Sailing Video of Rolex Regatta 2011

Posted by Director of Education on May 25, 2011 under About NauticEd, Crew, Videos and photos | Be the First to Comment

Just posted the sailing video of the experience of racing the St Thomas Rolex Regatta 2011 with NauticEd students and Safe Passage Sailing.

Safe Passage Sailing chartered Kialoa V, an 80 ft maxi, and Northern Child, a 51 ft swan. NauticEd students and charterers with Safe Passage Sailing attended. Over all we had about 20 people on Kialoa V and 9 on Northern Child.

Race conditions were perfect with 10-15 knots of wind and sunny days.

Kialoa V is a legend racing sailing boat, built in the 1980’s it used to win regattas world wide. Northern Child is a professional Captained Charter Boat. Christian Reynolds and Lucy Jones are the Owners and professional Crew Members they specialize in cruising, racing and corporate charters in the UK, Mediterranean and the Caribbean. They offer their clients a range of charters from individual berths through to full boat charters.

Safe Passage Sailing put this together as an experiential event – providing people a safe team environment where they could do something they’re not likely to do on their own. And from the testimonials on the sailing video, you can see that everyone had a spectacular time.

Dowsing down the massive spinaker

Dowsing the massive spinaker on Kialoa V

It was a week long event. We stated out flying in on Saturday, getting aclimatized to the Caribbean waters (not hard) then on Tuesday and Wednesday we had two practise days of learning how to sail and handle the boat. We all fitted into our natural positions on the boat and Brian Thompson and Rich Stearns the professional racing mentors lead the team.

On Friday Saturday and Sunday we raced the St Thomas Regatta. Each race was between about 10-20 miles with upwind beats, cross wind reaches and down wind runs flying our spinakers. While none of us came first or second, the experience told it all. The learning curve was steep but no one minded a bit.

Watch the video you’ll see how much fun we had.

If you want to get on the list to be invited to the next regatta we will attend, make sure you’re a fan of NauticEd on facebook – that you’re following us on twitter and/or that you’re signed up for at least a free account on NauticEd.

Tassos who is sailing a maxi yacht - he'll never forget this

Here’s a pic of the all female crew of Northern Child lead by Suzette Smith who had participated in an all female crew in the Americas cup.

Northern Child All Female Crew

Northern Child All Female Crew

Conclusion: Everyone had an incredible time.






Posted by Director of Education on May 14, 2011 under Crew, Skipper | Be the First to Comment

Yesterday we were out racing in our local sailing regatta. At the end of any regatta race we always have a debriefing on what we could have done better. Turns out this one works especially well in our work lives as well and so that was the topic of conversation over a few beers afterward.

We were approaching a downwind mark and setting up the strategy for a reach to the next mark. Unfortunately we were not leading the pack but at least we could see what every one else was doing. They were all dowsing their spinakers and reaching with their genoas for the outer mark. One lone boat however kept up their spinaker but things were starting to get busy as we closed in on the mark and so we didn’t see him. (Turns out the skipper on that boat was the 80 yr old father of the famous Chris Dickson – one of New Zealand’s top sailors having skippered in 5 America’s cup challenges).

So up went the genoa, down came the spinaker and round the mark we went. Once around the mark we just couldn’t keep up speed with the pack. And as we were seeing, the wind had shifted a little so that keeping up the spinaker for the reach would have been advantageous. The order came to get the spinaker back up.

Thus starts the lesson:

Getting the spinaker back up again immediately after a take down is out of the ordinary. It was quickly packed in the launch bag and passed upstairs and set into place on the bow pulpit. The spinaker sheets were quickly re run. The pole was clipped into the port guy and raised with the topping lift to clip onto the mast. The halyard was bought forward to be clipped onto the head of the spinaker (top grommet of the spinaker). BUT the spinaker head was no where to be found. Luke, who was working the foredeck was yelling back to the spinaker packer that he couldn’t find the spinaker head. All eyes fell on Luke as he frantically dug through the launch bag to find the top of the sail.

Now if if you’ve ever worked with a spinaker, you’ll know that it must be packed perfectly like a parachute in order for it to launch properly. Each edge of the chute must be “chased” from one point to the next as it is packed. The clew, tack and head must all be positioned in the launch bag properly. It not the results can be disastrous.

