We had the opportunity to interact with Captain Surender Saini recently on Monjin, where he took us on an exciting journey and gave us a glimpse of his career in the yachting industry.
The interview turned out to be extremely fun and we thought why not share it with you as well. Here it goes:
Please introduce yourself and let us know how you came to join the yachting industry?
From my navy times where I served for 15 years, I was involved with sailing competitions in addition to rescue diving duties. I was always fascinated with yachting industry and I joined professional yachting soon after I left Indian Navy.
We know that you spent 15 years in the Navy and was a Air Rescue Navy diver when you left. Can you give us some more information about the time you spent in the Navy and the qualifications you acquired
I joined Indian Navy in 1992 and initially qualified as aircraft Radio technician. After that I opted for special diving qualifications as a rescue diver with the search and rescue organisation in the Indian Navy. The expertise requires a diver to jump from a chopper and provide assistance/ rescue the survivor in any weather conditions, during this all period I was involved in several rescue operations off both the East and West coast of India.
Can you outline your experience in yachting?
I joined professional yachting in 2007 (soon after leaving the Indian Navy) as Lead Deck Hand. I was an integral part of the Kalizma team that sailed extensively in the Far East, Indian West Coast and the Maldives. During this period the yacht hosted owners and guests on charter and private usage. As I gained experience and with continue support of management I was able to progress my yachting carrier by learning and achieving further qualification of PADI (dive instructor) and also my MCA/RYA Captain’s COC. In 2013, I left Kalizma to work on a new build project of Heesen 47 Meter. As Captain, I successfully completed the new build and hosted owners for 2 years through out the Mediterranean, Middle East and the Maldives. Last year in Nov 2016, I again joined Kalizma in Seychelles.
What yachting qualifications do you have? Do you have any qualifications apart from Navigation qualifications that assist when looking after the Yacht
Yacht master 3000gt. Apart from this navigation qualification I am also a PADI Dive instructor.
How long have you been associated with Kalizma? Can you tell us about the yacht and it’s history?
It’s almost 10 years now since I first stepped on to Kalizma from where I started my yachting carrier. She is grand old lady with a fantastic history. She was built in 1906 by Ramage &Furguson and initially launched as Minona. She was used in both the world wars by the Royal Navy as a patrol and supply vessel. In 1967, she was bought by Richard Burton for Elizabeth Taylor (then going by the name of Oddysseia). It was on board Kalizma that he presented his wife with 69.4 carat Cartier diamond. The couple also renamed the yacht their 3 daughters, Kate, Liza & Maria. She was bought by her current owner in 1995 and underwent several refits with a major restoration in 2006 to bring her to the current standard.
How did Kalizma come to be in the Seychelles and why did you plan to re-locate the Yacht to Sri Lanka?
Kalizma was cruised in the Seychelles for owners and guests. However, it became imperative to lift her out of the water for repairs and underwater surveys. Since there is no lifting/ hauling facility for her size near the Seychelles, it was decided to sail for Colombo where all the repair work, as well as class inspection can be completed.
What preparations did you take for the voyage?
Since it was a long passage, the passage needed to be planned very carefully and with due consideration of weather and sea state conditions. To make sure all the machinery status are in good working order we did numerous sea trials and ensured we had on board all the critical spares with us. I then waited till we had the perfect weather window for 6-7 days. This I had in hand from the 19th of March onwards. I then sailed Kalizma as planned through the shortest route by choosing to go via the southernmost point of Maldives, then upwards to Male atoll sailing in between the islands.
What precautions did you take on route and can you give us a quick brief of the voyage?
The most important thing was to make sure the yacht was fully ready and prepared to go to open sea. Safety and security issues were of primary concern. Since the area through which the passage was planned comes under the high risk area from piracy point of view, preparation according to BMP-4 was adhered to. This included registering the vessel movement with MSCHOA, rigging of water cannons and preparing of a CITADAL area, reviewing of manoeuvring procedures plus preparing and keeping in hand a list of all emergency contacts..
Can you share any incidents that were interesting? For example, we know you would have crossed the equator? Was there any ceremony that you conducted for the crew?
There was no any incident as it was all smooth sail throughout and unfortunately I wasn’t able to conduct equator crossing ceremony due to our arrival in there just after midnight and I didn’t want to slow down and wait for next morning to conduct it as the bad weather was approaching behind.
Is there any other information that you would like to share with our readers.
Kalizma is currently in Colombo, Sri Lanka undergoing maintenance and Dry docking. She will be ready for hosting owners & guests during winter season in Maldives and Seychelles.