STS Young Endeavour Staff Crew
Lieutenant Commander Gavin Dawe – Commanding Officer
LCDR Dawe commenced his current posting in July 2014. It is his third posting to Young Endeavour, and his second in command of the Royal Australian Navy operated square-rigged tall ship. He joined the crew as bosun during the vessel's first World Voyage in 1992 and later returned as captain from 2008-2010.
Gavin began his Naval career in 1976, when he joined as a 15 year old junior recruit at HMAS Leeuwin and began training as an Under Water Control Sailor. He undertook a number of postings before joining the destroyer escort HMAS Derwent. In 1989 he was posted to the commissioning crew of HMAS Canberra in Seattle, USA in 1981 and went on to later serve in Canberra on a further two occasions.
Promoted to Chief Petty Officer in 1988 and Warrant Officer in 1994, he undertook several roles as an instructor and course manager and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (1988) for services to the Navy. He accepted a commission to Lieutenant in 1999 and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 2004. Gavin has served as the Executive Officer of HMAS Betano, Deputy Master Attendant, and Executive Officer Navy Headquarters Tasmania, and has completed service in Bougainville and the Solomon Island.
With a naval career spanning 38 years and a specially trained Royal Australian Navy crew on board, Captain Gav is well equipped to sail Young Endeavour around the world.
Gavin lives in Sydney with his wife Leanne and daughter Jess, but still calls Launceston, Tasmania home. He says being captain of Young Endeavour is the best job in the world, and is also the most rewarding.
“It’s a really good program as far as self-development is concerned. We’re seeing young Australians grow through their experiences in the ship, and it's always inspiring to see young people, thrown together in an unfamiliar environment with complete strangers, challenge themselves, learn new skills and build great friendships".
Lieutenant Adam Farley – Executive Officer
“I first joined the Young Endeavour crew in 2009 because I wanted a change from postings on regular Navy ships and I fell in love with the ship and the youth development program.
“I returned in 2013 as there is no better posting in the Navy. It’s fantastic to be able to have an impact on a young person’s life. It’s a great challenge and adventure”.
Adam says the highlight of his posting has been sailing with an international fleet of tall ships during the International Fleet Review and Tall Ship Festivals in Australia and New Zealand, as well as joining STS Young Endeavour for several long ocean passages during the 2015 World Voyage.
Adam is a keen birdwatcher and mad fan of Mixed Martial Arts - currently a high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu white belt. Happily married with two children, he now resides in Sydney.
Lieutenant Kyle Rensford – Navigator
LEUT Kyle Rensford was born in Zimbabwe and moved to Toowoomba, Queensland along with his family at the age of 13. He joined the Navy in 2007, after leaving High School, and has since completed a Bachelor of Science in Oceanography and Geography.
Kyle has driven conventional Navy ships as a Maritime Warfare Officer for a few years and was an Instructor at the Navy's School of Navigation.
“The challenges of navigating a tall ship are entirely unique and something I have really enjoyed discovering since joining the crew”.
Kyle has a keen love of the ocean, exploration and the thrill of adventure. He enjoys teaching young people how to navigate and his hobbies include rock climbing, camping, hiking, surfing and the occasional tri-athlon.
He looks forward to circumnavigating Australia over the next 18 months and harnessing the power of the wind and ocean to navigate the ship.
“It’s a truly humbling experience to work in harmony with Mother Nature as she determines the parameters in which we operate”.
Lieutenant Evan Healy – Navigator / Watch Leader
Evan joined STS Young Endeavour in the Canary Islands in early September 2015 straight from passing his intermediate Navigation Course. Evan navigated the ship back to Australia from Tenerife via the Cape Verde Islands, Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town.
Prior to joining Young Endeavour, Evan was Second-in-Command of an Armidale Class Patrol Boat crew operating out of Darwin and lists this as one of the most challenging but rewarding things he has done.
