Professional Rugby League player Gary, 38, hung up his boots and donned a pair of deckies when he signed up for a Yachtmaster Traineeship with Flying Fish.
Gary explains: I was looking to re-train for a career in the sailing industry and wanted to combine the Yachtmaster qualification with a trip to Oz, so Flying Fish offered the perfect solution.
Straight into work
He sailed through his exams and the online careers service at Flying Fish set up some interviews for him. He was offered several jobs in the industry and went straight into work as a flotilla skipper in the Sporades Islands, Greece.
Once the Med season was over Gary did a delivery to the Caribbean then started checking the jobs here at flyingfishonline.com. The one that caught his eye was back in the UK, working for Flying Fish no less. He went on to complete two years teaching and racing out of Cowes which he describes as great fun, with great people and an important learning curve.
A new challenge
Ready for a new challenge, and looking for some winter sunshine, Gary decided to enter the luxury charter market and quickly landed a job as skipper on a stunning Oyster 655 with girlfriend and fellow Fish graduate, Dee Hudson.
Gary writes: The greatest challenge was learning how to fix all the systems on board a large luxury yacht. There's no help when you are 1,000 miles out to sea! You start off thinking you're never going to learn it all and then one day you realise that you know the yacht pretty well. That's a really fulfilling experience - it's also when you decide to go bigger and the learning curve starts all over again.
Summers in the Med
Now he spends his summers in the Med and winters in the Caribbean, and has plenty of time and some great locations to indulge his great passion for kitesurfing.
Gary adds: I've been to some beautiful places. My favourite cruising area is Montenegro and Croatia because of the many secluded anchorages and beautiful scenery.
Another great aspect of this lifestyle is that you make a lot of friends doing the same kind of thing and get to meet up in different places all over the world.
Playing the piano
One friend, Rupert, who is actually an ex-student of mine from Flying Fish, keeps popping up in the most unlikely of places. The funniest was when I walked in to a bar in Antigua and he was playing the piano!