Interview, Captain Jere Gaćina of MS Aurum Sky: “Our guests come for a well-rounded experience”
Launched in July 2020, the custom-built M/S Aurum Sky reaped much praise over her first charter season. “An oasis of luxury” and “a wonderful hidden gem” were just some of the compliments. Of special mention in the comments is her fabulous crew of six and her Captain, Jere Gaćina. A family from the UK wrote: “Our time spent with Jere and the team was magnificent, the service and attention to detail and care taken by each and every member of the staff was way beyond our expectation. We have chartered many yachts and the food onboard Aurum Sky was out of this world”. Another group from the UK stated: “Thank you to the excellent crew, fantastic cocktails from Toni – and all the other staff who all added to a very special holiday.” And then they especially thanked Captain Jere “for having a vision.”
Ahead of the new charter season 2021, we met up with “the man with a vision”, Captain Jere Gaćina of M/S Aurum Sky.
Captain Jere, congratulations on the successful first charter season! Launching a new yacht is always a special experience. How would you reflect upon the past year, how did it all go, are you satisfied?
Under the normal circumstances, I would say that the first season went very well, but if we consider it in the light of the coronavirus pandemic, it was excellent. The charters that were booked before the pandemic got rescheduled to 2021, and those newly open capacities were booked anew. So after she was out of the shipyard in July, we were in charter until the end of October. I am personally very satisfied about everything.
What stands out about MS Aurum Sky? What do you personally love about this yacht, what are your favourite features or areas?
I really love the entire yacht and it is really hard to single one thing out, but if I must, I am especially proud of her hull, stability, and the overall layout.
You are not only the Captain of M/S Aurum Sky, but also her architect. You were involved in the design and making of the vessel from the very beginning. What was that process like?
The making of M/S Aurum Sky was certainly an invaluable and unforgettable experience and I can only thank God and my family for being able to complete the project that required great dedication and devotion for three full years. My expertise is in naval architecture, so this was a wonderful chance to utilize both my knowledge of design and my practical experience as a captain. I have woven all that I know into this unique vessel, and am immensely proud of it.
Your crew is highly praised by the guests, it seems to have become the trademark of MS Aurum Sky. What are some of the most important traits of your crew besides being outstandingly professional?
Yes, our crew is made up of top professionals in yachting, but that is certainly not the only requirement. Each crew member must have a heartfelt feeling for people. Our guests can see that is their eyes and behaviors. Me and my crew, we know that on our ship, the beauty of the vessel, the sun, and the sea – they are only the beginning. Our guests come for the whole package, a ‘well-rounded experience’ that includes the extraordinary yacht, the crew, service, food, but also that little something that can’t be learnt… an innate inclination to make people happy. I choose my crew members very carefully based on that.
And how would you describe yourself as a Captain, what’s the secret ingredient of your success?
I would say that what makes me good at my job is that I know how to read the guests, sense their wishes, and then tailor a dream charter. Like you said, the interaction with our guests is our trademark.
Did you always know you were going to be a yacht captain?
Well, ever since I can remember, I was always surrounded by the sea and boats. But as a child, I dreamt of becoming a veterinarian! Still, the call of genes was stronger, as I come from a family of fishermen. My ancestors from grandma’s side owned fishing boats at the beginning of the 20th century. So when I decided to pursue my legacy, I enrolled at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Zagreb. For a while I worked on land, in a shipyard, but in 2009, I was appointed the Captain of Gullet Aurum. I guess you could say that the rest is history. I fell in love with being at the sea as well with guest service. So after nearly a decade on Gullet Aurum, M/S Aurum Sky was a new challenge and a logical step.
Besides prolonging that tradition, what does being a yacht captain mean to you?
Definitely great happiness, excitement, and honour, but also an immense responsibility. I think our guests recognise this. It is virtually impossible to do this job at the highest level if you do not truly love it.
What makes you especially happy about this job?
Again, the interaction with guests, their happiness and satisfaction when they are on the yacht with us. But also the scents of the Adriatic, sunsets… the freedom that I feel out at sea. Those things are priceless.
Any favourite memories from your charters?
I would almost dare say that my entire work is one favourite memory. Great booking results, many returning guests. But it makes me especially happy when I hear our guests say that they finally feel peaceful and relaxed, or that they had been trying to accomplish something for a long time, and it all came together, became real, while on the yacht.
If you were a guest chartering a yacht for you and your friends, how would you spend an ideal day? Which part of the coast is your favourite?
If it was up to me, I would definitely spend the day somewhere in a secluded cove, far away from the inhabited areas. And the Croatian coast has plenty of those everywhere you go. I would choose the central and southern Dalmatia, because I love its pristine landscapes, and I think that many of our guests would agree. Of course, being on a top yacht with top crew would be crucial for my perfect day!
In closing, is there anything you would like to say to your guests?
If they are seeking an extraordinary experience that couples a state-of-the-art vessel, crew and service… we are the top choice for you! We don’t do cookie-cutter, we truly tailor the whole experience to the guest making the journey, from the food and music, to daily activities, to themed celebrations. We truly look forward to welcoming every single guest and we hope very much that in the upcoming season we will see some familiar faces and some new ones.