Sea Staff Profiles

A selection of our skippers, first mates, watchleaders, engineers and bosuns: the people you might be sailing with on your voyage!.

Sea staff

These are some of the people you might meet on board, helping to run our voyages. There will normally be around seven staff on board, including a skilled and experienced skipper and first mate; but we also have a lot of volunteers who sail a few times each year – and we train new volunteers every year, some of whom will be aged under 25 and were invited back after impressing the skipper when they sailed on a youth voyage.

Mark Todd – CEO and relief skipper
Previously a solicitor, Mark has been working in sail training since 1997, including nine years as OYT South’s Staff Skipper. He moved into a shore-based role in November 2009, and became Chief Executive in 2010. He is Chairman of the Association of Sail Training Organisations, an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor, a Yachtmaster Examiner, and sits on the Yachtmaster Qualifications Panel. He was the inaugural winner in 2011 of the MCA/ASTO Award for Command Commitment to Sail Training, and is an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute.

Constantinos “Gotch” Jensen – Staff Skipper
Constantinos (aka Gotch) joined as Prolific’s Staff Skipper in January 2024. He’s a very experienced Yachtmaster Instructor who came to us after some years instructing at UKSA, who describe themselves as “the world’s leading provider of maritime training”. Constantinos had been skippering their Farr 65, running Yachtmaster training. He has 12 years’ experience in the sailing industry, including time spent as a sailmaker as well as training and coaching racing sailors in events from the Clipper round the world race through to the Fastnet Race. It was this last experience that sparked his interest in sail training. Many of you will know of our regular voyages with Greig City Academy in Haringey, which, through the Scaramouche sailing trust, has a remarkable reputation for giving sailing opportunities to inner-city young people, and back in 2017 realised an ambition to become the first state school to compete in the Fastnet race. Constantinos coached the Greig City Academy crew for the 2019 Fastnet and has seen the difference that sailing has made to their lives. He has also worked with the SeaChange Foundation at UKSA – all of which convinced him that the most fulfilling next step in his career would be to become a full-time sail training skipper.

Diggory Rose – Relief Skipper
Diggory joined as Prolific’s full-time Staff Skipper for the 2023 season, but he has been a friend to OYT South for many years. Diggory went to boatbuilding college and got the bug for big boat sailing by volunteering on Leader. He sailed with Trinity and the Cirdan Trust, and got his first command in 2003, sailing Duet which had earier been one of the two founding yachts of the Ocean Youth Club. What then followed was a decade in Sail Training for a variety of organisations culminating in the building of Pegasus with the Island Trust. Diggory moved out of Sail Training in 2013 and was a Watch Officer with the Coastguard amidst other sailing roles, before joining the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust in 2015. He is also an experienced RYA Yachtmaster Examiner. When he decided to move back into full-time skippering, Diggory said: “In 2013 I left the [sail training] sector in search of pastures new and have enjoyed many and varied experiences all of which have enhanced and shaped my view of the world but none of which have come even vaguely close to being as rewarding, demanding or satisfactory as sail training is. As time has rolled by I find myself ever more convinced that I am at my best in that world and that the personal, social and spiritual benefits of sail training, both for the trainer and trainee alike, are not available in any other aspect of life … The benefits of sail training for the young people who take part are manifold and vital and the experiences gained aboard sailing vessels cannot be bettered in any other field.”

Josh Caudery – Staff Engineer
Josh was doing an apprenticeship in marine engineering when he came to help us with some work on a winter refit. He found he loved sailing and working with young people – and he’s been with us full-time since November 2015.

Lauren Mackenzie – Staff Mate
Lauren was a dinghy instructor and came to OYT South to do her DofE Gold residential. She was invited to return as a volunteer and sailed as a bosun on a number of voyages before qualifying as a third mate on the first opportunity after her 18th birthday, and being upgraded to second mate later that season. Meanwhile she was completing a maths degree. At the end of 2022 she was further upgraded to First Mate, at the age of 22 – and might have got there even sooner if we hadn’t lost a season and a half to Covid! She joined our full-time staff team as Mate and ran much of the winter vessel refit ahead of the 2023 sailing season.

