Gerald Read oversaw one of the most discussed classic sailboat restorations before taking the helm of the fast cruising yacht Mrs. Seven.
Captain, 99-foot sailing yacht Mrs. Seven
Date interviewed: May 2009
How did you realize you wanted to become a captain?
I’m from Houston, Texas, and I’ve been on the water my whole life. Back in 1999, I was working on aircraft engines for Lockheed Martin in Italy, and I had an opportunity to become the build engineer on the refit of a classic 98-foot ketch. After the refit, the owner of that boat asked me to become the skipper, so I got my certifications.
Your next refit project would be even more substantial.
That’s right. In 2002, I became the build engineer for the refit of Lulworth, a 151-foot sailing yacht that was originally built in 1920. That was a four-year process, start to finish, and then I stayed aboard as skipper for three years after that.
Lulworth, obviously, is not a typical charter yacht. How did you enjoy the experience of working onboard?
I learned so much, it’s unreal. It was more than I’d ever have thought I had to learn. We rebuilt her for racing, not for charter, and the sailing aspect was incredible.
A boat like that, when you have a charter, it’s a special kind of client. They appreciate yachts. they appreciate sailing. I really loved to sail with people like that.
Why did you decide to leave and become captain aboard the far more modern, 99-foot sailing yacht Mrs. Seven in March 2009?
It was time for a change. It took some time for me to decide to go to a modern boat from Lulworth. Now, I love Mrs. Seven. My passion is the same.
How do you expect the charter experience you offer aboard Mrs. Seven to be different from what you offered on Lulworth?
Chartering this boat will probably be easier. The galley, for instance, is really functional as opposed to the one on Lulworth, which is an original sunken galley. That’s not ideal for gourmet meals.
I was worried at first about having eight guests with only four crew. I thought we’d be pressed, but it’s been great. You can sail this boat with just two people. Her design is just that good.
I also was worried about having only one stewardess aboard Mrs. Seven. On Lulworth, we had 11 crew, and the biggest group of guests who ever slept aboard was three. So this is a big change, a reversed ratio for me. So far, it’s working out well.
What are some of your favorite cruising destinations?
I really like Sardinia and the Aeolian Islands. The atmosphere is incredible.
This summer, we’re supposed to sail to the Aegean Islands in Greece. It will be my first time there, and from what I’ve heard about them, I can’t wait.
What else should CharterWave readers know about you and Mrs. Seven?
I just want to sail and have a good time. Come on out and join me.