March 11, 2021

Storm Trysail Club Releases Offshore Sailing Leadership Symposium Report


Overview, Findings, Best Practices, and Training Recommendations

Larchmont, NY –  Last November, Storm Trysail Club’s Seamanship Committee virtually gathered 90 accomplished leaders from within – and outside – the sailing world for its Offshore Sailing Leadership Symposium. World-class sailors, military officers, mountaineers, Merchant Marine officers, public health experts,  and business executives  worked together to better understand and promote a culture of safety and leadership in offshore sailing and to recommend improvements to Safety at Sea training and education. Their collective achievements include America’s Cup campaigns, summiting Mount Everest, commanding a US Navy nuclear submarine, solo and crewed circumnavigations, and combating Ebola and Covid-19. 

“Until recently, however, the concept of ‘Leadership’ has been largely ignored while the use of safety-related equipment and specific maneuvers – such as recovering crew overboard –  have been emphasized. Yet Leadership is the glue that holds it all together“ explained Event Chair Rich du Moulin.  “Good leadership minimizes the chance of a dangerous situation, and when something does go  wrong offshore, good leadership maximizes the chance for a satisfactory outcome.  This comprehensive analysis includes observations and recommendations for leadership that have terrific applicability to handling challenges in business and other non-sailing situations.”Findings coming out of the seminar include:

  • The Skipper/Owner is Ultimately Accountable
  • The Implications of Leading with High Character
  • Insights on Selecting and Training the Team
  • Critical Processes for Planning and PreparationMethods of Ensuring Clear Roles and Responsibilities
  • The Effects of Ego on Teamwork
  • Positive Impacts of Open Communication
  • Error Chain Recognition and Maintaining Situational Awareness
  • Benefits of Adjusting Goals and Plans as Conditions Require 
  • The Importance of Remaining Calm in an Emergency 
  • How Maintaining Optimism is Key to Positive Results
  • Never Giving Up! 
Read the Report

The 52 page report includes links to reference material, as well as a number of personal sea stories that bring to life actual crises, and the attendant learnings.  Particular attention is paid to recommendations on how best to develop leadership qualities in young sailors, and identifying leaders among crews.Presented by Safe Harbor Marinas and supported by the Bonnell Cove Foundation, the USMMA FoundationGifted of Larchmont, and Gowrie Group, this effort – including the planning and executing of the online symposium, the freely available Symposium Leadership video and full written report was organized by members of the Storm Trysail Club and Storm Trysail Foundation (the 501(c)(3) organization devoted to safety, education and participation in big boat sailing. For more information and/or to donate, please visit – https://donorbox.org/storm-trysail-foundation-annual-fund

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