The Suri Crew

SuRi is capable of carrying up to 24 crew onboard
to ensure a relaxed luxury yacht experience.

Juan Koegelenberg

Captain / General Manager (South Africa)

Our illustrious leader started his working career in 1987 when he joined the South African Military Services and qualified as an Officer and Instructor of the Meganised Leaders Wing. He then worked for three consecutive years as an offshore commercial diver.

After ending his diving career in 1993 he joined the yachting industry and today has over twenty years of experience. His first position in command as Captain was in 1999 onboard 114ft “Mamosa” and then as build Captain of the 164ft yacht “JeMaSa”.
He has endless enthusiasm for SuRi and its operations and loves exploring out of the way and adventurous cruising destinations.

Captain Juan has logged over 250,000 Nautical Miles and has completed two circumnavigation trips around the globe. With this global cruising experience he also understands how to make yachting fun for the guests and crew alike. With this in mind Juan has a very good reputation for longevity amongst his crew and we can therefore state that he is well seasoned and an exceptional seaman.

Tomislav Trojic

Chief Engineer (Croatia)

As Chief Engineer of SuRi since August 2013, these engines run on fuel, oil and Tommy! He holds his commercial class 2 & Y2 Engineer qualifications with over fifteen years experience ranging from commercial cargo ships, sailing and motor yachts.

Prior to SuRi, Tommy spent seven years working onboard the Owners previous vessel MY JeMaSa. He also spent time working on a sailing boat in the Mediterranean. In total he has circumnavigated the globe an impressive five times and clocked up well over 500’000 nautical miles.

Besides getting his hands dirty and solving any engineering task thrown his way, Tommy’s other passions include being at home in Dubrovnik, Croatia with his growing family and watching any football game on TV.

Mario Kamaric

Chief Engineer (Croatia)

Mario has been working in the marine industry for over 22 years as an engineer in both the commercial and private sectors. Mario brings a wealth of experience of small and large vessels to his role as chief engineer on SuRi where he is responsible for the maintenance of all water craft, engines, communications and interior systems. He loves traveling and joined the maritime industry to be able to meld his love for seeing the world with his chosen profession.

Originally from Split, he enjoys diving and spending as much time as he can in the water.

Hermann Greeff

Second Engineer (South Africa)

Hermann joined the SuRi crew in November of 2015. He is new to the yachting industry and comes from a strong engineering background, taking an interest in anything mechanical. He holds a Powerboat Level 2 Certificate and is hoping to complete his Yacht Master offshore qualification in the near future.

His interests include following motor sports and building RC cars to race with the other crewmembers. He also enjoys taking part in water sports and travelling.

Greg Vorster

Third Engineer / Deckhand (South Africa)

Greg trained and worked as a mechanical engineer in South Africa before turning his hand to the maritime industry. Completing additional qualifications Greg joined Baobab maritime services in Fiji providing mechanical engineering skills to yachts of all sizes. In 2017 Greg joined SuRi as a relief engineer before becoming permanent crew. Having a love of power sports including Formula one and the Dakar rally he is at home amongst all the motor craft onboard SuRi.

Clinton Roos

First Officer (South Africa)

Clinton grew up in South Africa and joined SuRi in 2012 for the refit in Whangarei, NZ as a boat builder and carpenter. After this refit he was employed as deckhand and to provide general maintenance and upkeep of SuRi and her tenders. He holds an Officer of Watch certificate and is currently completing his Chief Officer ticket. 

Clinton has an NZQA certificate in composite and wooden boatbuilding marine cabinet making and has a SSI certificate as an advanced open water diver specialist. 

In his spare time he enjoys surfing, diving, wakeboarding, and any water sport. He also is a keen fisherman.

Thomas Checketts

Head Chef (England)

After studying pastry in the French alps, Tom moved back home to London to work in the Michelin starred kitchens of Gordon Ramsay, Eric Chavot and Gary Rhodes.

After working through the ranks gaining a broad repertoire, he decided to take time out, travel and experience new cuisines. He has worked outside of the UK for 8 years now and still enjoys travelling as much as ever.

Tom will do anything that involves being in or on the water, he is a qualified International Kite Boarding Instructor, a keen diver and surfer and his love for land-based activities involve tennis and golf.

Gabriella Kitching

Second Stewardess (England)

Gabriella joined the SuRi Family in October 2017 bringing with her over 3 years of experience at sea and a background in luxury hospitality.

Gabriella grew up in the English countryside with her family. After studying psychology and sociology at college she found herself with a passion to travel, an open mind to experience and gain life skills and an eagerness to surround herself with different cultures. After living and working in luxury hospitality throughout New Zealand for 4 years she pursued a career at sea joining the Cruise ship industry as Retail Manager which shortly followed by entering the yachting industry cruising waters from the Med, Caribbean and South Pacific.

Gabriella is a foodie at heart and is always looking to enjoy a new cuisine, source a new fine wine, lap up a new destination with a memorable sound track and share a good time!

She absorbs the tranquil beauty our destinations have to offer. Understands the importance of delivering high-end service and looks forward to enhancing a memorable experience on board SuRi.

Duangruedee Maneepak a.k.a Oil

Stewardess (Thailand)

Oil has been a part of the SuRi family for a while as the wife of our Chief Officer Clinton, only recently joining as a crewmember in October 2016 when the position came up.

Oil grew up in one of the busiest cities in the world – Bangkok where her family reside. She has a B.A Degree in English Business & Communication.

