The 2020 Excelsior Crew

Meet our fantastic new 2020 season crew who sail Excelsior.

Skipper – Nick Dwyer

Nick built his first boat at the age of 14 and has being sailing for over 50 years.

He has a degree in international finance and investments and a Diploma in computer science. He holds a commercially endorsed Yachtmaster certificate and is also a Royal Yachting Association Cruising Instructor. Prior to leaving the rat race Nick ran his London based management consulting firm, a Dublin based investment firm and some other commercial interests.

In 2007, having put his child through university, Nick bought a replica of Joshua Slocum’s boat “Spray” and set off on a solo circumnavigation without modern conveniences like a depth sounder or engine. His has lived on the boat for the last 13 years while he cruised extensively mostly in the southern hemisphere. He has escaped from pirates off Colombia, survived a Tsunami in French Polynesia, refloated his boat after being shipwrecked on a remote Fijian island, capsized three times in the Tasman sea and met his wife in Tonga. They have visited remote islands and peoples of the world only accessible by private boat.

His involvement with assisting those in need commenced in the 1980s when he kept a spare room in his house for recovering drug addicts. More recently he Skippered the Queen Galadriel. and he joins Excelsior knowing that the life direction of many young people will change in a very positive way.

Nick brings vast experienced and a safe pair of hands to the tiller of Excelsior.

Karol Petryka – Credit Betty Sederquist – September 2016

Relief Skipper – Karol Petryka

Karol graduated from an unpronounceable maritime university in Poland, and has worked on all kinds of ships all around the world – from container ships to superyachts. He was previously on the Polish brig-rigged Fryderyk Chopin, a Sail Training tall ship. He has extensive mechanical and rigging knowledge and is always happy to teach what he knows. Karol also used to be in a well-known choir, and can sing many traditional sea shanties. He has been with Excelsior since 2015 working as mate for the past 3 seasons and more recently as relief skipper.  He has a delightful black lab called, would you believe it, Skipper. Having covered the role since 2017, Karol is well positioned for sailing Excelsior and has exceptional ability with both young people and adults alike.  He is currently overseeing our winter maintenance plan.

First Mate – Isaac Erdman

Isaac has volunteered with Excelsior since 2015, having worked through the ranks in Greece obtaining his Yachtmaster qualifications, he is now ready to take the helm with Excelsior. With great skills in working with young people, and getting the most out of the ship, he is well placed for life at sea.  Isaac shares the crew’s energy and passion for Sail Training, Foraging and preservation of Excelsior.  He’s a valued member of the team and is currently heavily involved in our winter maintenance plan.

Bosun – Janice Fleming

Janice Fleming is our bosun. She’s worked as a watch leader on TS Royalist and Bosuns mate on the Tall ship Atyla.  Janice joined us in 2019 as apprentice bosun and we’re delighted to welcome her back in 2020!

Trainee Bosun – Belinda Cree

Belinda is new to Excelsior, joining the crew this year as a trainee supported by National Historic Ships. Originally from Northern Ireland, Belinda had no previous sailing experience until after graduating university. Then, in 2018 she completed her Competent Crew and hasn’t looked back! With an OCN in Youthwork and the new skills she’s picked up studying at IBTC, she’s excited for a season of looking after Excelsior and helping young people to get the most out of their experience on board.

Deckie Will hanging about

Regular Volunteer -Will Paterson

Will has been volunteering in UK Sail Training since he was twelve, and has sailed on almost all of the Sail Training ships. He comes back to Excelsior every year, and knows her and her rig very well. He is passionate about everything about historic ships, and can teach everything about rigging and splicing and caulking and pitching that you’d want to know.

Regular Volunteer – Bob Lambert

Bob first came to Excelsior decades ago as a teacher leading a school trip, and he has been volunteering for her winter maintenance schedule and as a deckhand ever since. He has many woodworking skills, and sailing experience from taking both Excelsior and his own little boat all around the UK and Europe. He has a very, very dry sense of humour.

Regular Volunteer -Jenna Howe

2018 saw Jenna sharing her first season with Excelsior, dedicating pretty much all her time to the ship, worki

ng tirelessly over refit and then getting Excelsior out to sea.

Building her experience and seamanship skills, we look forward to Jenna continuing her involvement with us.


credit to Betty Sederquist

Regular Volunteer -Seraphina Goldfarb-Tarrant

Seraphina comes from a sailing family, and has been sailing modern boats since she was little. She always wanted to sail a historic wooden ship, and after a month on Excelsior she gave up her other plans and stayed for the whole season. Seraphina has a passion for sailing history, and finds Excelsior to be unique in how accurately she is historically maintained.

Regular Volunteer -Max Yuill-McEwan

Max is a mental health worker, and first sailed on Excelsior when he organised bringing a group aboard as part of their recovery programme. He has been helping out ever since, and has uncommon grit and skills with rehabilitation programmes.


Regular Volunteer -Anton Middleton

Anton is a shipwright by trade, and has been on and off Excelsior for many years. He has past experience with other historic ships, notably as a hand on board the replica of the Endeavour as she redid her original journey under Captain Cook. He built Excelsior’s current mizzenmast, and is restoring his own little historic boat to take her around the Norfolk Broads.

Read more about the other brilliant people who work behind the scenes to make the Excelsior Trust great.