Yep, that’s me. Apart from a brief stint of 5 months 10 days as an accountant (no, I didn’t fail, I just saw the light out of the window one day) I have been at Rockley since I was 13.
I now have the enviable task of working with some of the most amazing people. We all enjoy working in a small business, working together for a common purpose.
Having taken a “year out” from “competitive sailing” and doing any coaching due to an injury sustained whilst doing an extreme sport (fell over whilst skiing. It was flat. There was no-one near me) I am now back in my Laser and my results are, inconsistent, which is better than all bad. I am now also spending quite a lot of time coaching at my sailing club during the week – you can follow my progress on our Hub section.
One child has gone to University in Seattle but is still sailing and is going to the 29er World Championships in California, having come 25th last year. Another child is just doing her GCSEs this year and is also sailing a 29er and she has the Europeans in France to look forward to and third child is playing rugby - what some may consider a proper sport!
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor, RYA Powerboat Instructor
At Rockley Since: A lifetime
Started at Rockley as a sailing instructor in the mid 80’s and the rest, as they say, is history….
Lis has the enviable task of working alongside me, explaining for the millionth time where apostrophes go, as she is the one with the eye for detail.
Races a Laser and is very quiet around the course and is quite happy (?!) at the back of the fleet.
Qualifications: Was a RYA Instructor back in the day and now can tell her pdfs from her jpegs
At Rockley Since: Just short of a lifetime
Pip has been at Rockley since 2003, she started out as the first ever RYA Onboard Development officer when Rockley were chosen as the Pilot centre for the scheme. She progressed on to Sales & Marketing Director and loves selling stuff, often described as selling "Ice to eskimos. Pip took over as Managing Director in 2014 and has continued to take the business from strength to strength. Pip also became a member of the British Marine Boat Show Board in 2016, where she is responsible for helping with the strategic direction for both the Southampton and London Boat Shows.
Pip is passionate about everything outdoorsy and loves getting out running, cycling or swimming and now regularly participates in triathlons. Competitive to say the least, Pip plays hockey to a high standard having won her league in back to back seasons, her team now nominated for 'Team of the Year' - not bad for a 45 year old! This year she is taking part in a 450 mile cycle ride for charity and so is spending a lot of time out on the bike.
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor; RYA Centre Inspector; RYA Powerboat Instructor;
At Rockley Since: 2003
Rob’s job is to ensure that we continue to deliver the best service that we can to all of our customers, whether that is somebody hiring a swan pedalo for half an hour, or a teacher taking 140 kids with us to one of our centres in France.
A keen (very keen) surfer, he has been spotted taking photos of lots of big waves around the world and even riding some. Supports the best football team in the world - Spurs and spends much of his time sailing Lasres and J24's. He is part of a very successful J24 crew and they've even won a few races (he claims more luck than judgement but actually they're pretty good!) Father of 2 gorgeous girls, Rob is a fully signed up mamil (middle aged man in lycra - on a bike) and has completed the etape three years on the trot, raising thousands for Julia's House.
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor; RYA Powerboat Instructor; RYA Windsurf Instructor; MIAS MTB Trainer; BSUPA SUP Trainer
At Rockley Since: 1999
Keiron works alongside Jack in the school's department and spends most of his time speaking to teachers and driving round the country attending parents evenings and launches. He has a passion for what we do and is one of the few amongst us that have had, what is known in the business as, a “proper job" that is outside Rockley and the marine industry and brings a wealth of sales and management experience to what he does.
Races a J24 yacht, loves walking his dog Poppy and is also a very keen Shrimper sailor.
Qualifications: RYA Dinghy Instructor; RYA Powerboat Instructor
At Rockley Since: 2009
Jack spends quite a lot of his time visiting schools around the country (and abroad!) and doing presentations to teachers, school children and parents. With nearly 5000 school children visiting Rockley each season Jack is responsible for the biggest part of what Rockley does – school residential activity trips. Being under 30, Jack is also invaluable to us as he can sort any mobile phone or social networking issues for us (read me)!
The life and soul of all parties, he is never happier than when dancing - which is handy as like much of the Rockley Team he has developed a penchant for Lycra. Seems like Jack is also on a fitness mission and has joined the cycling crowd - maybe he's trying to get fit for baby number 2 which will be here in time for the Summer!