Her first experience with us was when she was the Personal Assistant to the Director of Yacht Solutions in Bangkok while the movie “The Mechanic Resurrection” was being shot onboard the SuRi.

Oil is a professional photographer and in her spare time she enjoys yoga and golf and is now hooked on diving since getting certified last year.

Giles Harmse

Bosun (South Africa)

Giles joined SuRi in May of 2014 and quickly adapted to his life at sea.

Whilst living in Pretoria, his active and committed lifestyle earned him an operations manager position at one of the top gyms in the area where he discovered his passion for a healthy and fit wellbeing.

Giles is a keen learner and has recently completed his Yachtmaster certificate and plans to continue his studies in the future. He is a natural seaman, skilled tender driver and brings a wide range of knowledge to SuRi.

His interests include keeping fit, surfing, cars and walking his dogs.

Dejay McKinnon

Lead Deckhand (Australia)

Dejay joined SuRi in February of 2015 and comes from two years of experience on super yachts based in the Mediterranean and Australia. Dejay spent a lot of his childhood boating and sailing and this fuelled his passion for the sea. His love for sailing also saw him competing as Captain for Sailing for his school during his final year.

Dejay holds his Yachtmaster Certificate and Powerboat Level 2 certificate.

In his spare time Dejay enjoys sailing, surfing and taking part in sport activities.

Michael R. Pettitt (‘Keli’)

Dive Master / Deckhand (Fiji)

Keli returned to SuRi in September 2016 as Dive Instructor/Deckhand, joining the vessel in his home country of Fiji!

Keli uses his vast experience on the water to give our guests unique adventures on and under the sea! Raised in Nadi, Fiji, Keli has spent his life on the ocean and has had a great passion for boats since he was a child. This passion led him to pursue work in the dive industry in the islands of Fiji where he gained his vast knowledge of water-toys and water-sports. Keli was employed aboard SuRi from 2007 to 2014 and has re-joined the crew after spending some time land-based with his family. During his time ashore, he managed a recreational water-sports company in the beautiful Mamanuca islands of Fiji.

Keli has salt water in his veins and loves any activity involving water. He is a skilled surfer, fisherman and wake-boarder-the list goes on!

Stephan Lemmer

Deckhand / Dive Instructor (South Africa)

Stephan grew up in the interior of South Africa and was drawn to the coast as a teenager where he took up surfing and boating. He joined the National Surf Rescue Institute in Port Alfred north of Cape Town, where he was involved in sea rescues, first aid, fire safety and boat handling. Stephan started scuba diving in 2010 in Port Alfred which to this day is his favorite dive site, he qualified as a open water and advanced dive instructor including Nitrox.

Stephan joined SuRi in 2014 where his previous marine experience of the various maintenance and servicing skills of motor craft has been an asset, he took leave in 2016 to do smaller yacht deliveries across the pacific and has rejoined the deck crew on SuRi In 2017.

Willie Amoe

Deckhand (Fiji)

Willie is a new addition to SuRi, having joined March 2016. He arrived in Brisbane from Fiji with his team of painters for an extensive shipyard period. His wide range of skills and work ethic led to his permanent position as part of the SuRi crew!

Willie is originally from Lautoka, a small coastal town on the mainland of Fiji. He is a professional and highly experienced painter, having initially studied the trade for three years in New Zealand and progressing to eventually own his own company in Fiji.

SuRi is the first yacht Willie has worked aboard and he has adapted to life on the ocean very quickly! He brings a great deal of experience, care and positivity to the SuRi.

Willie spends his free time with his wife and child in their home in Lautoka. He loves to socialise with his large group of friends and extended family, eating traditional Fijian foods and cooking the barbecue. He has an interest in fishing, cars and travel and is always ready to try anything new!

Leigh Townsend

Masseuse (NZ)

With a background in sports massage utilized in a ski lodge in Switzerland and with semi-professional road cyclists in France, Leigh went back to University in 2008 and graduated 5 years later with Honours in a Master of Osteopathy.

Undertaking a traditional career path in clinical work, she felt the ocean calling and turned her massage and osteopathy skills into a small business working with yacht crew in Auckland and in the ports she would end up in after a yacht delivery. She has continued her education while on the open road and seas, in various modalities within the alternative and conventional healing fields. She has refined her work and specialized in creating and delivering high quality, bespoke treatments that deliver a unique experience not governed by time but by the tissues.

Her passion for travel and sailing led her into the sphere of professional yachting, which is where she now specializes with yacht owners, guests and crew.

Steven Zito

Helicopter Pilot (USA)

Steve's passions are flying helicopters and private planes. His talents are not only in flying, he also enjoys surfing, diving, and motor crossing. He is also SuRi’s very skilled under water photographer, always up for taking a challenging shot

Steve has been flying SuRi’s helicopter since 2008 and is happy to show off his flying skills!

Dan Nickens

Aviation Pilot (USA)

Dan our trusty Sea Plane pilot has been flying for more than 30 years and has an immense passion for the sea and aeronautics.  He has degrees in marine geology, coastal & oceanographic engineering, and law from the University of Florida. After a professional career managing explosive, reactive, and radioactive wastes, he retired to fly seaplanes. He is a Commercial Pilot with more than 8500 flight hours, 4500 in seaplanes.

He has been flying his favourite seaplane SuRi’s SeaRey since 2010 and will more than happily take you for a spin!