Sailing in life is like sailing a boat!
Sailing is about managing your senses, your team, and your boat to achieve great results all through the effective management of the chaos caused by the wind, the water, team dynamics and the group dynamics of the fleet.
To sail fast you need to respond to change, change in the wind direction, wind speed or pressure, all while reacting to the chaos caused by the people around you; while being mindful of the tourist boats out for a day on the bay; your competitors who have their bigger better idea of where they want to go, their unique reactions to the unexpected actions which go on while racing.
Sailing is about balancing your strategy with tactics to achieve your goal.
In game theory, a strategy refers to one of the options that a player can choose. That is, every player in a non-cooperative game has a set of possible strategies, and must choose one of a series of choices.
In sailing each race is an endless series of choices, all while working to make your boat sail as fast as you can thru the water.
In essence, strategy is your game plan, your long term goal to finish first and tactics are the tools you use to manage the competition to realize your goal.
Tactics are your implementation plan, how you use the wind, waves, current and competition to your advantage. How you play the game!
Some use bullying and intimidation to control their opponents. Others sail fast, have fun and encourage competitors to grow to be better sailors.
As so truthfully outlined by Paul Elvestrom, you haven’t won the race if in winning you have lost respect for your competitors. That truly leadership is a human experience, you must earn the respect of your competitors as leadership is about the choices people make.
Each race, each mark rounding, each crossing you have a choice, the choice to earn respect or to lose it. That while you may have a sound strategy, a good plan, all is lost when you are less than noble in your execution of your strategy by the tactics you employ.
Sailing has many rules, the rules are designed for our mutual safety, to promote order out of the chaos caused by the wind, the sea as we sail the bay and turn around marks. The only items defined on the race course are the start, the order of marks, how you are to round them and how you are to finish.
The strategy of every race is to do better than the last, to choose the fastest course from start to finish. As sailing is a string of choices, it has been said at each crossing, one boat is going the better way. In sailing, rarely are you able to head directly where you want to go. If it was like that it would not be fun.
To sail fast you need to always be mindful of the five A’s of asking awareness. The five A’s of asking awareness are; ask, answer, act, acknowledge and adjust.
Always ask yourself at each crossing, is the course I am sailing the fastest course to achieve my desired result, by watching the boats around you, you can measure your success, if you are losing then act by changing your course, seeking a higher better way, or to check in with your competition so as to not lose any more ground, always acknowledging the rules, the spirit of good sportsmanship and always measuring your success relative to your chosen benchmarks.
Finally always adjusting your course, your sails to the wind, adjusting your tactics to the situation all while being mindful of the constant chaos of the wind, the sea, the current and your competitors. As you haven’t won the race as in winning you have lost the respect of your competitors and friends.
We all seek to sail, to enjoy the water, to build friendships, to earn the respect of like minded people through the friendly spirit of competition. To be able to share stories, and develop friends as we all have a shared experience of doing battle against the chaos of the ever shifting wind and changing tides. Sailing is the only sport where you can compete against your friends and the elements at the same time.