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This Week We Feature - Young Professional – Captain Piers Helm

July 9th, 2010 | Tags: ISpeed captain Piers Helm West End
ISpeed Captain Piers Helm
26-year-old Virgin Islander Piers Helm is quite the adventurer.

From fighting the toughest storms off the coast of South Africa, to navigating his way around icebergs in the waters surrounding Greenland, Mr. Helm has seen and done more in his 26 years than most can even imagine doing in the course of an entire lifetime.

Since February of this year, this young professional has been the captain of ISpeed, a private boat used in day sails for tourists and corporate events.

“ISpeed is really like a luxurious limousine on the water,” he describes.

Passengers aboard ISpeed can rest assure that they are in more than capable hands.

Growing up in Tortola, Mr. Helm has spent much of his life around boats. Even today, he is happiest when he is around water, so it was no surprise to those who know him, that Mr. Helm became a captain.

As a child, he attended Cedar School, then finished off with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln home school programme. After completing a few semesters of college, Mr. Helm went to South Africa for his captain’s license.

South Africa, he said, is known for its sailing. Some, he said, say its waters are the best—and most challenging—in the world. The country is bordered with the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Indian Ocean on the east, making for boundless sailing opportunities.

When captaining a boat, Mr. Helm said the most important factor is the safety of his passengers and crew.

“You can always buy another boat,” he said. “But you cannot replace someone’s life.”

While being safety-minded is critical, it takes more than that to be an ace captain.  Being a captain, he said, requires a lot of responsibility.

“You have to have great leadership skills,” he said. “You must be able to delegate, make decisions really quickly and keep your cool in sticky situations.”

Once Mr. Helm received his captain license, he spent almost five years freelancing.  From charter work to ocean deliveries, this chapter of his life took him sailing across the Mediterranean, along the east coast of the United States and to Greenland — his favourite location in the five-year great adventure.

He describes his journeys in Greenland full of icebergs and whales. He sailed from fishing village to fishing village, greeted, he said, by amazing people surrounded by 24-hours of sunlight.

“It was a total culture shock,” he said.

Mr. Helm chose to be a captain for the experience.

“It is a great job that you get to travel with and meet a lot of interesting people,” he said.

However, the aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea kept calling him home.

“I’ve tried to live a couple places, but always keep coming back here,” said Piers,  who was born in the Virgin Islands. “This is home.”

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