142' PALMER JOHNSON LUXURY CHARTER YACHT
 
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The Lady J Professional Yacht Crew

A unique team of 9 professional 5-star crew ensures the ultimate in service onboard 142' Palmer Johnson Motor Yacht Lady J. Their ability to anticipate a guest’s need or whim is unparalleled and they are focused on the enjoyment, safety and happiness of every party. From arranging delicate interior details, to offering outstanding service, leading water sports and preparing on-shore adventures, the Lady J crew is full of smiles and ready to make your charter vacation unforgettable.

 
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CAPTAIN
JOHN DONAHUE

Captain John developed his love for boating on the shores of Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio. He began fishing and sailing competitively from an early age—a passion that followed him to Connecticut along with a love of all competitive sports. His professional yachting career began just two weeks after graduating from the University of Connecticut. Captain John started as a yacht engineer, ultimately supervising the construction of three vessels as an owner's representative. He has spent thirty years as a professional crew member. He has cruised extensively in the Atlantic, Pacific and Caribbean oceans, making friends with locals and guests all along the way. Captain John holds a 1600/3000 Ton Master of Oceans License along with many certifications that will help make your charter fun and safe. Celestial navigation, medical training, firefighting and ship's security are a few other pertinent qualifications.

 
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CHIEF STEWARDESS
CRISTINA NICE

Cristina was born on the coast of the Black Sea in Romania and moved to Sicily at the age of 18 where she fell in love with Italian culture, language and food. She brings to Motoryacht Lady J 13 years of hospitality experience including having owned a restaurant in Catania, Sicily. Cristina has traveled the world extensively learning about different countries, customs and traditions, from China to India, Thailand to Dubai, and Africa to Europe. Her worldwide journeys have made her realize that the yachting industry offers the perfect combination of world exploration and use of her best hospitality skills. While living in London, Cristina completed Diplomas in Event Management and Swedish Massage. She also writes children’s books and paints abstract pieces in oil. With a light-hearted nature, Cristina is always happy to please and will do everything to make sure you have an enjoyable stay onboard Lady J.


 
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FIRST OFFICER
JARRYD VERMAAK

Jarryd grew up on Durban Beach in South Africa. He spent 6 years in hospitality where he played an intricate role in the progression of taking a Cocktail Bar to a successful franchise, ultimately opening several stores across South Africa. During this time he competed in flaring competitions (think Tom Cruise in Cocktail) and studied a Masters in Bartending. He also has a degree in Marketing and a Diploma in Advertising/Brand Management. Jarryd started yachting in 2009 and since then he has completed five Atlantic crossings and sailed around the Caribbean, Bahamas, U.S.A, Mediterranean, and the Gulf of Mexico totaling 60,000+ nm. Jarryd currently holds the Officer of the Watch (OOW) and is working towards his Masters license. He enjoys exploring the outdoors, traveling, adventures, diving, surfing and long boarding.

 
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CHIEF ENGINEER (Rotation)
ROBERT BUCHAR

Robert Buchar hails from New Jersey, USA and currently holds a Y4 Engineering license from the MCA and a 100GT Captain’s license from the US Coast Guard. At the age of 24, Bobby moved to the beach and started working for his brother as a Marine Diesel Mechanic. This exposure resulted in a love for the ocean and a desire to become a full time Marine Engineer. Bobby quickly moved from being land based to working full time on yachts. He initially started working in design and construction for a boat building company out of New Jersey, and then joined a 75' Viking Sportsfish as Captain/Engineer, cruising from New York to South Florida between 2007 to 2010. Bobby has never looked back and has concentrated on his career as an Engineer with over 13 years in the business and having completed multiple trans-Atlantic crossings. Bobby's other interests include fishing and off-road mountain biking.

 
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CHIEF ENGINEER (Rotation)
BEN MAYO

Ben grew up on the scenic shores of Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vermont. After serving in the US Marine Corps and working in the auto service industry, he decided to pack up and head to Alaska to crew on salmon commercial fishing vessels. Ben then worked in the Gulf of Mexico aboard offshore supply vessels as a Ship's Engineer which resulted in him cruising all over the world including Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Iceland, Greenland and the Caribbean. Currently holding a US Coast Guard Chief Engineer 3,000 KW License, Ben ensures that LADY J is in good mechanical hands. Since his start in the yachting industry Ben has worked onboard 130' Motor Yacht APHRODITE, 164' Motor Yacht MICHAELA ROSE and 160' Sailing Yacht GEORGIA. In his free time, he likes to travel the world and keep active by running and participating in varied water sports.

