This is an article written by Samantha Burke from the Daily Bulletin, and made the front and center pages
Looking out over the Port Soller harbor it’s not hard to fathom a reason why Chris Adamson has settled for this lifestyle here. Pequod, his Bavaria 50 bobs calmly on the bay in front of us, the sun highlighting surrounding ripples and passers by staring out… in envy, who knows? You would think, but regardless, he seems pretty satisfied with his lot.
Sitting down with the Bulletin, Yacht Captain, Chris explains how he landed his dream job on the Island and where it all began, although first things first a few “Hey! How are you” nods, handshakes and back patting scenarios ensue in quick succession from locals who know the young captain and who are also seemingly very keen for a quick chin wag.
I sip away at my coffee and enjoy or “eavesdrop” (however you want to put it) the friendly exchanges, which appear to happen about Chris all so effortlessly, until eventually he is freed up, and I ask in a not at all clichéd way… Where did it all begin then?
“I was 5 years old when I started sailing, well, sailing… learning the ropes anyway,” he quips, “I began on toppers and lasers (small dingy boats) at Ripon Sailing club in North Yorkshire at 5 and I was hooked straight away, I would rush home from school to be taken to the lake in the evening to sail.”
He admits however, how quickly he honed in on his balancing technique, something of significant importance I’m guessing for a yachtsman.
“Those small sailing boats were the best way to learn how to sail because if you made a mistake you would simply get wet!”
It seems the excitement of it all soon took a hold and the young boaty started paving his way to bigger things.
“By the age of 7 I was competing in races all around the country and racing at national level. I pretty much continued on the same path until I was 15, at which age I moved onto Yachts.”
“My Dad had the Mezzo Magic a Dufour 30 sailing yacht that he had moored in Lake Windermere so we would drive up to the Lakes most weekends to sail and race on the lake.”
I put it to Chris that it must have been pretty exciting zipping about on yachts, as you do… you know, for your average after school activity?
“I was definitely happy yeah, and lucky too!” He chirps up, beginning to describe how the fun led onto more of a venture when he and his dad decided on a trip to Majorca. “When I was 16, my dad and I discovered a sailing trip here on Majorca where we chartered a yacht from Palma and circumnavigated the Island.”
The trip, although still at a young age, seemed a pivotal time for Chris in the future of his yachting career, as he explains that whilst sailing Majorca, it became clear to him that this was exactly what he wanted to do, and that here on the island was exactly where he wanted to do it.
“After finishing my A-levels I took a year out and headed to Australia to clock up some miles I needed to take my Yachtmaster exam. That was a great experience for me and it really cemented my plan to make a career out of boating.
“So after gaining enough miles I came back to the UK to take my exams on the Isle of White and qualified as an RYA Ocean Yachtmaster and cruising instructor.”
In the meantime, while Chris was finishing up with his qualifications, his Dad (and future partner in crime) had moved the Mezzo Magic to Port Soller, which had opened up a great opportunity for him. “I decided to take advantage of the situation that my Dad was here with Mezzo, so I moved out to live onboard for the summer and straight of the bat I fell in love with Majorca and in particular Port Soller.”
A love affair with Majorca… So what happened next?
“So I thought why not set up a charter company? At the time there was no other charter companies working out of the Port, so I took the chance and shortly after, business started to thrive and I soon got a name for myself in the local area.”
Things seemed to be cruising along for Chris, (excuse the pun if you will) when even greater opportunities came about knocking and his charter company was about to go from strength to strength.
“About 2 years on in the Port, I was just cleaning down Mezzo when I got waved over by a couple moored close by saying they had a problem with their boat and asked if I could help out. So we got chatting, (I fixed the problem by the way!), and it turned out they had just recently bought a Bavaria 50 named Pequod, and were looking to charter it out. So I told them my plans and what I was trying to do on the Port and it turned out they were happy to add their yacht to join the Mezzo Magic.”
The chance encounter was a favourable one for Chris and for the direction of the company. Certainly at least a triumph was had in Pequod, although Moby Dick probably wouldn’t agree, but he’s fictitious anyway, so we will let that slide.