Originally from Sydney, Evan went to boarding school in Bathurst prior to moving to the United Kingdom on completion of his Higher School Certificate, and says, "I love to travel as much as I love home”.
Evan currently resides in Sydney but regularly spends time in Hong Kong visiting close family and travels as often as his time and bank account will allow him.
“Next on the list is India, NE America and Rural France and in the mean time I am looking forward to checking out more of our own back yard”.
Evan has crossed Bass Strait three times on Young Endeavour and lists Deal Island in the Kent Group as his favourite place to visit in Australia. Although Evan is one of the Ships Navigators and has a keen interest in teaching Navigation, it is the development side of the job that he loves the most.
“It was at boarding school where I first witnessed the power of teamwork and friendship and it is those lessons which I am most passionate about passing on whilst onboard. I consider myself extremely privileged to work for an always inspiring group of young Australians. Everyone has their own special story with something to takeaway”.
When not working, Evan enjoys getting out on the water in any form, playing rugby, hiking, body boarding, travelling and spending quality time with friends and family.
Lieutenant Adam Powell – Training Officer
Adam is one of the most recent members to join the Young Endeavour crew, and is as eager as he is ready for the challenges that come with sailing a tall ship. Adam joined the Royal Australian Navy as a Maritime Warfare Officer in 2010. Since joining the RAN, he has specialised in Navigation and in his last posting was the Navigating Officer in a Patrol Boat, conducting boarder protection operations in Northern Australia.
Onboard, Adam's duties will vary from being a Watch Leader and Watch Officer, to helping the crew to maintain the ship's training cycle. Ensuring that the crew are proficient the latest and best techniques from working at heights and rescue techniques, to fighting fires onboard.
Joining Young Endeavour is one of Adam's biggest career goals.
“I joined the navy for fun and adventure, and what better adventure than sailing a Brigantine around Australia, maybe even internationally”.
“The challenge of sailing the Young Endeavour for any young Australian is without doubt, a priceless, once in a lifetime experience”.
In his time ashore, Adam loves to travel, play Aussie rules football and adventure sports, in particular snowboarding and rock climbing.
Chief Petty Officer Lindsey Smith – Chief Engineer
CPO Lindsey Smith first joined Young Endeavour for a three year posting as the ship’s engineer in 2007. His love of the Ship, his dedication to the youth of Australia and the Young Endeavour Program, as well as his desire to avoid going back to a grey ship, has brought him back to us again for the World Voyage.
Lindsey is known as the charge on board, and is responsible for everything engineering and all the ship’s maintenance. He knows the ship inside and out and was instrumental in the installation of new engines, refurbished generators and new switchboard during the 2014 refit – the most significant maintenance period the ship has undertaken since arriving in Australia in 1987.
Lindsey says the highlight of his career has been return postings to Young Endeavour where he can enjoy developing the youth of Australia.
“I really can’t narrow down the highlight of working in Young Endeavour to just one thing. Working with a group of young people is fantastic, especially as I have been away from my own daughter for so much of her life. Sailing in huge seas can be terrifying at the time, but when you think back, it’s all a big adventure. When we visit the Kimberleys, see whales with their calves close by, or sail back into Sydney when the city is all lit up – it’s breathtaking.
“I have done some amazing things during my time in the Navy, from being deployed to the Persian Gulf, Banda Aceh to help with disaster relief after Tsunami but by far the best job I have and the one that has given me more job satisfaction than anything else is sailing with youth on Young Endeavour.
“For me, what’s most important about every Young Endeavour voyage is self development for youth. That’s what this program is all about”.
When not on board Lindsey lives on the NSW Central Coast and has a strong commitment to family and friends. He spends a lot of time undertaking endurance sporting events, and completed four 100km running events in 2013. He is planning a 100km run in the south of England in mid-2015, and is looking forward to being in Europe for the Tour de France!
