Tallulah’s invited mates this year are sailors but between them they are also yurt makers, oyster fishermen, seaweed foragers, historic dockyard managers, yoga teachers, boat builders, sail cargo promoters.
Tallulah’s skipper Debbie Purser has run a charter boat before (pilot cutter Eve of St Mawes), and she co-founded Classic Sailing with Adam in 1997. You can find stuff about Debbie on our website, but if you want to know why she is back on boats for a living again, there is an interview with her in Classic Boat Magazine in the next issue – July 2022.
For Tallulah’s first season we have been able to pick a mix of sea staff who are not only experienced sailors, but all have something interesting to add to the voyage. In fact we didn’t really have to advertise….
Here is the Crew in 2022
Debbie and Will spent a year at the Boat Building Academy together, so we share a love of crafting things in wood, boat design and small boat sailing. He always appears super chilled but still managers to be a mover shaker. We can’t imagine him shouting.
Will had a former business making event sized yurts. He is also passionate about green transport and organises for cargoes like coffee to be transported under sail. Will is working towards having his own tall ship so all practice as mate on Tallulah is a practical step towards that ambition.
During the winter refit Kerry strode into the dockyard with a blaze of red hair and offered her services. She was intrigued by Debbie’s wild camping trips on small open boats, and has some expertise herself in camp cooking, foraging for wild food and dinghy instructing. She is rather busy harvesting seaweed, running beach based foraging courses and setting up her own company The Seaweed Institute this year, but Debbie has managed to persuade her to fit in at least one trip as mate on Tallulah in 2022. She comes from a family of triathletes and adventure sports enthusiasts.
Digs gets to drive motor torpedo boats from WW2 for a day job and hang museum boats from roof beams. Digs was one of Eves first skippers. He has also been skipper of pilot cutter Pegasus, Brixham Trawler Provident and is a RYA Yachtmaster Examiner. With a great sense of tradition and knowledge of maritime history, Digs is happiest doing things the old way, whether it is towing a pilot cutter with a ships boat or driving a steam train. He grew up amongst folk musicians and can sing well enough to earn a free pint or two. Digs also trained as a boat builder at Lowestoft and is now the curator of No.4 boatshed ay Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Debbie and Digs are sailing together on the first traditional boat skills course where students can learn to sail 44ft Tallulah and open 16ft yawls in the same week. Diggory will be a relief skipper for Tallulah, whenever he can fit it around his full time job at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
Another of Debbie’s Boat Building Academy colleagues, Simon was one of the main builders of ‘Wild Boy’ – a Gorran Haven spritsail yawl- that you can now sail on our traditional sailing courses. Over the winter he has been steaming new timbers into Tallulah’s expedition tender, mending bowsprits and helping Debbie fit out Tallulah for charter. Simon and his wife Cat both write for Watercraft Magazine, so if it floats, he can probably tell you about it. Si also has a collectors obsession for antique tools and is a master at recycling almost anything. He joins us at sea in the autumn to help run courses on Tallulah, in company with the small boats he helped build and repair. He has also been a commercial fisherman and knows the South Coast of Cornwall intimately.
Christopher Ranger is on a mission. He is trying to save the Cornish Native Oyster. Debbie and Adam have known him for years and can safely say he has dedicated a big part of his life to saving this fishery. An oyster fisherman himself, he also set up the processing plants required to purify oysters locally. Not only has he raised the profile of Falmouth Oyster fishing under sail and oar, Ranger has contributed to the eating of oysters locally through his pop up kitchens and oyster festival events.
When I launched Tallulah this spring, Ranger just so happens to have some famous sushi chefs with him to help the delivery trip. You never quite know how Ranger will turn up, but it is generally by boat, and there is always an interesting story.
During lockdown he has set up the first aquaculture site to grow oysters from larvae through to spat (baby oyster) and beyond. It is not as easy as it sounds to reproduce the threatened Cornish Native Oyster and local universities are involved in the process. Read more at Saving Ester fundraising page
As a mate on board Tallulah, he loves to engage with guests and is famous in the sailing world for sailing his open gaff rigged oyster boat 150 miles to Douarnenez Maritime Festival….and having a big beard.
Debbie has been going to Sophies yoga classes for years. During the pandemic Sophie ran beach yoga sessions and we all grew to love the sound of the sea, light rain on our faces and sand just about everywhere.
Sophie has her own company ‘Recharge Therapy’ offering everything from massage to meditation, but she is also an outdoor girl, loving surfing, wild swimming, paddleboarding, dance and coastal walking.
Sophie has worked on luxury yachts for many years but mostly power yachts, so she is keen to build up more sailing skills so she can be both ships mate and yoga teacher on board.
She has an infectious sense of fun and is just an all round nice person. He new love is a bongo campervan…..and Tallulah of course.
Another potential first mate in the making, Mary has been helping with Tallulah’s refit. She is an oyster fisherwoman with a somewhat leaky Oyster boat called Vixen. We met at the Silver Oyster Race, where Marys aim was to get to the start and celebrate with rum. Funnily enough the next aim was to reach the first mark without sinking….and drink some rum. After that the second mark looked quite close….Kraken charged we made it round and back to the clubhouse. The only female crew.
Mary is also a gig rower, mother, welder and involved with baby oysters.