As eyes  stayed on Luke hoping and willing him to find the spinaker head, focus was lost. The helms person was watching Luke, The mainsail trimmer was watching Luke. The headsail trimmer was watching Luke. Everyone was wanting to help Luke.

It was the skipper who pulled it all back together and called an end to the kafloffle that was going on. Spinaker efforts were abandoned and focus was back to everyone doing their jobs. By that time we’d lost incredibly valuable distance to the main part of the pack.

In reality, it only required one person to sort out the mess and the rest to just keep doing their jobs – trim and steer trim and steer. On a sailboat – you’re job is to race the race doing YOUR job. As a skipper your job is to keep everyone focused on their jobs and keep the big picture in play. Getting the spinaker up was not the big picture. Making the boat go fast was the big picture.

How can we make our business’s go fast?  What’s the big picture of your job? I know this – for a sail trimmer – the big picture is to keep all the tell tales flying – that’s it. And it’s not an insignificant task!

I recently experienced this myself again in the Rolex Regatta in St. Thomas last March. NauticEd and its adventure Partner Safe Passage sailing chartered an 80 ft Maxi race sailboat to compete in the series. For much of the race series I was working the mainsail. A dozen other NauticEd students joined us. The boat was awesome, huge, and the biggest I’d raced on. I found it incredibly hard to focus on my job. There was only one thing I could do when all hell was breaking lose at the bow of the boat. That job was to sail the mainsail.

At the start of one race, we had a 90 ft boat right next to us forcing us up to the start line. The job was to sail the mainsail not look at the paint job on the multimillion dollar boat 10 feet away and fear a crash. Just sail the mainsail!

NauticEd Students Racing in the Rolex Regatta

NauticEd Students Racing in the Rolex Regatta

One more example which we talk about in our bareboat charter bvi course. We were coming out of North Sound on Virgin Gorda in the BVI’s. Another catamaran had already exited and had turned back towards Virgin Gorda to head to wind to get the main sail up. As you may know, getting the mainsail up on a big cat is not an easy job and it was taking some time. All eyes were on the sail going up. No eyes were on Prickly Pear reef towards which the Catamaran was immanently going to hit. Had it not been for our horn blast and pointing, they surely would have grounded on a breaking nasty reef.

In this case the helms persons job was to keep the boat into wind and watch out for traffic.

So many analogies can be made between sailing and the corp world. What I’ve found is that through out a race (which takes about 2 hours) almost all the same issues come up in a 10 month project. You can see a very subtle secondary analogy in the example above. The 80 year veteran kept up his spinaker whist every one was taking theirs down. We had the advantage of observing that – but we didn’t because “things were getting too busy”. Hmmm, how’s that for a lesson in watching the competitive field.

It would be of incredible value if we could take our project team and run them through a sailboat race first before we start a project. Quick side note:  I’ve got 32 different exercises to be done on a sailboat depending on the required developmental strengths that a team needs. If anyone needs a experiential training program for their team let me know.

Regardless – next time you’re leading a team in a race regatta – make sure your team keeps focus on their own personal job.


Press Release: All Women Crew in Rolex Regatta

Posted by Grant Headifen on October 9, 2010 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Be the First to Comment



Escape the winter blahs and learn how to sail by joining the fun and excitement of participating with an all-woman crew in beautiful St. Thomas, USVI, March 2011!

NauticEd and Safe Passage Sailing, LLC invite you to “sail with the best” in a world class regatta with world class skipper and mentor Suzette Smith, leading an all women’s crew. This will be an experience not to be missed!

Whether it’s the adventure of cruising or the excitement of racing, there’s no place like being on a Safe Passage Sailing Charter. If you’re an intermediate to advanced female sailor, now you have the opportunity to join in on all the fun.

Rolex Regatta All Women Crew

Rolex Regatta All Women Crew

The St. Thomas Yacht Club and title sponsor Rolex are the hosts for this regatta known as the “Crown Jewel” of Caribbean racing that boasts “reliable breezes, warm azure waters and world-renowned Island hospitality.”

