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Caribbean Travel & Life Article

Phaedrus featured in Caribbean Travel & Life Magazine, October 2008


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Reprint from:
Cruising World Magazine
February 2000

People & Food
By Elaine Lembo,
Photos by Jason Stern

Gourmet Headquarters
Welcome aboard some of the top charter boats in the world, and see how these accomplished chefs prepare the specialties that make a crewed charter the epicurean experience of a lifetime

What does it take to be a great chef on a charter boat? Strong legs in a seaway? a secret stash of spices in the ditty bag? To find out, we visited some of the best in the business - at Caribbean anchorages; dockside at America's Cup headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand; off charter at a Moorings base in Tahiti; in transit at Newport, Rhode Island, before an offshore voyage. Here's your porthole onto the world of a few of the best charter-boat chefs in the business and some of the highest caliber food and drink ever offered up from the galley. The best part? You can join them on your next vacation!


Sail with Charles Swaim and Leslie Jones on Phaedrus and you get two cooks for the price of one. Charles started working in the kitchen of an officer's club at a naval air station when he was 11 and worked in professional kitchens throughout high school. He later was a chef's apprentice, ran catering businesses, taught culinary arts, and served on the board of the American Culinary Federation. Leslie picked it up from her mother, who never sent dad off to work without something home-baked in his lunch. Charles, a member of the Seven Seas Cruising Association, took on the daunting task of converting Phaedrus, a Morgan 50 built in 1983, into their charter-ready home, and when the couple's not working - this is their fourth season - they cruise the Caribbean and South America.

Leslie's English Muffins
1 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar or honey
2 tsp. salt
3 c. flour; up to 1 c. can be wheat flour
1/4 c. oil
Sprinkle yeast over the water in a bowl and let sit a few minutes until it bubbles and dissolves. Thoroughly combine dry ingredients and mix gradually into the bowl with water. Add oil and stir.

Between two sheets of waxed paper, roll out dough to 1/3-inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2-inch circles and lay on a surface sprinkled with cornmeal. Allow the muffins to rise about double in size in 2 hours. "Bake" on a preheated griddle with medium heat, turning to brown on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Best served immediately with preserves, butter and honey.

Phaedrus Curry Chicken Salad
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/2 Tbsp. Madras curry powder
1/2 Tbsp. oil for sautéing
Salt and pepper
1 c. onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. Madras curry powder
1/2 c. chicken stock
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. softened cream cheese
1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 Tbsp. mango chutney
Juice of lime
5 drops of preferred hot sauce

Season chicken. Sauté 7 minutes on each side. Reduce heat. Cover for 3 minutes. Cool chicken and cut into bite-sized cubes and chill. Sweat the onion and garlic in oil in a saucepan. Add curry powder and saffron. Cook 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and reduce to 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat and set aside. Combine curried onions and remaining ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Mix sauce with chicken cubes and refrigerate. Serve on a bed of red-leaf lettuce, garnishing with fresh cilantro leaves, shredded fresh coconut, raisins, chopped peanuts, sliced mango and a dollop of mango chutney on top.


Finding Organizational Reality in Paradise:
A Team of Two

Ronald J. Stupack, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President
Katherine N. Stupak
Organizational Consultant

"Leadership is not a position, but a relationship."
Laurence Miller

         As line managers, executive leaders, and team-building consultants in courts, in hospitals, in the public and private sectors, and even in the military, academic, and not-for-profit arenas, we have been searching for organizational effectiveness, quality improvements, and best practices. More specifically,  earlier in our careers we actively encouraged judges and court executives as well as physicians and hospital administrators to work together as teams of two.  However, back then, in the command/control environment, our efforts to build teams, change behavior, and share power remained more an academic exercise than an operational reality in most of these organizations.
          Imagine our surprise that while taking a vacation on the sailing Yacht Phaedrus in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean we discovered a "perfect example" of a team of two.  Every dynamic of developing a team of two was manifested in the personal and professional relationships between Charles Swaim and Leslie Jones as they turned the boat into a set of processes, procedures, and interpersonal competencies that provided flawless service, immaculate accommodations, and a value-added performance that could serve as a model for all types and sizes of service organizations.
          Remembering that what gets celebrated gets repeated, we would like to share with you five behavioral dynamics that were exhibited and practiced by these two individuals as they operated as a high performing team of two.

The Team Performance Factors

"Reciprocal responsibility means shared gain and shared pain."
Gary Hamel

         The elements that can be identified in a high performing team of two are numerous, and Charles and Leslie actively and symbolically seemed to use them all.  And yet, for this article, we would like to highlight what we think are the critical, fundamental anchors of an effective team of two and how these factors were demonstrated by them and seen and experienced by us.  Clearly, in this article we are not just talking or conjuring up theory, we saw it being done.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

"Listen to understand, rather than to defend your position."
Terry Pearce

         Sail with Charles Swaim and Leslie Jones on Phaedrus and you get two cooks for the price of one.  Charles is the gourmet chef and Leslie is the pastry chef and it was in the context of these roles that an example of effective feedback was most clearly and honestly demonstrated.  While we were feasting after dinner on a delicious cheesecake, Charles turned to Leslie and said, "On a scale of 1 to 10 the cheesecake tonight is an 8," and then he methodically and carefully explained why from his perspective.  Interestingly, part of the evaluation was Charles' self-evaluation since he had convinced Leslie to bake the cheesecake for an additional 10 minutes.  Leslie listened intently and non-defensively and after some dialogue concurred with Charles' evaluation.  In essence, the feedback was given as close to the event as possible; it was offered graciously; it was under-girded with an "I" statement; and, it was given with an emphasis on making good even better.  This feedback dynamic occurred over and over again during the cruise.

