Sally-Ann Konigkramer is a Master 3000GT Captain whose impressive career has made her a true leader with a passion to always move forward in her career.
We have recently had a chat with her to find out what her ideal yacht's program would be, what she looks for in crew when hiring them and what are her tips for young yacht crew.
1. What made you join the yachting community?
I grew up on the eastern coast of South Africa; the ocean was always part of my lifestyle that I grew up in. I naturally took on the hobby of sailing, which led to me understanding I could make a career out of it. The depth of the industry was unknown to me at that time, but I was young and loved adventures, so I put being Captain as my goal and didn't look back.
2. What is your favourite cruising destination and what makes it special?
I have many favorite cruising destinations; it is hard to pick only one. All my places I cruise bring back memories of my career, or a specific time frame of my journey which is incredibly special. Bahamas is one of my favorite places, especially with myself being a watersport fanatic. I do enjoy off the beaten track itinerary's; not only for the beauty but for the challenge too.
3. And what is your favourite port?
I love Bonifacio! The entrance is grand! I always get butterflies when I am about to enter the port.
4. How would you describe your ideal yacht's program?
My team would be my first criteria that I tick. The crew and the management. It is important to have a well-rounded, balanced team that respects each other, respects themselves and no dream is too high for them! The team is the family, and the family moves as one. My second box to tick for the ideal yacht's program is a healthy business relationship with the owner, with the mutual understanding of routine maintenance, employee's importance within the overall structure of the vessel's operational success and of course respect for all.
5. Where is your favourite spot to take the guests for a lunch or swim stop off en route?
In Bermuda, there is an Island called "Nelly Island" where the channel is so tight that you can see the crabs on the rocks from the wing station. The entry is grand! The yacht is bigger than the small islands that surround Nelly Island. Once anchored between the islands, you have complete privacy! You feel as if you are in James Bond film. Guests can go and snorkel with the lobsters and sea turtles along the rocks, or enjoy their lunch on the sundeck, with utter remoteness, but surrounding wildlife.
6. How would you describe your crew management style?
Dynamic, pro-active and empowering. I promote a just culture onboard where everyone is accountable. We a team, and we cross the finish line together.
7. What do you look for in crew when hiring them?
The first thing for me is if they are competent for their position, thereafter if they are competent as a crew member for our team onboard. Professionalism, integrity and self-respect are qualities I practice, I preach and what I search for in new crew. The expectation of performance and accountability is high within my criteria. One must always want to improve and strive for greatness.
8. What are your passions outside work?
Being outdoors with nature, away from the hustle and bustle. Being able to reconnect with myself to keep my headspace healthy, whether that be by my enjoyment for high intensity workouts, motocross riding, hiking, camping or a simple relaxing day around family.
9. What are some challenges you were faced with on your way to the top? Did you notice you've had to conduct yourself differently because of being a woman on the way to become a yacht captain?
I think the biggest challenge I faced and still face at times is the loneliness that comes with the territory and responsibility. It took me years to understand human emotions, which not only helped me become a better leader but helped me understand my meaning in the current journey I was in at that given time. I do not think being a woman changes anything. Any professional, well respected leader and mentor conducts themselves in the same manner, regardless of race or sex. I have always respected the duties of being Captain with high standards and still strive to serve my team as best I can.
10. How do you now promote equality onboard your yacht?
By practicing it! Monkey see, monkey do.
11. What would you like the crew to know about what it means to be a yacht Captain?
It is not the time to reap the rewards. It is the time to work HARDER! ! To earn that position every damn day! To earn that respect that comes with the title, not expect it to be there.
12. What are the top 3 personality traits a modern day captain should have?
Patience, Fearlessness (not reckless), Integrity
13. What would be your expert tips for young yacht crew just starting to build their yachting careers? What to do and what definitely not to do?
Work hard, save your money and keep bettering yourself! Do not fall into the trap of being comfortable or having expectations. Be grateful you have your job, and work hard for yourself, for the standard you hold yourself to and that will carry your further than any employer can take you.
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