Chief Petty Officer Mark Horton – Second Engineer
CPOMT Mark Horton grew up in Wangi Wangi and first served in Young Endeavour for a three and a half year posting in 2004. Since then he has crewed several voyages as a reservist, and rejoined Navy to participate in the 2015 World Voyage. He is Young Endeavour’s Second Engineer for this extraordinary deployment.
“The best thing about being back fulltime is getting to know the current crew members and assisting them in tackling the massive challenge that is ahead of us. Our focus has been putting the ship back together and fitting her with new machinery and equipment,” he said.
“Ensuring that the ship is maintained and operated at a high engineering standard is a priority so each voyage takes place with little or no engineering mishaps. We want to avoid anything that would make the ship too uncomfortable.”
“When I join the ship I’m looking forward to working with other crew members to provide the best experience possible for the Youth Crew. I enjoy seeing the Youth Crew experience something unique and challenging”.
Chief Petty Officer Danny Burgess – Engineer
Petty Officer Musician Brett Douglas – Watch Leader
POMUSN Brett Douglas grew up in Emerald, Queensland and studied at the Conservatory of Music through Griffith University prior to enlisting in the Navy. He joined Young Endeavour three years ago for the adventure – and it’s a real change from his career as a musician in the Navy Band!
“To me, the most important thing is to provide an environment where there is no distinction between the staff and youth crew. It’s all about sharing knowledge and working together – and I just love hanging out with adventurous people!”
Petty Officer James Potter – Watch Leader
PO James Potter is a recent addition to the Young Endeavour crew - he's busy delivering the Young Endeavour Youth Development Program and will tell us all about himself when he returns to the office.
Petty Officer Marcos Neilsen – Senior Chef
PO Marcos Neilsen joined the Navy in 2005 after a career in catering. He has been at sea for over eight of the last ten years aboard Huon Class Mine Hunters and Anzac Class Frigates, catering for hundreds of sailors around the world.
Marcos is Young Endeavour’s senior chef, responsible for the crew’s nutritional needs.
As well as ordering and maintaining stores during the world voyage, Marcos caters at least three meals a day for the 36 crew on board while working as the chef. He is also a watch leader and medical care provider.
“I joined Young Endeavour because I wanted to broaden my skill set and learn to lead outside a Navy context – to teach young Australians, to motivate them to learn, and to share my experiences and my skills with them.
"To have a positive influence on young people and the direction they are heading in life is a very rewarding opportunity”.
Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Adrian Jenkins – Second Chef
Townsville and Mackay, Queensland
LS Adrian Jenkins was born in Townsville and lived in Mackay for his teenage years. He recently joined the crew of the Young Endeavour and is looking forward to the upcoming World Voyage. He will be the Ship’s Second Chef and is looking forward to joining the ship in Turkey for the voyage across the Mediterranean and into the North Sea.
“I volunteered for the Young Endeavour because of the opportunity to work with youth crew and also because I wanted the challenge of sailing a tall ship,” he said. “A friend who is a fellow chef in the Navy and former Young Endeavour crew recommended the posting.
“I recently did my first ten day voyage from Cairns to Hamilton Island, including climbing to the top of the 35 metre mast. A highlight was seeing the development of the youth crew from day one to Command Day, which is when the youth crew take command of the ship. You see them change and the change in their confidence.”
“For me, joining the ship in Turkey for the 100th Anniversary Commemoration is very important – it’s a significant event for the entire crew. It will also be my first trip to Europe.
“Before I join the ship I’m assisting with orders for food and supplies, and will also complete a high ropes course which will prepare me for my role on deck.
“Sailing for four months will be a challenge - especially keeping the meals to a good standard while learning the evolutions and also mentoring the youth crew. I’m really looking forward to the whole experience”.
Leading Seaman Kimberly Spurr – Watch Leader
Kimberly was born in Devonport, Tasmania and joined the Navy as a Steward at 17 years old. After completing five years of service as a Steward, including postings to HMAS Tobruk and HMAS Manoora, Kimberly transferred to Maritime Logistics - Personnel in 2006.