Open and Interactive Communications

"There is a constant need to dissolve the barriers between myself
and the communication of myself."
Michael Brooks

         How two individuals communicate is determined not only by how well the sender says things but also by how well one is understood by the receiver.  Throughout the week, Charles and Leslie communicated by listening attentively to each other's words, body movements, and facial expressions.  As an example, their silent communications and hand signals as they anchored the boat in numerous coves were extraordinary.  It may sound corny, but their caring communications and relationships with each other helped them to care for themselves and for us, the customers, by staying aware of our words, emotions/feelings, and body language.  They demonstrate that you cannot divorce commitment and caring from efficiency and effectiveness in service organizations...and probably in all organizations.  It is clear that as a team of two they helped to mold both of us into a complimentary team of two as we sailed in paradise.  It reminded us, as residents in Thomas Jefferson country in Virginia, that Jefferson was absolutely on the mark when he said, "to lead greatly, one must learn to listen greatly."

Togetherness, Meshing, and Kindred Spirits

"Idealism rescues cynicism and can be parsed as another work for freedom."
Lewis H. Lapham

         Other teams of two we have worked with had a vision; some had religion; and others had professionalism.  This was the first team of two that had spirituality.  The respect and compassion that they demonstrated toward the sea, sailing, and each other, created a blending of intellect, emotion, and commitment that produced collaborative leadership (almost a form of servant leadership) where love of each other, love of the boat, and love of the sea gave each of them a mutually optimistic perspective for turning what could have been, and was, difficult work into a labor of love.

Collaborative Decision Making

"Plans should be made by the people who are going to execute them."
George Patton

         Good organizations prize the individual, but great organizations celebrate the team.  The central challenge of most organizations is to blend sometimes-conflicting individual perspectives into responsible, interrelated practices, policies, and decisions that best serve the organization, the business, and the customers.  It was Charles and Leslie's uniqueness as individuals, as well as their respective roles as the crew, that defined their responsibilities, but it was their collaborative and sophisticated interdependence that produced their combined strength and outstanding performance as a team of two.  Coincidentally, during the cruise, Ron was reading Jack Welch's book, Jack: Straight from the Gut, and he noted as the days progressed that the concept of boundaryless used by Welch to help make General Electric the number one Fortune 500 corporation during the past decade was demonstrated again and again on Phaedrus. Charles and Leslie continually traded roles, made collaborative decisions, shared power, and demonstrated an androgynous nexus that produced a tight linkage between "head and heart" in their day-to-day decision making and problem solving endeavors.


"The principle of focus is to exclude that which matters less, so that we may give attention to what which matters most."
Roy Williams

         In all organizations there are numerous tasks to be done, and sadly, too many leaders, managers, and employees believe that they all must be done.  Too many times this leads to the wasteful use of resources with an emphasis on marginalia that detracts from core necessities.  Becoming busy, staying active, and "sweating the small stuff" at the expense of core requirements, added-value actions, and customer driven satisfactions are too often indicative of mediocre organizations.  Total quality does not develop because of latitudes, hyperactivity, or superficiality; it is achieved by attitudes, focus, and criticality.  This approach to total quality was clearly manifested on Phaedrus by a team of two who, though they had to cater to the needs, desires, and appetites of us vacationers, never took their "eye off the ball" by erroneously equating service with servitude.  They sailed safely; they navigated professionally; and they constantly scanned the environment strategically.  They focused on the anchor of what they do...sail safely and professionally.  And only then did they make certain that they took care of their customers' wishes by building on their confidence, certitude, and capabilities as masters of the sea.
          As an aside, let's make clear that we have seen many small family enterprises and "mom and pop" businesses fail because they thought that small itself was beautiful.  Furthermore, we have seen too many large organizations fail because they have squandered precious resources on bureaucratic warfare and nonessential tasks.  Charles and Leslie as a focused team of two avoided both of these deadly extremes by (1) knowing that small is not better...rather, demonstrating that focused is better, and, (2) showing us that resourcefulness in achieving core tasks is even more important than the total resources themselves.


"Organization is just another word for interdependence."
Peter Block

         The ultimate goal of a team of two is the overriding desire to build, to serve, to perform, to grow, and to teach.  At its highest level, team-based leaders and team-led organizations regardless of size, location, or context are followed, imitated, and respected because of who they are and the values their organizations represent.  Servant leadership, within a team framework, is becoming the preferred way of galvanizing the workforce in the contemporary, service driven environment.  Who would have thought that we would find the team of two leadership paradigm so finely honed and brilliantly polished in the Caribbean?  Thank you, Charles Swaim and Leslie Jones, for showing us organizational reality in paradise...actions do speak louder than words.