The Crew

Dirk has been sailing since the 1960’s, starting on dinghies and has done some ocean sailing in different sailing vessels over the years. When on land, he flirted with architecture, or dabbled as a floor-heating salesman. In another life, he was a stoker in locomotives on the railways.  He has since decided what he wants to do – not to be confused with having “grown-up”, and Esprit is integral to that.

Dirk in Zakynthos, Greece.

Annie’s life followed a similar trajectory but in a parallel universe for a time. She was a much better dinghy sailor, winning national titles and later, when crossing paths with Dirk, taught him to sail properly and even later, to master boardsailing. Realising that the attraction was more than physical, they started sailing together. Annie’s career path as an architect, floor-heating saleswoman and waitress coincided happily with Dirk’s, leading to marriage and eventually, progeny.

Annie at the helm in Thailand.

Their daughter Karen took to sailing like a duck to water in an Optimist dinghy on the Swan River in Perth in 1997. She has since worked her way through various dinghy classes – F11, Spiral, Laser, 14’ Skiffs and match racing in keelboats. Karen’s medical skills come in handy with the difficult conditions on board, notably hangovers and aches and pains associated with the older crew.

Karen helming between India and the Red Sea in big seas.

Their daughter Michelle has had a successful time in sailing thus far, having started with Karen in Optimists and moving up to larger dinghies. She then focused on high performance skiff sailing. She has represented Australia in the 29er and 49er classes in four world events. Her understanding of weather patterns and strategy is a great asset on board Esprit, although she finds the boat’s performance and the older crew rather sedate.

Michelle rounding the Peloponnese, Greece in a 25 knot breeze, while broad reaching at 12 knots.