James Grainger, catamaran captain at Red Sail Sports, won the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s water sports employee of the year for 2012.
He said he was “amazingly happy and surprised” to be nominated and did not expect to win the category at the annual bash, which honours the tourism industry’s success stories.
“It was a great night; good food, good company and a good chance to meet others in the industry and even a few politicians,” Mr. Grainger said of the awards ceremony.
“I met the premier even, it was a cracking evening and I even had my 8 week old baby with me as well.”
Although no two days are exactly the same, the aim is to get people out snorkelling with the stingrays during the day then on sunset cruises in the evening, depending on how busy things are.
A challenging change
It has been an interesting journey for Mr. Grainger, who spent 10 years in information technology selling services to the United Kingdom government.
“I was ready for a change; my fiancée and I moved onto the boat for a break and sailed down the coast of France and had six months with nothing to stress us at all.
“We came back to the south coast of the UK for the winter, got married and then on our honeymoon in Egypt we met a guy who used to work for Red Sail. He introduced us to the company, we applied and I started off here teaching sailing, windsurfing and doing wave runner safaris up in East End. After about a year and a half, I came to work on the catamarans. That was two years ago, and I worked my way up to driving. I absolutely love it,” said Mr. Grainger.
He added that he started sailing “at two weeks old in a carry cot” and then went on to wind surfer and sail racing at his base in the Southampton area, which is also a renowned water sports centre.
“I had a group of friends and we encouraged each other to get away from the easy option. This is my challenge. I love Cayman and feel very committed to the community here.
“For young people, the advice I have is to take on a career that you are passionate about. You will put more energy into it and that will help you achieve your goals. In the water sports industry, you have to enjoy giving your customers the best possible time and putting their needs before yours.”