CAPTAIN | Ron Woods II | American
PREVIOUS YACHTS: MIA ELISE (50m), PARAMOUR (42.6m ), EXCELLENCE (38.7m), PERSEVERANCE II (34.8m)
HOBBIES: Sailing, reading history books, Miami Dolphins
Ron was born in Phoenix, Arizona but was raised in beautiful Valdez, Alaska, on a sailboat. At the age of 10 his father began teaching him how to navigate the seas. It would come as no surprise that Ron’s father ultimately set Ron’s course for a life (so far) at sea. As a young man, Ron was seriously considering settling down but at his father’s suggestion, spent a summer on board a boat in the Mediterranean instead. Ron had the summer of his life and never looked back. At the age of 18, he had his first job on board a Feadship and by the age of 24 had earned his first position as a captain. Together, Ron and his father listen to the “Viking Chronicles” during crossings and talking about life. Ron eventually met the woman he married and they worked together for 10 years before starting a family. Ron is a jovial, charming and a very engaging captain who hand selects his crew and never misses an opportunity to inspire them to new and higher standards. Under his leadership, the interior team has won award after award. Ron is meticulous in the maintenance and upkeep of the yacht and trusted implicitly by the owner who he has been with since 2000. His crew respect and enjoy working with him and have followed him from Ron's prior command, 50 m MIA ELISE. Ron comes with an exceptional charter reputation and has a loyal following of very satisfied repeat clients. Ron enjoys motivating the crew and passing on his knowledge to ensure their performance is optimum.
As far as charter and the quality of service and satisfaction of guests - Captain Ron says, “There's only first place. Second place is first loser! Every guest will enjoy their experience to the max - the beach set up is second to none."
CHEF | Keith O'Dell | American
PREVIOUS YACHTS: MIA ELISE (50m), AZZURRA II (47.8m), DESTINATION FOX HARB’R TOO (49m), CHARADE (46.9m)
HOBBIES: Fishing, diving, archery, and writing
Chef Keith O’Dell hails from the Catskill Mountain region of New York State. Training early in his career in Manhattan at restaurants Butterfield 81 with Tom Valenti and at Patroon with Geoffrey Zacharian, Keith was drawn by the competitive and creative nature of being a chef. After graduating culinary school in Loch Sheldrake, New York where he focused on restaurant management and advanced baking, Keith decided to take his knowledge and pursue another interest, travel. He soon found that combining the two would prove to be a way to fulfill his dream of seeing the world and learning different cooking cultures first hand. Before long Keith was Chef de Cuisine at a fine dining/boutique hotel in La Jolla, California. Here, chef Keith was directly involved in all kitchen operations and produced the menu for the Sky Room. He also assisted the Executive Chef in menu orchestration for renowned California vineyards such as Cakebread Cellars, the Hess Collection, Flora Springs, Robert Mondavi and Chalone. This is why you will see an element of “California Cuisine” and Pacific Rim/Asian Fusion in his cooking. In 2013 and 2014, Keith lived in Sweden, experiencing and learning the New Nordic and Scandinavian cuisine and culture. In 2014, he completed an apprenticeship at restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. Noma has been voted the “Best Restaurant in the World” by San Pellegrino’s “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list for three consecutive years. Keith breaks the mold of traditional old world cuisine and has a gift of creating bold, intriguing, and delicious food by combining different cultural ingredients with flavors spanning the mundane to exotic. He possesses a deep knowledge of food and understands the importance of a balance between the dish being served and the dining experience. His personal favorite foods are comfort foods (like pasta) in addition to Asian cuisine and loves to go to restaurants just for desert! Children are always welcome to stop by the lovely country kitchen for a selection of prepared treats like white chocolate chip ginger cookies or homemade pasta dumplings
CHIEF STEWARDESS | Bertine Terblanche | South African
PREVIOUS YACHTS: MIA ELISE (50m), IDYLLWILD (44.2m), CARPE DIEM (58.2m), APOISE (71m)
HOBBIES: Reading suspense novels or psychology (loves the human mind), finding new beaches, cycling and backpacking
LANGUAGES: Afrikaans, learning Italian
