How did your yachting career begin?
I was a dive instructor with my own business in Australia and one day I was putting my gear away at the end of a three-day trip. I was looking at the skipper of the classic sailing ketch I was aboard and I thought: ‘That is the life! What am I doing?’ I left Australia shortly afterwards to pursue yachting. I became a flotilla skipper, a delivery skipper and then an instructor in the UK, until eventually I got fed up of being freezing cold, wet, underpaid and working with amateurs in the (very demanding) Irish Sea week in week out. I went to Nice for the weekend and the rest is history, I never looked back; three years later I was the captain of a big sail boat.
What drew you away from life at sea to work with the Christophe Harbour development?
“Don’t stop changing” being a motto of mine (god bless David Bowie for showing me the way!) my ambitions at sea were fulfilled—I had run a big enough boat, had been almost everywhere I ever wanted to go. I came to St Kitts with Buddy Darby in 2007 just after he acquired the land. His visionary perspective was intoxicating, the scale of the project was inspirational, I was looking for the next piece of life work and to a transition away from the safety of an established career aboard. I jumped in quickly and committed to a long term relationship with the owner, I moved ashore in 2012 to begin a new career and life on an island I had by then discovered I had a deep passion for. To be part of the project from the start, to be part of the development of the yachting industry almost from scratch in St Kitts, to live on such a beautiful island with such a wonderful population, society and culture; it has all be amazing. The transition ashore is a long, demanding and consuming process, I have found it very fulfilling and three years in here I am still grounded in St Kitts with a dog and new friends to keep me company, and I still get to play with yachts.
How important do you think professional development should be for superyacht crew?
Personal and professional development are crucial to growth and fulfilment for me. While aboard and now on land, I have never stopped yearning for knowledge and change of circumstances (change is a big driver for me and I find it hugely exciting and developmental). I feel that this desire for learning got me where I am today as a captain and now running a marina—whether it was the hours in the engine room learning how everything worked or my time here with the real estate team, new skills carry one to a different place and challenges. Professional development is exactly this, I want my crew and team to always be taking on new responsibilities, they grow with them and achieve their own goals
What makes you excited about Caribbean CrewFest?
I can’t wait to show crew a new island and watch them fall in love with all it has to offer—people and places. The ‘first of its kind’ nature of the event for the region, what it will become with time—a signature event for the island, the region? It is especially exciting to see boats arriving for the event that are visiting St Kitts for the first time, imagining the long relationships ahead as they increasingly put St Kitts and Christophe Harbour on their itineraries.