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Default [N6PSE] Interview with Nigel Jolly


Interview with Nigel Jolly

Posted: 31 May 2016 04:59 PM PDT

Nigel Jolly is the owner of the RV Braveheart and the newest member of the
CQ DX Hall of Fame.

Introduction: Nigel Jolly is the very colorful and dynamic owner of the
Stoney Creek Shipping Company based in Palmerston, New Zealand. His two
ships are the RV Braveheart and the Claymore II. The Braveheart has been
used by many DXpedition teams over the past 17 years, including on trips to
Campbell Island, South Orkney, Heard Island, Ducie Island, Kerguelen, South
Sandwich, South Georgia and many others.

Nigel is a very well read, intelligent and somewhat opinionated man. He
will tell you his opinion on anything. Just ask him. Nigel learns by seeing
and doing. He is not the type for classroom study, in fact the whole world
is his classroom and he is always learning, from one adventure to another.
Nigel is a very hands on ship owner. He is constantly giving directions and
there is very little doubt as to what he intends to do. A self-taught man,
driven to succeed in whatever he attempts. Nigel’s specialty is taking his
vessel and her crew to the roughest, toughest and most difficult places to
reach. While not a risk taker, he is willing to carefully plan and deliver
his passengers to places that other charter vessels will steer clear of.
Safety is paramount on his ships.

This interview took place over several nights of dinner aboard the RV
Braveheart as we steamed from South Georgia back to the Falkland Islands.
Nigel is newly licensed as KC3HAE.

Nigel watches for ice bergs on approach to Southern Thule Island.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, tell us about the RV Braveheart, her history and when
did you acquire her?

Nigel Jolly: In 1999, I travelled to Japan to buy the Braveheart. She had a
Japanese name back then. She is a very sturdy vessel, built of the best of
materials. The rail that you see topside, even though its painted, it’s
made of stainless steel as are many of her fittings. No expense was spared
to build the Braveheart and she will last forever. *She was built as a
marine fisheries vessel for the Government of Japan. As she was built in
Japan, her ceilings were quite low. We have raised most of the ceilings in
fact, we have rebuilt much of the interior. The two heads were nothing but
a squat hole in the floor with a handle on the wall to hold onto. We
updated the heads and added conventional toilets.

Braveheart has a 1200 HP Niigata engine and two 125 kVA generators. Her
range is 33 days but we can easily extend that with our water maker and
storage capacity.

Nigel enjoys breakfast each morning with the radio team and crew.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, tell us about your first DXpedition*?

Nigel Jolly: That would be the 1999 ZL9CI DXpedition to Campbell Island.
Your team mate Jun was on our first DXpedition and now seventeen years
later he’s back again for more Braveheart fun. I’ve lost count on how many
DXpeditions we’ve done but as you can see from the many plaques in the
ship’s library, there have been quite a few.

Nigel skillfully keeps the rib boat in place so that his passengers can get
onto the rocks.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel tell us about the worst/roughest seas you have ever

Nigel Jolly: The area between Australia and Tasmania has the worst seas
imaginable. We’ve been all over the world and through many storms. The
challenge in the area approaching Tasmania is that the spacing of the waves
is very compressed and very atypical. This causes the bow to go into the
waves. Last time we went through there we lost the wheelhouse front windows
and darn near flooded the ship.

Nigel is in touch with his crew 24 hours a day.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, if you could have a pint with anyone past or present,
who would that be?

Nigel Jolly: Captain Morgan I think. I could learn a thing or two from him.
Genghis Kahn would be interesting as would Captain Cook. In all
seriousness, I would most like to chat with my first wife who died of
cancer at a young age. No amount of time would be enough.

Nigel has a rough gruff exterior but a heart of gold.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, have you had any bad DXpeditions or any that caused you

Nigel Jolly: No not yet, I find you Teletubby types rather amusing.

Nigel enjoys a good time with his passengers.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, how did you learn seamanship?

Nigel Jolly: Like pretty much everything, I have learned by doing. I used
to move and re-locate Yachts for a living. Then I bought a half interest in
a charter yacht. That didn’t work out so well. No one is willing to work as
long and hard as I am willing. My best partners are my family. My son
Matthew alternates as the Braveheart Captain as does your Captain, Neil. My
wife Brenda, she is a terrific woman. She runs the business when I am out
to sea.

Nigel is a rather colorful, animated fellow.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, please explain the concept of attaining “Teletubby

Nigel Jolly: When you ham radio types come onto my ship. You know nothing.
You don’t even know where the head is unless we tell you. You haven’t
learned to listen or to get around and make due on your own. Its like you
are in the swamp and you can’t get out without help. If you and your men
listen and do as we instruct, you will survive and you will stand a good
chance of being awarded “Teletubby” status by me and my crew. It isn’t easy
though and you have got to listen. Not every radio DXpedition member can
make Teletubby status.

Father Christmas has arrived

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, what is the worst place or least favorite port that you
have visited?

Nigel Jolly: That would be Ushuaia. That place is hell and I’m not eager to
go back there. They have too many demands and ridiculous fees if you know
what I mean.

Nigels got a big rubber hammer.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, what is your favorite port?

Nigel Jolly: Moorea is my favorite. It is the most beautiful place with the
friendliest and genuine people.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, who are your typical charter customers?

Nigel Jolly: In addition to ham radio charters, we take bird watchers,
scientific people, the National Geographic Society. We brought a film crew
to Antarctica to shoot background footage for the movie “Happy Feet”.* My
second ship, the Claymore II is chartered by the Government for regular
ferry service to Pitcairn Island.

Nigel helps Billy launch the jet boat.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, will Braveheart be doing DXpeditions 5-10 years from now?

Nigel Jolly: Yes, I will be at sea until I cannot do it any longer. I would
like for my son Matthew to take over but that is up to him.

Nigel coaxes Ned-AA7A to jump off the back of a perfectly good boat.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, what do you do for fun back in New Zealand when you are
not working?

Nigel Jolly: My son Matthew is about to give me a Grandchild. I plan to
enjoy that. I have also bought a neighboring parcel to my home. It has a
nice house and a golf course. I plan to renovate the house as a future bed
and breakfast. I might tear up the golf course for a motorcycle track of
some sort. I haven’t finalized my plans for the place yet.

Nigel does not seem to own any long pants. No matter how cold it is, Nigel
is wearing short pants.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, I notice that you read a lot. Who is your favorite

Nigel Jolly: My favorite is Martin Cruz Smith, author of Gorky Park.

Nigel and his Braveheart crew are inducted into the CQ DX Hall of Fame, May
20th, 2016.

Paul N6PSE: Nigel, where would you like to visit that you have not yet

Nigel Jolly: I’d like to go to Bouvet. I have not yet been there.

Nigel and many Braveheart alumni at the 2016 SWODXA DX Dinner.

What do you think?

Paul N6PSE


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