MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Grant Maughan, 49
People often say Grant Maughan lives a charmed life aboard the M/Y Turmoil, a 210-foot yacht with six staterooms, 10 crew cabins, a gym, and sometimes even a helicopter.
“It has its moments,” Maughan, captain of the privately owned Turmoil, admits. The yacht is currently docked for several months at Rybovich Marina for its annual maintenance and spruce-up.
Being the captain of a large yacht, he says, is something like running a hotel.
“You have to know a little about a lot of things,” says Maughan, who supervises a crew of 11, does his own navigation and accounts, oversees the routine maintenance and cleaning of the yacht and religiously follows orders of the yacht’s owner, who lives in Chicago.
It may seem like a dream job, Maughan says, but the position also comes with a big dose of stress.
So how does the captain relieve stress?
He runs. While he has always stayed fit and loves a challenge, the 49-year-old Australian leaped into marathon running just 19 months ago. His first marathon, in West Palm Beach, qualified him to run in this year’s Boston Marathon.
“Boston,” he says, “was a bittersweet experience” in light of the deadly explosions. He was thankful to have finished well before the bombings occurred.
Then this summer, after attending the Teton Training Camp at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Maughan, whose race nickname is “Dingofish Express,” competed in the 135-mile Badwater Marathon, one of the world’s toughest foot races. He came in second, having run the 135-mile course from Death Valley to Mount Whitney, Cailf., in just under 25 hours. In fact, he felt energized enough to climb the 14,505-foot Mount Whitney (the highest summit in the contiguous United States) and then run back to Death Valley.
“I felt pretty good at the end of the marathon,” he says, “but it took 33 hours to run back.”
Back in West Palm Beach, Maughan, who has steered the Turmoil all over the globe, runs whenever he is in port and scoots around on a motorcycle he keeps on the yacht.
He has been a surfing since his youth in Newcastle, Australia, where his father and twin brother still live.
Maughan has been working at sea for 29 years, 17 as a captain.
“I always dreamt of sailing around the world, then worked on a commercial fishing boat before becoming a yacht captain,” he says.
“Sometimes you just want a normal life, but it’s tough integrating into a normal lifestyle and a 9-to-5 job,” he says. “I’ve been thinking about it.”
For now, though, he remains happily at the helm of the Turmoil and staying in tiptop shape for future runs.
What are your hobbies?
Surfing, playing guitar, motorcycle riding and mountain biking.
With whom would you like to have dinner?
Laird Hamilton, a famous big wave surfer from Hawaii.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
Camping on the beach with all my buddies and then waking up to go surfing.
What’s the best advice you ever got?
Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t whistle. My dad, a coal miner, taught me that.
Is there something people don’t now about you that would surprise them?
I used to write and record my own music. Also, I did a documentary of my race (marathon).