“I was just 17 when I was spotted at the Junior World Cadet Championships and invited to join a youth team for what was then the Whitbread Round the World Race [now the Volvo Ocean Race]. That thrust me into the world of ocean racing and I ended up earning a living from it. I’ve since done three round-the-world races – once solo for the Vendée Globe.
The Vendée is one of the holy grails of sailing, along with the America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race and the Olympics and I became the 5th British sailor to complete it. It’s something of a pinnacle – at times, I’ve felt a bit like, ‘now that I’ve climbed that mountain, where else do I go?’ It was very rewarding though – as are all the trips I’ve done.
When I was first approached about Mutiny, they were quite cryptic about what it was for. Then I started to help the production team work out the feasibility of it all, working with an amateur crew on a replica of the original launch with traditional navigation equipment. When the boat, Bounty’s End, was finally commissioned and built I just fell in love with her and couldn’t imagine not joining the voyage myself. They needed a commercial skipper and eventually I ended up on board.
I loved Bounty’s End so much that after the programme ended, I bought the boat from the production company. We’ve done a lot of different things with her since. I’m a trustee of the Island Sailing Trust so we’ve been using the boat to take disadvantaged children on sails and as a fundraising vehicle. Now, we’ve also got it coded, so that we can take people for mini Mutiny experiences! The idea is to get them to forage, do some wild cooking and live on the boat, just as we did.
I’ve never immersed myself in the power world, despite living in Plymouth right next to Princess Yachts, but I love all forms of sailing. If you can make a boat go well, it’s very satisfying. I’m more focused on the big international races but events like the St Barths Bucket still count as sailing in my book, just on a magnificent scale, with some of the most beautiful boats in the world.
Having travelled around the world a few times, there are a few places I’d recommend to superyacht owners. On Mutiny, we went from Tonga to Timor and passed through some wonderful places. We stopped at Vanuatu for three days, which had the most idyllic beaches, beautiful people and is still relatively undiscovered as a destination. That’s probably top of my list.”