Captain Name: Jesse Clinton
Captain Nationality: American
Number of Crew: 9
Captain – Jesse Clinton, USA
Jesse is originally from Savannah, Georgia. He fell in love with boating at a young age and spent his childhood sailing the east coast with his family. He learned how to sail at an early age affording him a keen understanding of the ocean. By the age of 10, he knew his lifelong dream was to be a captain. When he was a teenager, he sailed the tall ship circuit and eventually taught sailing to young adults. At age 18, he earned his captain’s license with plans of making yachting his career. Jesse has spent the past several years crewing aboard sailing yachts & busy charter motor yachts. His calm demeanour and being a natural on the ocean makes him the perfect crew member. He enjoys all water sports, especially wakeboarding, surfing, and paddle boarding. He is also very creative and likes a good challenge.
First Officer / 2nd Captain– Kyle Holmes, USA
Kyle grew up in Sacramento, California. Kyle has been around the water for his entire life, as a young adult he taught sailing, water skiing and worked on commercial fishing boats. His family has a house and sport fishing company in Mexico so feel free to test his fishing expertise. He realized he wanted to have his career as a captain and completed 4 years at the California Maritime Academy. From there he went straight into yachting and has never looked back. He has been in yachting for 11 years and a captain for 6 years. He is passionate about his job and loves to help his guests enjoy the ocean and yachting experience as much as he does.
Chef – Brian Knott, USA
Brian’s culinary career started with Chef John Currence (James Beard Award Winner) of City Grocery, Oxford, Mississippi back in 1993. For a job during college, he started washing dishes here. With Brian’s desire for food, he was fortunate to move up the ranks and began to learn the ideology of a farm to table mentality. From there, Brian had the fortune of working with other acclaimed Chefs such as Troy Thompson and his mentor Gunther Seeger at the LA Reid owned Fusebox in Atlanta, GA where he became enthralled in the trend of fusion cuisine, Chef Tony Hanslits renowned for his award winning Italian bistro Tavola di Tosa in Indianapolis and Chef Hidemasa Yamamoto at Chatham Bars Inn, one of the top resorts in the world.
Further to this, several James Beard Nominees were a part of Brian’s skill refinement. These include, Frank Lee and Jason Scholz at High Cotton in Charleston, SC as well as later with Jonathan Eismann at Pacific Time in Miami. In between, Brian found himself eager to run his own operation and bought a bar and restaurant in Costa Rica which after four years he was able to sell profitably. The restaurant business being so competitive and somewhat discouraging is what lead Brian into yachting, where he could be creatively independent and successful. He has since spent 11 years as both a private estate chef and Head Chef on yachts having cooked for numerous celebrities including cooking for and with celebrity chefs such as Ming Tsai during the 2014 Masters Tournament and Mario Batali. Versatility is an understatement when describing Brian’s skills and guests will have a truly exceptional culinary experience thanks to his creations aboard Avalon.
Chief Stewardess – Michelle Riherd, USA
Michelle Riherd sails as Chief Stewardess aboard M/Y Avalon. After growing up in Michigan, Michelle traveled to Key West during a Spring Break in college, and her life changed forever. It was in Key West that she was first introduced to yachting, and she has been happily working on yachts for eighteen years. Michelle loves the constant change of scenery, meeting new people and hearing the interesting life stories of all of the colorful characters she has met through traveling. Always up for the next big adventure, her yachting career has taken her from British Columbia to the Bahamas, and she counts St. Maarten and Dominica among her favorite destinations. She has homes in both Fort Lauderdale and Sweden and, when she is not at sea, she enjoys playing squash, mountain biking, home projects, or simply surrounding herself with her favorite people. Michelle is excited to start yet another adventure aboard M/Y Avalon. Her friendly personality, finely-tuned service skills and attention to detail will delight Avalon guests and make their charter experience truly unforgettable.
Qualifications: PADI Diver, Silver Service
Second Stewardess – Ashley Craddock , USA
Born in a small town on the Jersey shore, Ashley was imprinted with the coastal atmosphere encompassing a small world of fishing, boating, surfing and the popular boardwalks. At 12 years old, Ashley’s family embarked on a new journey and relocated to Florida where she continued school at Thereon College. After completing her Associates, she decided to follow in her big sisters footsteps and pursue a career in the yachting industry. In 2013 she began her role as a stewardess, experiencing a whole new world of travel, foreign friends, and exclusive destinations. Over the last 6 years Ashley has enjoyed the yachting experience and takes pride in the hard work and dedication she has accomplished alongside her fellow crew mates. Aside from yachting, Ashley enjoys the outdoors, traveling, & studying nutrition.
Third Stewardess – Janke Spangenberg , South Africa
Janke was born and raised in Pretoria. Despite growing up in central South Africa far away from the ocean, she decided to join the yachting community to travel the world while doing so in style. Growing up she spent all her vacations and birthdays at her family’s beach house, where she fell in love with the ocean and enjoyed every moment surrounded by the marine life. When she’s not working on a yacht, you can definitely find her at the beach.
Bosun – William Claridge, USA
Wil was born in Tallahassee, Florida but was raised in the Bahamas where he was afforded the opportunity to grow up on the water where he enjoyed fishing, diving, and other water related activities. He has a deep love for the ocean which led him to the yachting industry. He has since obtained his captains and engineering license and continues to further his knowledge and career within the industry. William enjoys beaching, paddle boarding, fishing, as well as many other water and land based sports and activities.
Deck/Stew – KayLani Penas, USA
KayLani was raised in Minnesota where she spent her youthful summers boating on the lakes and stayed active with sports year around. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Marketing. After working behind a desk during cold Minnesota winters, KayLani decided she needed something more adventurous in her life, it was this desire that brought her into the yachting industry. When she’s not cruising on the boats, KayLani can be found on the beach, staying active with sports and traveling.
Chief Engineer – Matthew Solman, Australian
Matthew “Sol” is from the Hunter Valley in Australia, a small town called Singleton, but now resides in Ft. Lauderdale. Before joining the yachting industry he worked as an Electrical Fitter/Mechanic in the local coal mines. Sol has been working on yachts now for over 12 years and this has seen him employed on yachts such as VAJOLIROJA/AMPHITRITE, ROCHADE , ONE MORE TOY, AL SHOUA and the sailing vessel MONTIGNE. Living near the coast he spent a lot of time in the ocean from a young age surfing, wake boarding and skiing. He is also a PADI open water diver and hobbies include snowboarding, rugby, swimming, traveling and brewing craft beer. Sol brings a great deal of experience to ensure the smooth operation of the vessel and currently holds a Y3 Chief Engineer license. He also holds his Power Boat level 2 certificate and relevant safety certificates.