Today YW talks to superyacht Adela's one and only engineer

I’m crouched somewhere below deck, next to an air-conditioning unit the size of a small car, as I meet Shaun Carter. I’m somewhat preoccupied by the sheer amount of machinery surrounding us, and wonder what most of it even is. Shaun, nicknamed ‘Gingineer’, is the new engineer on Adela and points it all out: “Next to the air-con unit we’ve got refrigeration compressors for the walk-ins and a water-maker capable of making 12,000 litres a day for the compulsory after-race wash down.”

23-year-old Antiguan Shaun had no previous crewing experience and jumped straight in at the deep end with this position of chief, and only, engineer onboard Adela. Having grown up in the infamous super-yacht playground of Antigua, Shaun worked between jobs as a sailing instructor and outboard mechanic after completing his approved engine course (AEC) and finally landing his dream job on 180ft Classic schooner Adela.

Of course, this week is a little more intense than usual. With only five days to go before Adela races in the Pendennis Cup, Shaun guides me through what key checks and maintenance tasks he has to complete before race-day.

“It must be about fuel, hydraulics, water and oil?” I ask him. “Of course, but people don’t think about the alternative aspects. The owners will be onboard for the week. That means on top of the mechanical tests, I also need to focus on their comfort – air conditioning, entertainment systems and satellite TV are just as important.”

Shaun has to have eyes and hands everywhere;  aiding the foredeck crew, helping with headsails and monitoring the mechanics on the entire boat including the two 55Kw Northern lights generators – one powers the electrics onboard, the other is dedicated to the hydraulics of the 17 winches necessary for sail handling. It’s quite a responsibility.

We make our way through to the pump room, even smaller than the engine room, with not much more than crawl space to the aft end, alongside refrigeration compressors for the walk-in fridge freezer. It is definitely not for the claustrophobic. I ask Shaun if he finds it difficult working in such cramped conditions. “Oh, you get used to it,” he responds as he watches me struggle about as if it were an army assault course.

Crouched below deck like stowaways, he tells me how he’s sailed since he was a boy and is thoroughly excited about the upcoming race. After-all, Adela is still new to him. “The sail will be fantastic, the weather conditions in Falmouth, UK,  are far more unpredictable than Falmouth, Antigua, so exhausting sail changes and last minute reefing are all part of the day’s fun.”

Adela is soon to head into Pendennis Shipyard, the host of the race, for her refit. With an entirely new main engine, sewage treatment plant and air conditioning systems, combined with rebuilt water tanks, hydraulics and generators, Shaun is certainly in for one busy winter yard period.

To read more about Adela’s crew, CLICK HERE.