Change is something Chambers, 50, seems to thrive on. By his own account, he fell into the “yachtie” life.
Born in Wagga Wagga, NSW, he worked as a mechanic and then as a plumber before heading overseas to backpack around the world for a few years. He travelled to the USA to play professional football before a friend got him a job on a boat.
“And that was it,” he adds. He started in the engine room and worked his way up from there.
He admits he wasn’t entirely sure whether to join the franchise but now with two seasons under his belt, he has no regrets. It has had its challenges, though, particularly when about midway through this season, two cast members were sacked for sexual misconduct.
While naked, the boat’s Bosun, Luke Jones, climbed into the bed of one of his colleagues who was drunk and asleep at the time. Producers were forced to step in and removed Jones from the cabin. Another incident saw Second Steward Laura Bileskalne relentlessly make advances on another colleague.
After the episodes aired, Chambers thanked the production team for “breaking the fourth wall and stepping in” and acknowledged that others in similar situations had not been so lucky with the outcomes. Yet, he remains positive that these situations should be used as opportunities to change and grow “and learn from experiences either good or bad and become the best humans”.
That approach is also reflected in how he has adapted to his newfound fame. So far, it’s been positive and is allowing him to pursue his passion projects.
“I haven’t had a bad experience with it,” he says. “I’m up for change. I’ve been a mechanic, a plumber, a footballer … about two years ago I was rolling sourdough up on the Sunshine Coast. For me, life is about experiences so this is a change and if it turns out to be a bad change, then I’ll cop that as well. I’m here to live."
“I’m now an ambassador of a foundation in Latin America that supports [educating] Latin American children about ocean awareness. I’m trying to match that up with some sustainability stuff that could translate back to the Philippines for recycling and awareness. They need some ocean awareness too – they are all fished out. So hopefully some dots get connected.”
One thing that is absent from Chambers’ life is a permanent home and a partner. “I’m truly a nomad,” he explains.
“And it’s been like that for many years. I came back to Australia in 2008 and worked here for a while before going back overseas. Right now, whenever I’m not working I just go back to where my daughter is.“
Even when he’s on dry land, he’s not far from the water. He spends his spare time spear fishing and freediving, likes paddle boarding and is also a yoga devotee.
He takes the opportunity to do a cold water plunge when he can, otherwise he makes do by immersing his face in a bowl of ice water. “I’m very conscious of my health,” he reveals.
So, who would he like to sail around the world with then? After a lengthy pause, he replies: “Someone that freedives, snorkels, does yoga – and is about 5 foot 4. I’d like to sail around the world with a nice partner.” No wonder they call him Captain Cutie!
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