Sara Abdur – volunteer watchleader and Youth Trustee
Sara first sailed on a voyage with her school in 2019 and later started volunteering and helping with vessel maintenance. She was also awarded the Gipsy Moth trophy as our Young Volunteer of the Year 2022, and later that year spent several months in a paid role on board as our Staff Cadet. Now she is back to sailing as a volunteer, she’s also on the Board of OYT South as our Youth Trustee – we always aim to have at least one Trustee aged under 25, to make sure that the views of young people are represented when the charity makes decisions. In May 2023 she completed an assessment to be upgraded to second mate.

Iori Kent – volunteer bosun
Iori came to the charity to help out with winter maintenance: he was part of the full-time refit team over the winter of 2021-2, which means he knows a lot about the boat and how everything works. Now he sails as a volunteer bosun, looking after maintenance and safety, especially when our Staff Engineer is on leave.

Aaron Arnold – volunteer bosun
Aaron sailed on a youth voyage in 2022 and earned a recommendation to join our volunteer team. He helped out with winter maintenance on board before returning in 2023 as a trainee bosun, learning how to look after maintenance and safety on board. He completed his bosun assessment and qualified in May 2023.

Julian Ware – volunteer watchleader
Julian sailed on an adult voyage in 2019 and has been volunteering for us ever since. He was signed off as a third mate in 2021 and upgraded to second mate in 2022.

Val Hague – volunteer watchleader
Val is a longstanding volunteer whose connections with the charity go back to her teenage years. She has also arranged groups of young people to sail with us.

Lee Mosscrop – relief skipper and Trustee
Lee retired from the Police Service in 2010 and now works as a freelance sailing instructor, delivering instructor training at home and abroad. He also gets asked to appear as an expert witness and to compile post-accident reports in serious marine accidents, so he knows a lot about safety at sea.

Martyn Powe – volunteer First Mate, Treasurer and Trustee
Martyn sails on board Prolific as a volunteer First Mate but he is also a member of the Board of Trustees of OYT South and our Treasurer – helping to make sure we have the funds to keep running voyages for young people in the long term!

Steve Lacey – volunteer First Mate, Trustee and Safeguarding Officer
Steve first came to OYT South as a youthworker bringing groups of young people to sail. When the charity realised he brought great youthwork and particularly safeguarding experience, we knew we wanted to keep him involved in our work!

Penny Scott-Bayfield – chair of OYT South’s Board of Trustees
Penny is the Group Finance Director of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, the listed consumer, academic and nautical publisher. She previously held senior finance roles at Conde Nast, and Sky. She is a keen mentor and judge for the Women of the Future Awards. She joined the Board in 2022 and became Chair in 2023.

Jack Dignan – volunteer watchleader
Jack was born unable to see out of his left eye and first sailed with OYT South in 2014 at the age of 17 with a group organised by MACS, the charity for children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes. He was invited back for volunteer training and became a second mate in 2015. He also spent three years as the charity’s Youth Trustee.

Miranda Camping – volunteer First Mate
Miranda did several voyages in our previous vessel John Laing as a crew member and also helped with maintenance and other jobs on board in order to earn her bosun’s recommendation. After a number of voyages as relief bosun, she passed her third mate’s assessment in 2010 and was later upgraded to second mate, before becoming a first mate in 2022.

Martin Bayfield – volunteer watchleader
Martin came across OYT South on a day sail for RYA instructors in 2015. He returned as a volunteer in 2018 and quickly qualified as a watchleader. He was upgraded to second mate in 2022.

Andy Gissing – volunteer First Mate
Andy is an experienced sailing instructor who was signed off as a third mate on his first voyage with us, in 2015. He became a second mate in 2018 and a first mate in 2019.

Patrick Kelly – volunteer watchleader
Patrick was one of our full-time refit volunteers over the winter of 2011-12. He then sailed as bosun and trainee mate before completing a watchleader assessment in summer 2012. He is now a junior doctor.

Tom Knight – volunteer watchleader
Tom first sailed with us with his youth club in 2016 and quickly became a keen volunteer, moving up through the ranks to become a second mate in 2019. In 2023 he won OYT South’s Gipsy Moth Trophy for our Young Volunteer of the Year.

