Case studies

Angus Whitehead

Work hard and smash it. You’ll make friends for life and leave with an experience you’ll never forget.

Taking one of UKSA’s many courses can help you secure a rewarding job and embark on an exciting career in the maritime industry. Angus Whitehead, a graduate from our Professional Yachtmaster Offshore course, shares his story:

What were you doing before you came to UKSA?

Before coming to UKSA and launching into my 16-week Professional Yachtmaster Offshore course, I was studying for my A levels at Monmouth School For Boys. After I took my exams, I wanted to leave behind the classroom for a more adventurous education.

How did you hear about UKSA and what made you do your Yachtmaster course with us?

I heard about UKSA through a family friend. I did the course as I wanted to get my Yachtmaster as efficiently as possible and UKSA was recommended very highly by multiple people.

Did you receive assisted career funding for the Yachtmaster course?

I received assisted career funding from the Noel Lister Memorial Fund, my School and the Old Monmothian society which was a great help.

Before joining the Yachtmaster course, had you already gained any sailing experience or qualifications?

I have been a keen dinghy sailor with racing experience, however, I had no tidal water experience or experience with yachts.

Describe your typical day at UKSA

The typical day is very hard to answer, I cannot explain what would happen as every day is different one day you’ll be fighting a fire and the next you will be running up on deck desperately strapping up your life jacket because someone shouted “DOLPHINS”. At the end of the day I would usually go to the bar to chat with my sister crew or chill out on the boat. Usually, we would head to the bar as it’s a great place to network and relax.

Describe your 3 highlights

My highlights by far were three distinct moments.

Firstly, the fire fighting, and literally being taken into a burning building was a crazy experience and one I won’t ever forgot. Secondly it would be my Farr phase, spending 10 days at sea with Rich Grimwood was an incredible experience it’s the chance that both crews on the course get together and have an opportunity to sail together. It was incredibly fun with a pod of dolphins following us the whole way and my oil skins failing on the second day. The laughs and memories made on that trip won’t fade. And finally straight after the Farr phase was 6 passages and 600 miles. Instructed by Tony Earney I will remember that experience for the rest of my life, not only the amount I learnt through sailing but also the amount I laughed, from the night sailing and freezing to the motto I learnt about mooring a vessel, which I don’t think I can say directly on here!

Describe your first sea phase

My first sea phase was amazing, essentially a cruise around the Solent doing the things you love the most; sailing! It was all about me learning to sail, basic power handling, setting the boat to sail and getting to know the crew! It was a tremendous amount of fun!

What would you like your first job to be?

My first job after the course has taken me to the Caribbean to Captain a 75 foot Caribbean schooner. I am running day charters with 5 crew (including myself) all the crew are local to Bequia. One crew member Lair, who is completely deaf, has allowed me to put the skills I have learnt into practice, including patience and my need to explain clearly the job at hand.

What are your future career aspirations upon graduation?

5 years from now I want to be captain of a privately owned sailing boat, it will take a lot of work however, I look forward to coming back to UKSA to further my training!

What advice would you offer someone studying at UKSA and considering our Professional Yachtmaster Offshore course?

Stay on top of your work, but don’t stress. A lot of people tell you to worry about the exam, do work hard and smash it, but make sure to enjoy your time there as you’ll make friends for life and leave with an experience you’ll never forget. You will get tired but it’s nothing compared to hearing that you’ve passed your course!

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