Tre Maxwell fulfils lifelong dream after memorable SailGP opportunity
Tre Maxwell fulfilled a lifelong dream after becoming the latest Bermudian to play a vital role in SailGP’s second season.
As one of the successful candidates of SailGP’s Inspire Careers pathway programme, the 22-year-old – who completed the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme – was handed the opportunity of hands-on work experience within the wing department over the course of the season’s latest event in Saint-Tropez, France.
That meant being entrusted with the responsibility of actively helping to construct the wings of each team’s foiling catamarans, an admittedly intimidating but truly rewarding and memorable experience for sailing fanatic Maxwell.
“I started sailing at 10 years old and pretty soon I knew I wanted to be involved in major events like the America’s Cup and more recently SailGP,” he said.
“Seeing the America’s Cup come to Bermuda in 2017 made me even more passionate about that aspiration and being involved among these guys is something I’ve wanted for so long.
“To have that experience in Saint-Tropez and to be part of a SailGP event was genuinely a dream come true.
“I couldn’t believe I was actually trusted to be part of some really important tasks within the wing department. It was quite intimidating at first working on these massive wings but it was really inspiring knowing I had the trust of everyone to allow us to take responsibility.
“Looking at the wings once the catamarans were on the water and knowing I played a vital role in that crucial element was just absolutely amazing.”
As well as gaining hands-on experience with key components of the catamarans, the event also provided Maxwell with the valuable opportunity to work directly with some of the his sporting heroes on a day-to-day basis including two-times America’s Cup winning helmsman Jimmy Spithill.
“I’m such a big fan of those sailors and I’ve known since a young age that I wanted to working with or around them,” he added. “I actually reached out to some of the skippers a while ago to try and forge some relationships and it’s funny because people like Jimmy knew who I was and remembered me.
“Having some of the skippers come up and talk to me was honestly the coolest feeling; in those moments I could have died happy.”
Despite his involvement in SailGP being a one-off experience, Maxwell remains hopeful that the burgeoning relationships he managed to establish may ultimately pay dividends in allowing him to fulfil his ultimate career aspiration.
“Me being involved in Saint-Tropez was a one-off experience but it was the best kind of work experience I could have asked for,” he said. “It cemented my ambition of having a career in sailing; I know it’s all I want.
“It was incredible to be able to make some vital connections with people because although it was a one-off experience, teams can decide to take you on for future events.
“Emily Nagel, who I was with recently as part of the SSL Gold Cup Bermuda team, was telling me how sailing is all about word of mouth and so the fact that teams now know of me and I’ve had that chance to get my foot in the door is brilliant.
“It might sound cliché but my ultimate dream is to be sailing on these kind of boats. I’m a huge sailing advocate and all I want to do is be to on these boats or at the very least be working in and around them.”
Maxwell is one of six graduates of the Maritime Career Springboard scheme, who have been selected for work experience on SailGP’s Inspire scheme.
Among them, Dontae Butterfield and Matthew Stephens, both 20, were part of the content creation team for the SailGP event in Aarhus, Denmark, last month, while Maxwell was joined by Christian Roque, 20, in Saint-Tropez, who was a member of the sustainability and on-water operations team.
Meanwhile, 23-year-old Benjamin Furqan and Calshunto James, 34, will both be involved in the sixth event of the season in Cadiz, Spain, on October 9 and 10, as part of the sustainability and on water operations team and boat building and technical squad respectively.
Tom Herbert-Evans, the SailGP Inspire youth programme manager, reflected on the opportunities on offer for young Bermudians by the collaboration between Endeavour and SailGP, which also enabled a large number of the island’s youth to be involved in the first event of the season, the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix in April.
“Bermuda is globally renowned for its maritime history and innovative boat builders,” he said.
“We are thrilled to be able to connect young Bermudians with amazing opportunities through SailGP Inspire’s partnership with Endeavour as world-class SailGP boat builders and riggers, content creation professionals, and sustainability experts share their knowledge and passion to inspire the future generation of maritime professionals.”