Everyone’s voyage into sailing is different and with this in mind, we are pleased to introduce our Student Spotlight series. First up, Yachtmaster preparation week & exam student Todd McHenry.

When he’s not cruising Moreton Bay and beyond, Todd’s usual ‘9-5’ is Black Milk Coffee which is located across Oxley, West End and 17 Mile Rocks (where they currently roast and distribute coffee from). While Black Milk Coffee’s main focus is producing delicious coffee (a cause we can certainly get behind!), you can also treat yourself to items from their California-influenced (Mexican) breakfast and lunch menu.


So Todd, tell us about your sailing background.

My sailing started in an El Toro Sabot in Oceanside California. Progressed to Lasers and the Hobie 16’s I used to spend summers dragging the Hobie around behind my VW Combi through Northern California and Baja California beach camping and sailing with friends, one of whom had the bright idea of sailing around the world.

I loved the idea so saved up enough and bought a Westsail 28 and set off. He didn’t join in the end so I sailed with other friends, who would visit in different places as the boat made its way south. Got married somewhere in the middle of all that, so my wife joined after long passages and did the South Pacific aboard Mangoe.

Eventually, we made it to New Zealand and stopped for a bit, had 4 kids, ran a couple of businesses and headed to Australia for my wife to complete a PhD – I sailed over with my dad in the slowest passage ever. Took like 27 days from Whangarei to Townsville.


What’s next on the horizon for you?

The next adventure will either be to the Bunker Group or Lord Howe on Troubadour. Perhaps an even bigger adventure will approach getting Troubadour into survey for charter or whatever needs to be done for day chartering and also undertaking the course toward becoming an RYA Sail Instructor.


What was your main takeaway after completing Southern Cross Yachting’s Yachtmaster Preparation Week?

For me the week of prep helped solidify the infrequently visited practice of some skills.

Firstly navigating on paper. Secondly man-over-board procedures. Those are two areas that don’t get a lot of exercise. I’m sure there are others like collision regulations…


What would you say to someone considering going for their Yachtmaster certificate?

For someone looking at becoming a Yachtmaster, the Yachtmaster prep course is a good cementing of skills that you might have but haven’t performed to a standard as the RYA outlines. In performing the tasks set out in this course, you really learn to hone valuable techniques of boat handling and crew leadership.



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