My name’s Nina, and I’m currently the head chef onboard MY Revelry. Revelry recently completed her yard period at Marine Group Boat Works in Chula Vista and we had a brilliant time. From the seamless lift to a sociable stint on the land, it was a positive experience.
Haul out day is always exciting as crew. It’s a foreign environment for us sandy, bay-dwelling yachties – the noisy machinery, hard hats and hi-vis vests galore. It started off early, and I got the run down from the engineers – our weight fully laden was right on the limit for the travel lift, so we had all the remaining fuel pumped off, made sure all the black and grey tanks were empty, and even flushed out the fresh water! This was all to make sure we were as light as possible for the travel lift. So there certainly was a buzz of excitement about the haul!
We all trouped outside and watched eagerly as Captain Ryan deftly maneuvered us through the harbor entrance (it was a squeeze!) and then gently into the sling. The crew on the dock were super friendly, waving at the camera and explaining what they were doing as they sorted the slings out into the right places. At the crucial moment, we were tendered off Revelry to the dock, where we set up camp on a conveniently placed picnic table with snacks galore.
It was the first time for us as a crew seeing Revelry lifted out of the water, and its incredible to get an idea of her size. She was extremely green on the hull from her time in Alaska, and as soon as she was fully raised and driven cautiously onto the hard a team set upon her with pressure washers and started blasting away – barnacles be gone!
After she’d had her spa day, and we’d had our Lox bagels for lunch, she was maneuvered to another area of the yard, where she was set down on some sturdy wooden chocks and then released from the sling. The team then hooked her up to power, water and sewerage mains, set up a scaffolding set of stairs and we were back onboard lickety split!
We all adjusted very quickly to life on the hard. The yacht ran pretty much the same, however it was certainly novel being so high above the water – the view from the yard across the water was spectacular.
Not long after we had been lifted a few other yachts started joining our ranks, propped up on the concrete. This was probably my favorite part of the yard, getting to socialize with the other crew that were also working on yachts. We quickly made close friends and held many a social BBQ that all were invited to. My favorite was a pizza night with crew from 4 yachts in total – there was about 35 hungry crew there! Myself and Chris (the chef from MY Bella) got cracking with his pizza oven and managed to churn out enough pies to keep the hungry hordes at bay.
From a chef perspective – provisioning was a breeze. A 10 minute drive from the yard was a Sprouts and a large Albertsons that were always adequately stocked for all the crew provisioning needs. Having just travelled down from Alaska I was overjoyed at the quality of the Californian produce. Further north there is an incredible shop called Specialty Produce with huge refrigerated warehouses of fresh produce and unique items. It was a joy to shop there – but only if I remembered my jacket!
When doing a little overhaul in the galley, Restaurant Depot was a good one-stop shop that carried bulk goods but also a wide selection of kitchen equipment. (Incidentally, I got some great crew platters there, which are always a struggle to find!).
Immediately outside the yard was a waterfront park with picnic tables, and a great running track that the crew would enjoy in the mornings. It’s a great way to wake up, being able to run straight out of the yard and onto a safe and scenic running track was brilliant. Also close by was a marina bar, a convenient stroll away if one was in need of an evening beverage.
Of course, San Diego city itself wasn’t too far away either! Full of excellent food, as a chef I was overjoyed to be able to sample all the city had to offer. Juene et Jolie, Juniper & Ivy, Ironside with its trays of oysters – I loved it all. A highlight was heading to a speakeasy hidden inside a bar behind a faux wall of beer kegs, called Born & Raised. It was a curated experience where our waitress asked us our preferences and then proceeded to create 3 unique cocktails each for us. It was a memorable evening.
Having a crew car was essential – it meant freedom on the weekend! Although, it’s important to note, in a pinch Uber was only just around the corner. We enjoyed spending our weekends off driving north to La Jolla (we only learned the correct pronunciation 2 weeks into our stay – how embarrassing!) and some crew members even braved the traffic all the way up to Los Angeles.
For sports fans there’s something special – I got to experience my very first baseball game at the Petco Park stadium. Huge crowds, the sun setting over the bleachers . . . it was certainly a spectacle! Of course, I had a hot dog, but the prices of the beer nearly gave me a heart attack. They sure do love their craft beers in San Diego.
The one thing that absolutely blew me away about San Diego was the weather. It was so consistently sunny and I legitimately only remember it raining once. It was incredible.
The 6 weeks in the Marine Group yard seemed to fly by, and before we knew it, the time had come to be unplugged from our land life support and lowered back into our salty bath. Final goodbyes were said, last minute spare parts and parcels were hastily grabbed from the office and then we squeezed out the harbor, onto our next adventure!
I would like to extend my thanks to the entire team at Marine Group for being to accommodating. I had a great time and the yacht and its crew have left the yard feeling refreshed and prepared – ready to take on the next season!
Check out Nina’s YouTube channel for more behind-the-scenes crew videos: