Safety Through Leadership

14 November 2020

Storm Trysail Club - Offshore Sailing Leadership Symposium

Safety through Leadership

Leadership is an essential and inescapable component of Safety at Sea – linking all other safety practices and procedures into a coherent whole.

The Offshore Sailing Leadership Symposium will tap the collective wisdom of experienced leaders inside and outside of the Storm Trysail Club to improve our understanding of successful leadership traits, qualities, practices and skills as they relate to offshore sailing – with the goals of:

  • Better understand and define the role of leadership in offshore sailing.
  • Develop specific recommendations for improving Offshore Safety at Sea (SAS) through leadership training and education.
  • Improve the practices, conduct and curriculum of Hands-On SAS Training.
  • Use the STC Adult and Junior SAS Seminars as test platforms.
  • Make lessons learned available for other seminars and the general public.
  • Explore inclusion of leadership in World Sailing’s certification standard.
  • Collaborate with other leading organizations and yachting media to broaden leadership education for the sailing public.

Participants will contribute to a final product through their opinions, offshore experiences, and ideas for moving SAS training and education forward. Ahead of the conference, participants will receive ‘food for thought’ and be asked for early input.

The symposium will begin with a keynote interview on 'A Lifetime of Leadership' with Sir Robin Knox Johnston, the first person to perform a non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, and founder of the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race.

We will delve further into leadership with two expert panels.

The first will bring in leadership perspectives from “Leadership Beyond Sailing”. Panelists include Susan Blank (Public Health emergency preparedness and response planning), James Childs (US Navy Submarine Commander and Trainer), Todd Gautier (Commercial Aviation Pilot and Trainer), Stephen Polk (Director, Seamen's Church Institute Center for Maritime Education), and Walker Potts (USMC Recon and Medic).

The second panel will feature leadership “Leadership Under Sail” with highly successful leaders in offshore sailing, including Larry Huntington (Past CEO Fiduciary Trust, Mountaineer, and Commodore, NYYC), Stan Honey (Jules Verne Circumnavigation Record Navigator, Rolex Sailor of the Year, member of US Sailing Hall of Fame), Renee Mehl (Director for the Offshore Sail Training Squadron, US Naval Academy), Ken Read (President, North Sails; two time skipper Volvo Ocean Race and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year), Dawn Riley (Executive Director, Oakcliff Sailing; two circumnavigations including "Maiden").

In the afternoon, panel members and moderators will lead participants in break-out sessions to explore specific leadership focus areas to generate and develop ideas. The seminar will culminate with a full-group session to distill discussions into recommendations, tasks, and next steps. 

Discussion will be framed in terms of crew selection and development, yacht and voyage preparations, normal at sea operations, and emergency situations. Topics will include situational awareness, decision-making, communication, fight the way you train, prioritizing, dealing with fear/panic, adapting as the situation develops/changes, and others as suggested by the attendees.


When: November 14, 2020

0845 - Zoom Link Active

0900 - 0910 Welcome

0910 - 0945 Keynote

0945 - 1100 Panel: Leadership Beyond Sailing

1115 - 1230 Panel: Leadership Under Sail

1230 - 1245 Lunch Break

1245 - 1430 Breakout Sessions

1445 - 1630 Wrap Up

This conference will be held over Zoom. Link is provided directly to confirmed attendees and STC Members.

Presenting Partner

Supporting Partners