Michelle van den Bergh – volunteer watchleader
Michelle joined us as a volunteer in 2021 and completed her third mate’s assessment early in 2022 before being upgraded to second mate later the same year.

Hilary Croft – volunteer watchleader
Hilary sailed on an adult voyage, and her daughter also sailed with us, before she started volunteering in 2023. She  completed her third mate’s assessment in July 2023.

Vernon Harten-Ash – volunteer watchleader
An experienced sailor, Vernon sailed with us for the first time in 2021 and was immediately signed off as a bosun, upgraded to third mate in 2022.

Graeme Cole – volunteer First Mate
One of our most longstanding first mates!

Cathy Lacey, volunteer First Mate and a member of the safeguarding team
Cathy was an Engineer Officer in the Royal Navy and also a qualified part-time youth worker. She was upgraded from second mate to first mate towards the end of the 2023 season so this video is a little out of date!

Susanna Paynter, volunteer watchleader
Susanna first sailed on a youth voyage and then joined our core team for half of the winter refit 2017-18. Since then she has become a third mate and then a second mate – and she also won a sail training exchange to Canada!

Andy Royse, volunteer First Mate
Andy was sailing as a young crew member in the 1990s and has been involved ever since, including several years as a Trustee of OYT South. An engineer, he is passionate about street-furniture and often entertains the crew with his knowledge of street lighting. He can also snap things out of the air like a giraffe. He loves doing chart corrections.

Glyn Collins, volunteer watchleader
Glyn has worked in some demanding jobs and has been involved with the Ocean Youth Trust for many years.

James Robinson, volunteer watchleader
James earned a volunteer recommendation on a youth voyage in 2021 and after sailing on a few more voyages as trainee mate, he completed his third mate assessment in July 2023.

James says: “I’m currently studying natural sciences at university. I learnt to sail initially in optimist dinghies on a lake near me and was first introduced to yacht sailing when on holiday in Greece in a flotilla. Some of my interests are rowing, cycling and travelling.”

Brigid Stoney, volunteer first mate
Brigid has been a first mate since 2012. She works as a speech and language therapist but has also previously worked for OYT Scotland.

Adeana Rowan, volunteer trainee bosun
Adeana was chosen as an MDL Award Winner – young people supported to sail with us by our major sponsors – due to sail in 2020, so when the pandemic cancelled all our voyages she thought the opportunity had gone. Instead, she finally got her place in 2021 and stayed involved, beginning her volunteer training in 2023.


Unity Bowns
Second mate

Hi, my name is Unity, I’m a volunteer second mate. I originally learnt to sail from my dad, and I have sailed with the charity since 2021, when I was aged 20. I fell in love with sail training and OYT South. I was so excited to be asked back as a volunteer and have loved spending time on board working with young people and learning more about sailing and the boat. I am nonbinary and use they/them pronouns. I started using different pronouns after I’d started with the charity, and changed them fully in 2023. I like to tell people my pronouns at the start of the week when we all introduce ourselves and talk about our expectations and goals for the week. I find the boat to be such a great environment because there are no expectations for who or what you are, or what you can do: as long as you’re getting involved, you’re an important part of the crew. Outside of OYT South I’m studying French and literature at university!

Andy Kitching
Second mate

Andy sailed as a crew member aged 14 in 1997 with a young skipper called Dave Carnson …Ten years went by and Andy became a watch leader with OYT North West before returning to OYT South in 2007 on a voyage skippered by….Dave Carnson. Andy’s had a lot of sailing adventures since then but still enjoys sailing with us when he can.

Robert Lawrence
Second mate

Robert is an experienced skipper who has only recently joined OYT South, doing his first voyage in 2022 and returning for a couple more voyages in 2023. We knew his strong sailing background would see him making rapid progress as he comes to terms with the peculiarities of sail training with young people! He was upgraded to second mate early in 2024.

