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Pinpoint Works Interviews Chief Officer Tristan Nicholas Najbicz

Updated: Feb 29

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Chief Officer in the yachting industry? For our 'Day in the Life Of ' series, we interview hard-working crew behind the scenes. A Chief Officer is the right-hand person who works closely with the captain, to deliver smooth operations onboard the yacht.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Chief Officer Tristan Nicholas Najbicz. Tristan shares his insight into what it’s like to do his job and tells us about some of the amazing adventures he has experienced along the way.

Tristan thrives on adventure and adrenaline and has successfully made an exceptional career out of it! Not only is he an accomplished Chief Officer onboard a 75m expedition vessel, but he is also a dedicated water sports enthusiast who spends his free time indulging in surfing, skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing, to name a few! As an accomplished videographer, he captures breathtaking footage of his adrenaline-fueled escapades for yacht owners and guests onboard, showcasing his passion and immense talent behind the lens.

"I believe if you’re not having fun while you’re working, what’s the point of working there?"

Tristan Nicholas Najbicz Chief Officer on a 75m Expedition Yacht

  • Nationality: South African

  • Number of years in yachting: 13 Years

  • Superyacht Size: 75m

  • Number of Guests:12

  • Number of Crew: 22

  • Season / Charters: Asia season and Eastern med season. Private and Charter, depending on location.

What is the best part of being a chief officer? "Having the authority to make decisions and then watch those decisions play out, hopefully positively, in either a successful deck team operation with smiles all around or a pleased owner/charter client being blown away by their experience onboard. Watching a sunset with your squad at the end of the day is a bonus, too."

Tell us a bit about your journey of how you became a chief officer.

"I started as a deckhand in Monaco on a 22m Lazzara, completed the season, then had to look for work again. I worked as a temp deckhand on a 35m Pershing in Miami for 3 months. Next up was a position as a deckhand on the 115m Lurssen-built Pelorus; I spent 2 years on her with a brief stint on the 115m Luna for 7 months as Lead Deckhand. I returned to Pelorus as a Relief bosun and then worked as a Bosun for another 2 years.

By the time I had completed my OOW (officer of the watch), I was on a 75m world expedition vessel as Bosun and shortly after was promoted to 2nd officer, which I left to complete my Master 3000 License. Once certified, I was asked to return as chief officer, where I am still presently and cruising off the beaten track."

How do you create a positive and fun atmosphere among the crew?

"Keeping work light-hearted and not taking the small things too seriously. I believe if you’re not having fun while you’re working, what’s the point of working there? There’s a time and place for fun and games, but if everyone knows the task at hand and what we’re trying to achieve, there's no reason why we can’t have some fun afterwards or even during if the task allows it."

What’s the funniest request you’ve received from a yacht owner or guest?

"My funniest request was being asked to throw a ping pong ball at a guest’s stomach as hard as I could while he held his shirt up. I’ve had a few other funny/weird requests, but due to NDA’s I shall not be sharing.”

What unexpected challenges have you faced while navigating different waters or ports?

"Navigating Antarctica, we had a hairy situation cruising up the Lemaire channel. A tranquil evening turned to chaos in a matter of minutes when katabatic winds of up to 80 knots, waves of ice carving off a

glacier, and nowhere to go put us in a very

scary situation, even with a qualified and experienced ice pilot onboard. We got away with a few scars on the hull, and our port aft stabilizer sustained a run-in with a large iceberg, it was not an ideal situation to be in, but an experience I’ll never forget.

What is the most rewarding part of being a chief officer?

"A successful charter or owner trip, where the owner has shown his appreciation and the captain is happy makes you feel like you’ve earned your salary and your time off."

What would you say to anyone dreaming of a career as a chief officer?

"Never be afraid to stop learning! Absorb everything you can, whether you’re a deckhand, bosun, or 2nd officer. Be confident & ambitious, but grow with honour and integrity and don’t let your ego get in the way. We’re not all perfect from the start. Respect the ranks above you and treat people the way you expect to be treated."

Instagram @tristannajbicz

Chief Officers can use Pinpoint Works to manage their onboard work lists and streamline communication with the crew, contractors, management companies and owners teams. To find out more, contact us.


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