19 year old Donald, from the Isle of Man, joined up with Flying Fish after taking his A/S levels. A keen dinghy sailor, he had decided to turn his passion for sailing into a career on yachts.
Donald gave us the background to his story:
Flying Fish had been recommended to me by a friend and I chose the Yachtmaster Pro Traineeship for commercial reasons. I needed to get all my STCW tickets – and of course I wanted to go to Oz.
The offshores up the East Coast of Australia were amazing, the highlight of the course for me. We had 35 knots of breeze all the way from Sydney to Southport. We moored in Refuge Bay where it was 30 degrees and went swimming off the yacht – beautiful.
I planned to stay working in Oz for a while, so I took my RYA Yachtmaster Offshore exam in Sydney followed by The RYA Cruising Instructor course.
Work on a race boat
A week later I got work on a brand new race boat, getting it up to speed for racing!
Sydney is a great place for networking. I've been here for a year now and have been racing every week. The Sydney twilight races on Thursdays, the Middle Harbour Yacht Club Summer Series, Coffs Harbour Race Series, Hamilton Island – and every Sunday I race on a Young 88.
I've been working as an instructor with the Pacific Sailing School in Rushcutters Bay, teaching Start Yachting, Competent Crew, Day Skipper and Race Training.
When my first winter arrived I decided I needed a holiday (!) so went travelling to the Gold Coast to meet up with some friends then headed over to Tasmania. I flew back to Sydney to do a 1,000 mile delivery for Flying Fish up to Airlie Beach. The Fish yachts were going up for the Hamilton Island Regatta.
Now I've travelled half way round the world, met a bunch of great friends, got onto the race circuit and I've even learnt how to cook! I did get homesick a couple of times but I stayed out here and am so glad I did.
I can't recommend it too highly. So far, this has been the best experience of my life!