Pelican Crew  – September 2018

Ben Swain






Ben Swain was part of Pelican’s crew during her Maiden Voyage in 2007 and returning as Captain for the Ocean College Programme. Ben is an experienced sail trainer, who enjoys the adventures and challenges of experiential learning. He previously worked with the High Seas High School Programme and is very excited about being part of Ocean College team having helped at the concept stage of the project. He has been Captain of the Sea Cadet Flagship TS Royalist and has crossed the Atlantic 6 times on Square Rigged vessels and yachts.  His claim to fame is that he was the Station Master at Kings Cross Station and features in the Harry Potter Films. (Be sure to ask him about it, but be prepared for a long story!)




Pete Best


Bosun’s mate




Joined the Merchant Navy at age 16 and worked for 9 years on oil tankers and general cargo ships. My career path took an odd turn for a seafarer I joined the Royal Air Force and enjoyed a very successful 30 year career much of this time spent on instructor duties training young people leadership, confidence and management skills. During my military career I kept my association with the sea via yacht sailing (I have over 30000 miles logged) and sail training on square riggers having sailed a number of times on the brigs Stavros S Niarchos,the Prince William and other sail training vessels. My two big passions in life are sailing and teaching/training. I am so pleased (not to mention excited) to be partaking in the Pelican of Londons winter voyage.


Abbie Davies

Ship’s cook


Abbie has enjoyed a number of years working with TS Pelican as her ship’s cook. A qualified chef, Abbie has spent many years sailing around the world as chef on various private yachts but is never happier than when on board the Pelican. Abbie loves working with youngsters and passing on her extensive knowledge to help them to gain confidence in cooking for themselves and large groups.


Eugenio Barranco Gonzalez






I am Spanish, born in Madrid, and I live close to the sea in Murcia. Or at least I try (this year I´ve been living in The Pelican of London 5 months out of 8).

I finished my Spanish Higher National Certificate in Nautical Science in 2015 and after that did a cadetship on board the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl.

Since 2016, I´ve been related to the tall ship Pelican of London, usually sailing with very young people from Ireland and UK.

When I have free time, some of the things I like to to do is diving (I am CMAS Three Star Diver and PADI Rescue Diver), go running, taste local food when travelling, watch movies,...

I´m looking forward to meet the german crew of The Pelican


Anousch Vallaeys


Second Officer




Anousch has lived her whole life in Antwerp, Belgium. She learned to sail with dinghies when she was 9 years old. She became instructor in the same sailing school. The first time she attended the  Tall Ships Races was in 2010 as a 15 years old trainee. She has been volunteer on different sailing vessels every summer since then. In 2013, she became youth representative for the STI Youth Council and Sail Training Association Belgium. She graduated at the Antwerp Maritime Academy in July 2017. The same year, she started with a professional career as officer on sailing vessels. She sails since March this year on the Pelican Of London and will be the 2nd Mate. She is looking forward to this amazing trip!

Thierry Schwartz

Chief Engineer



Born in 1961, Brussels, Belgium

Married with 3 children and living in Ireland for the last 26 years

Joint the Merchant Navy in 1981 working on a wide variety of commercial vessels. 

Studied Marine engineering in Antwerp Nautical College and qualified as Chief Engineer in 1991

Has a passion for sailing and is owner of a Warrior 35

Joint the crew of TS Pelican of London in 2017

Michael Van Leeuwen

Chief Officer


I am a Dutch National Born on June 29 1989 and have been in and on water my entire life.


I Sailed With Ocean College before on the Tall Ship Regina Maris as Chief Officer.

During The Trip I was Teaching The Kids Celestial navigation and all I Know about Sailing And Sail handling.


I Have Dutch Commercial Sailing Certificates with UK MCA equivalence.

I Went to the Enkhuizen Nautical College (Class of 2016) Which is The College for the Commercial Sailing Industry, and I have about 12 Years of experience on All types of Vessels Ranging from Sailing to River Cruise from Push boats to Tankers. Most of my Experience however come From the Dutch Sailing Fleet, both at Sea and on the Dutch Lakes,

Furthermore I am Goal Driven I love working with People,  and I always look for the Best in every situation,  And I Love to Teach the trainees all that I can about Tall ship Sailing, From Splicing over Coastal and Celestial Navigation.



Brian Cresswell


Chief Engineer


Following an apprenticeship with British Steel in 1966, Brian took to the sea in 1973 and has enjoyed a sucessful career working his way up to Chief Engineer in the offshore Maritime industry. Brian has sailed with the Pelican over the last 12 months and shares the Chief Engineer responsibility with Thierry Schwartz back to back. Although still based in Derbyshire where he grew up, Brian has accrued an immense knowledge of ports around the world where he likes to find unusual local beers.


Ian (Sammo) Jones




From Wales (and a Welsh speaker) Sammo has spent most of his life on the wáter as Sailing instructor, Lifeboat Helm and in more recent time as a bosun. An environmental scientist, Sammo committed to a full time career at sea in 2014 training our sea cadets and then our own trainees on TS Pelican since May 2018. Sammo has a passion for working with Young people and Sailing.

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