Has two gorgeous daugters, loves football (not as much as his girls!) and is a huge fan of Saints.
Also likes to dress in outdated ski attire!
Qualifications: Degree in Outdoory Stuff
At Rockley Since: 2010
Sara is probably the most travelled of the Rockley Team and somewhat of an adrenaline junkie! As a Tour Leader she's travelled to South East Asia, East Africa and all round Europe - her travel highlights to date include trekking for 10 hours through rainforests to have an hour with mountain gorillas in Uganda and meeting the people, dancing and having coffee in Ethiopia
She has cycled the most dangerous road (death road) in the world in Bolivia, sky dived over Lake wannaka (NZ) and Bungy jumped from of third highest drop in the world (NZ) and has lived to tell the tale...She loves being in the blue - is a keen rower (currently race secretary for Westover and Bournemouth row club) and has a passion for diving (has her Dive Master). She's dived in some amazing locations including Thailand, Borneo and Sipadan and has survived a close encounter with a huge whale shark!
Before Rockley, Sara was a TA, Primary school teacher and supply teacher so is well placed working as part of the Schools Team.
She loves ice-cream and Thai spicy food, and takes a great photo!
Qualifications: Degree in Leisure Management, PGCE in Primary, Dive Master, Power boat level 2, competent crew (yacht’s), Dingy Sailing level!
At Rockley Since: April 2016
Aka “Mini”, although he has been with us for so long that we can’t remember now how he got that nickname. In charge of running the overseas operational part of the business, Mini is an expert at putting together three watersports centres every year and then taking them down again 6 months later. His life must be a bit like Groundhog Day. A trusted member of the team, Mini now splits his time between France and the UK.
Never panics, always has everything under control and has a gorgeous bull dog called Bella who is now a fixture in the office.
Qualifications: RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor; RYA Senior Windsurf Instructor, RYA Powerboat Instructor, SUP Instructor Level 1, Mountain Bike Leader Level 4
At Rockley Since: 1999
Kate is the calm in the storm that is occasionally our office, the oil in a cog, the glue in whatever it is glue keeps together. Kate is the voice on the phone and the person who actually knows what is going on. She looks after most of our individual customers and is the person that processes most of the bookings and who receives the generic email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are not too sure how we survived before Kate came along.
She is an avid tennis fan - loves to play and often finds the time to visit Wimbledon and she makes the most wonderful “Monday Treats” (Lemon Drizzle Cake is a real favourite).
Qualifcations: Unflappable, Super Organized, RYA Seamanship Skills
At Rockley Since: 2004
Valerie works tirelessly to ensure that all our accounts are in order and is never found, even on the dullest day, without a smile on her face. She manages the accounts for all areas of the business from the French and UK accounts to the Hourbour's Edge cafe which is no mean feat - she's even had to increase her hours! Valerie is the life and soul of any Rockley party and therefore was ideally placed and willing to be appointed Company Social Secretary.
She enjoys skiing and netball, can often be seen on the golf course and enjoys the odd sundowner on a Friday...
Qualifications: Numbers big or small.
At Rockley Since: 2005
Kat started with us by doing a 6 week Dinghy Instructor course way back when, and many years later, not only has she been a Centre Manager in France and Poole Park for us, she now looks after the recruitment side of the business full time. No mean feat when you consider we get thousands of applications. Funnily enough, quite a lot of personnel admin is now done on facebook (?), at least that is what she tells us.
You'll often see her behind a camera snapping away at anything and anyone - if you see a brochure they'll be full of Kat's images!. She's been a ray of light in the office over the past year taking on her new role, although we do allow her out from time to time to spend time in France looking after the team out there.
Qualifications: Rockley IDC graduate, RYA Senior Instructor
At Rockley Since: 2009
Cassy is a whizz at graphic design and has helped Rockley transform its marketing “collateral” from the home spun to the professional. She has 2 very gorgeous children, is half Greek / half Irish (though surprisingly not feisty!), loves camping, enjoys a shandy or rose in the summer (preferably whilst camping) and can be often seen running along the beach.
A very keen runner, her best time for a marathon is a few minutes over 3 hours and last year ran the Bournemouth half Marathon with the Rockley Team in aid of Julia's House in 1 hour 32 mins.