Originally from Pretoria, South Africa, Bertine grew up with a younger brother and now makes her own home on the Island of Malta. During her school years, Bertine was an incredible student and competitive athlete. She won many gold medals, had an 800m track record that stood for years, and also played netball & field hockey. Bertine graduated from the University of Pretoria with an impressive dual degree in Human Resource Management and Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Ever since Bertine was a little girl, she dreamed of being a clinical psychologist and had her parent’s full support (her mother even took her to visit an asylum which motivated Bertine even more). Unfortunately, at the time of graduation, there were more clinical psychologists than jobs and Bertine took a job as an employment risk specialist for a company called MIE that is subcontracted by one of South Africa’s largest banks. During her time there, Bertine found that sitting in an office wasn’t for her and was looking for freedom and inspiration. Luckily, one of her friends was working on a boat, introduced her to the yachting industry, and the rest is history! Bertine now manages all of the interior crew and leads all service for meals and guest planning. Nothing matters more to her than giving the very best to guests - every need is fulfilled and she finds the small things are the most important. Accompanied by warmth and friendliness, Bertine is professional at all times and you will always find her smiling! She enjoys guiding and training junior interior crew members in all customs, in particular table decorations (so be on the lookout). Bertine knows that Birthday celebrations are really special and she and her team go all out! Charter guests have left with tears of joy! While not on the boat, Bertine quietly reads the latest psychology thesis to keep up her education.
STEWARDESS |KINSEY REDMAN | AMERICAN
PREVIOUS YACHTS: SOC (38m)
HOBBIES: Competitive swimming, reading fantasy novels, watching NFL games (go Steelers!), hiking and exploring beaches
LANGUAGES: basic Spanish
Growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana alongside her younger brother, Kinsey learned the value of hard work at a young age. In high school, Kinsey was athletic – swimming competitively while also playing soccer and softball. She went on to attended Purdue University and studied biology. In college, Kinsey worked at a local pizza joint serving, cooking & driving – fine tuning her skills in all aspects of customer service & multi-tasking. However, Kinsey’s desire to learn new languages, meet different people and immerse herself in other cultures left her yearning for a different path. Fortunately, Kinsey had a friend in the yachting industry who posted some photos on social media and her interest was peaked. Kinsey moved to Florida in 2014 and joined her first yacht. She is great with children of all ages and loves to play sports, so make sure to arrange a game of soccer on the beach. Organized, upbeat and positive, she is the first to take on the most difficult task and will not quit until the job is done. Her experience as the Social Chair in high school contributes to the creative decorations and theme nights on board.
STEWARDESS | Leilani Mendoza | American
Joined MIA ELISE II Oct 2015
HOBBIES: Reading fictional and inspirational books, skateboarding, meditation, yoga and art (drawing charcoal pencil mandala drawings)
Born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and raised in her father’s hometown of Kona, Hawaii, Leilani grew up in a rich culture, grounded by family and a determination to take care of the environment. Active by nature, she is passionate about hiking and the beach and loves the scenery in Hawaii – look to the left and see the mountains and look to the right and see the ocean. Leilani loves learning – writing and English History are her fortes. Her strong work ethic started her on a career path while she was young, and since the age of 14 she has bussed & served at restaurants, worked in accounting, and worked for Southern Wine & Spirits and Anheuser Busch. Leilani understands that it is necessary to go above and beyond what is expected for a one of a kind charter experience. This quality sets her apart from the average yacht stewardess. Creative and approachable – Leilani says, “It’s the little things that make a difference - those fine details." She has a special aptitude for anticipating guests’ needs and consistently improves her skills. Friends say she is an exceptional conversationalist and especially kind hearted and socially conscious, raising money and awareness for the homeless. In her free time, Leilani cultivates her spirit with meditation, yoga and sketching mandalas, and she has a fondness for skateboarding.
