It is very kind for someone to nominate me for this, though I am not sure if it places me squarely in the ‘mature’ yachting career stage. I certainly don’t feel this, maybe my knees a little.
My career in yachting began with the 1987 America’s Cup in Fremantle, I saw crew in uniform and larger boats than had ever come to Western Australia and loved it all. It took a further 13yrs from this beginning to realise the dream and in the intervening time I completed degree Officer training with the Navy and also transferred to commercial shipping. I tried my hand in offshore yacht racing but was not good enough to make a paid career from this so I needed to think of something else.
I came to yachting like many…a childhood friend rang and said, “if you can be here in 3-days there is a job”. The job was that of a deckhand and I had been sailing commercially as a Master, but I was ready for the change and leapt at the chance. Timing was on my side, after a couple of years learning what it is to work on deck it was clear that yachts were getting bigger and my commercial qualifications provided and advantage, I probably would not have had the same opportunities now with so many talented commercially trained deck and engine officers in the fleets.
Nevertheless, timing was on my side and I was lucky to work with some wonderful yachts and their crews as Captain / build Captain and at times Owner’s Representative. I saw yacht crews becoming more professional and tried wherever possible to assist crew developing their own careers by sharing my successes, failures (the latter drawing to several volumes) and general experience. I now look with real pride at those I spoke to now leading the yachting community to new heights.
I try and communicate my lived truths to the yachting community so others may accept or reject my views. I am happiest when my experiences are challenged – I think crew need to have a voice and that they will take the yachting industry to the next level and attract new owners and new investment.