Sail for a Living
by Sue Pelling
published by Wiley Nautical
RRP $29.95 (183pp; 210mm x 170mm)
One of the most popular discussions that takes place in sailing clubs and waterfront bars all around the world is how to make a living doing what we do most weekends and holidays; ie messing about on the water.
When I left the merchant navy in the 1970s there was no superyacht industry, sure there were superyachts owned by filmstars, royalty and captains of industry but nothing compared to the booming industry that exists now. In those days and up to quite recently huge shiny multi-decked motor vessels cruised the Mediterranean during the summer then emigrated to the Caribbean for the winter.
Using the new lightweight building materials, kevlar and carbon fibre, superyachts can now be built achieving high hull speeds in absolute comfort and most importantly needing even more skilled crews.
A thorny problem for sailors is qualifications. What should they have and what are accepted where? Many an Aussie has rocked up in the Mediterranean and walked the marina walk of shame up and down the pontoons selling themselves to the moored boats only to find they don’t have the correct qualifications. It’s not limited to Aussies, my RYA ticket was not accepted in Australia so I had to take Master 5 and Med 3 to work on commercial vessels in NSW.
Fortunately the situation is improving with qualifications becoming more universally accepted. A regular question from customers in our Boat Books store is do you have any books covering how to work on the water?
I can now confidently reply, yes, with the arrival of a new book Sail for a Living. Sue Pelling clearly outlines the qualifications, experience and personal attributes needed for the different careers in the nautical industry. How to give up the desk job and find your perfect new career on and around the water, if working on or near a boat all year round is your idea of heaven, then this book is for you.
Author Sue Pelling, an experienced racing sailor and yachting journalist, knows how anyone can create a career calibrated to suit their particular boating passion. In Sail for a Living, she discusses all facets of the boating industry, with sections that cover charter, superyacht, sailing school, marine industry, media, racing, and GAP and summer jobs.
Not only does she discuss jobs you never knew existed, she offers tips on the quickest career paths. Loaded with industry secrets and salary details, the book includes extensive interviews with people who enjoy successful careers in the sailing industry, with warnings of the possible pitfalls only those in the industry are aware of. It offers an achievable first step into the sailing industry for anyone who wants to escape the traditional rat race. The author also writes for Yachting World, Yachting Monthly and Practical Boat Owner.
Whether it’s as a dinghy instructor, a superyacht skipper, a sailmaker, or a yachting photographer, there’s a job for you if boats, sailing, and the sea are truly your passion.
I was lucky to skipper my own charter boat in the Med and Caribbean for a few years and witnessed the massive growth in the numbers of superyachts in fact one of my old crew is now first mate on a 150ft sail boat and earning a very good living, work hard and play hard is the industry motto.
‘Girls for Sail’, a female only sail training charter company which features in Sue’s book is run by a charismatic Annie O’Sullivan who took a very original idea and turned it into a thriving business. We met on her first trip across Biscay and again after the Atlantic Rally in St Lucia, it was great to read about her experiences which are accurately expressed in this book along with many other people who have made the change from desk to tiller.