SPS Program includes:

  • Exclusive charter of a Swan 51’ – Northern Child
  • 2 race training days, lay day, 3 race days
  • Racing pro Suzette Smith, licensed skipper, and 1st mate
  • All race registration/entry fees
  • All berthing fees, fuel, and on/off shore support
  • Race equipment including spinnakers
  • Breakfast at the St. Thomas YC on race days
  • Lunch, snacks and beverages each day on the boat
  • SPS stow bag with shirts, hats, and other gifts for each guest
  • Event management
  • Event and crew photographs
  • Transportation will be provided/arranged from/to airport, marina to YC parties

Register Now!
Program Cost: $3275 per person
Participants: 11

Accommodations and airfare not included. Group hotel accommodations and transportation options TBA.

Suzette Smith Sailing Pro

Suzette Smith Sailing Pro

Racing Pro Suzette Smith International Racing and Cruising Specialist will be onboard Northern Child in the role as coach/mentor.  Suzette is a seasoned licensed charter captain with a USCG Masters 100 ton and ASA certified instructor on yachts 38’-70’+.

In 2006 she was named ASA’s “Outstanding National Instructor of the Year.”

Ms Smith has participated in numerous high caliber sailing campaigns such as Team Pegasus, the first and only all-woman America’s Cup team, America 3, which raced in the 1995 America‘s Cup defenders series, as well as other notable regattas around the world.

Additional Crew:

RYA licensed Skipper/Owner Christian Reynolds and First Mate Lucy Jones will be onboard to assist and facilitate during the regatta.

Details of the St. Thomas International Regatta itinerary are available online at

Hi-Res Photos are also available. Please contact us with your specific needs.

For more information regarding SPS “Sailing with the Best” events, or to register for this event, please visit our website at Please feel free to call or e-mail SPS for more information: Tell them NauticEd sent you.

Randee Fowler
415/381-4773 direct
415/637-4051 mobile

Come Join us for the Rolex Regatta on a Maxi Race Yacht

Posted by Grant Headifen on July 13, 2010 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper | Be the First to Comment

Rolex Regatta St. Thomas

Rolex Regatta St. Thomas

Join us on an 80 ft Maxi Yacht in the Rolex Regatta.

In the movie “Hunt for Red October” the XO came to Sean Connery and said: “Captain, it is time”. It was the time to make the decision to go for it – or not. And it is now one of those classic movie lines you just can’t forget.

Well everyone, that time for you is now!

Join us on Kialoa a 80 ft maxi yacht

Join us on Kialoa a 80 ft maxi yacht

NauticEd along with sailing adventure partner, Safe Passage Sailing, and members from other sailing clubs are chartering Kialoa V, an 80 ft (25m) Maxi yacht to participate in the Rolex Regatta (the “Crown Jewel of Caribbean Racing”) in St. Thomas in March next year.

On board will be world-class sailing and winning professionals Rich Stearns and Brian Thompson along with NauticEd’s Educational Director, Grant Headifen to lead us through the weeklong event and … hopefully win.

The event consists of 2 training and preparedness days followed by 3 race days out and around the various island of St. Thomas and St. Johns.

Because of the reasonably serious nature of operations on such a large yacht, we will be requiring a certain level of sailing experience to sail on this Maxi yacht so you’ll need to ensure you fill out your NauticEd Sailing logbook under your login account.

STOP PRESS: UPDATE: – Due to great response we are adding a second boat which will be a Swan 51 with an all women crew. If you’re wanting to be apart of this unique opportunity (and you’re a woman) then contact us at with subject line “Rolex Regatta Interest Women Crew Member”

See our successful Antigua Sailing Week Video.

We have space for 10 more crew members only on this 80 ft yacht so in order to participate you must register your interest with us NOW. Accommodation in local rental Villas is available but these will disappear fast after that the hotels can get quite pricey so contact us now to get moving on this opportunity.

Accomodation can take place in several rental villas that we have identified – BUT … these will go fast so you really should contact us fast.

Send us an email to: / subject line: Rolex Regatta Interest

See our brochure on the Rolex Regatta which contains the itinerary, costs, professional hired crew resumes, etc.

Discounted rates for 4 or more so update your facebook page, send out a tweet and bring a few friends!