When Kristen Fritz left Missoula, Montana she headed to St. Thomas to work as a nanny. Now seventeen years later with a few stops in between, she has returned to St. Thomas as the marina manager of the new Yacht Haven Grande Marina. The marina is owned by Island Global Yachting; one of the world's premier owners, developers, and managers of luxury marinas and yachting lifestyle destinations.
Kristen's career began as a nanny; she loved children and was offered a position in St. Thomas. After a couple of years, she returned stateside to become a stock broker in New York and after four years decided to leave her career and the cold winters behind. She bought a one-way ticket to Ft. Lauderdale where she stayed in a "crew house" and through an agency found a stewardess job on Destiny - a 124 ft. yacht-- her first venture on the seas. From there, she moved to Viaggio as a deckhand/stewardess before taking a chief stewardess position on the 143 ft. yacht Starship. During her time on board, Kristen earned her Captain's license. With her license in hand, she began freelancing as a captain/first mate.
While aboard the yachts, Kristen remembers several experiences and special memories of being with people she met from around the world. She recalls this one in particular: "The family aboard our charter was a family that had traveled everywhere and done everything. They had a 4-year-old daughter who insisted that I join them on the next adventure off the boat. We boarded the helicopter aboard Starship and took off to the volcano on St. Vincent and landed inside the small center with moss-covered walls. Amongst the sulfur rocks and steam, we got off the helicopter and walked. The expression on their faces was amazing."
Her time aboard yachts was well spent, gaining excellent boat knowledge and an understanding of what they don't teach you while studying for a license.
"The difficult part of working on yachts was time spent away from my family," recalled Kristen. But, she added, "One of my largest pleasures was seeing other families arrive onboard the yacht. I always tried to make their charter experience as much fun as possible which also helped make-up the time I was away from mine."
Nine years ago she met Jeff Boyd with IGY in St. Maarten and two and half years ago he offered her the opportunity to run a marina - the beautiful new Yacht Haven Grande. They flew to St. Thomas to meet with Eli Finegold, the president, and six months later she moved to St. Thomas.
Kristen's assistant manager for three plus years, Steve Gamble, has now moved to Antigua to run the Antigua Yacht Club marina that was recently purchased by IGY.
During vacation this September, Kristen became engaged to the Fleet Manager, Billy Galloway, of On Deck Racing. They met a couple of years ago at Country Night at the Offshore Bar. Kristen loved to dance and Billy wanted to learn the "two step". Six months later they were dating, and 18 months later, they traveled to Montana. It was there Billy asked Kristen's dad for her hand, waited until after the party then fell to one knee and proposed!
St. Thomas is proud to have Kristen back!