Captain Name: John Van Der Straaten
Captain Nationality: South African/Dutch
Number of Crew: 6
Captain – John Van Der Straaten (South African/Dutch)
Previous Yachts: S/Y Nostromo, S/Y Helios, S/Y Desirade, S/Y Nirvana
Work Experience: John grew up messing about on boats in Cape Town, South Africa, from an early age. In his 20s he worked for a time for a boat builder and studied computer systems programming and design, but his passion was sailing and he made it his career. He has 20 years of experience as captain in ocean passage making, racing, cruising and chartering.
Waters Cruised: The South African coast and Indian Ocean, Caribbean, US East coast, UK and Mediterranean.
Job description: As Captain on Axia, the safety of the yacht and everyone on board is John’s first priority. He plans your itinerary and manages all departments, ensuring that everything runs smoothly, and that your time on Axia is relaxing, fun, and above all, memorable.
Job related licenses & certificates: Master 500 ton unlimited
Hobbies : Sailing, hiking, travel, photography
First Mate – Justin Botha (South African)
Previous Yachts: S/Y Enterprise, S/Y Selijm, S/Y Ocean Seven 2, S/Y Zenith
Work Experience: Justin grew up land-locked Pretoria, South Africa sailing lasers on the local dam, dodging crocodiles and hippos, then transitioned to keel boats racing regattas and longer distance races from Durban to Mozambique. After a few years working in private banking, in 2011 he sold hung up his suit to pursue a career in yachting.
Waters cruised: Indian and Atlantic oceans, Caribbean, Mediterranean and South China Sea.
Job description: Justin is responsible for all deck equipment, sails and rig, as well as the vessel’s tender, water sports and toys. He has a great sense of humor and is your go-to person for all your activities and adventures on the water, his mission is to make sure you have as much fun as possible.
Job related licenses & certificates: Yacht Master Offshore, AEC Engineering, PADI Advanced Diving
Hobbies: Sailing, fishing, photography
Engineer – Brett Bennett (South African /British)
Previous Yachts: S/Y Mia Cara, S/Y Nostromo, S/Y Alexa of London, S/Y Zenith
Work Experience: Brett grew up sailing optimists, lasers and Hobie cats on a National level in South Africa and, after a stint in the UK Royal Marines and as a Medic, he returned to yachting and has been sailing professionally since 2012.
Waters cruised: The Baltic Sea, UK, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Pacific, US, South Africa and Indian Ocean
Job description: As engineer, Brett’s role is to service and maintain all of the yacht’s systems and machinery to ensure our lights stay on, our cabins are chilled, our showers are hot, the fridges and freezers are cold, we have enough water and fuel, and if that isn’t enough, he also helps out on deck with sailing and watersports.
Job related licenses & certificates: AEC Engineering, Yacht Master offshore, Advanced Trauma & Emergency Healthcare
Hobbies: Sailing, cycling, watersports, shooting and fishing
Chef – Jude Lister (UK)
Previous Yachts: S/Y Shamana, S/Y Blues, S/Y Scorpione of London, S/Y Scorpione Dei Mari
Work Experience: British born, Jude has an education in Art, Film and Literature and has been working in the yachting industry for almost 20 years. She has an artistic flare and a wealth of experience acquired during her years of global travel.
Waters cruised: Mediterranean, Caribbean, USA
Job description: Jude strives to tantalize with healthy and tasty modern takes on classic Mediterranean, French and Asian cuisines, loves baking and is happy to cater to all your gastronomic requirements.
Job related licenses & certificates: Global School of Cooking, Food safety and Hygiene.
Hobbies: Food, Sailing, Art, Music, Travel, Motorbikes.
Chief Stewardess – Zsofia Kiss-Horti (Hungary)
Previous Yachts: M/Y Nassima, M/Y Satine, M/Y Layzula, S/Y Axia, M/Y Blackfish
Work Experience: After many years as a dedicated member of the Hungarian national Karate team, and a strong academic background, with achievements such as physical education teacher, Zsofia’s hunger for travel and adventure got the better of her and she embarked on her world travels and, inevitably, working on yachts. She has now been in yachting over 6 years and brings her fun, happy, energetic ethos back to the Axia program after a year away on other adventures.
Waters cruised: A couple of Atlantic crossings, extensively in Mediterranean waters, and the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida.
Job description: Zsofia works hard to maintain the interior looking pristine as well as managing events, including racing, dinners and leisure activities, in order to ensure all guests relax, feel at home and have a great time. She works closely with the chef to bring you the best dining experience. She is very approachable and will jump at the opportunity to help in any way or plan out your dream day.
Job related licenses & certificates: PADI Advanced Open Water, Food Safety & Hygiene level II.
Hobbies: Kite Surfing, wake boarding, yoga, gym.
2nd Stewardess – Anamaria Clarke (New Zealand)
Previous Yachts: S/Y Bayesian
Work Experience: Ann is fairly new to yachting. She grew up in New Zealand in an outdoors way of life, having the beach, friends and family constantly around her. She studied fine arts and after completing her degree she went to work at a printing company, until her sense of adventure got the better of her and she left NZ to sail the seas and hasn’t looked back since.
Waters cruised: Med and Caribbean
Job description: As right-hand girl to Chief Stew, Ana and Zsofia work well together taking care of guests and crew (she’s great with kids!), keeping the interior organized and sparkling, as well as lending a hand on deck during sailing.
Job related licenses & certificates: STCW, ENG1
Hobbies: Water sports, Yoga, Art, Travel