To South Africa and Back Again… An IYRS Alumnus' Tale

It began the same as most journeys do, with the feeling of wanting more. I wanted to learn more, do more, be more than just another lost and wandering soul. I knew I loved the ocean, boats and everything that brought me closer to the sea. I knew I needed to stay near it to survive…happily. So what were my options? To secure a job by the sea of course, but where do I start? As fate would have it and thanks to the impeccable algorithm that Google has, within 5 minutes I discovered IYRS. Love at first sight? Was this too good to be true? I signed up for an open house just to be sure. The open house was everything I was hoping for and more. I was delighted! I had found a path with a plethora of opportunities, a caring and supportive faculty and endless resources. I submitted my application the very next day. 

Me, upper center, with future classmates and IYRS instructors at Open House

My term at IYRS started in the middle of the pandemic. I was immediately impressed with the seriousness and the safety protocols that IYRS had implemented. I knew I was safe and that we were all in good hands. Despite the obstacles that the pandemic presented, the instructors endowed us seamlessly with all the knowledge they had. I found myself entranced during every morning lecture and well equipped despite having minimal experience to take on each new task. I found that no matter my skill level or prior lack of knowledge, IYRS never failed me. I learned something new every day and felt confident that I could perform each task in the real world outside of IYRS. Completely taken by surprise, I had unwittingly stumbled upon a new passion while learning at IYRS...ELECTRICAL! At the end of my time at IYRS I felt I was  prepared to take the next step. IYRS guided me through the process of finding a company to do my externship with and helped me gain an interview with Cay Electronics, another perfect fit. 

The DC electrical portion of my powerboat systems simulator panel at IYRS

IYRS had done its job. I was well prepared for all the challenges I faced while doing my externship at Cay Electronics. Although the real world is much different than the classroom, IYRS made it so that I was able to connect the dots easily and after the first few weeks I found that I no longer needed to refer back to my trusty IYRS notebook filled with lecture notes as well as tricks and tips discovered in the classroom. At the end of my externship, I was delighted. I was offered a full time position at Cay Electronics in Portsmouth RI. In such a short period of time I went from feeling lost and worried about the future to safe and happily working by the sea.

Everything was going swimmingly at Cay Electronics. I loved the work I was doing and I was continuously learning new things. I was completely comfortable and content. One day at our weekly company meeting Rufus (the owner of Cay Electronics) brought up that we needed to send a second employee to South Africa to help complete the electrical installation on a new catamaran. Next thing I knew I was on a plane bound for South Africa.

Flying over South Africa

I was absolutely amazed. Just four short months ago I was at IYRS learning to make my first electrical connections. I never could have imagined that shortly after completing my externship that I would be in South Africa working on a new Kinetic catamaran.

Kinetic Factory Knysna, South Africa

Kinetic Catamarans is a US company that owns its own yard in Knysna, South Africa. Their yard is nestled in the center of town with breathtaking views of the lagoon surrounded by cliffs. Every morning I had the pleasure of walking to work, taking in views that were so beautiful that not even pictures can fully convey their magnificence. The work was enjoyable as well. Each day resembled what I had already done at IYRS. Stripping wires, making connections and setting up the N2K network. While planning out wire runs throughout the catamaran, I couldn't help but think back to planning out wire runs on my simulator at IYRS. Whether I was at IYRS, Cay or Kinetic in South Africa I could always look outside and see the ocean. My life had completely changed. I had found work and life by the sea.

I am thankful to IYRS for helping me find my way and introducing me to a new passion. In addition I am also grateful to Cay Electronics. I am elated to be back home working by the sea for Cay. I use the skills and training I received at IYRS every day at work. I would not have had this marvelous journey without all the knowledge and opportunities provided to me at IYRS.    

Knysna, South Africa