Angus started sailing at a young age at the local club at Plockton in a Mirror dinghy, wind surfing as well as yacht cruising quickly followed for him. He was very fortunate to be given the use of his Grandfather’s Junk rigged 22ft. Newbridge Venturer bilge keel yacht to use when he was only thirteen.
Continuing sailing keelboats he bought his first Flying Fifteen when he was sixteen. As well as grabbing every opportunity to go yacht cruising around the West Coast of Scotland and beginning to get more into dinghy racing at his club with a 505. The Racing bug had grown now, and he competed with a Squib at the Royal Tay Yacht Club, in the UK and European Championships.
Angus first came to Cumbrae at seventeen taking his first RYA course (Level 2 Powerboat). Then deciding that a career in teaching sport might be for him, so he began studying in Edinburgh Telford College for an HND in sports coaching. While doing this course he was also teaching swimming and life saving. This gave him the opportunity of competing in the World Life Saving Championships in both South Africa and New Zealand. Finishing in 6th place in the initiative test (responding to incident and emergency) at Durban.
After college Angus started coaching dinghy sailing in Australia at Geelong Grammar School. This prompted him to gain his dinghy instructors ticket, and on his return UK to become a windsurfing instructor and kayak level two coaches, as well as passing his Yachtmaster Offshore certificate. His enthusiasm and enjoyment of working with people outdoors especially on the water had made him decide on a career in watersports.
Before joining Cumbrae, Angus worked at the British Kiel Yacht Club in Germany for four and a half years, providing adventurous training for the joint services. This also allowed him to continue with his own training and becoming a Yachtmaster Instructor. Co-skippering the 57ft. yacht ‘Flamingo’, one of the WW II 100 square metre windfall boats built in 1935 for ’36 Hitler Olympics’, which the British forces took as reparation after the war. It was with this yacht, that Angus was lucky enough to campaign in the Baltic Sprint Cup, while he was in Germany.
This will be Angus’s fifth season at Cumbrae and it is great to have such a knowledgable instructor as part of the team.
Angus’s has come up with some interesting top tips when using bigger boats either sail or power.
Many people use boats as a couple. Make sure your wife/partner is aware of how to recover you in the event that either of you fall overboard. Both need to know how to use; the lifebuoy/danbouy man over board kit, VHF, how to drop any sails as required and start the engine. Label halyard ropes etc. or any complicated engine starting procedure as a memory aid. Some handy device to bring the casualty back on board the boat must also be thought about.
Practice this MoB drill with just the two of you out there!
Angus recommends if you’re approaching shallow water to make sure your speed is less than the depth i.e. if the depth is two metres make your boat speed two knots or less. That way, if you do touch the bottom, you touch gently! Remembering to set the shallow depth alarm on the echo sounder for five metres, can act as a reminder of any potential depth problems that may have been missed.
When coming into harbour to tie up in the rain. Ask your crew to take their hoods down, so that they can hear you, rather than shouting.
Finally, don’t run out of tea or coffee if you want a happy skipper!
Angus’s favourite piece of clothing kit – His mid layers as they keep him warm and dry.
What Angus adds to Cumbrae – Good all round knowledge on all the equipment and the best advice on how to use it.