Mex has pretty much seen and done it all in yachting as well as the wider maritime industry. That’s why he’s known to most people simply as ‘Mex’. Over the years he’s served as a captain, a chief and sole engineer, a program manager, a bowman, and a crew boss, on everything from commercial fishing boats to square-riggers and modern superyachts.
In the end, however, he’d just as soon be known as a simple sailor.
Upon deciding that a life at sea – “between the blues of sky and sea” – was the one for him, Mex found the sexiest boat around and hung around until they gave him something to do. And he’s been doing something on boats ever since.
His passion for the pure joy of sailing is his driving force. He maintains an unflinching idealism and, being an old salt, there's a poet lurking somewhere, yearning for the days when sailors were sailors and the itinerary called for adventure.
In answering our Q&A, Mex reveals his views on the changes he's seen in the modern superyacht industry, a keen desire to drive standards, and... a simple wish to plant a tree and watch it grow.
How did you get into the yachting industry?
Once I decided the ocean and sailing were to be my major endeavours, I found the biggest, sexiest boat, knocked on the hull for three consecutive mornings until I was told to keep quiet and go polish the brass … A solid topsail schooner, although my first job was aboard a steel hulled, Dutch-built ketch, the Tjaldor, based out of Young Island in the early 80s and run by Captain Dennis Forde of Mayreau. I had, of course, been aboard commercial vessels before, including the lovely Rose and other trading schooners throughout the islands between engineering projects in the West Indies and South America.
Is it how you expected it to be?
NO. It has become rather corporate, less passionate, and far too regulated. Nice lifestyle, not much adventure. Newbies are aboard for the money, rather than the passion or pleasure.
What do you love most about your job?
Excelling at what I do, breathing deep, free and full. The absolute responsibility and ability to assure excellence in operations and performance. I love the fabulous improvements in technologies and, best of all, my mates. I love my mates and the camaraderie developed for at sea. There is naught but truth.
What could you do without?
The politics brought aboard by novices who chose the industry as some choose a job, rather than a lifestyle.
If you weren’t working on boats, what would you be doing?
Building boats, fixing boats, looking at boats … planting a tree and watching it grow.
What is your idea of the perfect day at sea?
Fair winds, open skies, tantalizing horizons, slick, silent crew work, exhaling.
Where is the most beautiful bay in the world?
Likely the one you’re settled in securely when the weather rumbles by.
Where would you most like to drop anchor – for good?
A soft shore, Mexican Caribbean.
What is your greatest experience on a boat?
Every day, those eternal moments of silence and serenity spent learning, filling my smile between the blues of sea and sky, sharing it all with good, solid souls.
What scares you most about the sea?
Nothing, as it is what it is, other than approaching shore, which makes me twitchy.
What is the most incredible thing you’ve seen at sea?
The depths of one’s self reflected in the depths of the sea, the colour purple, and deep water just as clear as shallow.
What is your idea of the perfect boat?
Strong, sexy, powerful, in good order, with good people.
What is your motto?
Prepare for all you wish to do, and all you wish to avoid; life is not a straight line, keep at it and do not forget to breathe.
What is the greatest virtue?
Truth. Serenity of soul stems from clarity of thought, which stems from freedom from fears and the ability to see things for what they are, rather than what we wish them to be.
Who do you most admire?
My mates, and other great people who do simple things with greatness.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
I’m still here, still learning, from the past, from what’s next.
What is your greatest regret?
Regrets are like shadows, if you keep facing the light, they stay behind you …
What is your favourite story of the sea?
Uff! The one that went, and returned, that went, and is still out there.
What will you be doing in five years?
I want to plant a tree, and watch it grow, probably a palm tree, and let my kids discover the treasures between the blues of sea and sky.