In 1965 Sam completed a 5 year aircraft engineering apprenticeship, building engines and gearboxes for Westland Helicopters. After a period in the merchant navy, in 1973 he saw Britannia in Lowestoft dock and fell in love with her. For the next 23 years, boatbuilding and sailing became his priority, and he single-handedly restored Britannia from a dismasted hull to a vessel that won the Concourse d’Elegance at Falmouth in 1995. In Bristol, between 1979 and 1984 he completed a rebuild of a 60 foot wooden Baltic Trader, running a team of boat-builders; he managed a successful boatyard on Albion Dockside, quoting for all repair work, including Bristol Pilot Boats and Trinity House vessels; he was Consultant Shipwright on the Pasqual Flores project, a 140 foot three-masted Schooner launched in 1917; he organised a salvage operation between tides, to save the Peggy, a 1908 Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter, after she had run aground outside Bristol Docks.
In 1986 Sam and his family moved to the Isle of Skye where they set up and ran a successful yacht charter business, offering traditional sailing holidays aboard Britannia cruising the West Coast of Scotland, Ireland and latterly to the Canaries.. For 10 years, Skyes’l Charters trained and employed young people to become competent skippers. Sam is a qualified skipper, and holds a private pilots licence.
For a year, Sam led a small team of boat-builders rebuilding the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter, Alpha after she had been damaged. He has also totally rebuilt and rigged a 40 foot Scottish Fyfie, with son Gareth as an apprentice boat-builder. Consultant to Corpach Shipyard in wooden ship repairs over several years, and supervised major repairs to the 90 foot schooner Spirit of Fairbridge. Sam retired from boat building at the age of 60 and built 4 new houses on Skye in partnership with sons, Haydn and Gareth.