Owslebury woman set to take on the world with new sailing business

Rachael Sprot and her mother Miranda, photo by Gordon Mucklow

Hummingbird port side, photo by Miranda Delmar-Morgan

Rachael Sprot in bosun’s chair, photo by Miranda Delmar-Morgan

First published in Winchester Hampshire Chronicle: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FOR many of us the idea of rigging masts and manning the helm in freezing conditions might not be our idea of a holiday.

But for one Hampshire woman it’s her idea of bliss.

Former Peter Symonds student, Rachael Sprot, might not look it but she’s sailed with the best of them and now she’s set to take on the world.

Growing up in the small land-locked village of Owslebury wouldn’t seem like the best place to learn about sailing but for the fanatical Rachael and her sailing journalist mother, Miranda, it was just a stone’s throw from the Hamble where they would spend many a summer setting sail.

But now the 27-year-old ex-Kings’ School pupil has decided to venture a little further than her mum’s cottage on Main Road and has started her own sailing business to take people on unexplored paths.

Rachael’s new-found love for exploration began while working as a full time sailor couriering engineers to and from wind turbine sites in Denmark, Germany and the North Sea. She’d get up every day at 5.30am to prep the 80ft jet powered catamaran before making way for the engineers.

“I was living on the Isle of Wight at the time as a full-time sailing instructor and wanted to put my sailing skills into the commercial world so I could see a different side to the industry and decided to see it all for myself,” she said.

“My favourite place was Anholt, an island off the coast of Denmark. It’s a very serene place and it’s relatively unseen in terms of visitors and I think it really opened my eyes to what the area offered.”

“I think the idea behind wind turbines has a lot of potential and a lot of the technology will be useful but it’s all yet to prove itself,” she added. “It will be interesting to see if the turbine blades last as long as they’re meant to. The set up of these is costly but we have yet to anything back from the investment so I don’t think people can claim that the notion isn’t fruitful. You have to wait for things like this before you start to see the benefits but whether it proves itself to be as efficient as is claimed I just don’t know.”

After having sailed around the Nordic isles for some six months Rachael quit her job in June and set up Rubicon 3 with business partner Bruce Jacobs. Mr Jacobs had been working in America and the Caribbean working on “super yachts” before that – yachts that measure over 100ft in length and are worth over £1m a piece.

She went ahead and bought Hummingbird, a 60ft ex-Clipper racing boat, in August.

“The owner of Clipper, Robin Knox-Johnston, had eight identical boats made in 1996 for a round-the-world race,” she said. “We have one of their first boats and she’s been around the world three times.

“We want to explore areas of the world people don’t normally explore by boat; places like St Petersburg all the way to the Arctic Circle. We want to adapt the idea of a modern adventure and give people a chance to develop any sailing skills they already have and also give them a chance to see parts of the world that perhaps otherwise they wouldn’t. There are cruises that visit some of these places but they don’t offer the depth of exploration that you can only get by actually sailing.

“We’ll be training people along the way,” she added. “And there’s no experience required so some people will be getting their qualifications with it and others will simply be coming along for a holiday.

“It’s about making a change; sailing, training and exploration. We don’t just sail to places; we train people so they go away with some skills and have adventures of their own.

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