Andy Brown
Relief skipper

Andy is a former OYC staff skipper (for Grania and Falmouth Packet) who met his wife, Sally, when she sailed as his bosun! They both still sail with OYT and have two daughters who have volunteered with the charity (Hannah is a current second mate), plus a son (now a doctor) who has previously sailed with us. Andy is a Hydrographic Surveyor working in the Oil & Gas Industry. You can find Sally and Hannah on this page too – though you may not find all three sailing on the same voyage!

Sandy Garrity
Third mate

Sandy is a retired Safety Engineer. He enjoys sailing anything bigger than a dinghy and has been attempting to learn celestial navigation. He joined the sea staff in 2021.

Big thanks to crew member Jack Yare for signing Sandy’s video!

Nige Bush
Second mate

Nige came on a mates’ training weekend in 2021 and was invited back as a volunteer. He was signed off as a third mate towards the end of 2022, and upgraded to second mate in 2023.

Rebecca Brookes
Third mate

Rebecca started watchleader training in 2024 and quickly passed her third mate assessment.

Nic Crawford
Relief skipper

Nic is a professional boat surveyor. He does a great David Bowie on guitar, and is very laid back. He thinks that the key to a good voyage is aftenoon tea with cake – preferably Jamaica ginger cake.

Jon Seddon
Second mate

Jon got involved with us at the 2007-8 winter refit and impressed everyone by working very hard while always looking as though he was enjoying it. He has previously spent a season as a flotilla engineer in the Mediterranean and is an enthusiastic second mate.

Lucinda Neall
Second mate

Lucinda first sailed with OYT South in 2004 when she organised a voyage for a group from her local youth club. Then she realised she could sail more often by becoming a watchleader! She became a second mate in 2015. Lucinda is the author of the excellent book “How to Talk to Teenagers” and more.

Ben “Sparky” Whinnett
First mate

Ben completed a Yachtmaster course in 2008 and is busy extending his sailing experience. He joined OYT South’s full-time core refit team for winter 2008-9, having completed a mate’s assessment at the end of the 2008 season, and was upgraded to second mate early in 2009 and to first mate at the end of that season. He has also worked for the charity, running a refit and helping with the New Boat Project before we bought Prolific.

Andrew Wilkes
Relief skipper

Andrew spent many years in the telecoms industry and then ran a small business in Lymington; but now he sails as much as possible. He is the Editor of the Arctic and Northern Waters Cruising Guide published by the Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation. Although he has sailed south to Cape Horn and north to Baffin Island, he says some of his most interesting sailing has been with OYT South in the English Channel. He joined the sea staff in 2009 and spent many years sailing as first mate before beoming a relief skipper in 2024.

Frederik Ferner
Third mate

Frederik got involved with OYT South after meeting one of our mates at a music festival. He did an adult voyage from Germany to Poland in 2009, and came back as a volunteer in 2010.

Rooby Vaughan-Woods
First mate

Rooby joined the sea staff in 2010 and was quickly upgraded to second mate. She became a first mate in 2015.

Adam Lane
First mate

Adam is from an OYT South family – his dad was once Chairman of the Trust. He started sailing with us in 2011 and quickly qualified as a second mate before being upgraded to first mate in 2019. His career lies in personal development, coaching & leadership – he is passionate about helping people realise their potential & have a great time doing it.

Hannah Brown
Second mate

Hannah is a primary school teacher (mainly to have the long holidays to go sailing!). She has done a lot of sail training in various vessels – long adventure voyages, trips with crews with disabilities and much more. She really enjoys the winter refits and is a keen watchleader.

Sally Brown
Second mate

In 1985 Sally sailed in the Round Britain and Ireland Yacht race with another keen OYC girl, Chris Bryan, to raise funds for the Ocean Youth Club (now OYT). They beat the Royal Marines who retired from the race because of heavy weather! Now a Paediatric Physiotherapist, she has a husband and two daughters who all sail with OYT South – it has been suggested that women make better sailors but maybe this is because Andy is outnumbered in the family…

Clara Theil
Third mate

Clara first sailed with us in 2014 and became a bosun in 2015. In 2022 she passed a third mate’s assessment.

Lucy Grodie
First mate

Lucy runs the Association of Sail Training Organisations and enjoys coming on the occasional voyage with OYT South.

