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Would you like to quit the rat race and sail around the world?
I'm Claer Barrett, editor of the Next Act at the Financial Times. Joining me today is David Smith, a commercial yacht skipper who is paid - yes, paid - to deliver boats around the world. Yet 10 years ago, he never even knew this industry existed. He joins me now to talk about making a sharp change in career direction in your 50s.
Starting off with, this is a dream job for many of our readers at the FT, delivering yachts around the world. How does it even exist as a potential future career?
It's something which, I'll just say I didn't know that it existed 10 years ago. But I left my job in Land Securities and was looking around for monetising a hobby.
Good way of putting it.
So, looking at turning a hobby into a job. And I came across yacht delivery companies that moved boats around the world. I took the plunge and responded to an advert on Facebook. There's a website called Crewseekers, people looking for crew.
And that adventure was a brand-new Jeanneau, a 50-foot Jeanneau to move from south of France to Turkey to Marmaris. And next day on an airplane to Beziers, met the professional skipper, another crew member - very mercurial Italian guy. And the three of us headed off into the Gulf of Lion over to Corsica, then to Sicily, across the Aegean, and wheeled into Marmaris. I was hooked, absolutely hooked.
Well, certainly, your new career as a commercial skipper. I should say, in the article that you've written on Next Act, our content hub for those in later life, which you can read at ft.com/next-act, you tell us all about some of the tricky situations that you've had to manage on the boat. It's not all plain sailing, to employ a terrible pun.
Tell us about some of the hairier moments you've had at sea.
Any good skipper will enjoy a challenge. All the training we have as yachtmasters is when things go wrong. So the protocols of life jackets, life rafts, everything become second-nature to you. You hope you never have to use them. You hope, if you do, it's not very much.
But knowing what buttons to press, what tools to use, and how to prepare for something going wrong is absolutely vital. Good skippers will have a huge respect for the dangers of the sea, but manage the risk.
Thanks very much for joining us today, David. If you'd like to read David's tales of adventures on the high seas and many other articles about changing direction in later life, go to the Next Act of the FT's content hub. It's on ft.com/next-act. And I will see you the next time.