Paul Jenkins and Qiao Feng set about building their new coastal sailing barge Snark from a bare steel shell four years ago. They carved the masts from solid tree trunks, spliced, tied and rigged over 2 km of rope, cut and fitted over 80 sheets of plywood, installed loads of insulation (loads and loads, she's very warm in the winter and cool in the summer), painted, wired, plumbed, etc etc. and occasionally slept!
Qiao (pronounced like the Italian Ciao) grew up in Beijing, China. Here she is aged 12 visiting the Forbidden City before the days of mass tourism. She moved to UK in 2001 to study and then practice architecture, which is a bit of a family thing, there are at least 8 architects amongst her immediate relatives including her father. When not working as crew and purser on Snark she still works with local practices.
Paul grew up in Sheffield, UK where he spent too much time climbing trees and not enough time concentrating on his studies! He still managed to follow in his father and eldest brother's footsteps and qualify as an architect as well. He specialised in theatres and arts buildings working with Theatre Projects and Stoll Moss Theatres in the West end before establishing and running his own practice, place. A career he has now set aside to pursue his lifelong love of the sea and sailing as the skipper of Snark.
Now older, but not much wiser, they spend their time living and working on their completed dream project, the sailing barge Snark, from her base in Dartmouth. Both have retrained through the RYA Yatchmasters scheme to hold the appropriate professional sailing qualifications to look after up to 12 passengers offshore, as well qualifying as licencees, as catering staff, first aiders, sea survival coordinators, radio operators, mechanics, customer carers etc. In fact they joke that they have collected so many NVQ's in the process they should be able to trade them in for another degree.