- 47.5m | Bilgin Yachts | 2017 (2019)
As captain of the popular superyacht Starburst III, Sebastian Gennies knows how to run an impeccable yacht charter.
A keen traveller who has navigated some of the most remote areas of the world, he also knows a special destination when he sees it.
Now mainly based in the Mediterranean, Captain Sebastian takes guests around the east and west coasts, and credits his crew for their ability to create one-of-a-kind experiences that amaze both owners and their guests time and time again.
The man at the helm of the impressive 47.5m Starburst III - a yacht which he calls "a friendly, watersports-oriented yacht with a modern flair, a young crew and a captain that is happy to bring the yachting experience to guests and clients" - Captain Sebastian leads the experienced yacht crew of nine, who together provide a charter that creates the ultimate escape from the stresses of daily life.
Going above and beyond on a regular basis, here Captain Sebastian shares his experiences on board and tells us why he truly believes Starburst III is the ultimate yacht for every type of charterer.
Please tell us a little about your background and how you got into yachting?
After completing my master’s degree in business, I started my maritime career in the cargo world, studying Nautical Science before taking my first steps as an officer on merchant vessels. I was lucky to later receive the opportunity to sail the polar regions for a couple of years aboard a passenger explorer vessel, navigating some of the most remote areas the world still has to offer.
Having a private sailing background and an interest in yachts of all sizes, I then received an offer to join the well-known yacht Lady Moura and the rest, as they say, is history.
How long have you been a captain and what are some of the yachts you’ve worked on?
I obtained my Master Mariner unlimited license in 2014 and received my first command on MY Sarah, a 63m Dutch-built yacht a few years later in 2017. Before joining Starburst III, I also had the pleasure to serve as captain on the 60m world-traveling Lürssen built yacht Vive la Vie. I joined Starburst in June 2020, just at the beginning of the season and a few days before her first charter.
How would you describe the style and personality of the yacht?
We are a family-friendly, water sports-oriented yacht with a modern flair, a young crew and a captain that is happy to bring the yachting experience to guests and clients. Yachts are built to sail and bring guests to areas they wouldn’t otherwise be able access. Starburst III is a summer boat combining interior and open deck spaces perfectly together with floating borders. This makes her not only cosy for guest experiences, but also creates the appearance of larger guest areas.
How would you describe the ambiance on board?
The ambience on board Starburst III is modern with a homely touch. It combines a contemporary design of a superyacht with the touch of a family living room you would find at home.
What’s your personal style as captain?
I never expect someone in my team to do something that I could not do myself. I believe in ultimate teamwork to achieve the best yachting experience, but I also believe a happy crew leads to happy guests. I always strive to meet guests’ expectations, and from my experience, a yachting trip can be so much better if these expectations are shared and discussed upfront. I get very passionate about the job when I see guests enjoying their time on board.
What’s the best thing about working on this yacht?
That totally depends on the time of the year. A standout point for sure is the support of the yacht owners for all of us aboard, which is highly appreciated.
What are some of the standout features of Starburst III?
The development in yacht building is so fast that a large amount of yachts have the latest variety of gadgets. If I had to pick a standout feature in terms of design and technical features, I would name the layout of the 48m vessel, which gives the impression of more space than other yachts of similar size. Together with the lines and colour coding, it makes Starburst just a beautiful boat to look at and to cruise with.
Which areas of the yacht do guests most tend to gather on board?
That is very much depends on the character of the guests. To our own surprise we can't really identify a favourite spot in general, as the preferences really vary. Although, the upper deck outdoor bar is a place that tends to be used by everyone regularly.
Which types of client are most attracted to charter?
We are a family and couple friendly boat for clients that like to relax, partake in watersports and enjoy both scenic cruises and lonely bays. That does not mean that we can’t do other things, too. The art of yachting is adaptation. We regularly have all age groups on board and any clients who are looking for a relaxed and informal atmosphere to escape the business world will enjoy Starburst III.
What types of experience can you offer charter guests?
It’s important to know a clients’ preferences and interests in regard to what their intention is of chartering a vessel. With this information, we can tailor the right experience. On the other hand, it also varies with the cruising area chosen - for example lonely remote bays will be difficult to find in the South of France. Apart from beach setups and intense water parks, there is not much of a limit though.
How would you describe the style and approach of the crew?
Our crew is open and informal when possible. We respect the clients’ wishes for privacy but are also happy to show them around. I would summarise it as friendly and obliging, with the desire to see satisfied clients.
Can you share some examples where you and your crew have gone above and beyond for guests?
That is a tricky question as our goal is to go above any beyond on a regular basis! An example for a rather ‘unusual operation’ happened on a lonely Croatian Island, where we found a shepherd with his sheep. We arranged for him to grill a lamb above the fire and created a lunch setup with shipboard equipment under an olive tree. The surroundings were more than simple, but it was an experience that all the guests enjoyed, as it was out of the ordinary and unique.
Are there any interesting personalities or talents among the crew?
I would say we all have interesting personalities, although something that amazes me every day is the creativity of our interior team to fold napkins in the widest varieties I could possibly imagine. In addition, we have great expertise on oceanographic wildlife on board, in case guests have an interest in nature.
How are the yacht and the crew prepared to accommodate children and teenagers on charter?
A few of the crew have children themselves and know what makes kids happy. We see that children love to tour around the boat with crew away from the normal guest areas and enjoy spending time on the bridge or steering a tender.
How would you describe the cuisine on board?
Our chef is familiar with a variety of Mediterranean cuisines, especially French, Italian and Greek. He’s confident in pretty much anything though, and loves to discuss the daily menu for lunch and dinner upfront. He’s always happy to give an introduction and explanation to each course in front of the guests.
Tell us about the toys and tenders – which toys are the most popular with guests?
That again depends very much on the personalities of the guests, but SUPs, SeaBobs and the jet skis seem to be the most popular ones. We are looking into purchasing a foiling board next season, but I believe that requires some balance skills for relaxed cruising.
What are your usual cruising grounds?
We charter throughout the Mediterranean and try to vary the regions from season to season so that repeating clients can enjoy different areas each year but keep the familiarity of Starburst III.
Which destinations and your personal favourites and why?
Due to my maritime background, I am a big fan of the cold and temperate zones such as Norway, Scotland or Chile, as well as polar regions. From a professional point of view - and keeping in mind that clients like to enjoy the water as well - Croatia is a fantastic area for yachts, as geographically they are well protected from the sea and you can always enjoy great scenery during cruising and find fantastic, quiet bays. I wish yachts would cruise more outside the Mediterranean though, as there is so much more to see.
What have been some of the highlights or your favourite memories as captain?
I am passionate about scenery and atmosphere while cruising, and there is nothing better than finding the perfect course during a sunset to create a romantic mood with amazing natural lights and celestial bodies. My highlights were always combinations of the sky, the sea state and the sun or moon that just matched the atmosphere. Calm nights or evenings where the Milky Way fully reflects in the sea are unforgettably memories. In addition, I get amazed over and over again when whales appear close to the vessel.