Saturday, June 18, 2011

3 Lessons Learned From Sailing

Today marked the maiden voyage of my son, Steve's new (to him) sailboat, Ubiquitous. What a great day. Up to now, for the last 5 weeks we've made weekly trips down to make sure it was still floating, run the engine to charge the batteries, so that it continued to run the bilge, to keep the boat afloat. I even spent the night aboard on one trip. But, owning a boat, and sleeping on it are not why you buy one. (Even though Steve bought it as his dorm room : ), that's another story.

Here's what we experienced today!

1. The power of combining or opposing forces!

While motoring with the inboard diesel, we discovered that when you run with the current, it adds 4 or 5 knots/hr to you speed! We gain so much momentum when we join forces with others. Look for ways to join with others where you can. While under sail today, we discovered that while we seemed to be doing 5 knots, our gps showed our speed was zero! The current was enough against us that it made our progress null! Ever have those days (months or years) when you worked hard, thought things were going great, only to discover that your progress was unraveling?! Check your gps! Another perspective is often needed to get an accurate read on your progress.

2. Communication is key!

Friends of ours helped us sail today, Rogor and Debbie are veteran sailors and when they spoke, we listened. Years of hands-on experience communicated practically made today SO enjoyable. Communcation done right can make even a menial task fun! On a boat, there are rules and things that need to be done a certain way, to keep that enjoyment from turning into disaster. How we communicate makes all the difference! Clear, concise instructions, follow up to check for understanding are elements of good comminication.

3. Someone has to be in charge!

Rogor was our skipper today. Debbie was the first mate. Steve and I were crew. We didn't draw straws, we didn't vote. We did what Rogor felt comfortable doing today and traveling as far as he thought we should. Rogor called the shots, taught us navigation, right of way, channel marker identification. Debbie taught us ropes, lines, knots, sheets, mainsails, gibs, reefing, and more! We and our organizations do well when there is strong leadership. Rogor and Debbie, like good leaders, realize that if they keep all that knowledge to themselves, we wouldn't progress as well and they would have a bored crew, which often leads to mutiny : - ) Taking the time to teach and lead brought vast enjoyment to the day! Good leadership is good for everyone!
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