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ML: How did you end up in Yachting?
GP: For some reason, I always loved boats. By age 16, I already had my RYA Instructor certificate, and I was very lucky to be working in the school holidays at a sailing school that had about 20 different boats of all sizes and shapes, which was an excellent grounding in boat handling (excuse the pun).
I was also an avid dinghy racer, sailing with the Scottish Youth team, and doing quite well at European level. I trained as a teacher of PE and Biology, but after three years teaching in international schools, I knew teaching was not for me, so I went off travelling in south east Asia. With the monsoon season approaching I headed back to Singapore where by mere chance I landed an unpaid deckhand’s position on a classic 35m top-masted schooner, a large yacht at that time.
ML: What certification/training do you need to become a captain?
GP: Today there is a quite distinct path to follow, as opposed to when I first started in yachting back in the early 80s. There are now 200/500 and 3,000 tonnes licences with many modules, days at sea required, and a training log book to be completed, all which takes time and, of course money!
As the years have progressed, more and more courses have to be retaken, which is a good thing, the most recent being the requirement for the STCW certificate to be revalidated every five years.
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