In the run up to the 2017 season getting underway we will be introducing the current Trinity Sailing Foundation team. Today we caught up with another member of our sea staff — Toni Knights.
What is your role at Trinity Sailing?
I am the current skipper of Provident but you could call me skipper of the fleet, having skippered all three boats at some point since Trinity formed back in 1999. I first skippered Leader to Brest in 2000 and I have been helming the boats on and off ever since.
What did you do prior to joining the team?
I have been a fisherman since the age of 16. I got my Captain’s ticket at the age of 19 and skippered some of the largest beam trawlers in Brixham which stay at sea for eight to nine days. I still fish all around the country. I had a short spell for six years as a seagoing fisheries officer, on the Drumbeat of Devon, while I had my daughter, Jessica. I decided to come ashore to spend more time with her as a baby as I missed watching my son, Peter, growing up as I was always at sea, fishing — headline of the Fishing News was ‘Poacher Turns Game Keeper’, ha!
At the same time I became a crew member on Torbay Lifeboat, The Edward Bridges. The then Coxon was Arthur Curnow. This was a rewarding experience but sometimes sad.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Taking non-seagoing people to sea and watching them benefit from their experience of others, and the highs and lows of sailing. At the end of the trip everyone goes home happy.
Where is your favourite sailing destination?
The Brittany coast is my number one. I like the beautiful scenery. They are challenging harbours, huge tides, but you always get a great welcome from the local people. I also like the west coast of Scotland because there are lots of places to sail in such a close proximity — stunning scenery and lots of bagpipes.
When you’re not sailing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy painting, teaching art, sailing my little dinghy, Pandora. At present, I am rebuilding my own boat which is the 1921-built Cornish Pilchard Driver I.R.I.S..