The Excelsior Crew

Meet the talented crew members who make sailing Excelsior a wonderful experience.

Skipper – Nick Dwyer

Experienced sailor Nick holds a commercially-endorsed Yachtmaster certificate and is also an RYA Cruising Instructor. Having built his first boat at the age of 14, he has been sailing for over 50 years.

After a long and successful career in international finance and investments, 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. He lived on the boat for over 10 years, cruising extensively in the southern hemisphere where he had many adventures; escaping from pirates off Colombia, surviving a Tsunami in French Polynesia, being shipwrecked on a remote Fijian island, capsizing three times in the Tasman sea and meeting his future wife in Tonga. More recently he skippered Cirdan Trust’s tall ship, Queen Galadriel.

© Betty Sederquist

Relief Skipper – Karol Petryka

Karol graduated from the Maritime University of Szczecin, and has worked on ships all around the world from containers to superyachts.

He was previously on the brig-rigged Fryderyk Chopin, a tall ship used for sail training. Karol has extensive mechanical and rigging knowledge and has been with Excelsior since 2015, working as mate for three seasons and, more recently, as relief Skipper as well as managing our winter maintenance and overseeing volunteers. Karol has exceptional ability teaching and encouraging people of all ages who sail with us and ensuring that the sail is both enjoyable and safe.

First Mate – Isaac Erdman

©Rob Howarth

Isaac originally volunteered with Excelsior, having worked through the ranks in Greece and obtaining his Yachtmaster qualifications.

Isacc has a natural aptitude for working with young people and getting the best out of the ship.  He has a real passion for sail training and preservation of the Trust’s historic vessels and is a multi-skilled member of the team. Isaac is heavily involved in Excelsior’s winter maintenance as well as working on the restoration of Horace and Hannah, our Great Yarmouth Shrimper, in his spare time.

Bosun – Janice Fleming

Janice has previously worked as a watch leader on TS Royalist and Bosun’s Mate on the Tall ship Atyla.  Janice joined us in 2019 as apprentice bosun and, after spending most of 2020 onboard Tall Ship Pelican, Janice has rejoined us for the annual winter maintenance.

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.