STEWARDESS | Kayla van Diest | New Zealander
PREVIOUS YACHTS: Joined MIA ELISE II May 2016
HOBBIES: Scuba and free diving, exercise, marine biology, travel and an occasional swim with whales
Kayla, a native of Wellington, New Zealand with a French background, has never been your average girl! Growing up across the road from the beach, it was natural that Kayla has a passion for the outdoors and the beach. She attended a private school and Kayla can certainly teach people a thing or two about badminton, tennis, soccer and netball. Her extensive list of educational accomplishments include a BA in Science/Biological Sciences, a Diploma in Marine Studies and an Advanced Certificate in Tourism, Travel & Business attained from the Bay of Plenty/University of Waikito. Kayla gained hospitality experience in bars, pubs and the famed Pallazzo Versace Hotel and worked in the marine eco-tourism industry (diving) and in Australia swimming with whale shark swims. In 2016, Kayla joined the yachting industry and is delighted to be on board MIA ELISE II where she finds the crew amazing and the family atmosphere on board, inviting. Guest will find the sweet, friendly young lady dedicated and keen to get the job done! Kayla is refreshingly direct and honest and her sweet nature is appreciated by all.
CHIEF ENGINEER | Ben Vos | Canadian
PREVIOUS YACHTS: MIA ELISE (50m), IDYLLWILD (44.2m), LADY SHERIDAN (58m), APOISE (71m), O’HANA (47m)
HOBBIES: Playing guitar, exploring the outdoors, ice hockey
True to the Canadian lifestyle, Ben spent much of his childhood playing competitive hockey in the delightful (but very cold) Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. He was a talented player but an injury left him unable to play at a professional level and so he joined the Canadian Navy. Ben worked as a Naval Weapons Technician for 4 years. While on a trip to Florida in 2006 to complete his Dive Master Certification, Ben was introduced to the world of yachting. With Ben’s technical engineering background in the Canadian Navy, he quickly landed his first job. In 2007, Ben was hired as an engineer and has since cruised the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the Northwest Passage, Russia and Pacific/Asia. When Ben isn’t managing the technical, mechanical and electrical systems on board MIA ELISE II – you may find him playing his guitar.
SECOND ENGINEER | Rob Brown | South African
PREVIOUS YACHTS: ARETI (60.3m), TRIPLE SEVEN (68m)
HOBBIES: Hiking, running, mountain biking, swimming, playing field hockey, rugby, tennis and squash, diving, windsurfing, and fishing
LANGUAGES: Zulu and Afrikaans
Born in Cathcart in the Easter Cape province of South Africa, Rob moved at the age of 14 near the Drakensberg Mountains in Kwa Zulu Natal where he excelled in high school and was elected Head of Boarding as well as a Prefect. Rob was given Full Colors, the school’s highest award, for his achievements in three categories – academics, rugby, and preforming arts and was presented with a white blazer for his accomplishments. Not long after graduating, he spent a year traveling to New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Hong Kong. After returning to South Africa, Rob attended the University of Pretoria, where he loved the student life, and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 2014, Rob and 4 friends from University took to the high seas. Rob is perfectly suited as an Engineer as he loves fixing problems if/when they arise and doing work that has meaning. He carries a small book in his back pocket at all times listing all of his “to-do’s”, and nothing gives him more satisfaction than to check things off the list. Rob has a strong work ethic and strives to bring enthusiasm to his work. This quietly spoken gentleman enjoys leaving the meticulously kept engine room to interact with the guests, especially to take them fishing. Being on board gives Rob the freedom to explore the different parts of the world and in his free time he enjoys hiking solo.
