This is the first blog post for the Skipper course and we encourage everyone to post their comments about general leadership, operations of a modern sailboat and general learning to sail topics. Also feel free to let us know about the NauticEd Skipper Course and it can be improved and expanded.
My first comment and blog about Skippering is that it is the most excellent opportunity to be a good leader. Inherently, you’re put into a position of ultimate command and now is not the time to blow it in front of family and friends. Good leadership is subtle – in fact if you do it right – no one will know that they were actually lead once they get off the boat.
Leadership is also about confidence. One time when out with a father and his two girls, the girls were experiencing quite high levels of anxiety every time the sailboat heeled over and it was becoming obvious that they were not having a good time. This is really bad because if we’re all trying to get new people into sailing then scaring the heck out of children is not a good place to start. So I made a deal with them – I said “hey girls – every time you are getting worried about something – you look into my eyes. If you see me scared and worried then you can also be scared, but if you see me happy and smiling then you should do the same – how about that?”. They immediately calmed down and ultimately they all had a great day and the father went on to buy a boat some time later.
Confidence comes from knowledge and experience and so the more learning you do about handling situations the more confident you’ll be and the better leader you’ll become.
So – welcome to the NauticEd Skipper course. Here we’ll cover a wide range of topics about operating a sailboat and leadership is certainly one of them. There is also a good discussion on leadership in the Bareboat Charter Clinic where it is vitally important – you’re taking friends and family out for a week and you want them to still be friends and family when you come back.