Published in Yachting World Magazine – July 2011

AndrewPindar-ProfileAnybody who knows me will tell you I enjoy boats, but I’m a pretty incompetent sailor. I do, however, gain a lot of pleasure from messing around with boats and helping others to achieve great things, which is why I like to offer support in terms of sponsorship.
The Pindar sailing sponsorship game all started 30 years ago, with the Pindar North Sea Race, but stepped up a gear when I first met Emma Sanderson (née Richards) in June 1999 on a BT Global Challenge yacht. She was looking for a sponsor and I happened to be there. Needless to say, life started getting expensive from then on!
It was through Emma that I had my first real introduction to the professional sailing world. Thanks to Emma, I’ve met so many wonderful people, including her husband Moose [Mike] Sanderson, who skippered ABN AMRO I to an overall win in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race, and Hilary Lister, the inspiring quadriplegic sailor.
It was during that time – the summer after the Volvo win, in 2007, when ABN AMRO were running corporate sailing events in Holland, that I was invited for a sail out of Den Helder.
I went over to Holland for the event in May, with Jo Royle – whom Pindar had just started working with – and had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon’s sailing aboard ABN AMRO I. It was all very relaxing, but to get the most out of the time out of the office, the idea was to get up early the next morning, jump in the car and dash down to Calais to see the start of the Open 60 in-port race prologue for the Calais Round Britain Race.
It all went to plan and we blasted down the motorway from Holland to Calais early in the morning. I’d managed to blag a VIP pass, which meant we were able to park the car in an extremely convenient spot, then we set off along the dock where all the Open 60s were moored, chatting about Jo Royle’s sailing ambitions. As we walked along the pontoons, there was Sam Davies waving to us from aboard Roxy. All of a sudden she shouted to Jo: ‘What are you doing today?
‘Hanging out with Andrew, looking at boats and watching the start,’ she said.
‘If you’re not tied up, I need a foredeck because my regular crew has just had to pull out with an injury,’ said Sam.


Emma introduced me to Tony Bullimore (right) in the late 1990s and over the years our paths kept crossing. He came to Scarborough to start the Pindar North Sea Race. More recently we bumped into him in Auckland as we launched the Open 60 built for Moose (now Hugo Boss). He was there on his solo giant cat attempt on, you guessed it, Royal & SunAlliance which gave Emma, Sam, Miranda, Helena and others their big breaks

Jo looked at me to gauge my reaction and I told her to go for it because it was such a great opportunity. Then, before I’d had time to blink, Sam turned to me and asked if I’d like to come too. She said: ‘Andrew, there’s a nice set of Roxy clothes down below. If they fit you, and you don’t mind being an honorary girl for the day, we’d love to have you on board.’
Well, you can imagine how honoured I felt to be able to sail with Sam and the extremely talented group of women sailors she had on board. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Squeezed into some rather dashing Roxy kit, which provided much amusement all round, I was set to work on a grinder and I had the time of my life. Everyone was in such good humour and there was no screaming or shouting, and I think we even got a podium position.
The best thing was, when I did something wrong, the girls calmly explained what I needed to do to improve. They welcomed me on board in such a way it reminded me just how great it is to sail with women. I find that sailing with some of the pro guys is the total opposite because often they won’t let you touch anything, and you get the feeling they are sneering at your incompetence.
Sam and her crew were fantastic, and gave me the best day’s sailing I’ve ever had. I also learnt loads from them, and came back with a beaming smile.
That day also allowed me to reflect on the pleasure and enjoyment – the reward and the return – I’ve had out of sailing over the years. It also highlighted how much of my involvement in sailing has stemmed from the moment I met Emma all those years ago. A day like that makes it all worthwhile.