Job Description for Skipper of Excelsior

Job Title: Skipper 

Employer: The Excelsior Trust 

Accountable to: Council of Management (the Board)

Line Manager: Technical Director (Marine Superintendent)

Essential Checks: Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, references 

Type of Position: Permanent rolling 11 month contract (one month’s unpaid leave per winter) 

Remuneration:  Salary dependent upon experience and qualifications.  Leave of one week in five during the season, plus annual holidays.  One month’s unpaid leave over the winter. i.e. an eleven-month but permanent contract.  

How to apply: Please Email your CV and a covering letter stating why you think you are suitable for the role together with your remuneration expectations and the contact details for two referees to  

Commencement of employment: Negotiable.

Location:  Based aboard the 100 Ton 77ft gaff ketch EXCELSIOR.   Her operating base is in Lowestoft where the annual refit takes place.  The sailing season is as long as practical encompassing the near seaboard of Europe.  Own Cabin.

Aims: The Trust works with local and national groups providing life-changing experiences for a variety of young people and adults, while helping teach the skills needed to sail and live at sea and to look after an historic vessel. 

Rôle: The skipper is responsible for the day-day management of EXCELSIOR.  During the sailing season the skipper must deliver training to charter groups, including socially diverse young people and vulnerable adults.  The operation of the ship includes keeping on top of the ongoing maintenance. Over the winter the skipper supervises the refit crew and volunteers.  There is a strong emphasis on keeping Excelsior traditional and preserving the skills needed to sail and maintain such vessels.  

Specific Responsibilities: 

  • The safe handling and navigation of EXCELSIOR while complying with statutory provisions and in accordance with her Load Line Exemption Certificate (Coding). 
  • Ensuring that all activities are carried out in accordance with the Trust’s Safety and Operating Procedures as set out in our Safety Management System and in compliance with the Trust’s adopted Policies.  Helping to improve these.
  • Leading and supervising the regular crew and any relief crew and volunteers 
  • Looking after the welfare of clients, crew, volunteers, and trainees, including morale and discipline
  • Managing working hours, crew leave, and crew reliefs.
  • Helping young people from diverse backgrounds: to achieve RYA qualifications; to achieve DofE Gold Residential awards; to undertake the National Historic Ships’ Shipshape Heritage Training Programme; to work through the Excelsior Trust’s in-house Training passport; to take part in our young person’s Charting your Destiny programme; and to develop their life skills. 
  • Helping to find new crew, volunteers and clients
  • Training and upskilling existing crew, volunteers and trainees by encouraging professional development, and the use of the Excelsior Trust’s in-house training prospectus
  • The skipper must be prepared to improve his or her personal qualifications and to undertake training or courses to continue their personal development.  
  • Operating the vessel within budget and following the Trust’s financial and purchasing procedures 
  • Maintaining paperwork 
  • Helping with marketing and planning future operations 
  • Occasionally representing the Trust, championing the brand and raising our profile
  • Being professional, and acting with tact and diplomacy at all times (both on and off the vessel) while remaining commercially & personally sensitive and sober

The above description is not intended to be comprehensive, but the post-holder will be expected to be flexible in carrying out tasks that relate to the job. 

Support: The Council of Management (Board) have a wide range of expertise to draw on.  There are regular crew and volunteers at varying stages in developing their ability to work and look after EXCELSIOR.  There are adopted policies for guidance to help deliver the Trust’s aims. The operational information and maintenance work necessary is set out in our detailed Safety Management System, and the Marine Superintendent and naval architect are available for guidance and technical support.  A range of specialist contractors that are familiar with the vessel are on hand where necessary.  

Person Specification: 

Minimum qualifications and experience:

  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (Sailing) with Commercial Endorsement, or equivalent 
  • Experience of sail training industry 

Desirable qualifications: 

  • RYA Yachtmaster Ocean (Sailing) with STCWC endorsement
  • Powerboat Level 2 
  • RYA Cruising Instructor 
  • MCA Proficiency in Medical Care Aboard Ship 
  • Long-Range Radio certificate 
  • Attended Diesel Engine Course
  • Food Hygiene Level 2  

Desirable experience: 

  • At least 2 years as Skipper
  • Experience of traditionally rigged vessels 
  • Experienced at working with disadvantaged young people 
  • Competent in Excel and Word documents

Desirable attributes:

  • Good leadership skills, a positive role-model, and ability to lead in a positive way 
  • Energetic, enthusiastic, hands-on, and willing to work hard 
  • Passionate about helping young people 
  • A passion for historic vessels and maintaining their authenticity
  • A strong awareness of marine environmental issues
  • A team player (i.e. unencumbered by ego!) 
  • Good communication skills both verbal and written (and at ease in front of cameras)
  • A willingness to keep learning.  (We don’t want anyone who thinks they ‘know it all!’) 
  • An interest in developing the Excelsior Trust and its activities