I grew up on the south coast of the UK never more than 6 miles from the sea. I have been sailing dinghies since the age of 6, starting out crewing for my Dad in his National 12 dinghy before moving into a mirror dinghy aged 10 and attending RYA youth training. I have always had a dinghy and have raced most weekends throughout my life in dinghies including RS classes, 49er, Foiling Moth, and Formula 18 catamarans. Sailing has always been my ‘happy place’ where I can escape from the world. As a child I was fascinated with the Swallows and Amazons series of books and dreamed of living on, exploring with, and generally messing about in boats. Although I did not know it at the time, all of this was clearly preparing me for what we are doing now, sailing around the world on Florence.
After University I had the opportunity to race around Britain and Ireland non-stop on a 38ft yacht, this was my first real big-boat/offshore experience. Since I enjoyed that I then attended the selection trials for the GBR Yacht Racing Academy and spent a season racing the Academy’s Farr 52’s as Helmsman/Tactician including the 2007 Fastnet race. I found that l enjoyed the big boats offshore when racing ‘to’ somewhere, but for round the cans racing I far preferred dinghies.
Away from sailing I have a background in electronics and before setting off to sail around the world I spent 12 years working in Engineering Design. The problem solving that comes from an engineering background is a useful skill to have when maintaining a boat hundreds of miles from any help in remote parts of the world.