Crew - Privilege 65

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Tony Bilek, Captain

Having logged over 82,000 nautical miles working in the yachting industry, it is clear that Tony Bilek is passionate about life at sea. As a young man, Tony built a strong foundation of seamanship knowledge through his studies at the Nautical College La Maddalena in Sardinia, Italy. He began work as a deck hand on private charter yachts crossing the Bonifaccio Straits between Corsica and Sardinia. Before long he was crossing the Atlantic as crew on delivery of large sailing vessels between the Med and the Caribbean. He gained valuable engineer & diesel mechanic experience, working in shipyards and in charge of the restoration of a classic 80’ sailing yawl in the Caribbean. Tony also spent several years in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef as first mate and engineer aboard dive vessels and received certification as a PADI Divemaster. He returned to the Caribbean and worked as engineer aboard the M/Y “Caribbean Explorer”, a 105 ft. dive vessel operating around Saint Maarten-Saba-Saint Barth. Since then he has been captain of a number of large sailing vessels including a 100’ Swan, cruising extensively in both the Med and Caribbean.

Tony has great interpersonal and communication skills, and strives for safety and a harmonious environment on board as his highest priority. When he’s not sailing or scuba diving, his other hobbies include windsurfing, wakeboarding, canoeing, snowboarding, and rock climbing.

Paola Gandolfi, Chef

Paola grew up in northern Italy where, naturally, she developed a love for cooking wonderful food. Her other love is the sea. She began her yachting career as crew aboard a motor yacht in the Indian Ocean 10 years ago and since then has worked as chef on a variety of sailing and motor yachts throughout the Mediterranean, enjoying the ports of call in Spain, France, Italy, Tunsia, Malta, Croatia, Greece and Turkey. More recently she has sailed throughout the Caribbean, from the Virgin Islands down through the Grenadines, and has received her captain’s license. In her words, “The sea is my land, my heart and my first passion.” Always with a smile on her face, Paola has excellent communication skills and speaks English and Austrian-German in addition to her native Italian. Her culinary specialties include Mediterranean and international cuisine, as well as vegetarian and vegan.

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