Location:  Based aboard EXCELSIOR, a 77ft gaff ketch and is a Core List vessel on the National Historic Ships register. Her operating base is in Lowestoft where the refit takes place over the winter. The sailing season is as long as practical and in 2019 will take her to the Baltic, the west coast of Norway and Holland, among other places. Own Cabin.

Aims: The Trust works with local and national groups providing life-changing experiences for a variety of young people and adults alike, while helping teach the skills needed to sail and live at sea and to look after an historic vessel.  

Role: The skipper is responsible for the day-day management of EXCELSIOR.  During the sailing season the skipper must deliver training to charter groups, including socially diverse young people and vulnerable adults.  The operation of the ship includes keeping on top of the ongoing maintenance.  Over the winter the skipper supervises the refit crew and volunteers.  There is a strong emphasis on keeping Excelsior traditional and preserving the skills needed to sail and maintain such vessels.   

Specific Responsibilities:  

  • The safe handling and navigation of EXCELSIOR while complying with statutory provisions and in accordance with her Load Line Exemption Certificate (Coding).  
  • Ensuring that all activities are carried out in accordance with the Trust’s Safety and Operating Procedures as set out in our Operating and Maintenance Manual and in compliance with the Trust’s adopted Policies.  Helping to improve these. 
  • Leading and supervising the regular crew and any relief crew and volunteers 
  • Looking after the welfare of clients, crew, volunteers, and trainees, including morale and discipline  
  • Helping young people from diverse backgrounds: to achieve RYA qualifications; to achieve DofE Gold Residential awards; to undertake the National Historic Ships’ Shipshape Heritage Training Programme; to work through the Excelsior Trust’s in-house Training passport; to take part in our young person’s Charting your Destiny programme; and to develop their Life Skills.  
  • Helping to find new crew, volunteers and clients 
  • Training and upskilling existing crew, volunteers and trainees by encouraging professional development, and the use of the Excelsior Trust’s in-house training prospectus 
  • Conducting personal assessments.  The successful applicant is will be key to the care and development of young people 
  • The skipper must be prepared to improve his or her personal qualifications and to undertake training or courses to continue their personal development
  • Operating the vessel within budget and following the Trust’s financial and purchasing procedures  
  • Dealing with unexpected issues which might arise, such the need to implement emergency repairs  
  • Maintaining paperwork
  • Helping with marketing and planning future operations
  • Occasionally representing the Trust, championing the brand, and raising our profile
  • Being professional,  and acting with tact and diplomacy at all times (both on and off the vessel) while remaining commercially & personally sensitive and sober 

The above list is not intended to be comprehensive, but the post-holder will be expected to be flexible in carrying out tasks that relate to the job.  

Support: The Council of Management (Board) have a wide range of expertise to draw on.  There are regular crew and volunteers at varying stages in developing their ability to work and look after EXCELSIOR.  There are adopted policies for guidance to help deliver the Trust’s aims.  The operational information and maintenance work necessary is set out in a detailed Operating and Maintenance Manual, and the Marine Superintendent and naval architect are available for direction and technical support.  A range of specialist contractors that know the vessel are on hand.  

Deadlines: Applications must be received by Midnight 16th October 2018.  Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed. 

Closing date
Job type

Minimum qualifications and experience: 

  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (Sailing) with Commercial Endorsement, or equivalent
  • Experience of sail training industry  
  • Desirable qualifications:  
  • RYA endorsed Yachtmaster Ocean (Sailing) with STWC endorsement
  • Powerboat Level 2
  • RYA Cruising Instructor
  • MCA Proficiency in Medical Care Aboard Ship  
  • Long-Range Radio certificate
  • Attended Diesel Engine Course
  • Food Hygiene Level 2   

Desirable experience:  

  • At least 2 years as Skipper
  • Experience of traditionally rigged vessels
  • Experienced at working with disadvantaged young people
  • Competent in Excel and Word documents 


  • Good leadership skills, a positive role-model, and ability to lead in a positive way
  • Energetic, enthusiastic, hands-on, and willing to work hard
  • Passionate about helping young people
  • A passion for historic vessels and maintaining their authenticity
  • A strong awareness of marine environmental issues
  • A team player (i.e. unencumbered by ego)
  • Good communication skills both verbal and written, and at ease in front of cameras
  • A willingness to keep learning.  (We don’t want anyone who thinks they ‘know it all!’)
  • An interest in developing the Excelsior Trust and its activities 
Dependent on experience and qualifications plus regular paid leave and holidays
Job location

Email your CV and covering letter detailing suitability for the role together with details of two references and remuneration expectations to: John Wylson c/o sailing@excelsiortrust.co.uk. 

John Wylson
Contact email