Dudley Salt, age 33, has been the chief officer onboard the luxurious 197' MY ELYSIAN since its renaming in June 2016. Having gained his Masters 3000 in November that year, the opportunity arose recently for him to step up as relief captain for ELYSIAN’s first Atlantic crossing.
Dudley has planned for more than 10 Atlantic crossings in his career, but this time it would be different. Stepping into the role of captain is something that Dudley has been working toward since starting out in the industry in 2007.
His first challenge was to replace himself as chief officer, and his immediate choice was a well trusted friend and master of navigation. “In taking on a role of such responsibility, it is important to know and trust the judgment of those working alongside you,” Dudley said.
After a busy shipyard period, the crew of ELYSIAN left to depart West Palm Beach to arrive in Monaco in time for the Grand Prix. While weather plays the largest part in the decision of when to make way, owner commitments are of course top priority and they were determined to make it in time to prepare the boat for its first trip of the Med season.
After multiple test runs of fire and safety drills and a careful appraisal of the upcoming weather patterns, the crew were ready to depart on May 3. With Captain Grant Heunis in full support of Dudley’s venture, he gladly waved the crew goodbye from the dock, and Captain Dudley Salt’s first voyage officially began.
A bumpy start to a 17-day passage across the Atlantic helped some of ELYSIAN’s new crew members find their sea legs in no time. With the entire crew on 24-hour rotation for the duration of the trip, it was important that all aspects of the vessel were taken care of from the officers of the watch, to our trusty lookouts, engineers, chefs and of course the interior crew maintaining the crew and guest areas.
Passing the time on an Atlantic crossing is always a challenge. When calmer seas presented themselves, the girls were out on the sundeck working on their St. Tropez tans. The deck crew succumbed to the lure of PlayStation and, of course, before our departure the movie selection onboard received a much needed update!
It is tradition to celebrate the halfway mark of a crossing, and when weather permits yachts will often slow down, allowing braver crew to jump from the sundeck or simply dip in the big blue ocean. Unfortunately for the crew of Elysian, time was of the essence and slowing down was not an option to stay out of the path of even larger seas.
However, to mark the occasion, lunch was celebrated with a Halfway Sushi Party prepared by the yacht’s new Sous Chef, Charlie Chin. Those that were not on duty were able to slip into a Kimono and enjoy a rare lunch outside as they marveled at how far they had come and how far there was yet to go.
After 12 days, the crew were scheduled to pull into Gibraltar to refuel before continuing on to Antibes. Due to looming weather patterns, it was recommended they avoid the straits of Gibraltar and instead refuel in Madeira and await calmer seas.
Some of the crew were able to step ashore for a well-deserved afternoon off, and The Belmont Hotel High Tea was a superb treat: fresh scones, egg sandwiches, cakes and tea were devoured while taking in the beautiful view of Portugal.
However, with a tight deadline and a go-head from Weather Routing, it was a short but sweet visit and by the afternoon of the 15th the crew were underway again. Unknown to anyone, the swells of the Atlantic Ocean were about to test the capabilities of the crew and the yacht itself.
By midnight that night the Elysian was plowing its way through 18 foot seas and 30 knots of wind. In an attempt to seek a better angle for the yacht to make way through the rising seas, Dudley made the decision to turn away from our headed direction. It took Elysian 5 hours to do 12 nautical miles in an easterly direction to find calmer seas and give the crew, and the vessel, a much needed break.
Needless to say, finding shelter in the anchorage of Antibes after 19 days at sea and with 2 days to spare before the scheduled owner’s trip, the entire crew were in need of a well deserved frosty beer. A successful voyage with many a tale to be retold, it is indeed a milestone that Dudley will remember for the rest of his career. Many thanks to the owners of Elysian and Captain Grant for their well wishes in his first voyage.