After a first career in manufacturing industry, Richard returned to his hobby of sailing , becoming a bargeman in 1994, in his thirties. Having grown up in Brightlingsea surrounded by memories of fishing or trading under sail, and racing classic yachts, he became fascinated by he utility of traditional boats. He rebuilt the smack Sallie in the 1980’s, took a sabbatical as Sailing Master on the 19 Metre Mariquita in 2004 but has always found barges well-suited to sail-training, working with young people and others learning through activity and enjoyment. Since 2007 he has helped run Sea-Change using several different vessels before commissioning Blue Mermaid, the first modern sailing barge built for trade.
Oli started working at sea in 2014 when he began a two year traineeship with a sail-training organisation operating from North Shields on the River Tyne. Since then he has worked with a wide variety of young people and adults around the UK and further afield on several sail-training vessels. He first came to Sea-Change in 2019 for the start of operations on Blue Mermaid . Oli enjoys sharing the experience of working as a team in tandem with nature to achieve things we didn’t know we could. When he isn’t afloat, he spends his time baking, hiking and wild camping.
Hilary started sailing in dinghies as a teenager. As Chair of Trustees she sets our tone and culture based on a lifetime of working with young people running an outstanding day nursery, and her belief you need to walk in a person’s shoes to understand them. She expects us to consider the needs of individuals and how best to encourage them to work together for the needs of the ship. She is proudest when she hears a young person describe being aboard as being like a family, and says she still feels empowered by the sense of achievement she gets from sailing, and if it works for her then it can work for others of any age. With Richard and Steve Williams, Hilary established Sea-Change in 2007to have the flexibility to give people extended opportunities according to their needs. She has navigated the charity through the successful appeal to build the Blue Mermaid. She is working towards introducing her grandchildren to sailing as soon as possible.
Judy has been messing about in boats on the East Coast since before she could walk. Her first sail training voyage was at the age of 17 and the experience of being sea-sick all the way to Calais with a group of young people she had never met before shaped her whole future. In a lifetime of sail-training, Judy has sailed as youth crew, volunteer mate, and professional sail training skipper and now raises funds for Sea-Change Sailing Trust, looks after our administration and hopes many more young people will be inspired by their first sail-training voyage. In her spare time – she likes to go sailing!