Lewis hadn’t considered yachting as a career option, until he discovered our Professional Yacht Cadetship. During his training Lewis travelled the world, gained qualifications and broadened his horizons. Lewis says: “I learnt how to dream big and set myself new goals. I have achieved many of them, but the journey continues…”
“I finished school when I was 18 after my A-levels, with no real idea of what I wanted to do. I thought about joining the armed forces, due to my time in the Sea Cadets, but was unsuccessful in my applications.
I started work at a yacht chandlery in my hometown of Poole and worked there full-time for a year. During this year, my Nan heard an advert on the radio for the Professional Yacht
Cadetship (PYC) at UKSA and told me that there was funding available through Trinity House. I didn’t have a clue about the yachting industry and I’d never considered it as a career opportunity, even though I’d been working opposite the Sunseeker factory for years! I took it as a sign and decided to apply for the PYC and the funding. I will be forever grateful that I did.
I started the PYC in October 2010 and completed my Officer of the Watch (OOW) 3000gt (Y) qualification in early 2014. Receiving the Trinity House bursary was incredibly important to me, because without it I wouldn’t have been able to fund the course. It gave me extra drive to show everyone that they were right to give me the funding.
The friendships that I made during my time at UKSA and the camaraderie between my fellow cadets was exceptional. We all stuck together and helped each other out. It wasn’t just the friendships with the other students though, it is the ‘family’ of staff and instructors – there’s never a moment that you feel helpless and that’s an excellent achievement.
I was the first of the cadets to have a confirmed job, getting a call during my Yachtmaster exam from the captain of a 28-metre sailing yacht offering me a position. I’m glad I accepted the job – my three crew mates are friends to this day. I was plunged into the deep end with responsibilities: watch keeping, navigation, so essentially half deckhand and half mate. It was more than an experience. We visited almost all the Caribbean, San Blas, the Bay Islands off Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, Coco Islands, the Galapagos Islands and French Polynesia.
There are always ups and downs of course, and it’s not always a glamorous experience. You’ll learn that yacht crew are a very special bunch of people and I think that it changes you as a person for the better. For me, the most important lesson was to trust in myself and to believe in my own abilities. I’d been knocked down previously, having my applications for the forces turned down for example, but I realised my potential. As I progressed through the course and later into my yachting career, I learnt how to dream big and set myself new goals. I have achieved many of them…but the journey continues.
I met my girlfriend whilst working on board the superyacht and we worked on two more yachts together, before deciding to call it a day. We now live in Cape Town running our own
businesses: a company called ‘Back in Town’ – a luxury travel agency – and a property management company. On the surface, you might not think that it’s related to yachting at all, but there are multiple assets that we have gained from our knowledge of yachting.
Standards of luxury, guest relations, expectations, dedication, the dreaded word “detailing”, that have allowed us to build our own brand, and successful way of working with our new
If you are thinking about starting your career at UKSA, I would say immerse yourself. Don’t just focus on what you are studying; speak to everybody you can, learn from them and their experiences. It will give you a greater view of what you are heading into and all of the options that are out there.”
For more information about UKSA’s Professional Yacht Cadetship, please visit: http://uksa.org/professional-training/deck/superyacht- cadetship/