#humansofyachting – David Honeybun

David Honeybun on board Gene Machine

#humansofyachting – David Honeybun

David Honeybun on board Gene Machine

#humansofyachting

#humansofyachting – David Honeybun

Engineer and yacht drone operator David has been on board the same yacht for almost seven years, and the novelty still hasn’t worn off.

By Dominique Afacan | 6 September 2020

“I got into yachting in 2014. My friend was an engineer on a yacht and it sounded interesting. I come from a very mechanical background, both in the military and from the places I’d worked previously, and yachting seemed to combine everything I’d learnt into one job. I managed to get onto this boat – which at the time was called Engelberg – and I am still here almost seven years later, though now it is called Gene Machine. Being on board is like the best TV show I’ve ever watched, except I am not watching it, I am on it! It’s entertaining in many different ways.

I’ll wake up, go down to the engine room and check everything is running smoothly, look at what maintenance is coming up for the day and find out about plans for the vessel that day. Then we’ll work out what fuel we need, what the weather conditions are like – all of this stuff has become second nature to me because I’ve been doing it for so long. Recently, I’ve also been assisting the scientists with their Covid-19 research. [Dr Rothberg, the yacht’s owner, has spent lockdown developing a rapid response home testing kit].

#humansofyachting – David Honeybun
#humansofyachting – David Honeybun

Luckily enough with this boat, I also do the drone work. The owner loves taking pictures so the drone came on board and I’ve been using it ever since. The captain taught me how to fly it and I went on from there, even making my own parts for it. I’ve flown drones in the Arctic, through storms and above icebergs. I made my Instagram page as something to do in my downtime and to try to get amazing pictures for the boss. Up in Svalbard, I managed to film a polar bear, which was incredible. There have also been pictures of whales and other extraordinary scenery. I’ve been very lucky that the owner has taken us to so many interesting places.

I come from the countryside so day-to-day life on board is totally different from my normal life. I am based in Dorset when I am off the boat. I work on rotation; I do ten weeks on and ten weeks off, so I get to go home quite regularly. I love my job, so I actually find it more relaxing than being at home! If you enjoy what you do for work, you’re very lucky!

#humansofyachting – David Honeybun
#humansofyachting – David Honeybun

The trip we made from Monaco up towards the North Pole, as far north as we could go, was probably my most memorable. It was hard work but well and truly worth it. I did a rather chilling dive up there to mend a tender but we had dry suits so we managed! Luckily, being the drone person, I get to see a lot of the places we go. That said, we like to keep the whole crew involved, so we’ll teach other crew members to use it too.

The crew all get on really well – we try to spend time together even when we are off the boat. I share a room with the chef, so I keep on his good side and get great food! We’ve got a lovely crew mess and a gym we can use on the bow. The boat tries to provide us with everything we need to keep comfortable and happy. There’s a good entertainment system for the crew, too. It’s a nice environment.

I have lots of interaction with the owner every day. He’s a lovely person who gives us great opportunities. I chose to stay on this boat because I love it. It’s a great lifestyle on board. You end up like a big family. Next on my list is the South Pole. I’ve already done the North, so I’d like to have ticked off both ends of the world.”

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