Will Parker
Second mate

Will is from an OYT South family and followed in the footsteps of his older sister to sail several times as a young crew member before joining the volunteer sea staff. He became a second mate in 2018 and talked about his time with OYT South in a successful interview to join the Royal Navy. We hope he will manage to sail with us when on leave!

Charles Kingston
Second mate

Charles first sailed as a young crew member in 2015 and became part of the core volunteer team for the 2017-18 winter refit. He has been a second mate since 2018.

Danny Ballantyne
Third mate

Danny first sailed on a voyage with Outdoor Lads in 2018 before joining our full-time vessel refit team for four months in winter 2018-19 and going on to become a volunteer watchleader.

Vince Brodie
Relief skipper

Vince is a hugely experienced skipper and youthworker who sails on a number of our voyages and takes a particular interest in training new skippers.

Andy Viney
Relief skipper

Andy started as a volunteer but eventually became OYT South’s Staff Skipper 2013-17, and was the skipper overseeing the transition from John Laing to Prolific. He still returns as an occasional relief skipper.

Cathy Ayres
Second mate

Cathy made an instant impact on a training voyage for prospective volunteers in 2016 and has been one of our most regular watchleaders ever since, becoming a second mate at the end of 2018.

Chloe Portrey
Third mate

Chloe has family connections with OYT South and sailed several times as a young crew member before volunteering as a bosun. She qualified as a third mate in 2021.

Rosalie Sanders
Second mate

Rosalie sailed as a young crew member before being recommended to join our volunteer sea staff. She qualfied as a second mate in 2018.

David Dent
Second mate

David did a mates’ training weekend in 2015 and sailed regularly as a third mate before being upgraded to second mate in 2021.

Jess Collingwood
Second mate

Jess first sailed as a young crew member in 2017 before earning her sea staff recommendation the following year. She was signed off as a third mate in 2021 and upgraded to second mate in 2022.

Ollie Bowden
First mate / trainee skipper

Ollie is an experienced professional skipper who has volunteered with OYT South as a first mate and has now completed the first stage of a two-part skipper assessment.

Hal Strode
Third mate

Hal was marked out as a potential future volunteer when he first sailed with us at the age of 15. He qualified as a bosun in 2019 and became a watchleader at the end of summer 2022.

Annant Shah
Second mate

Annant started sailing with OYT South in 2005 having had previous experience with other forms of sail training. He was upgraded to second mate in 2022.

Willoughby Matthews
Second mate

Willoughby first sailed as a crew member in John Laing in 2015 and joined the sea staff in 2017, becoming a third mate on board Prolific. His hobbies include politics, boats and travelling. By day, Willoughby volunteers for his local lifeboat station. He was upgraded to second mate in 2022.

James Boyce
Relief skipper

James was our Staff Skipper 2009-2012. He then led a sailing expedition to Antarctica and later began working as a paramedic. He still sails with us as an occasional relief skipper.

Jack Thompson
Third mate

Jack earned his sea staff recommendation in 2019 and has since been back for further training. he was signed off as a bosun in July 2023 and third mate on the following voyage. Passing two assessments on consecutive voyages may be some kind of record!

Saul Tomlin
Third mate

Saul met an OYT South volunteer while training for the Clipper Race and was inspired to get involved too. He qualified as a bosun in 2021 and became a third mate in 2022.

Sam Playdon
Third mate

Sam sailed as a crew member in 2018 and 2019 and was recomended to start volunteer training. He was signed off as a third mate in 2022.

Harry Lack

Harry first sailed with his school in 2018 when he was aged 13, and immediately impressed with his commitment and enthusiasm. He started volunteer training as soon as he was old enough and was signed off as a bosun early in 2022, at the age of 17..

Anna Owen
Anna Owen

Second mate

Anna is a teacher who joined us as a volunteer in 2021, completed her third mate’s assessment in 2022 and was upgraded to second mate in 2024.

Annette Potter
Trainee mate

Annette is following in the footsteps of both her children, who sailed with OYT South and went on to train as volunteers! Annette also works in OYT South’s office and enjoys sailing on occasional voyages so she can see at first-hand what is achieved as a result of all the hard work the team puts in to admin and finance.

