With a course that involves spending 20 days and 20 nights aboard a 15-meter catamaran to learn the secrets of the trade, MadMax Skipper School trains 100 new skippers each year. We had its founder Lucas tell us how the course works and who this work is suitable for.
We are in front of a big change, the government will very soon make the new figure of the Skipper official by streamlining hiring procedures and especially by canceling the 36-month apprenticeship requirement that was in fact an insurmountable obstacle to obtaining the title. What will it mean for practitioners?
For charter companies it will mean working with more peace of mind, but the benefit is especially for Skippers who will be able to start this wonderful job with a perspective toward the future, seeing themselves recognized with previously unknown rights and building a real career in the maritime world.
Great, but is the skipper question still there?
Demand continues to grow, just as on the other hand the demand for catamaran vacations continues to grow, for which it is often first-time catamaran clients who fuel the demand to have an experienced skipper to lead them through the sea. In general, the vacation business knows no rest, but the catamaran vacation business in particular will experience some glowing years.
Do those coming out of your course have the security of engagement?
Of course, we have been guaranteeing engagement for 15 years now because we are the benchmark for the best charter companies throughout the Mediterranean and beyond. A few months ago we signed an agreement with an overseas giant to provide them with Skippers in the Caribbean and Polynesia. The charter companies that hire our skippers don’t even ask for a work test, so much so that they trust our training: with the MadMax Skipper School you enter this world through the front door.
Why has MadMax Skipper School always been the “number one” school for Skippers?
Probably because I founded the school out of a pure need to train good Skippers for my fleet, with the ambition and dream of giving a nascent job a professionalism and standard that did not yet exist, certainly not to make money! Today it seems to me that so many only see an opportunity to do business by copying my course, but these courses have never worked because the lecturers are sailing theorists and none of them have 20 years’ experience as Skippers behind them. To do this job well, you have to teach foresight and prevention, based on all the experiences you’ve had, all the burning mistakes you’ve paid dearly for, the thousands of tricks you’ve learned on your own skin: but if all this you haven’t experienced, in the end what do you really teach? The one you’ve read in a book or maybe you’ve scoped from the MadMax course?
How do MadMax courses differ? Can you summarize the themes for us?
It’s not easy, but I’ll try: Let’s start with the basics, beginning with lessons in throwing a line ashore and tying knots, things that seem trivial, but I’ve seen bloom of commanders, in the most excitable moments, fail miserably. Then itinerary selection according to the weather, electrical engineering applied to on-board instruments, and in-depth, practical lessons on inboard. Sailing, navigating at night without GPS, a full day testing the best anchors on the market, debunking myths and urban legends. And again, whole days entering and exiting a dock to give a systematic and safe method to this maneuver, every skipper’s nightmare. All this and more interspersed with tales of experiences and anecdotes of lived sea life that serve as examples to reinforce what things are absolutely to be avoided or instead what should be adopted in difficult situations.
To whom would you recommend this work?
To my son, who is 9 years old and already a great sailor; to all the young people who love the sea and have not yet chosen what to do when they grow up; to the grown-ups who choose to slow down from their work to take time off and try the experience they dreamed of when they were young. It is an ageless work, made for all those who live by passions, become intoxicated by scents and enchanted by a sunset–like me.