Being an island nation we’ve been sailing for centuries, crossing seas and oceans for commerce, trade and exploration. You could say that sailing is in our blood and there is no doubt that our use of the sea has sculpted us as a nation.
In the 21st Centaury we don’t need sailing ships to trade and explore, but sailing remains one of our most popular pastimes, as events like Cowes Week illustrate.
With modern day technology it’s possible to sail large yachts single-handed, but sailing is normally a team activity with a team leader or ‘skipper’, and a crew. This team has to work together to manage the technical aspects of sailing a boat in a variety of sea and weather conditions from smooth water and light breezes to big waves and storms. So, is sailing the ultimate team activity?
Teamwork & Communication
Sailing requires the team to communicate clearly to manage each task as it arises. The skipper plays a crucial role in the decision making and has to communicate these clearly, but the team must communicate with one another to complete each task at the correct time. If communication breaks down at a critical moment the entire team could be in physical danger.
Everyone has a Job
Everybody needs to have a specific job or range of tasks to do. If tasks are duplicated the team will lose efficiency. This requires knowledge and experience of the task and how it affects the sailing performance. You can’t do a task in isolation, it requires an understanding of how it meshes with the rest of the team.
It Requires Group Stamina
If a member of the team isn’t pulling their weight or alternatively, is using up too much energy, it puts the team at risk. There has to be a group usage of stamina to make sure that every member can do their job without compromising themselves or other team members in any way.
You Share The Same goals
Sailing provides the opportunity to learn about each other’s strengths, weaknesses and rely on one other to complete a task. And teams work in very different ways, there is no single formula for success, the one constant is the desire to reach a common goal. If you are trying to develop a team ethic then sailing has to be one of the best activities around.
The basic task of sailing a yacht is a great team building activity but add other yachts and crews and set a racing course and the teamwork required, coupled with the desire to win, must place sailing up there as one of the ultimate or even the ultimate team building activity.