Q&A: how one former Royal Marine transitioned to RYA Yachtmaster with Turn to Starboard

8th August 2018

Leaving the Armed Forces and re-entering the working world after a career in the military can be a daunting process for many.

Former Royal Marine, Ross Brady, served in 42 Commando and suffered from a hearing injury. The 28-year-old describes his struggle to settle in a new career after leaving the service in 2015 and the inspiring help he received from Turn to Starboard and The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity that has led to a new career.

What led you to Turn to Starboard?

RB: After leaving the Marines I worked in six different jobs and didn’t really know what I wanted to do until my Dad, who is a sailing instructor at the charity, asked if I wanted to try a weekend of sailing. I decided to sign up for a family sailing trip and brought my little brother and Mum along to Falmouth. It was the peak of the summer so the weather was great and we all really enjoyed the experience, so after that I decided to stay on and volunteer for the charity helping out as crew on sailing trips to the Isles of Scilly on board the tall ship ‘Spirit of Falmouth’. It was good fun and I enjoyed the team work.

 

What happened next?

RB: By then I had got hooked on sailing and decided to start on the charity’s Zero to Hero program. I liked the idea of a flexible course and learning skills towards a potential new career. At first I didn’t find it easy to remember all the terminology and how the wind actually moves the boat, but after a while it began to sink in and I completed my Competent Crew qualification fairly quickly. From there I continued to sail on a regular basis and continued through the program while learning all the time.

 

In March this year you gained your RYA Yachtmaster qualification. How did that feel?

RB: I feel pretty impressed with myself! It was definitely a challenge, yet it feels good to have completed the course within a year although I realise this is just the beginning and I want to gain a lot more experience in the future. It may sound odd but becoming a Yachtmaster has made me feel ‘clever’ for the first time in my life. I didn’t do particularly well at school and didn’t bother with exams but sitting in the classroom studying on the Zero to Hero course I realised I’m not quite as daft as I maybe thought. It feels good to have people looking to me to answer their sailing questions, which I’ve never had before and gives a real sense of achievement.

 

What was the most challenging thing about learning to sail?

RB: For me, it was working out how to organise people for different roles on the yacht according to their abilities and playing on their strengths. It took me a while to understand how to best achieve it but I got there in the end which is a big benefit for how the team work together on the boat.

 

Now you have gained the qualification, what is your plan going forward?

RB: I’ve found myself a job working with a local rigging company for the summer, and I’m waiting for my Commercial Endorsement before I head into the superyacht industry. My ultimate goal is to own my charter company in the Med and I’ve set myself the target of owning two boats within 10 years. Turn to Starboard and its supporters have helped me out massively and I never saw this happening.

 

What do you enjoy about sailing?

RB: I like being active and outdoors. I also enjoy sailing in all weathers, whether it’s rough or just pottering along in calm seas. To be with all the guys just chatting away is pretty special on its own and I’ve found something that I really enjoy. Since leaving the Marines and working in various jobs and bouncing around doing different things it’s great to have finally found something that I want to do for the rest of my life – I feel motivated again.

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