There’s no I in Team!

Teamwork is important in any situation. However, within sailing this pops up in all sorts of situations. Over my year away here and my time within water sports, I have seen the importance of teamwork and how it helps the day to day jobs go smoothly and allows even more fun to be had on the water.

Juniors, when you first start sailing, you are usually in a group with other young children. Without you even knowing you have become a team! Learning a new sport together and all in the same situation. Some may be nervous and some children so excited they can not contain it. You go to the boats and pull them to the water’s edge as a group and all laughing and struggling with the heavy boats together. You are then usually, on your first voyage to sea, paired up with someone in your new sailing team and sail together.

If there is no communication between the pair, this is usually when all goes wrong and crashes happen which we do not want, or you end up in the water! I know about being very nervous and quiet when I was younger and learning myself!

You do not always want to talk to anyone let alone someone you don’t know and just been plonked in a boat with! However to communicate is very important. One person is usually put to work on the sail setting. So, pulling the rope in and out to control the sail, the other on the rudder and steering the boat. When it comes to turning around, if the person steering does not communicate, the boom will come over and more than likely hit someone in the head! This is not good sailing. You have to communicate with your partner whether you like it or not.

Coming to shore at the end of your session teamwork also comes into play. Landing on the beach, as instructors we always keep an eye out on the beach for when you are landing. We bring the trolleys down and as a team put the boats into a trolley. Pulling the boats up is also a group activity, which is everyone’s favourite job! It is not fair to leave it to one person or even us. It is also a lot easier to work as a team in this situation and the job is complete in no time. The more hands the lighter the boat!

As you improve your sailing, you will start to sail on your own as many juniors have progressed to. Don’t think that just because you are on your own on the boat that communication and also teamwork does not come into play. What about pulling your boat down and rigging up the boat. What about landing the boat and having some help on the shore with de-rigging and pulling the boat back up into its slot? There is still very much a need from us to help you, so we need to work as a team. Even, on the water and a rope snapped or you capsize and cant get back up, we will be there to help you.

Adults, parents reading this, you are very much part of the team in the sailing world. As a child I remember being driven to all the windsurf and sailing events over the UK and there always being a nice cup of hot chocolate and a biscuits waiting for me once I was off the water! And always encouraging comments and big smiles; couldn’t have done it without them, including coaches and instructors.

Adults and parents don’t think you have got out of the teamwork and communication on the water either! Plenty of adults learn to sail. The adult sailing groups bring the feeling of a real team and being put in the deep end together! Pulling boats, rigging up the boats, learning together, having fun and lots of laughs in your group.

As you improve, sailing with others is an option and many people do take to this. Sailing catamarans or yachts you are a team making the boat sail to its best ability. So therefore, again, communication is key.

You may think this is very obvious on the water to have communication and work as a team. But you don’t see this as much as you would like. Lets look at the Olympics that Simon wrote about in the end of the newsletter this month, these sportsmen and women would not have got to that standard without teamwork and communication.

As I started, this does not only apply to sailing but this is key to improve and expand your sailing knowledge and achievements throughout your sailing career however short or long.