments including waitressing and reception desk,finishing as the senior butler of a luxury boutique hotel. Seven years of experience gives Gaelle a very rounded and in-depth knowledge of the hospitality industry.
In May 2012 Gaelle joined her first yacht, the classic S/YZACA A TE MOANA, and traveled the Caribbean islands of St Lucia, Antigua and Guadeloupe. She started aboard SY REE as a deck/stew in May 2013 and quickly got promoted to Chief Stew, a position she has held for over two and a half years.
In her free time Gaelle enjoys reading cooking books and practising her cocktail skills. She makes a mean strawberry caipiroska!
Ireland is noted for its welcoming and down to earth characters and you will find our Bonnie is no exception. She honed her natural talents for service and hospitality with four years of hotel management before going on to work in some prestigious London hotels. Later she realized the Superyacht Industry was the ideal environment for her to combine these talents with her lifelong association with the sea and sailing via her parent’s ownership of small yachts during her youth. Thus she is equally at home trimming sails and mixing cocktails.
In her spare time, and indeed at all other times, Bonnie isa keen singer…