Meet Chipp's, Second Engineer on Lord Nelson
Chipp’s is one of JST’s Second Engineers; he is now currently assigned to Lord Nelson after previously alternating between Lord Nelson and Tenacious.
How did you first come across the JST?
I moved to Norfolk in the late 1980s where I got involved in boatbuilding - wooden, some grp, and engineering. One day my friend Maynard 'the Godfather’ Watson came back from the Canaries wanting some help to fix a problem with the caulking on Lord Nelson. So I joined Nellie in 1996 in Las Palmas, sailed her down to Porto Rico and then for three weeks stripped the starboard weather deck off and recaulked it. Then from 1997 – 98, I did the port side, then the boat deck, then the charthouse and more….
In 1999 I got a call from the JST office to say they were building a big wooden ship and would I come and help. I joined the building team in May 1999 and helped build Tenacious, got her wet and then got the job as ship’s carpenter, hence the name Chipp’s.
In 2003 my chippy contract was coming to an end but as I had engineering skills, I was taken on as an engineer so I could combine my engineering and carpentry skills.
I’ve been around ever since. I did have six months off once but I missed JST so much that I came back!
Because it is totally grammatically wrong. That’s the only reason!
When I sailed with John Fisher as Captain, there were lots of cracks about Fish and Chipp’s …
Can you summarise your 'Life before JST’?
I started my career with a Wolverhampton firm as a civil engineer and became a foreman carpenter at the young age of 21. This was challenging because I had to work with and manage older people. Then my girlfriend at the time got a promotion and moved to Norfolk, so I moved there with her and as I had always sailed from early age, I turned my boat repair hobby into a boatbuilding profession. I learned by going from boat yard to boat yard and then ended up working for Landemores, building Oyster yachts.
What is your sailing experience?
I started out at a very young age in Mirror dinghies and Cadets and then progressed to Enterprises and Albacores. Then I got my own boat – an OK. I have also sailed a huge amount on the Norfolk broads from 1973, much of the time on Hunter boats, traditional Broads sailing boats. I am engineer who knows how to sail!
What do you like about working for JST?
I love being at sea and I like maintaining the status quo of the technical side of the ship. In my book there are no problems, just solutions. Unfortunately I don’t get to see much of the voyage crew because I am mostly down below behind the scenes, but I do like making friends with people when I have time to mingle and I like to see their faces when they leave having had a wonderful voyage – that definitely makes it all worthwhile.
What do you like least about working for JST?
It is what it is. I wouldn’t have come back after six months off if I didn’t like it, I really did miss it. The whole aspect of the job is so different from anything else I have ever done. People take for granted the lights, showers, hot water but there is a lot of work behind the scenes to make it all happen. If people don’t notice something wrong, then it must be working right and that is what I aim for.
Can you describe a typical day in the life of JST engineer?
There is no such thing as a normal day in engineering, it is so varied. From fixing something to stocking up the bar, to well anything, really. I do have to do a scheduled servicing though. Throughout voyage I have to perform a series of tasks in line with a computerised maintenance system which gives a guide each day as what needs to be done. Even when at sea, whatever the weather and the angle of the ship, I just keep going with the schedule. Computers don’t take heeling at 45 degrees into account!
What are your aspirations for the future?
To sail round the world!!
With the JST?
Can you tell us something about yourself that most people at JST wouldn’t know?
Most people don’t know that I am a member of a rather unique sailing club that races on the Norfolk broads. It is called the Lady Yacht Club because ladies are not allowed but the boats are all named Lady something. There are no rules so we get up to serious racing misbehaviour - if you call water at a mark then you get wet and it doesn’t matter if you are over the line at the start. The main event is always the first weekend in October and lasts for three days with 12 main races and around 10 little boat races. Absolutely no women are allowed, other than as timekeepers and in the bar at the end of the day. But usually they use it as an excuse to go and have a girls’ weekend somewhere else.
The club has been going on for nearly 60 years – it started as a club for boatbuilding apprentices to learn to sail instead of just building boats. Then older people got involved. Most members are involved in the boating industry in some way. Strangely my leave always seems to coincide with the first weekend of October. (Is that why Sail the World doesn’t start until end of October? Must be…Yes!)