 
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CHEF
CARLOS MANRIQUEZ

Carlos Manriquez, aka “The Sorcerer of Sauces,” is one of the most inventive and spontaneous chefs today. He is renowned for his culinary skills and his ability to establish critically acclaimed restaurants and catering companies. His global adventures in extreme cuisines and his passion for the next dish is what keeps the crowd’s attention! Born in Tijuana, Mexico into a family of dairy farmers, Carlos began his culinary career at a very young age. He always loved helping his mother in the kitchen, which was not very common in traditional Mexican culture. Carlos attended private boarding school in North Dakota where his culinary journey began upon taking a job in the kitchen as a preparation cook. Working alongside international students fueled his interest in travel, which resulted in a global journey spanning over 53 countries where he began researching unique food preparation techniques and extraordinary world spices. Carlos obtained a technical degree in Dairy Science from the California Polytechnic State University. He worked for several restaurants, which cultivated into a broad scope of culinary growth. From his apprenticeship with Wolf Gang Puck in San Diego, Carlos decided that the art of creating food was his true passion and he went back to school to obtain a culinary degree from the Le Cordon Bleu. 

 
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BOSUN
BRIAN WILLIAM KARATZ

Brian was born and raised in Point Pleasant, NJ. Brian’s life on the water began at the young age of 5 and has not stopped ever since. Upon finishing high school Brian went to college for Criminal Justice but soon realized his heart was at sea.  He started his yachting career in 2011—taking a break in 2015 to sail his own sailboat throughout the Caribbean and Panama where he established a fishing business and became a dive master. Brian’s latest adventures brought him onboard Motoryacht Lady J where he is excited to share his knowledge and help charter guests enjoy an unforgettable holiday.

 
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SECOND STEWARDESS
KARLA DIAZ

Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Karla’s family moved to Texas when she was still very young. Her passion for traveling came from her family who vacationed somewhere new once a year. Karla always knew that she would pursue a career that allowed her to continue to explore the world. Upon finishing high school she worked for several staffing agencies as an account manager and part-time at a restaurant, where she realized how much she enjoyed the hospitality industry, making it her full time endeavor. Eight years later, she had done it all from serving and bartending to becoming manager at her favorite wine bar. Seeking to combine both her passions—travel and hospitality—Karla moved to Florida to become a yacht stewardess. She’s passionate about animals and hopes to one day be able to work in rescue, particularly in her beloved Washington State.

 
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THIRD STEWARDESS
SAM RUGAMAS

Sam was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and grew up between New Orleans, New Jersey, El Salvador and California. She graduated with a degree in Finance and Graphic Design from the University of San Francisco and after working in the hospitality industry all through college; she began a career as an investment banker. Deciding to switch gears 4 years later, she went back to school to become an early childhood educator and dedicated the next 5 years of her life to a well-known private preschool in the Bay. Her passion for education and giving back to society led her to give up her comfortable life in San Francisco to volunteer for 2 years in the islands of Bocas del Toro, Panama— where Sam re-affirmed her love of the ocean and became interested in the yachting world. Sam brings a diverse set of skills to Lady J and she is looking forward to providing quality guest service on board. During her spare time, Sam enjoys being out in nature, drawing, writing, singing, and dancing.

 
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DECKHAND
SAM O’SHELL

Sam grew up in the desert of Southern Arizona, but was always drawn to the water, both as a competitive swimmer, and as a recreational swimmer on numerous holidays in Mexico. After numerous adventures and multiple travels, Sam decided to follow his dreams and start a career in the maritime industry. He first worked in Boston Harbor as a Deckhand onboard fuel barges. However, it did not take long for him to seek out the sunshine and move down to Florida for this new chapter in the megayacht world. He’s excited to be part of the Lady J team and looks forward to making every charter safe, successful and memorable.