*22 permanent crew/ 24 when on charter*
Captain– Roy Hodges
USA. Roy started working in the marine industry at the age of 13 and had accumulated enough sea time for his first captain’s license at 19. He has steadily progressed from smaller vessels and licenses to vessels up to 240’. As Captain, Roy’s primary responsibility is for the safety of the passengers and crew. He also sees to it, that your trip goes smoothly and pleasurably. He is very proud of the fact that many of his crew have transitioned with him on his last four vessels. In Roy’s down time, he is a private pilot and enjoys motorcycles and offshore fishing.
Chief Officer – Marco Deans
United Kingdom. Marco was born and raised in the South East of England, studied Biological Sciences at Exeter University and began yachting after a number of years working in banking and telecoms finance roles ashore. Marco has worked in the yachting industry for the last 13 years and feels naturally at home both on the ocean and in it. Having had some experience of dive conservation projects, I have a healthy respect and huge appreciation for nature and the Oceans. I have been fortunate to have cruised the South Pacific, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Red Sea, Alaska, Asia and take great pleasure in the adventure of assisting guests in discovering new and interesting places. Hobbies and passions include endurance road cycling and scuba diving.
Purser – Stephanie Hodges
USA. Stephanie started working at Green Turtle Bay Marina in Kentucky while in high school and has been in the marine industry ever since. She and Captain Roy have been married for 20 years and have spent most of that time cruising the Bahamas and Caribbean. Stephanie has held her 100-ton captain’s license for 13 years. In her spare time she enjoys road cycling, skeetshooting, fishing, fashion, photography and puppies.
Chief Stewardess – Nicola Topping
South Africa. Nicola was born in Cape Town, South Africa where she developed a passion for nature, the outdoors and the ocean. Nicola went on to study a business degree and worked in the corporate world, before her adventurous spirit and wanderlust lead her to pursue a career in yachting 5 years ago. She loves experiencing new places, people and cultures and is an avid scuba diver and skier. To keep fit Nicola enjoys working out and yoga.
Second Stewardess – Rhia Hobbs
Australia. Being brought up near the famous Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, a natural love for the ocean was instilled in Rhia at a very young age. After working for years as a travel agent at home, her longing to travel finally brought her to yachting in 2013. Rhia has worked on a wide variety of super yachts and has travelled all around America, the Mediterranean, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. A hippy at heart, Rhia loves yoga and is a qualified yoga instructor. Her happy, hospitable nature and eagerness to please will ensure your trip on Laurel will be one to remember.
Stewardess – Shani Davies
South Africa. Shani was born in Durban and grew up on the coast, which instilled in her a great love for the ocean. Shani completed a degree in Marketing and Media and left her career in advertising and as a photographer to join the yachting industry. She is extremely proud to be working on M/Y Laurel. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, the outdoors, yoga and fitness, diving and being an aspiring musician as she loves to sing, play the piano and the ukulele.
Stewardess – Mary Grace Jubelag
Philippines. Grace enjoys traveling to various parts of the world and is very excited to be working onboard M/Y Laurel! Her favorite experiences are cruising the Panama Canal and Caribbean. Grace takes great pride in providing excellent service and making sure to meet the guest’s needs. She is married to our Laundryman, James and they have a beautiful little boy. In her spare time she loves volleyball, reading, cycling, and spending time at the beach.
Stewardess- Kate Abel
New Zealand. Kate grew up in Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand and loves the ocean and outdoors. She completed a degree in Accounting, Commercial law and Tax and has since worked as a qualified Chartered Accountant for the past four years. Kate is new to the yachting industry and is very much looking forward to exploring and traveling to new places. In Kate’s spare time she enjoys diving, the outdoors, keeping active and traveling.
Laundryman- James Fulgencio
Philippines. James has worked on many large super yachts over the years and enjoys travelling and meeting new people and learning from different cultures. His favorite destinations are the Caribbean and the Baltic. James likes to focus on catering to guest's needs so that they have an excellent sailing experience as well as excellent laundry! In his free time he loves to go mountain hiking, playing basketball and American football.
Stewardess- Tamsin Petersen
South Africa. Tamsin was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. She grew up with a passion for swimming and spent 12 years competing. She graduated from high school in 2007 and adventured off to the USA to further her studies and to compete in international waters. Tam spent 4 years at Union College in Kentucky and still holds 5 college swimming records. She has her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, Management and Business Administration.
Tam enjoys traveling, hiking, trail running and being outdoors. Tam is new to the yachting industry and looks forward to adding her excitement to your stay on Laurel.
IN THE GALLEY
Head Chef – Patrick Matthews
Patrick is a classically trained Executive Chef, bringing to the table over 35 years of extensive experience, ranging from casual high volume to award winning five-star establishments. He has mesmerized many discriminating restaurant goers while holding court at some of the world's finest dining enclaves. He has a culinary arts background as his ballast, with his formal training at The Culinary Institute of America, where he graduated with high honors. Patrick hails from Big Sky Country with he acquired his passion for the great outdoors… from skiing to SCUBA, mountain climbing to roller blading, motorcycling to bodybuilding… Patrick loves to stay active and staying on top of the world of fitness… holding both his Personal Training and Sports Nutritionist certification.
