Understanding the principles of sailing is not difficult and can be a lot of fun to learn. Getting people with no experience to operate a boat in a fairly short amount of time is also possible.
Recently, SailTime’s base in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) hosted a team building day for a local business aboard three Hunter 36 sailboats. When it comes to corporate team building, taking staff out of the office environment, teaching them something new — while having fun with their fellow workers — has many advantages. Sailing is a uniquely effective tool as it is exciting and everyone must work in coordination.
Hunter sailboats are easy to sail and after a thorough explanation of boat operations, participants each took their turn with four operational positions: helm, main sail, port and starboard jib winches. Setting sails and helming was an exhilarating yet challenging experience for the group as they tacked, gybed and learned points of sail. The participants could witness their efforts coming together as they all worked towards a common goal.
After their busy morning, the crews found a nice sheltered anchoring spot for lunch, a well-deserved rest, and preparation for the afternoon challenge: a friendly regatta across Toronto harbour. With three boats of competing coworkers, some strategizing on tactics and crew assignments solidified each team.
In racing, everyone is critical to the success of the team and an error in any position can stall the boat. It was interesting to observe how quickly these newcomers to sailing offered each other assistance and listened attentively to the commands from the helm. The SailTime GTA staff provided only a minor coaching role and each boat proudly held the lead at various points of the afternoon race.
The participants left with many great memories, a sense of accomplishment and competitive team spirit. Feedback from participants and management was wonderful, with praises like “Everyone had a ball!” and “The experience was exhilarating and as I was actually sailing a boat for the first time in my life! Wow!”
Not a bad day’s work: camaraderie, confidence and respect while understanding the benefits of working as a team … and a boat load of fun!