At just 34 years of age, it’s fair to say Matthew Curtis has already achieved a lot in life. Currently the Captain of 27 metre Moonen built superyacht BOTTI, over the next year Matthew will face a whole new set of challenges and achievements as he becomes Captain of ‘in-build’ 36m Moonen Martinique, YN200.
Raised in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Matthew grew up in the hub of what is known as the Grand Strand; almost 100 kilometres of uninterrupted coastline off the Atlantic Ocean, adorned with a string of beautiful beaches. Growing up on the water Matthew naturally became interested in fishing, and in high school he was particularly interested in offshore saltwater fishing. Because of this, Matthew developed a passion for yachting early in life.
After college, Matthew moved to South Florida to jump on board a yacht and travel for 6 months, before getting what he describes as a “real” job. Falling hook, line and sinker in love with yachting, Matthew has now been in the industry for more than ten years and can decisively attribute his successful yachting career to his passion for fishing.
Here Matthew gives us an honest glimpse into his experience on board, and what it’s like to be at the helm of a Moonen superyacht.
How does it feel to be the Captain of BOTTI?
Rewarding. We are always turning heads when we pull into a marina. Everyone commits on her lines and her appearance.
How did you find the process of becoming accustomed to BOTTI? Was it easy to become familiar with her systems?
It took some time to get adjusted. Botti was my first Moonen and first European boat. It’s not something that you step on and go. That being said, the support from previous captains as well as the shipyard was outstanding. They really did a great job helping me become accustomed to the vessel.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your superyacht career as a Captain?
My first captain position was a tough one. I was only 27 and was competing with other captains who were nearly twice my age for the position. I was fortunate enough in the first five years of my career to work with some very good captains, as well as learn quite a lot about engineering. The engineering experience, as well as my travels, made the difference. It’s still a challenge being a young captain in the industry, but it drives me to work harder and prove myself.
In terms of the build, can you describe what it’s like being on board and at the helm of a Moonen?
It’s a matter of trust in the vessel. I avoid bad weather like the plague, it’s not fun for anyone. But any day on the water can turn from good to bad in a flash. Knowing that the boat can take a lot more than we can is a great feeling when you’re offshore.
What has been your most memorable trip on board BOTTI?
My second summer in New England. We did a fantastic trip starting in NYC and ending there. We did a full loop and stopped in more than 20 marinas. We travelled to Long Island Sound, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Boston, Newport, and other ports. The weather was fantastic and the owners had a fantastic trip!
What has been your favourite memory from being onboard?
The 2017 refit. We pulled everything apart and put it back together. I got to see the bones of the vessel. It was really impressive.
Although still in the construction phase, what did you think of YN200 when you saw her for the first time? How did it feel to step onboard?
YN200 is a massive boat. You feel like you’re looking at a 40m+. When stepping on board, you see the extra quality that she holds. It’s all in the details that separate a Moonen from other boats in this size range.
What are you looking forward to about the new challenge as Captain of a 36 metre superyacht?
I can speak for myself, as well as the owners, that we look forward to expanding our travel range. The YN200 is a boat that can go anywhere, and we plan to test that.
Do you have a favourite yachting destination?
Harbour Island Bahamas. This place is great. Pink sand beaches, horseback riding on the beach, the fishing is great, and there are plenty of high quality restaurants for the guests.
From your experience, what tips would you give to new owners looking to purchase their first superyacht?
Do your research. Ask multiple Captains and other owners what you’re getting into. You can have the best boat in the world, but if your crew isn’t up to par, you’ll have a bad time. A good crew will make or break your program.
Can you tell us anything else significant from your experience?
A yacht opens the world for you. Enjoy it!