Scientist Tahlia Walsh talks first-time yacht buying
We spoke with environmental scientist and yacht owner, Tahlia Walsh, about her time working on super yachts in the most idyllic spots around the globe, diving the Great Barrier Reef everyday and her 5-year plan to sail around the world for as long as she feels like it.
Trident Marine: What is your earliest memory of sailing?
Tahlia: My father was a commercial fisherman in Albany [Western Australia]. My earliest memories of being out on the ocean were with him. My mother would drop me down to the boat in the evening and we’d head out and chase the fish. We would never know where they would be running or how far out to sea we would end up. The whole experience was very exciting for a 7 year old.
Trident Marine: What about boating adventures? Do you have any that stand out for you?
Tahlia: Sailing to Fremantle from Dunsborough with my partner has probably been my favourite adventure so far. It was marred with a few dramas but I’m just glad my boyfriend knew what he was doing. Shout out to the Bunbury Volunteer Sea Rescue Team!
Tahlia Walsh and partner Kevin on their yacht
Trident Marine: Tell us about the work you’ve done on boats?
Tahlia: I spent many years working on yachts around the world. It started with a summer job working as a stewardess on an 85ft Sunseeker for a local family. We would do weekend trips out of Fremantle where we’d moor in the gorgeous turquoise bays of Rottnest.
My next yacht was a 135ft Feadship based in Tahiti. This was also a private yacht; the owners were well known art dealers from New York. Living and working in Tahiti was one of the most amazing experiences. If you’ve ever wondered whether heaven exists, book a ticket to French Polynesia.
My last job was a sole stewardess for an 85ft Princess. I joined this vessel in Sydney and we made our way up to Northern Queensland where we were based out of Hamilton Island for the best part of the year.
One of my bucket list items was to dive the Great Barrier Reef before it is totally destroyed. I had the opportunity to dive the reef every day, even on our lunch breaks! It was amazing but also sad, as the damage from rising sea temperatures was pretty evident.
Trident Marine: What kind of work do you do now?
Tahlia: I am, and always have been an environmental scientist. I seem to regularly ping pong between my career and working on yachts, but it’s been a nice balance. I currently work in the West Australian outback as an environmental advisor for a gold mining company.
There’s no ocean to be found, but my job to allows me to spend a lot of time in nature, which soothes my soul. I’m also lucky to be in a position where I can at least attempt to reduce the impact humans are having on the ecosystem.
The role also gives me a lot of time at home to focus on my main passion, which is our yacht.
Trident Marine: Tell us about her!
Tahlia: We have a 35ft Adams 10 Cruiser. She sleeps 5, has a flushing toilet and a little galley. She’s a beauty but has been the cause of a lot of sleepless nights. Everything that could have gone wrong kind of has, but we are determined to make more improvements and spend many years enjoying her while improving our sailing skills.
In 5 years my partner and I would like to upgrade and take off on an open ended sailing trip around the world.
Trident Marine: Do you have any tips for anyone buying a yacht for the first time?
Tahlia: Do your homework! And ensure you have the money to maintain it. A general rule of thumb is to have 10% of the yacht’s worth available annually to spend on maintenance, parts, equipment and fees.
It’s a fool’s game, but so rewarding when things go right, when you haven’t had a breakdown in a while and you’re enjoying the sunset from the deck of your very own yacht.
Trident Marine: Anything else you’d like to share?
Tahlia: Yachting isn’t always glamorous or fun, but if you’re committed it can be incredibly rewarding. The people you meet along the way are amazing and you immediately share a bond because of your shared love of the ocean.
It’s definitely worth the long days in the boat yard and empty bank accounts.
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Two yachts Tahlia has worked on