Luna Moon sailing academy aboar a 118ft gaff rig schooner

A career in yachting is a wonderful way to explore the world. But, not only can it be a big adventure, it can also turn into a long and rewarding career.

While yachting is a fun, adventurous way to earn a living and collect some passport stamps along the way it is an industry that demands dedication, hard work and a fine eye for detail.

Here is a snapshot of a handful of the jobs to work up to:

First Officer
The First Officer (often also referred to the ‘Chief Officer’) is essentially the second-in-command below the Captain on board a superyacht.
The only difference between the roles, in fact, is the overall level of responsibility. The first officer must be able to fulfil the Captain’s duties should this be necessary, which means he or she needs to have extensive on-board experience, as well be fully versed in all the workings of the particular vessel. For most First Officers, their day-to-day is taken up mostly by overseaing all deck and safety procedures. Additional responsibilities could include trip planning, navigation, maintenance supervision, as well as management of crew operations.

Deckhands are were most yacht crew start their careers. They are responsible for a variety of duties on deck, ranging from maintenance (such as painting and varnishing) to polishing the deck and beyond. While it is very much an entry level job, quality hard work and a good work ethic (attitude is everything here) is often rewarded and gaining experience a deckhand is a very necessary stepping stone to bigger positions.

Chief Engineer

The engineer is responsible for all the mechanical inner workings of the vessel. The engineer’s main duties require smooth running of all technical equipment such as engines and other hardware. While much of the everyday work revolves around maintenance, a competent engineer is able think on his or her feet and multitask to ensure all onboard systems are performing as required.

Chief Steward/Stewardess
The Chief Steward/Stewardess’s job is never done. They head up the yacht’s interior department and their role is to ensure the comfort of all guests on board by inspiring their team to provide the highest level of hospitality service. In line with this, duties range from cleaning and cabin preparation to food and drinks service as well as arranging excursions and the like. The Chief Steward/Stewardess answers directly to the captain and carries a lot of responsibility with the entire interior department falling under them.

rope rigging aboard Luna Moon
Learning how to make vital knots aboard Luna Moon

Head Chef

For many who book charters, the food served onboard is often one of the memorable aspect of the trip. In line with this, the Yacht Chef prepares food of only the highest standards. Responsibilities extend well beyond cooking however and the Head Chef is also in charge of devising menus, as well as sourcing and purchasing the ingredients in different locations. With diverse tastes and special dietary requirements among guests this can often prove to be a stressful juggling act. On larger yachts, both a Head Chef and a Second Chef (‘Sous Chef’) will be employed and, in very rare instances, a separate cook for the crew.

Luna Moon Sailing Academy offers an internationally recognised sail training program in conjunction with International Yacht Training Worldwide, a global leader in international sailing certification of competence.   IYT is more recognize and globally supported than any other marine training organisation.  Our experienced sail training instructors and youth development team leaders are on board and available to guide and assist students 24/7. Find out more, here.


Luna Moon, a 118-foot gaff rigged schooner, on dry dock in Mossel Bay for repairs

Once the paint preparation and hull repairs were done on the dry dock (read more here)   the crew tackled the painting process. It required 500 litres of paint and took some 32 days to complete.

First they applied Jotamastic 90 Alu. This is a two-component polyamine cured epoxy mastic coating designed for hull repair. It is great for uneven surfaces as it fills small dents and holes very well and is also abrasion resistant. They did the first coat in one color and the second coat in another to ensure no spots were overlooked.

Painting a century old gaff-rig schooner in Mossel Bay

Once the second layer had fully cured, the approximate area below the waterline was marked out and applied a third coat Jotamastic 90 Alu from 1m above that down, as this area requires extra protection from the elements.

Once this area had dried (here in Mossel Bay, South Africa with an average temp of around 20 deg C the curing time was four hours) the crew added a barrier coat.

This is also a two-component polyamide cured epoxy coating but it is very high in zinc. It provides very good corrosion protection as part of a complete coating system.

Once this coat had dried they shot the waterline at night with a laser to make sure it was straight.

Painting a 118 foot gaff rig schooner
‘Shooting’ the waterline with a lazer at night

The next step was to add the Flexi Top Coat which is a final colour in white above the waterline. They then masked off the newly top-coated area in order to apply the anti-foul paint, which is designed to stop marine growth from reattaching onto the hull. Two coats were applied, once again in alternating colours.

Once that final coat had been completed and cured Luna Moon was returned to the water for the rest of the internal and deck work.



Most of these had not received attention for many years, so the crew stripped all the dog ears off the brass light rings as well as cleaning and polishing.

In addition they also removed the paint from some of the fixed port lights that the previous owners had applied in an effort to avoid doing the maintenance.

restoration of a 118-foot gaff rig schooner
Port lights getting a new livery


A yard arm pivots off a bracket on the front of the forward mast. In maintaining the yard arm they crew repaired (or replaced) the bracket and pivot pin. At the same time they also replaced or repaired the blocks that manage the movement of the yard arm as well as the shackles that fix the blocks to the yard.

Check out our Instagram to follow the refit in more detail:


Each yard was also sanded down and repainted using a primer base coat Jotun Jomastic 90 Alu and finished with a white Jotun top coat.

The rot was first removed via a sanding process, then, wherever there were cracks, they were filled with epoxy and then finally the crew applied six coats of marine 50 varnish.


All the while work was also going on below deck, in the engine room, galley and, more recently the port-side cabins. Follow our social channels to stay up dated. We’re looking forward to being back on the water soon.



Luna Moon on dry dock in Mossel Bay

Here is a brief look at some of the early refit work on the dry dock in Mossel Bay back in early 2020.

Each hull shape on a boat is different, so the wooden blocks which hold the vessel upright on the slip have to be uniquely set for each vessel.

The slipway dolly (on wheels) was then pulled into the water to accept Luna Moon. Divers ensured that the wooden blocks were fitting properly under the sides of the hull and the dolly slowly pulled out.

Once out the water the safety officer confirmed that the vessel was secure and we set about high-pressure washing the hull to remove all marine growth. That was the first step in the repainting process.

Once Luna Moon was clean of growth, specialist marine surveyor, Glenn Coulthurst inspected her to identify the areas that required replacement or repair.

After these repairs were completed the crew started the arduous task of removing all the rust with wire-brush fitted grinders to prepare for the paint coats.

Luna Moon – anchored in Mossel Bay

Detail of the rigging of the 118-foot gaff rig schooner, Luna Moon

In 2019, the historic schooner,  the Luna Moon was anchored in Mossel bay, where she underwent large scale renovations.  With a rich history stretching over a century, the Luna Moon is equipped with a radar system, solar power and can accommodate 32 passengers. Nowadays, the  Luna Moon is used  for training courses; not everyone can say that they have completed their sailing education and have been to a sailing academy with a 118ft gaff rig schoooner.

For more information contact Captain David Bird – david@lunamoon.org