From Environmental Activist to Sail Trainer

29 May 2010

From Environmental Activist to Sail Trainer
The new bosun on the British sail training vessel Tenacious is thoroughly enjoying a recent change in direction. Up until February this year, Alex Holmes (pictured) was working on Greenpeace's three masted schooner Rainbow Warrior, but after getting his officer's ticket decided that he would like to join a sail training vessel. 

"One of the mates on Rainbow Warrior had worked with the Jubilee Sailing Trust and talked fondly about sail training and suggested that I should give it a try," said Alex. "It all sounded such good fun that I thought I would as it could also give me some good sailing experience."

Alex has already changed career once having started out as a project manager for Fair Trade but decided sailing was in his blood and took to the sea on super yachts and general cargo ships. He says his time with Greenpeace was "very exciting at times because when we sailed into a port with the intention of putting up a banner or painting a message - always using water based paints - we knew that we would receive a fairly heavy response," remembers Alex. "Greenpeace are, however, very professional and safety is always paramount and it was quite obvious that when they do raise awareness to some environmental issue, things do change, so it is worthwhile."

Now Alex splits his time between the two Jubilee Sailing Trust vessels, Lord Nelson and Tenacious. He has particularly enjoyed taking part in the Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta because he sees Tall Ships events as quite a phenomenon.  "These events are one of those rare international events that bring nations together," said Alex. "There are only a few things that cross borders and help paper over the differences between the cultures and this is one of them. These events truly bring people together and I feel I'm playing my own little part in international relations, which is a great feeling."

Alex said it was particularly fascinating to be in Istanbul and has really enjoyed his visits to Greece and Bulgaria. "It's an added bonus to be sailing in these exotic locations as well as being part if an international event and helping people through sail training."

After Lavrion, Alex is flying home for a few days before he has to rejoin Tenacious and continue to the next Tall Ships event, The Tall Ships Races. 

It is quite obviously that he is a popular member of the crew judging by the number of trainees who were queuing up to say goodbye and thank him prior to their departure. It may be exhausting work on board but it seems that Alex is a natural peacemaker and sail trainer.

To view the results of races 1 and 2, click here

To see more images from the Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta in Istanbul, click here.

The Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta is organised by Sail Training International.

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