Update from Martin Smith, UKSA graduate who was offered an amazing opportunity onboard Hummingbird:

After seeing the brightly coloured Hummingbird against the dreary winter backdrop of the Solent during my Professional Yachtmaster course, little did I know that I would end up living on the revamped Clipper 60 from London to Saint Petersburg! I cheekily asked co-owner Bruce for a tour of the boat for my crew and I at Haslar Marina and thought that was that. But thanks to the great contacts that UKSA staff hold, both past and present, I was put forward to Bruce and Rachael at Rubicon3 for a personal development role.

Through Bruce and Rachael’s well honed mentoring skills I have been allowed to try my hand at instructing and at times truly test elements of my skippering ability during the trip. Working face to face with real customers on a boat is also vastly different from a purely sail training yacht. There are different needs and motives for each individual on the expedition and Rubicon3’s vision of Sail Train Explore certainly caters for this.

Thinking specifically of how my sailing has improved I can recall two particular stand out moments. Firstly, the thick fog we encountered off the north coast of Poland practically demonstrated the effective use of radar. The classroom based training I received at UKSA is a good start point, but seeing a Polish fishing vessel on the radar and then witnessing it appear through the fog gives me great confidence how radar can work in your favour when at sea. Secondly, parking a Clipper 60 is incredibly different from any other boat I have ever driven. It’s not the length, long keel, strong port kick in astern or it’s blow about bow that gives you problems, it’s putting all that information together quickly to use those characteristics to your advantage. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of manoeuvring things and with experiences from cars to lorries, forklifts to battle tanks and dinghies to sailing yachts, dare I say it but I think I’m quite good at it. The pinnacle of which was reluctantly accepting responsibility for landing the Hummingbird in River Yacht Club, St. Petersburg from Rachael. After a few trial run ups through the wind and strong river current I safely succeed in getting us alongside in a difficult space to bring Rubicon3’s first ever expedition to an end.

Thank you Bruce, Rachael, all those involved in making Rubicon3 happen and all those aboard Hummingbird.