Meet the team: Smart Charter Ibiza
Young, cool, experienced and professional – the team behind hip Ibiza boat charter company Smart Charter Ibiza are a hand-picked group of boating and sailing experts who are also Ibiza residents, full of knowledge, genuine passion and island secrets, some of which they may even be wiling to share!
The entire crew count reaches around 30 people in total, but hauling them all in from land and sea at any one time for a photo proves slightly difficult, given the team’s different hours, specialities and locations. We managed to catch them all on camera one early summer morning before they zipped off to their respective posts, then caught up with some key team members to find out more about what makes them tick.
Charlie – owner
Smart Charter Ibiza co-owner Charlie has been a seafarer since he was a child – first arriving in Ibiza while living aboard a sailing boat, cruising around the Mediterranean with his parents at the tender age of eight, it is in his blood. “I’ve always been involved with boats and the sea since then,” he explains. “Whether watersports, surfing and then we started this company around three years ago. The company grew very quickly, and organically – we started with one boat and a website, then looked after a few other peoples and then my new partner got involved and boom! We’re really proud of what we have to offer this season – after w inter of full on work, every boat is looking fantastic.”
It may seem like a glamorous life, but Charlie’s day-to-day isn’t spent whizzing about on sleek speedboats to Formentera. Rather, he is communicating with collaborators, ensuring the team is happy and up-to-date with all the things happening within the company, ensuring the boat yard is running smoothly and more. “It’s constant, 24/7 – the phone just does not stop ringing,” he says of his busy summer schedule. “We work a lot, but that’s the job. I spend my whole life with these guys, but they’re my best friends so it makes it fun.”
“We created our dream team,” he says when talking about his teammates. “We’ve taken our favourite people from different places, some of the best we knew from working in the business, and others who we felt we wanted to work with. If they didn’t have experience, we have given them all the right professional training and licenses, and for those who didn’t speak English, we’ve given them lessons. These are the people we want to be involved with.”
When asked if going out on a boat now feels more like work to him, Charlie laughs. “No! I love it. I miss taking the clients out actually, going to Formentera and seeing different places every day, but it’s still really fun when we can go out for a few hours. My favourite place is a little bay under the first lighthouse at Es Palmador – you have to know how to get in there as it’s quite shallow and rocky, but it’s such a beautiful spot.”
Alessandra – co-owner
You’d think a born-and-bred Ibiza girl would be a natural when it comes to sailing and the sea, but for Alessandra, this couldn’t be further from the truth. “It’s quite a funny story,” she begins. “I had actually never even been on a boat before. I used to feel seasick in the port, in fact, I couldn’t even get on a boat without feeling seasick.” After meeting Charlie on the beach one day, all that was about to change. “Charlie taught me everything I know about boats today,” she says. “And I can proudly say I am now a sea woman! I got over it just by doing it. You just have to understand how it all works, it makes it a lot easier.”
“I do a lot of different things within the company. I make sure all the guys know what they have to do each day, I help out in the office, I hold meetings with Charlie and I take care of the financial side of things. Organising everyone is difficult, making sure they are all in he right places at the right time… we have around 30 people on the team! The guys make the job fun – they’re always joking about everything and our relationships in the office are very relaxed. We’re all really good friends.”
Despite being busy working on dry land most of the time, Alessandra now cites being on the boats as her favourite part of her job. “I absolutely love going to Formentera,” she says. “We don’t go often, maybe on the weekends, but I love the chance to go to Es Calo. It’s definitely my favourite place.”
Alvaro – head captain
As the captain of Smart Charter Ibiza’s biggest vessel, the Sunseeker 82, Alvaro – another born-and-bred Ibicenco – is the company’s longest serving and most experienced captain. “I completed my three years of nautical studies in Alicante,” he says. ”Through this I got to to go on many different types of boats, from fishing boats and merchant boats to passenger ships – but I love this kind of boat charter the best. Through my job I get to touch all aspects of boating.”
Also responsible for the crew onboard, Alvaro is passionate about ensuring his clients have the very best day out at sea possible, and is adept at dealing with different cultures – from Spanish and English to Russian, Chinese and Arabic among many others. “I always try and adapt the day to exactly what they want – their day on the boat is such an important part of their holiday.”
When the summer season wraps up each year, Alvaro becomes a passionate traveller. “As soon as the summer ends, I get my backpack and I travel for two or three months. I need the change, to absorb new and different vibes, after sending every day doing the same thing. It also helps me to respond to people from other cultures and to recycle my energy for the next season. I love it.”
Ugne – Marketing and partnership relationship manager
Lithuanian-born Ugne came to Ibiza on a whim five years ago. “I had graduated from university, with a Bachelor degree in management, but I took a job I didn’t really like. A friend asked me if I wanted to come and do a season in Ibiza with her and I thought why not – we packed our bags and came here with no idea about what we would do.”
Surprisingly, Ibiza didn’t win her over from the very beginning. “We stayed a season, I got a job as a waitress, but I didn’t really love Ibiza for the first month or so,” she explains. “But then I got the chance to go out on a boat, I discovered Formentera and saw the other side of the islands and then I started to fall in love.”
Ugne found her work unsatisfying, and so after a couple of years, quit and gave herself some time to do some serious soul searching. “I was happy to be in Ibiza and I loved the island, but I just wasn’t happy. Then I met Carsten (Smart Charter Ibiza co-owner) and he had an open space within his company that really suited me. It was all about organsation and management. Then we merged that company with Charlie’s and everything got even more clear.”
“These days my job is about keeping in touch with our core partners, making new contacts and working directly with them to help them best sell our products. I do a lot of marketing, and try and think of new ways to get our brand out there, become stronger and really stand out from the other companies on the island.”
Starting her day by greeting clients and walking them to their boat for the day, Ugne then hits the office, liaising between her co-workers, the boatyard, the company’s owners, clients and partners. “I love to be busy,” she says. “So this job suits me and my qualifications well. I love the marketing side of things, being creative and coming up with new ideas. I also love having a huge to-do list, and the feeling of achieving it little by little, every day you get through more and more. The phone never stops – we are pretty much on call 24/7, but I love it.”
Paco & Martin – boatyard manager and mechanic
Behind the scenes at Smart Charter Ibiza, there are two experienced men who ensure every vessel is shipshape, every captain is educated and organized and that all technical standards are met to the highest degree.
Boatyard manager Paco, who hails from Valencia, is in charge of training and managing all the captains. “I am basically HR for the captains,” he explains. “There are some that are more experienced than me, but I manage all their responsibilities.” Originally attracted to Ibiza for the sunshine, the work and the lifestyle, he loves the entire experience. “I like long hours, the amount of people, the heat… this is a great job.” Citing Formentera, Es Palmador, Es Vedra and Atlantis as his favourite places to sail to, he loves the chance to jump onboard a boat whenever he can.
Martin is the technical expert who takes care of all the Smart Charter Ibiza fleet of 20 boats, all year round. “I came to Ibiza from Argentina to work,” he says, indicating the sea and harbor in front of him. “Why not? It’s all so beautiful here!” Passionate about engines, he works on all aspects of a boat before it hits the sea for the summer – from painting and decorating, installing new furnishings and of course, the inner workings and constant year-round maintenance. “I love getting to go out on a boat to Formentera,” he says. “This is the best part of the job!”