Qualifications: Degree in Marketing
At Rockley Since: 1999
This man has often been described as “A Legend” or an “Entertainer”, normally by himself. Affectionately known as Straw but insists on being called Lord Admiral Straw, he has only just turned 50 but has been with Rockley for 35 years. It is also true that he is a legend, although I am not so sure about the entertainer bit.
Plays, a key role - he oversees everything that goes on at Rockley Point, which is at the heart of everything that Rockley does.
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor; RYA Powerboat Instructor; RYA Centre Inspector
At Rockley Since: 1979
Liz has only been with us for about 9 years but is fast catching up Andy in the legend department. Does everything with a smile and never stops working. She manages the centre alongside Andy, oversees all the candidates that are going for Instructional courses and helps them with any Action Plans. Liz is also the Principal of Rockley Academy, which is the professional training arm of Rockley.
Loves cycling and running and successfully completed the London marathon last year along with her husband and fellow worker John McMaster. Mother of two and working full time, we have no idea how she keeps going...
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor; RYA Powerboat Instructor; RYA Centre Inspector; RYA Windsurf Instructor, RYA Windsurfer Trainer
At Rockley Since: 2008
The other half of the McMaster duo, John spends most of his time delivering the practical side of our BTEC L3 course, which includes cycling around Poole Harbour on glorious sunny days! Tough job isn’t it?
He also ran the London Marathon last year along with his wife Liz, together raising hundreds of pounds for Julia's House.
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor; RYA Powerboat Instructor; RYA Centre Inspector; RYA Windsurf Instructor; RYA Yachtmaster
At Rockley Since: 2010
Bri the Bo looks after all our kit in France and in the UK. What Brian doesn’t know about getting boats going and keeping them afloat is not worth writing on the back of a packet of Gauloise! Being of Scottish extraction, he finds the summer sun a bit much, so spends a lot of his time in his bat cave aka The Workshop.
Surprisingly musical (what I mean is, he can play and sing a tune, any tune)
Plays…. the guitar
Qualifications: Knows a left handed screwdriver when he sees one
At Rockley Since: 1996
Ian has got a wealth of experience in outdoor education. He was the Head of PE at Bournemouth’s largest school for many years and is a force to be reckoned with!
He is the driving force behind our very successful BTEC Course and is a great motivational teacher.
A very keen windsurfer but he will only go on the water when “it is blowing old boots” (technical term for very windy).
He has been known to break a few things in his time, including a few hips, but he isn’t that old, honest.
Qualifications: Teacher, RYA Powerboat Instructor, RYA Assistant Dinghy Instructor
At Rockley Since: 2010
AJ started with us a few years ago and has worked as an instructor at our centres both in the UK and France
She is now managing our Poole Park centre, no easy task when you consider we will have 400 school children through in a week when she hosts our school watersports festivals. This is on top of hire, taster sessions and children's parties! AJ is never seen without a smile on her face and is the sort of person that lights up a room when she walks in.
We are not sure if AJ ever sleeps - as well as being a volunteer Guide leader, she is the County Watersports Advisor for Dorset Girl Guiding and is also the Vice Captain for Poole Hockey - the rivalry between Pip who plays for Bournemouth and AJ does not exactly go unnoticed in the office! Doing her bit for grassroutes sport, she also coaches the junior hockey squad.
Qualifications: RYA Senior Instructor, RYA Start Windsurf Instructor, RYA Powerboat Instructor, BSUPA Instructor, RYA First Aid Instructor
At Rockley since - 2011
Sean has been working for Rockley in France since 2012 and has been a fantastic addition to the team. Sean is amazingly handy building and fixing things, he was instrumental in the setting up of our newest centre Le Lac Mimizan. He has even mastered the left handed screw driver. Based permanently in France, Sean has developed a love for vin rouge and beaucoup de fromage! We are all particularly excited this year as he's marrying the lovely Laura who also used to work for Rockley. Congratulations to them both!
Qualifications: RYA Powerboat Level 2
At Rockley Since: 2012
Hannah brings peace and serenity to our BTEC Course. Previously Head of PE at a large local school, Hannah is loving the outdoor life that she now leads. She is also very organised which we love!
Having just had a gorgeous little boy last year, Hannah has now returned to the Rockley Team!