Sous-Chef – Simon Treller
NZ/Australia. Simon was born in New Zealand and grew up in Australia where he finished school and became an apprentice chef at the age of 17. Simon worked in a 5 star hotel in Christchurch for 6 years as he climbed the ranks from Commi to Sous Chef. Simon then moved to Whistler Canada and worked in a fine dining restaurant where the menu pushed for local, fresh ingredients. He returned to New Zealand, where he met his wife while working in a hotel together. Simon enjoys snowboarding and mountain sports. When he has down time he relishes taking time to enjoy local produce, restaurants and wine.
First Officer – Randy Holmes
Canada. Randy was born in Vancouver but moved to the Bahamas as a child where he would learn how to spearfish, free-dive and gained a respect for the ocean. He has sailed over 100,000 miles since starting in the industry 5 years ago. He has seen every island in the Caribbean as well as sailing a 50 foot catamaran across the Pacific Ocean to Fiji. Randy currently holds a Chief Mate 3000 certificate and is working towards his Masters ticket. He also has a background in finance and construction. In Randy's spare time he enjoys kitesurfing, free diving and backcountry skiing.
Second Officer—Wikus Botes
South Africa. Wikus played professional rugby for 7 years before an injury ended his career in 2012, which brought him to yachting—and he has never looked back! Wikus has been diving since he was 14 years old and today he is proud to say that he has done over 1000 dives all around the world and is a PADI certified Dive Instructor. Wikus is a qualified OOW 3000 GT and is working toward his Masters License. His infectious enthusiasm and sense of humor ensure and incredibly fun trip onboard.
Lead Deckhand- Francois Van Hoogstraten
France. Gregoire was born in France. He graduated, in June of 2015, from the Maritime School of La Rochelle and is now in the process of validating his Captain’s Certificates 200 UMS, 500 UMS. He is a hard worker, ready to take charge, and can easily adapt to a situation. Since childhood, he has been passionate about the sea and maritime activities. He developed a team spirit and a great sense of commitment from being a National Level Water Polo player.
Deckhand – Erjo Junatas
Philippines. Erjo, has been lucky enough to complete- two circumnavigations around the world. He has worked on the following vessels: M/Y Christina, M/Y Bullish, M/Y Gravitas 171’. As an experienced deckhand onboard, he ensures that the exterior of the vessel is looking pristine at all times. He takes a lot of pride in his work and specialized in paint and varnish. Erjo considers himself as the ‘Michael Jordan’ of Yachting as he is a big basketball fan. He enjoys cycling and music, mainly 80’s and 90’s. When available from his regular duties, Erjo is a qualified masseuse as well.
Deckhand- Hanna Eloranta
Finland. Hanna was born and raised in the beautiful Nordic country of Finland. She spent a couple years growing up in Montreal, Canada, and the hot summers doing all the watersports that were available at the local pool. After returning to Finland, she continued with competitive swimming and worked as a swimming instructor until she finished university. As a Master of Science in Technology, she worked with developing cloud based building management systems. Hanna is working towards her Officer of the Watch 3000GT ticket whilst working hard and enjoying her hobbies of yoga, fitness, exploring and diving. She believes things happen for a reason and is now here to make sure your holiday is as stress-free as possible in a beautiful and comfortable environment.
Deckhand/ Dive Master- Andre Xavier
Brazil. Andre was born in the city of Recife, Brazil. He grew up living in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Nebraska, and California. He worked in trading and logistics and as a maritime agent. Andre then spent 3 years studying to become a diplomat, earning a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations/Post Degree International Trading; Diplomacy & Negotiations, but decided to have a change when his career path led him to the yachting industry instead. Andre is a qualified PADI Scuba instructor- and looks forward to take you diving! Andre speaks several languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian. He enjoys kite Surfing, Scuba Diving, Cross Fit, yoga, reading, hiking and learning about different cultures.
Chief Engineer – Trevor Taylor
Australia. Trevor grew up in outback Queensland on a 20,000 acre cattle property where he became enthusiastic about repairing machinery. At eighteen years old he volunteered for the Australian Army and joined the Royal Australian Mechanical and Electrical Engineers Core where he qualified as a diesel engineer. With two deployments to Afghanistan and 6 years of service, he discharged to pursue his passion for engineering and desire for adventure. After traveling to over 50 different countries Trevor heard about the yachting industry and decided to become a Marine Engineer. Now with more than five years’ experience on busy luxury charter yachts, he is determined to give you the best experience and comfort possible. In his spare time Trevor enjoys diving, snowboarding, hiking and travelling.
Second Engineer – Ross Levet
New Zealand. Ross completed his apprenticeship as an electrician and lived in the UK for three years while working and travelling extensively before returning to New Zealand and beginning his career in yachting. In his spare time, Ross enjoys diving, playing tennis, travelling and renovating houses.
Third Engineer – Dylan Ross
New Zealand. Growing up in Tauranga, on the east coast of New Zealand, Dylan developed an attachment to the ocean. He pursued a career in aviation and is a qualified aircraft maintenance engineer. His love for travel led him to yachting where he can combine the two. In his spare time he enjoys travelling, fishing, diving, surfing, photography and videography.
Deck / Engineer – Paul Soper
South Africa. Paul, was born and raised in Durban, where he completed a degree in Finance management. After Paul finished his degree he worked for Red Bull as a brand and sales developer for 2 years. During his summer vacations he would work in Summer Camp USA in Maine and Massachusetts where he helped children excel in sport and other outdoor activities. He has a passion for all water related activities, outdoor adventure sports and most of all, his love for travelling the world, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.