The Crew

A little background and information about your crew

Your Crew

Shawn and Ally have known each other since Shawn arrived in the UK from his birth place, Cape Town. They were a mere 10 years old and played kiss chase in the school yard. As they grew up they continued to occasionally bump into each other in town and at the gym. Shawn then went off to University and left the area for most of 9 years before returning to the area.

They continued to bump into each other over the next decade or so. Both got married and divorced. Around the age of 36 Shawn decided he wanted a change of career so retrained himself as an Ocean Sailor and Scuba Instructor and during this time Shawn and Ally were occasionally bumping into each other on Facebook but not in supermarkets or the gym as there was usually more than 10,000km between them.  Their separate lives continued as usual.   After spending 6 months in Thailand , 4 months in South Africa, 1 year in the caribbean, Shawn returned to the UK for a few months before going to Malaysia for 18 months.  During this time he and Ally caught up over coffee and then continued to chat on Facebook, Skype and email which eventually led to a permanent relationship. They now sail together on Imagination.

Your Captain

My name is Shawn. I was born in Cape Town, South Africa many years ago. Its a beautiful city and country but because of its internal problems we left. So at the age of 10 years I arrived in Bournemouth, UK.

Living by the sea almost all my life, I have always had a love and respect for it, and these days it is where I choose to work and have fun. During my time of enjoying the ocean I gained my Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) qualification which is a level above PADI Scuba Instructor, completed my basic and intermediate first aid courses, become a First Aid Trainer, become an Enriched Air Diver and was an O2 Provider Instructor but it became too difficult to keep all in date. I am also an RYA Ocean Yachtmaster.

Before starting my career as a skipper I had a number of jobs mostly within the electronics industry. I designed bits of military radios, satellites, laser drillers, cockpit displays for private jets and Philips first generation of LCD TVs. I was also a British Policeman for 2 years.

As a start to my chartering experience I worked as a skipper for Tradewinds Cruise Club in the Caribbean. This is where I began accumulating knowledge of sailing the Eastern Caribbean. After Tradewinds I worked on a Tallship for 18 months based in Malaysia. Whilst in Malaysia I saw Imagination come up for sale and decided to go for it and bought it without having seen it. Then I flew out to St Vincent, where Imagination was from and started the long job, with my mom, of getting it safe and efficient. Five weeks later Ally flew out to join me and we carried on updating and improving Imagination. While we worked we also played and sailed up and down the Eastern Caribbean so that Ally would know the areas we would be chartering in. Since then we have since spent most of my time in the Grenadines, Grenada, St Lucia but also know the BVI's very well. I have also chartered around the area of St Martin, Antigua and Barbuda. Since 2011 Ally and I have sailed up and down the Eastern Caribbean to do charters and Boat Shows. Together we have completed more than 20,000nm. During that time Imagination has sailed to the USVIs, BVIs St Lucia, Dominica, Guadaloupe, Antigua, Barbuda, Martinique, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada. I have also crossed the Atlantic from Antigua via Burmuda and onto the beautiful islands of the Azores.

My love for travel, scuba diving and photography is what spurred me into starting my own charter company with a difference. Someday we will start a mostly tropical circumnavigation of the world. It is currently planned to start in November 2020 and the minimum stay on board will be one month. The crew will play a very active part. Let us know if you are interested. Some of the voyages will be long enough for people to become proficient rescue divers, know how to sail oceans and look after a yacht. I love adventure and enjoy the thrill of overcoming problems on the fly. This trip is to be an adventure but also a chill, a time of reflexion and mostly lots of fun. BBQs, cinemas under the starry sky, makeshift driftwood cocktail bars, beach parties, sleeping on a deserted beach in a hammock under the stars, etc etc

After leaving the charter company in the Caribbean I worked on the tall ship Royal Albatross for 18 months. It is still being refitted near Singapore and will later be based from there. Here, I learnt a lot more about the maintenance and repair of yachts which I will use on my new catamaran that is based in the Caribbean.

Your Hostess

Ally was born and bought up in the lovely seaside town of Bournemouth on the South coast of England with 2 sisters and 2 brothers. Whilst growing up, she learnt to play the piano and trumpet and was involved in a young person's band until she was 16. A few years later she enjoyed a spell playing with a local Orchestra. Although she no longer plays any of these instruments, she still loves music from many different genres.

Ally's first job was as a shop assistant in a toy shop in the town centre. This was a part time post whilst she finished her secondary schooling and a 2 year college course. On finishing college, she became a Care Assistant, looking after elderly and often confused residents in a care home. It was a job she got a great deal of satisfaction from and so, in 1988, she commenced her nurse training. She successfully qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1991 and worked at Poole Hospital NHS Trust in Dorset, England, for a total of 23 years. She specialised in Gynaecology, working on the Gynae/Oncology ward which later expanded to include other Womens' Health procedures/surgeries.

She has 3 children of whom she is immensely proud. Making the decision to change her career and lifestyle was an extremely difficult one and she maintains contact as much as possible, returning to the UK twice a year to spend time with them.

Before taking on her role as First Mate/Stewardess/Chef, Ally had minimal experience in sailing, but has embraced it as a challange and now has more than 20,000 nautical miles under her belt. Being a mum and a nurse for over 20 years, she has found that many skills she developed over these years have been transferable into her role as Stewardess and Chef. She doesn't like "fussy" food, but prefers to prepare tasty, satisfying meals using fresh ingredients. Provisioning in The Carribean can be difficult at times, especially in The Grenadines, due to availability of goods and this has been another challange she has had to overcome by tweaking recipes and menus accordingly.

The natural world has always been an interest of Ally's, but she was not confident in the water. However, seeing the underwater world whilst snorkelling for the first time on a holiday in Indonesia, she went on to try scuba diving and is now a PADI Advanced Open Water diver and is hoping to progress further to Rescue Diver. Her other interests include all things arty/crafty, reading, hiking and exploring new places.

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