Qualifications: RYA Dinghy Instructor, RYA Powerboat Instructor, Teacher
At Rockley Since: 2014
Although a non-sailor, Kate is one of the best Centre managers we have been lucky enough to have.
She is attempting to learn to sail but prefers to go to gigs. Her specialist subject is Linkin Park.
A fantastic addition to the team, Kate spends the winter in the office and has become our exhibition Queen - attending all our Shows and pretty much organising the whole thing from start to finish. While she has enjoyed herself in the UK, she is very much looking forward to the start of her 2016 season in France....bring on the French sunshine, baguettes, croissants, surfing, cocktails......(not at all jealous here in the office!)
Qualifications: RYA Level 1 Sailing
At Rockley Since: 2013
Will started work at Rockley as an Instructor and has worked his way through to Centre Manager in France. Cool, calm and collected, he does a great job in France in the summer. During the winter, as well as developing an outstanding French accent (although the language is still a bit below par) he also takes on all the administration work.
A keen cyclist (when it’s not wet and cold) and a lover of everything outdoors, he also manages to maintain a regular habit of drinking espresso until lunch time when naturally coffee turns to wine!
Qualifications: RYA Dinghy Instrcutor
At Rockley Since: 2011
Aaron has been with the Rockley Team on a seasonal basis since 2009 and has made the wise decision to join us full time! He has worked at our centres both in France and the UK starting as an Activity Instructor, then a Centre Senior and Chief Instructor. Aaron has also been part of the BTEC Delivery Team and has now joined the Poole Park Team.
And why does he fit in so well with his fellow workers? Unsrprisingly he is also a keen cyclist (as is Rob, Jack, Kat, Liz etc - the list goes on), loves watersports (obviously!) and has a beloved dog (see Pip, Peter, Lis, Keiron) called Cody. You get the idea!
Aaron got married last year and will soon be celebrating his one year anniversary.
Qualifications: RYA Senior Instructor, Advanced Dinghy Instructor, RYA Multihull Instructor, RYA Intermediate Windsurf Instructor, RYA First Aid Instructor, RYA Powerboat and Safety Boat Instructor, BCU Paddlesports Coach
At Rockley Since: 2009
Married with two daughters, Tom is a a great personality and is a fantastic part of the Rockley Team. He loves sport, both watching and playing; he's a Moto GP enthusiast (massive Valentino Rossi fan), supports rugby team Northampton Saints and is a Cambridge United football supporter. He loves cycling, walking (preferably along coastal paths and preferably not over hills!), sailing and windsurfing.
Tom's favourite pub is the ecletic Square and Compass (loves a pint and a pasty after that long coastal walk!), his favourite beach is Woodbarrow Bay (and Rockley of course!) and he's a self confessed World War 2 geek
Qualifications: RYA Coach Assessor, Centre Inspector, RYA Powerboat Instructor, RYA Windsurf Instructor, BCU Paddlesports Coach
At Rockley Since: 2015
Henry loves being in the office and even more enjoys lunchtimes, Friday treats and 4.30pm when the postman comes with yummy doggy treats.
Henry is 4 years old, although he still looks and acts like a Puppy. He's a big softy (like his mummy) and enjoys running and sailing (again like his mummy)!! He's recently taken on a new role as big brother to George - chocolate brown and very excitable. Henry is definitely the sensible one!
Poppy brings an element of calm into the office. She is so placid and laid back, although is always seen with a tennis ball in her mouth. She's your best friend if there are any biscuits around, if she can be bothered to get out of her bed!
She does love one of the delivery drivers as he brings special treats for her, however woe betide anyone who enters in a yellow hi-vis jacket as she will give a good bark!
Age – 2 Years
Breed – Miniature Schnauzer
Cute – Check
Small – Check
Doesn’t like water – Check
Best dog in the World – Check*
*obviously written by loving owners Peter and Lis, however owners of Henry, George and Poppy may have something to say about that!
George is the latest addition to the canine family. He is younger brother to Henry, is super excited about ANYTHING, and is rivalling the others when it comes to the accolade of 'cutest dog in the office'!
So George brings the office dog numbers up to 4 - sometimes there are more dogs in the office than people! We'll have to teach them how to answer the phone!