Phil Loutsis
Third mate

Phil did a mates’ training voyage in 2021 and completed his third mate’s assessment after just two voyages in 2022.

Barry Walker
Third mate

Barry is an airline pilot who had given the charity extensive help with vessel maintenance before qualifying as a third mate in 2022 and moving straight on to start his second mate assessment.

Millie Hughes

Millie first earned a sea staff recommendation when sailing on a youth voyage in 2018 but wasn’t able to come back to us until 2022, when her recommendation was confirmed on a summer voyage, followed by a completed bosun assessment in October.

Jo Macgregor
Third mate

Jo says “I’ve been involved with the charity since 2014 when I was part of the core refit team on John Laing [OYT South’s previous boat]. I work as a Naval Architect (Yacht Designer) and spend most of my spare time out sailing on different boats. I am very proud of my large supply of ‘Dad Jokes’!”

Graeme Findlay
Third mate

Graeme sailed as a volunteer with OYT Scotland, before moving to the south of England and joining OYT South, where his skills and experience were quickly obvious on board and he was signed off as a Prolific 3rd mate straight away, with clear potential for an upgrade to 2nd mate as soon as he is familiar with the boat.

Rob Jelley

Rob Jelley

Rob first sailed as an MDL award winner crew member in 2014 and, having done several more voyages and given a great deal of help with vessel refits and maintenance, earned his sea staff recommendation in September 2022, and was signed off as a bosun in June 2023.

Tori Pickles
Third mate

Tori did a number of voyages with the MACS charity, for young people born without eyes or with under-developed eyes, before being signed off as a watchleader in 2023.

Mark Dent
Third mate

Mark completed an assessment in August 2023 to join his brother as a qualified watchleader.

Caitlin Neall-Johnston

Caitlin Neall-Johnston
Third mate

Caitlin was inspired to sail with us by her grandmother who is also a volunteer watchleader. After initially sailing as youth crew, she joined the core refit team and volunteered full-time on  boat maintenance over the winter 2023-4, and was signed off as a third mate very quickly at the start of the next season.


Keira Webster
Trainee bosun

Keira sailed several times as youth crew before becoming a watersports instructor at UKSA and starting bosun training with OYT South.


Katie Hamlet
Third mate

Katie is an experienced sailor who got involved with OYT South in 2023.

Hannah Blyton
Third mate

Hannah sailed as youth crew in 2022 and was invited back as a volunteer – she qualified as a third mate early in 2024.

George Price
George Price


George first sailed with us in 2022 and completed his bousn qualification when he returned for a series of voyages in 2023.


Edward Gordon-Thomson Ed Gordon-Thomson
Edward Gordon-Thomson


“Hi, my name is Edward! My interest in sailing started when I was 10 years old by completing my level 1 and 2 RYA sailing courses with my friend. Since then, my passion for all things nautical has grown. I first sailed with Ocean Youth Trust South in 2022 in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. The OYT staff I met on that trip inspired me to work with and help others as I discovered the tremendous empowering feeling of helping young people boost their confidence and teamwork skills through the medium of sailing. After that trip I was delighted to receive a volunteer recommendation and a chance to work towards a position of Bosun on board Prolific. I am currently studying a biochemistry degree at Queen’s University Belfast where amongst other things I also participate in the university sailing team.”

Ed was signed off as a qualified bosun in May 2024.

Simon Brammer
Trainee mate

Simon first sailed with OYT on an Outdoor Lads adventure in September 2023. Due to the wild weather they didn’t get too far but he loved every minute of it. The things Simon loves most about sailing are: Hot coffee on a cold deck, the fast friendships you make and cooking in confined spaces. He’s definitely used to smaller boats but he can’t wait to get sailing and learn new things with everyone. Outside of sailing Simon works on climate change challenges. He’s looking forward to meeting you on board soon..

Richard White
Trainee mate

Richard completed a third mate assessment in early 2024 but needs to add an RYA qualification before he can be formally signed off.

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Ocean Youth Trust South is an adventure sail training charity which takes young people aged 11-25 to sea in our 30-metre vessel Prolific.

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