Today on the blog, I am delighted to interview my good friends Inge & Paige. I worked with Paige last year during her first yachting season! {Curious as to what her first season of yachting was like!? Click HERE to read the post we did together last year!)

Shortly after Paige joined, we went to see her favorite singer Demi Lovato concert and also met Paige’s longterm girlfriend, Inge! Over the season, Paige and I would often talk about couples in yachting and the unique struggles they may face as an LGBT couple in the industry. Over those months, I got to know both Inge and Paige & individually are the most incredible women, so you can imagine that together, they make are the hardest working couple!


Hi! We’re Inge and Paige – a yachtie couple who have been together for almost 5 years. We love exciting adventures and are passionate about exploring cities and places we’ve never been to. We tend to find ourselves on journeys where the roads are less traveled; whether it be a tiny tapa’s restaurant in Spain that only the locals would know about, to walking the streets of remote villages in France and Italy. Over the past 5 years, we have been to over 90 wineries – and are just as passionate about our food too! We are down-to-earth, fun-loving individuals who are not only partners but best friends too. 


What struggles have you faced as a couple looking to work in the same department?

Finding a couple’s position is hard enough for those who would work in different departments, let alone working within one department. We knew that as a same-sex couple we would face a few challenges that many other couples wouldn’t. In our particular situation, both of us were stewardesses and even though we were quite eager for one of us to branch out to the deck department, neither of us had any deck experience which restricted our odds even more. People seem to be hesitant to hire a couple that would work very closely together within the same department (and we don’t think this had been seen very often in the past either!) So needless to say, it took us a few months of searching to finally be given the opportunity to work together! 


 

When you joined the industry, did you anticipate working apart for your first season?

Yes! We knew that it would be nearly impossible to find work together for our first season. Although it was pretty tough to accept we would be apart for at least 6 months, we knew that it was extremely important to gain experience first and get at least one season behind our name before we even thought about looking for something together. Luckily, we both landed our very first jobs on different boats on the same day and were fortunate enough that our boats had a similar cruising schedule for summer. We were able to see a lot more of one another than we had expected which made our first summer in the industry even better!


What has been your biggest learning curve of working/living/breathing together onboard?

Over these past 6 months, we have definitely learned to appreciates one another’s strengths and to help the other out with their weaknesses. It has taught us patience and has really developed a deeper sense of gratitude for one another. We have learned a lot more about ourselves as individuals by working so closely together than we ever thought we would have. We have also put a pretty strict “cut off time” on our evenings – so that when we do spend time together after hours, we try not to talk about work. It is important for us to keep the two worlds of work and our personal lives separate, so when we can, we often take time off together away from the boat and just really enjoy our time together.

 


How do you deal with the hierarchy of one of you being Chief Stew?

We definitely respect one another’s positions on board. We knew when coming into this that one of us (Inge) would be the chief stew, and I (Paige) could not be more supportive of her in this role! Inge has a lot more experience with regards to service and management in the hospitality industry (she was also a flight attendant for years) and let’s not forget to mention her knowledge in wine! We operate well as a team and share a lot of the responsibilities and work, however, whenever the time comes for Inge to step up she does. While she often ends up spending a few hours doing all the important admin, email correspondence, accounts, orders, etc.; I’ve got it covered with everything else that needs to get done within the day. 


As an LGBT couple, have you felt accepted in the Industry?

We definitely have felt accepted in the more social settings of the industry. Fellow crew members have, in our experience, always been open-minded which is extremely comforting and welcoming.  However, in saying that, when it comes to hiring LGBT couples, we believe that a lot more progress needs to be made. Many boats were hesitant in hiring us together, including agents, chief stewardesses as well as captains. We often got the one-liner “Sorry, no couples” in response to our effortful email applications and CV’s.  We definitely feel that a change in the mindset of those hiring is necessary, because there are many LGBT members in the industry, and a lot more couples that have/will be in our situation than one may think. 

 


What advice/wisdom would you give to couples in the same position as you and trying to find work together?

Always be open and honest and never give up! Throughout our times of applying for positions to work together, we felt it was super important to be upfront and mention that we are in a relationship. Our philosophy was that if we were rejected based on the premise that we are a couple, it probably wouldn’t have been the right boat for us in any case. But don’t lose hope either! There are awesome people and awesome boats out there, and the right opportunity is bound to come your way. 

 

Can we just appreciate this Dynamic Duo!? The are absolutley killing it this season with back to back charters all while learning to work together. I am SO freaking happy that these two lovebirds have found a boat to call home together.

Big Hugs,

Gem xo

theyachtstew
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theyachtstew

Hello! My name is Gemma, the girl behind The Yacht Stew. After 7 years of working on yachts, I wanted to create a platform where I could share my stories, travels & passions. I have been asked a million and one times “What do you actually do working on a yacht?” – hopefully this blog will give you a good insight. I’m so excited to share my travels & stories with you.
theyachtstew
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