Kimberly served on HMAS Darwin for two years and has been based in Cairns since 2009, completing sea time on Hydrographic Ships White and Red and an eight month deployment to the Middle East in 2012.
After completing a Suitability Voyage in STS Young Endeavour in January 2016 Kimberly said “ I knew I needed to take the challenge. Joining the Young Endeavour Crew has been a career goal of mine and a posting away from the normal Navy routine is going to be a fantastic opportunity and adventure.
“I am looking forward to learning new skills and stepping outside my comfort zone".
In her spare time Kimberly likes socialising with friends, going to the beach, hiking or anything outdoors. She also plays Basketball and Netball.
Leading Seaman Keely Slis - Chef
LS Keely Slis joined the Royal Australian Navy at the early age of 17, setting herself up for an adventurous career as a chef. Since then she has served in the kitchens of Hydrographic Ships and Adelaide and ANZAC Class Frigates on postings to Melbourne, Western Australia, Cairns and Sydney before joining Young Endeavour in 2016.
“Being a chef in Navy has led me on adventures around the world, and has given me the opportunity to cook for and organise exclusive functions for highly ranked officers, dignitaries, and even royalty.
“I’m very grateful that Navy allows me to work in my role in very different circumstances. The job and life experience you gain is unimaginable.”
Although Keely is a new member of the Young Endeavour family, she has made a startling impression on youth and staff crew alike with her authentic and delicious cuisine. She is currently training to take on a second role above decks as a Watch Leader, and is excited to get outside of her comfort zone.
“Cooking is my passion. I love being creative in the kitchen and coming up with new ideas. But I’m also looking forward to being a Watch Leader. I really enjoy getting to know the youth crew. Meeting people from different walks of life and hearing their stories is very inspiring.”
Leading Seaman Megan Horne – Watch Leader
Megan initially joined the Royal Australian Air Force and was trained as an Avionics Technician, before transferring to work with Navy in 2010. Since then she has enjoyed postings to 816 Squadron which operates Seahawk helicopters, and the Navy’s Training Authority for Aviation.
Megan’s first experience aboard STS Young Endeavour came in November 2015 when she joined the crew sailing the final leg of the 2015 World Voyage from Capetown to Fremantle. She passed the staff crew suitability assessment and officially joined us as a Watch Leader on a voyage out of Brisbane six months later. Megan says that from her very first experience in STS Young Endeavour, she loved the sense of adventure that a voyage brings and being able to engage with young people who had such diverse life experiences.
When she is not aboard STS Young Endeavour, Megan now calls the South Coast home and enjoys surfing and exploring with her family and three dogs.
Able Seaman Lauren Bailey - Second Boatswain, Watch Leader
AB Lauren Bailey grew up in Penguin, Tasmania, before moving to Melbourne to join the Royal Australian Navy as a Boatswain in 2013. So far her career has sent her on postings to Patrol Boats out of Darwin, and to Fleet Support Unit in Sydney where she helped maintain Navy’s survival equipment.
Lauren first set her sights on joining STS Young Endeavour at the end of May 2016, and just a week later was aboard completing a suitability voyage. By the end of the month, she was contributing her knowledge of survival equipment maintenance as STS Young Endeavour’s Second Boatswain. Lauren's other role on board STS Young Endeavour is Watch Leader, and she says that youth crew are often surprised to learn that at the young age of 23, she has more in common with them than they expect.
“Being young definitely makes it easier to connect with the youth crew. I think it motivates them because when they meet me they realize what they can do – age isn’t a factor”.
Lauren's passion for being out on the water is not limited to her work. She is an avid Surf Lifesaver, and rowed at the Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships in 2016 representing Warriewood Surf Club.
Though Lauren reminisces about island hopping with her fellow crew members in the Whitsundays, she looks forward to STS Young Endeavour bringing her closer to home.
“I’m looking forward to sailing back in to Stanley, so my friends and family can come visit to see what I do and what Young Endeavour’s all about”.