Simon Coates-Walker has been sailing since he was a boy with his father, Ronnie. In fact, one of his earliest memories was of his father putting a tiller into his hands and telling him “Here, hold this”. He took his Yacht Master Offshore theory qualifications at eighteen years old, one of the youngest people in the UK to do so at the time. More recently, he was the owner and skipper of Thursday Island, a Benetteau Oceanis 381 which he skippered around the Solent where she was kept and across the channel to Northern France, the Channel Islands and Brittany every summer. He had a dream to take a gap year (or more) and to do some serious sailing in climates which require only a t-shirt (if that). After almost buying a Northwind 56 and a Contest 48, he finally bit the bullet and bought Princess Arguella, an Oyster 55 in Corfu in June, 2017. Then the extensive project started to get the boat ready for a life living on board at anchor and trips across the Atlantic and back. He enjoys meeting new people from all walks of life and learning new skills (luckily!)
The first mate
Rachel Parker has been sailing since she met Simon over ten years ago. She was first coaxed into the sailing life with holidays abroad in Turkey and Antigua, dingy sailing at Sun Sail, and then progressed to sailing on Thursday Island. She likes to point out that she has more qualifications than the Skipper as Simon never did his paper work to obtain his Yacht Master Practical exam! So, for those marinas that require the International Certificate of Competence, she is promoted to skipper. She has come a long way from associating boats with the cross channel Ferry from Calais to Dover. She enjoys the outdoor life and is enthusiastic about this once in a lifetime adventure!
On our trip across to the Caribbean from Gibraltar we will have more crew on board…
Catherine Baart (Gran Canaria to Cape Verde and St Lucia)
Catherine has sailed really rather little in the last 10 years, with some crewing on bareboat charters before that. Other watery experience comes from years spent scuba diving off small bouncing RIBs. She is ready for a big adventure, far removed from being a science teacher (although the Secchi disk will be in use on the voyage).
Florence Rivoal has sailed in Brittany in winter and in the Mediterranean in the summer (Croatia, Corsica and Greece) and has crewed with us on Thursday Island around the Isle of Wight. This is her first trip crewing in Atlantic waters and an opportunity to learn new skills and to teach the first mate some nautical vocabulary in French!
Roger Coates Walker
“At last I have an opportunity to get off my bike, get my hand out of the horse’s backside and do what I always hoped I would be doing before life’s reality intervened. The time has come to brush the dust off those Coastal Skipper certificate notes and prove to the Skipper that choosing a horse vet over a medic was a sensible decision.”
“Formally a restauranteur and more recently a “Collar Artesian” I begin a new chapter in my life as new recruit to the retirees brigade. Past sailing adventures include Round the Isle of Wight with Roger and a Greek Island trip with brothers Roger and Simon. ”