Shane Granger and Meggi Macoun
The drive behind Vega’s restoration and humanitarian work
Capt. Shane Granger once crossed the Atlantic sailing a small 1887 brigantine with no engine – single handed. It might be interesting to note that the rudder on that boat broke 3 days out from the Gambia and he was forced to finish the trip to Brazil steering by sail balance alone. He directed the restoration of the 1670’s replica Adventure and consulted on the Clearwater, Maryland Dove, Pride of Baltimore, the 1992 Columbus ships, and other historically accurate vessels. He also trained crews to sail several well-known historical replicas. In1984 he returned to Europe becoming a successful advertising photographer. In 1991 he moved to East Africa to full fill one of his childhood dreams of working as bush pilot, during this time the idea developed to use his extensive commercial advertising experience for the benefit of communicating health and environmental messages to the rural population in East Africa. It was not long before he was being sent all over the world by WHO,UNICEF, BBC World Service Trust, and WWF to develop and produce behavioral change and educational materials. It was during this period that he and his partner Meggi Macoun developed their highly efficient community participation based training and production system. While in East Africa he designed and built a 36′ wooden cutter, “Just to keep my hand in”, as Granger puts it.
Meggi Macoun born in 1965 in Prague, studied graphic design in Germany. In 1991 she moved to East Africa. There after a period away from her profession as art and creative director for major advertising agencies – a period when she lived at the poorest village level at Lake Victoria, Kenya – she emerged determined to bring her extensive creative and professional skills to behavior change communications. Since then Meggi has planned national, regional, and global campaigns for WHO, UNICEF, WWF, BBC and many others. She was a driving force in developing the community driven communications system and the combined production / training programs that are so cost effective and successful. VEGA has been an exiting challenge for Meggi, her first experience afloat came with a abundance of new skills to learn. Now after 9 years she manages to hand, reef and steer, and remembers her knots & splices. “When I first started hearing seaman’s terms I was worried we had bought a zoo… what with all the cat heads, mice, lizards, and dead eyes.” Now after tens of thousands of sea miles, including a cyclone in the Indian Ocean, Vega is her home. Meggi is a perfectionist who simply refuses to settle for less than the best and her designs for the interiors along with the care she takes of VEGA show this abundantly.
Images available: Shane & Meggi with the 2010 Asia Pacific Laureate Foundation award for Social Service awarded for humanitarian service to isolated island communities in South East Asia
In 2002 Shane and Meggi discovered VEGA, which together they have lovingly restored, this initiated a new phase in their lives employing VEGA as a platform from which to continue their work while expanding the scope to include providing direct assistance to community educational and medical services on isolated islands in South East Asia.
Joanne Har is a Singaporean who first began working with the VEGA team in 2007 and has brought apart from her skills as sailing instructor, a wealth of technical expertise and training experience in graphic design, computer graphics, and web based media. considered by many to be one of Singapore’s top designers, Jo spends much of her year assisting with VEGA’s projects both at a distance, from Singapore, and on board the boat when we sail on our missions of mercy. Jo has helped us in Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Fiji, and East Timor where her experience, especially her training skills, have made a major impact. She has helped plan and develop local, national and regional campaigns for WHO and UNICEF as well as others.
Built at Olve, Norway in 1893-94, for over 100 years VEGA carried cargos of bricks, building stone, pig iron, and cement through some of the world’s roughest seas. Built for the North Sea and certified for Arctic trade, VEGA was famous for her strength and ability to carry loads other boats her size could not. Baltic traders like VEGA made some very impressive voyages including immigrants to North America and cargos to the Mediterranean, Africa and the Caribbean, some rounding Cape Horn to trade with Chile.