Sail Training and Seamanship are a part of the Gordonstoun curriculum and play an important role in the School’s aim to “prepare students for a full and active role as international citizens in a changing world”.

Skipper/ Instructor “Ocean Spirit of Moray

(2021 Sailing Season – fixed term February - October)


This post requires a Sail Training professional with a proven track record as Skipper of Sail Training vessels over 20m. holding RYA Yachtmaster Offshore/Ocean with commercial and instructing endorsements. The ability to instruct in traditional sailing vessels will also form part of the background experience required. The Post holder will have to be comfortable working in a range of sailing disciplines and able to instruct students of varying ability. Sail Training requires a flexible approach to working hours and this post may require the post holder to work for extended periods on board, and compensatory leave is included in the work roster in acknowledgment of this. The Gordonstoun Sail Training Department aspires to achieve the highest standards of safety, delivery and outcomes and the post holder will be a key member of a committed professional team to deliver the sail training programme.


The minimum qualifications for this post are as follows:

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore with Commercial and Instructing endorsements

MCA ENG1 Medical Fitness Certificate

STCW Medical Care Certificate

Accredited First Aid Certificate

RYA Powerboat 2/Safety Boat Certificate

Desirable additional Qualifications

RYA Keelboat Instructor

The Gordonstoun Sail Training Programme

Sail Training Courses

Sail Training Courses are run aboard the School’s 80-foot sail training ketch “Ocean Spirit of Moray” from our base at Plockton on the West Coast of Scotland. Each course includes instruction in our two Dipping lug cutters. Curricular sail training courses vary in length up to 7 nights with longer and more adventurous voyages being undertaken as part of the extracurricular programme usually in the school summer holiday period.

Cutter sailing

The post holder will be expected to sail as Lead Instructor and oversee the safe operation of the school’s two dipping lug cutters in a sailing area within three miles of Plockton as part of our integrated sailing course. The instruction in the cutters should complement student participation in the voyage on Ocean Spirit and vice versa.

Duties of the post

The principal duties of the post are set out below. In addition, the post holder may be required to sail as First Mate as part of their work roster.

Skipper of Ocean Spirit of Moray

The Skipper of Ocean Spirit is responsible as the Master of the vessel for the safe and successful delivery of curricular and extracurricular sail training voyages. Each voyage should maximise the opportunities for the personal development of the participating students whilst maintaining the highest standards of safety at all times. Students should be encouraged to participate fully in all aspects of the voyage and should receive instruction and support to enable them to do this. The Skipper is responsible for the pastoral welfare of the students in his or her care and should work in partnership with the staff on board and at School to create a positive and caring environment on board the vessel.

General Responsibilities

  • To Sail as Skipper on board Ocean Spirit of Moray (or any other vessel provided by the School) in charge of curricular and extracurricular voyages.
  • To oversee and instruct the Cutter sailing element of the Sail Training course.
  • To assist with any promotional events planned whilst on board Ocean Spirit as Skipper.

Operational Responsibilities

  • The safe navigation and management of the vessel.
  • Ensuring that all operational aspects comply with safety policies contained within the Safety Management System for the vessel and maritime law.
  • The strategic planning of the voyage, considering the objectives set for the group and creating opportunities for the full involvement of trainees.
  • The efficient management of the staff team on board and the delegation of duties in an appropriate and fair way.
  • Overseeing the vessels’ daily routine including watch rotas, domestic tasks and general organisation.
  • Ensuring that the vessel is prepared and fit for sea; including passage planning, checks and briefings.
  • Maintaining the vessel in good operational order and facilitating any repairs arising.
  • Overseeing crew changes, victualling, re-storing etc.
  • Ensuring that routine maintenance schedules and safety checks are carried out.
  • Supporting the First Mate and junior staff when required.
  • Maintaining the condition and appearance of the vessel in good order, reflecting her role as an ambassador for Gordonstoun School
  • Ensuring that a full handover of the vessel is carried out – normally to the relieving skipper in person.
  • The post holder may at times be required to sail as First Mate .

Instruction and Briefing

  • Ensuring that trainees receive full instruction in all aspects of their safe participation in the voyage
  • Briefing trainees and staff on planning and safety matters both as part of the initial induction and on a day to day basis.

· Encouraging a positive working relationship between trainees in order to help achieve the objectives of the voyage.

· When time allows, instructing and training staff in various aspects of seamanship and sailing.


  • Ensuring that the voyage is conducted within the School’s pastoral guidelines and codes of conduct.
  • Being familiar with the School’s Child Protection Policy and ensuring that child protection issues are appropriately dealt with and recorded.
  • Managing any pastoral incidents or concerns in consultation with the School Pastoral Team as appropriate.
  • Ensuring that students are adequately supervised whilst ashore, particularly during crew changes, and that appropriate risk assessment of shore activities is carried out.

· Supervising students when travelling between the School and the boat when required.


· Conducting individual debriefs for all students at the end of the voyage and producing a written report on their achievements.

· Providing additional verbal or written feedback to School staff on the performance of individual students as required.

· Debriefing staff members at the end of voyages.

Cutter sailing

  • To be responsible for the Cutter sailing element of the Sail Training Voyage ensuring that both boats are operated within established safety parameters and are deployed in a way that best the achieves the objectives set for the group and provides opportunities for the full involvement of trainees.
  • To act as Skipper and instructor in one of the cutters.


  • To attend departmental meetings
  • To assist with planned maintenance
  • To assist with the familiarisation training of staff employed on “Ocean Spirit”.
  • To maintain and correct chart folios and navigational publications during the sailing season

Applicants should note that offers of employment are subject to the following terms and conditions.


The salary for the post is £30,000.00 p/a payable pro-rata for the agreed period of employment.

Employment Period

Employment period for this post is seasonal, with the post holder working to a sailing programme which includes “compensatory leave “usually in a ratio of one week off for every three worked. Annual leave is programmed in addition to these rest weeks and is usually taken at a convenient point in the vessels summer sailing programme.

Medical Fitness

All Staff working at sea must hold the MCA ENG1 Seafarers Medical Certificate (or the MCA ML5 Seafarers Medical Report if working no more than 60 miles from the shore).

Disclosure Scotland (Criminal Records) Checks

Gordonstoun School requires all employees working with pupils to be over 21. Successful candidates will be required to undertake an Enhanced Disclosure Scotland check. The School pays the fee for this.

Satisfactory Employment References

You are required to provide two employment references. References are taken up prior to interview.

Asylum and Immigration Act 1996

Under Section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act, employers must ensure that any prospective employee is legally entitled to live and work in the UK. Applicants will be required to provide documentary evidence, at the interview stage, in the form of a passport or National Insurance number and full birth certificate.

Education and Qualifications

For applicants who apply for posts that require specific qualifications, any offer of appointment will be subject to applicants providing evidence of such qualifications at interview.


The Skipper's responsibilities are outlined in the Job Description

The closing date for applications is 28 February 2021 Interviews will be held February 2021.

We reserve the right to close this advert as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

If you have any further queries, please email or call 01343 837831.

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