It meant for Chris that he could start taking larger groups out to sail, which he says got him “thinking outside the box”.
“I started to think of other ways to enhance the sailing experience for clients in numbers while they’re onboard, so I would contact singers and musicians to come along on the trip and perform, which so far has proved pretty successful!”
At a ripe age of 22, with 2 yachts already under his belt, Chris was about to enhance the Soller waters further, little did he know, when owners of Pequod, Geoffrey and Venetia added another member to the fleet, a 50 metre named Francessa, Chris describes as wonderful, with all the mod cons and the perfect sail for clients wanting longer trips.
So is the fleet now complete I ask…
“Well!” he replies with a not so subtle hint of “no!”
“We have just bought a small RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) so we can offer a bit more you know, like waterskiing, taxi runs to restaurants along the port, or just for a day out on the water, abit of fun really!” He laughs. Speaking of fun, I can only imagine in the time Chris has been gracing the Balearics, that he has a few stories to divulge… people, places, partys perhaps? I suggest he should spill the beans!
“Well we have had a lucky run so far, we may have had a few celebrities on board…” He discloses reluctantly.
Next question on the agenda… Who? “A surprising turn out for the books was George Osborne! He came on a sail with us a couple of years back and was great fun actually, it was a good day! I think he really enjoyed it… I made sure I counted the money twice though of course!”
There you have it! Not only does the Chancellor enjoy a good sail, but he pays for it too! I’ll be damned!
Intrigued now, I ask Chris if I might be right in thinking that having the main money man on board may not have been his most enthralling charter ever?
Without hesitation… “We did one trip – a group decided they wanted to surprise their friend for a morning sunrise sail, so we all got up at 5 in the morning and headed to the boat. All the clients were in fancy dress and jumped out at the birthday boy. We headed out into the bay of Soller and dropped anchor while we served breakfast. Twenty minutes later we heard this incredible opera voice, (we had paid a well known opera busker from Palma to come up for the morning, sneaking her onto another boat without anyone noticing) she was singing at the front of the other yacht, clinging on for dear life under choppy seas whilst belting out opera. Everyone was amazed. It was a great morning, although I think we woke up the whole of Port Soller!” He confesses.
Such a dynamic vocation, I can imagine, must stretch Chris in all different directions, for sure demanding and I don’t think I would be be out on a limb to say ‘tough’ at times. I ask him, has it always been plane sailing (pun intended)?
“It has been a real struggle to get where I am today. It’s all very well taking people sailing but to do it legally here in Majorca has been very stressful, expensive and time consuming, and what I find most annoying is when you see completely illegal yachts taking clients out for half the price, undercutting us ‘do gooders’ because they can having no expenses to bear. That’s a gripe of mine! Sailing day in day out is pretty strenuous, but I handle it, it’s all part of the package! I still consider myself lucky!”
‘It’s a sailor’s life for me!’ I half expect him to say as he continues on the positives of his job, quite rightly glazing over any pessimism I accidentally engaged in.
“I love the peacfulness of sailing and the adventure that comes with it, exploring new places all the time and reaching parts of the island that you just simply couldn’t any other way.” It’s as clear as day to me that Chris is doing what he should be doing, he’s found his calling and he’s answering it pretty damn well. Is he where he should be though, I wonder?
Ever thought of jumping Majorca ship and offing to newer pastures? I jest, sporting yet another excellent pun.
“It has crossed my mind obviously, trying out new locations but for me Port Soller is the perfect place to rent a yacht, we have secret blue lagoons, restaurants only accesible by boat, dolphins almost guaranteed, (if you know the secret spots) and the most incredible coastline. Best on the island for sure!”
I will go ahead and take that as a “no” for now then. So, what is left to discover? What if I were to take the Mezzo Magic experience, what should I expect?
“Well Mezzo now is not just another another charter company. Everything we do is bespoke and we tailor everything to the clients needs, from BBQ’s on the beach with live music to picking up hikers after a long walk and taking them off to a quiet cala somewhere for a quick dip and snorkel.. anything is possible really!”
Quite the salesman, I have to admit, as I am already sold and mentally planning appropriate yacht wear as we speak. Snorkels at the ready…