Oyster Marine Senior Commissioning Assistant
When I was in post the commissioning process started with the delivery of the yacht from the yard, either by road to Ipswich from the landlocked yards or directly to the dock at Saxon Wharf for Southampton yacht services build boats.
As a senior commissioning assistant it was at this point that I would take over the day to day responsibility for the rigging, sailing and testing of the vessel and all her systems. This includes liaising closely with the vessels client project manager. The process concluded with a two or three day handover to the vessels owner or the professional crew.
Between the vessels arrival and handover she was rigged, sailed and checked in every way. Everything from sails to stereos and navigation instruments to black waste management systems, everything on board was thoroughly checked and run as it would be in the vessels working life.
The painstaking process was expected to take a minimum of three weeks for two people on an Oyster 56 and could take up to twelve on larger vessels.
Highlights during my time in this position include the commissioning the first two Oyster 82s and the first three, all very different 72s. I have also took great pleasure in attending the ARC starts as part of the service team and handovers in Hong Kong and the USA.
I left the position in 2008 to take over the management department.
Formally the Cable and Wireless Adventurer is a remarkable record breaking 115 foot wave piercing catamaran.
When I joined her as navigating officer for a tour of duty in 2001 she was engaged in cutting edge magnetic survey work around the oil platforms of the North Sea on behalf of BP.
I was aboard for two six week tours, working at latitudes well above those of the Shetland Islands surveying at a steady 18 knots, whatever the weather.
In the summer of 1998 I joined Clipper Adventures as skipper of one of our identical 60′ yachts training for and taking part in round the world yacht race.
Working directly for Sir Robin Knox Johnston I started with Clipper fourth months prior to the start of the race I had responsibility for evaluation and training potential paying amateur crew members.
Upon allocation of crews I was responsible for motivation of five circumnavigators (including several previous non-sailors and one sailor with physical disabilities) plus up to nine additional crew per leg.
I had sole authority for all aspects of safety, navigation and sea worthiness of the yacht & crew. Together with budgetary & provisioning responsibility.
We use innovative IT solutions for navigation & communications as well as team building and the boasts unique website/newsletters.
After the race I returned to Clipper Adventures as fleet manager.
Sailing Barge May
After a winter as field sales engineer for Prosser scientific Instruments I joined Tate and Lyle as Mate aboard the sailing Barge May in 1993.
Built in 1891 The May was at that time used exclusively for entertainment of Tate and Lyle management and customers. For around 50% of the year we were based on the River Thames, working from the Upper Pool running evening charters on the river for up to 40 guests.
The other half of the season was spent around the UK coast and on the near continent serving Tate and Lyle’s interests abroad. In 1997 we circumnavigated the UK working in Southampton, Bristol, Liverpool, Greenock and Hull.
1992 Self Employed. After a Winter working in a South Coast boatyard I returned to sea as a freelancer in the summer of 1992.
A large proportion of the season was spent working on the East Coast sailing barges, including Hydrogen, Ironsides and Northdown, in preparation for and during the Brest‘92 Festival of the sea.
Camara C is 105 ft, 173 GRT twin screw motor yacht. She was, when I served aboard, consortium owned and based in Rhodes as a busy Charter yacht under the management of Yachting Partners International.
I joined mid 1991 season as mate after the the previous incumbent had left for employment on a larger yacht. Our program was back to back charter plying between Rhodes and Antalya for the rest of the season. We then returned to San Remo where the vessel was laid up for the winter.
Camara C had accomodation for 12 passengers and 6 Crew.
Tenerez is a Swan 57 Ketch on which I was employed as Crew for the trip back across the Atlantic to Majorca via Gibraltar. She had just finished a successful charter season in the Caribbean and was returning to the Med to be sold.
Grenville was British owned Freedom 70 with a 3 masted unstayed rig she was based in Grenada for the 1990/1991 season where I took her over as Master.
Due to the outbreak of the (first) Gulf war our season was somewhat curtailed but we operated between St Lucia and Grenada on private charter for three months.
Grenville had accommodation for eight with four crew, Master, Mate, Cook (My Wife) and Deckhand, our charters were usually week or two week voyages with European family groups.
Due to the lack of work for the vessel we left in March 1991 and returned to Antigua to look for a passage back to Europe.
Sol 2, a Jeanneau 40 and Savoir Vivre were my first introduction to Ocean sailing.
I joined Sol for the trip from the Canaries to the Martinique in the Autumn of 1989, I then sailed up to Antigua and spent the rest of the season relief working and sailing on whatever I could.
Savoir Vivre, a standard Sigma 362, belonged to my Father in law and I joined her, with my wife for the 1990 ARC. Abigail and I were setting off to our work aboard Grenville and her Mother and Father for a five year voyage.
Queen Galadriel Belongs to the Cirdan Trust. I joined her in February 1987 as Third Hand, the following season I was promoted to Mate. I sailed as Mate until June 1990 when I took over as Master.
Our principal work was sail training with youngsters from all walks of life but also included some adult parties and corporate charter.
Scott Bader Commonwealth
Scott Bader Commonwealth was one of the 72‘ ketches run by the the Ocean Youth Club, now known as the Ocean Youth Trust which was based on the South coast when I was a teenager.
Between the ages of fifteen and twenty I sailed with the OYC, firstly as a paying youngster and then as Bosun and volunteer