Teamwork in Sailing Ensures Success


As part of a team in a multi-crewed boat Teamwork in Sailing Ensures Success

Multi-Crewed Boats

Sailing in multi-crewed boats is a team sport and the crew that knows each other and works together well will get the most out of their boat and enjoy more than their fair share of podiums.

What is seen on some boats which are unsuccessful is when one or more of the team is adversarial. The same person quotes superior experience, knowledge or talent, belittling their teammates.

All the energy, knowledge and talent should be directed toward racing. Other energy should be directed to those who are less experienced to help them learn.

Nurture New Team Members

By nurturing newer crew members you will guarantee that the team gets better with each outing. Not only will the team enjoy more success but everyone will have more fun as well.

When one person starts blaming others for things that go wrong or starts talking to them in a condescending tone, the atmosphere aboard is not pleasant. This will affect everyone’s performance and lessen their enjoyment of the day.

A great method to lower anxiety on board and keep the racing performance up is to discuss what everyone is going to do before the race begins. Another way to avoid anxiety onboard is for everyone to know what their job is but to understand what is required in each other position on the boat also. 

Training Exercise

A worthwhile training exercise is for every crew member to sail in every position on the boat. This should be done from time to time so everyone can understand what is required of the sailor normally in that spot. This is not an exercise for race day and is best done during practice and training sessions.

A debrief after the training when the team has been in different positions is important. This gives each sailor the opportunity to discuss what they experienced during the session. The discussion needs to be frank, with egos being kept in check so that everyone can get the most out of the exercise. 

Chatter during a race should be kept to a minimum and should be only about the race. The skipper and tactician need to let everyone know what sort of feedback they want.

The sort of things that they may want to be relayed is boatspeed, pointing, waves and the position of other boats. Other things include changes in wind speed and the need to alter rig or sail settings.

In a large crew, such as found on a Maxi an example, there may be teams within teams. Each group would have a spokesperson to pass on information. The key to giving information is to make sure that everything that is said is useful.

Well-defined roles with those jobs being communicated clearly prior to hitting the water. This means that team operates efficiently and at the highest possible level of achievement.