CHIEF OFFICER | Troy Forshaw | New Zealander
PREVIOUS YACHTS: Z (66m), DENIKI (52.3m)
HOBBIES: Diving (technical & wreck), early morning runs, rugby, golf & tennis, wakeboarding, anything outdoors
Troy grew up in New Zealand 60m from a white sand beach and enjoyed it so much that his holidays spent away from the yacht aren't taken anywhere else but at home! His parents have since moved to Auckland but still keep a holiday home where he grew up with his younger sister. As a young boy, Troy had his heart set on anything to do with boats – his grandmother says that the only thing Troy ever drew as a child were boats! After graduating high school, Troy followed his dream and became a Certified Diver. His adventures have been many - imagine 100 – 200 Grey Reef and Blacktip Reef sharks circling around while diving in French Polynesia or observing Orca whales teaching their babies to hunt stingrays. One day while working at the dive shop, a yacht captain came in looking for a relief diver for an upcoming charter – and so a different adventure – this time in the yachting industry - began! Troy comes from a history of busy charter yachts and enjoys the demanding work. He loves keeping busy and is not one to sit around – once spending 108 consecutive days away from land. He is always calm and collected and is your “go-to” guy for water sports and recreational activities. Troy is most honored to be a part of the charter guests’ holiday and ensuring a first-class experience is had by all.
SECOND OFFICER | Ariel Sherr | Australian
PREVIOUS YACHTS: NIRVANA (88m), TRIPLE SEVEN (67m), KISMET (67m)
HOBBIES: Basketball, soccer, cycling and skiing
LANGUAGES: Spanish, French and Italian
Ariel was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia (arguably the most livable city in the world!) where his immediate family still lives. Ariel loves spending time with them whenever possible. He studied Nautical Science at the University of Tasmania and and has been sailing since he was 7 years old. This passion has impressively earned him the national sailing champion title 3 times. At 18 Ariel earned a contract to teach sailing for 3 years in Maine, on the northeast coast of USA which he loved. During these winters he was a ski instructor and it is no surprise this accomplished go-getter won Instructor of the Year on his first season. In 2010 Ariel entered the superyacht world - running small sailing boats and participating in ocean races had prepared him well for this challenging life at sea. His eye for detail and his eagerness to continuously raise the bar in his work, makes Ariel an big asset on deck. He works exceptionally well with the crew on MIA ELISE II and says "having such a great team by my side makes it 1000 times better!" On charter, Ariel endeavors to make all the guests stay onboard enjoyable and memorable.
DECKHAND | Bjorn Foyn | South African
PREVIOUS YACHTS: MIA ELISE (50m), PAPI DU PAPI (50m)
HOBBIES: Watching sports, playing rugby and soccer, rock climbing
Bjorn was raised in Johannesburg, South Africa and attended high school in Randburg. Growing up, he was (and still is) incredibly active and loved sports so he studied Bio-Kinetics at Northwest University in Northwest Providence and graduated with a degree at the end of 2014. However, Bjorn wasn’t quite ready to jump into the corporate world so he joined the yachting industry in 2015, drawn by the prospect of meeting different people from all over the world. So far, his personal travels have taken him rock climbing in South Africa and diving in Mozambique. Bjorn dreams of broadening his horizons and hopes to soon be diving in the crystal clear water of the Maldives. His adventurous spirit makes him a perfect match for MIA ELISE II and this crew has become like his family! Although Bjorn prides himself on doing things perfectly (there are no jobs left unfinished!), he is easy going and gets along with everyone, especially small children. He loves to teach them how to participate (safely) in all the watersports so the adult guests can enjoy their ultimate vacation. While not on board, Bjorn joins crew members from different yachts in town for a quick pick up game of soccer. He loves making new friends, finding new adventures and Axl – his Bull Terrier!
DECKHAND | Sam Johnston | New Zealander
Joined MIA ELISE II May 2016
HOBBIES: Mountaineering and exercise
Sam was born and raised in Whangarei, on the north coast of New Zealand and attended Saint Kentigern College in Auckland. Being athletic, he naturally excelled at rugby and triathlons – he loves the physical challenge! Sam went on to study Exercise Prescription and Sport Management at NZIS, although his first job was in construction. In 2016 Sam was looking for a new direction, so he joined MIA ELISE II where his passion for new challenges is met every day! Sam is skilled at teaching others and has a refreshing, positive approach to life. He is a happy person and loves to inspire with his attitude! Being on board is a great fit for his energetic personality! He is keen to assist guests with watersports.