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The other side of life: Marblehead's Jeremy Rockett

Published:  10 October, 2016

We in the drinks biz are so passionate about our trade that sometimes it's easy to forget that our colleagues have other interests.

Harpers, in association with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, caught up with Marblehead MD Jeremy Rockett about his love of sailing. 

When did you first set sail?

It was at school - a naval boarding school near Ipswich - and sailing was one of the options you could do during an afternoon. I started sailing from the age of 11. We were on a tidal estuary, so I spent most of my first year doing knots and navigation, because the tide always seemed to be out. By the time I left I was sailing about six days a week.

What most appeals about sailing?

It's the freedom, and the fact that you never stop learning every time you go out, so it's really stimulating. What I love is that it's so ancient; people have been doing it for so long. Now, obviously, you have really hi-tech navigation and equipment. But ultimately, it's you and the elements.

What have been your most memorable moments?

Ten years ago I went around Britain and Ireland. We left Cowes and two weeks later we were back there having sailed around Ireland and the Hebrides and then down the east coast of Scotland. It was a 2,500 mile round trip - all on wind power. You can switch off, it's like a meditation thing. A day sailing is like a week's holiday.

Jeremy Rockett, MD of brand development firm Marblehead, takes to the waves Jeremy Rockett, MD of brand development firm Marblehead, takes to the waves

Any bad moments?

When you get up after four hours sleep for a 4am watch and it's bad weather - raining, cold, with a slippery deck. But then later you see dolphins swimming through phosphorescence and leaving luminous trails in the water, and you think, 'I have to go through that to see this'. And there's no light pollution offshore, so in good weather you see so many stars and an amazing number of shooting stars. Hardship can have many silver linings.

Is there anything you can take into working life?

When the wind is up you have to leave the safety of the cockpit and reef the sails to make the boat safer. So to overcome a problem, it's knowing that you have to put yourself out there to make things better. To get through a difficult situation, you have to put up with discomfort.

Is there a sailing challenge you'd still like to tackle?

I've yet to sail the Atlantic. Being a speck on an ocean: it's a challenge and slightly scary, but it makes you feel so alive.