07 Mar 7 Habits of Highly Effective Yacht Skippers
Becoming an excellent yacht skipper is not an easy task. Being a yacht skipper involves a wide and diverse range of skillsets. These skills take time to learn and very few people will master them all.
At Halcyon Yachts we are lucky to have some of the best yacht delivery skippers in the industry. Our skippers have all gained numerous qualifications over the years, but more importantly, have vast experience. Some elements of yachting are easy to teach whilst others require time and wisdom.
To help any aspiring sailors out there, we have put together a list of our top 7 habits of highly effective yacht skippers:
Self AwarenessMany of the world’s most successful yacht skippers will be incredibly self-aware. They will fully understand their own strengths and weaknesses and will be adept at working within their own capabilities. In order to improve, you must first be aware of what needs working on.
Being PreparedBefore any voyage the preparation and planning are critical. A good skipper will have a firm grasp of all the variables and will prepare the yacht and crew as best they can. Things to consider when planning include tools and maintenance issues, provisioning and stores, crew strengths and weaknesses, weather forecasting and navigational issues.
Leading a TeamAn excellent yacht skipper will be a great leader and a team player. Being at sea does have its challenges. Good leadership is key in order to keep the crew motivated and engaged. To this end, an excellent skipper will be inspiring, will be keen to share their knowledge, will be humble and most importantly will listen to their crew. With the respect of your crew, you can achieve so much more.
A Clear CommunicatorCommunication skills are critical. A highly effective yacht skipper will listen and observe both the yacht and crew. They will be positive and upbeat in order to get the best from their crew. A yacht skipper with excellent communication skills will keep their crew informed. Shouting should be the last resort and is usually a sign that the skipper did not communicate clearly from the outset.
Safety Always Comes FirstThe sea can be a dangerous place. An experienced yacht skipper will respect the elements and will always make sure that safety comes first. Before each passage, everyone on board should know what safety equipment there is and how to use it. Routine practice drills are also important. A good skipper will not take unnecessary risks. When you are sailing offshore, you could be days if not weeks from outside assistance.
No Room For ComplacencyA yacht skipper will never stop learning and should never be complacent. A sailor who thinks they know all there is to know is a dangerous person indeed. Even the most experienced yacht skippers will check and double check their passage plan. So many things with sailing have a margin of error and a good skipper will always ure on the side of caution. Treat each passage with the respect that it deserves and be open to learning from others.
Despite how it is betrayed in the yacht charter brochures, Sailing is not always about sipping gin and tonic in the sunshine. The oceans can be unforgiving and long passages will be uncomfortable at times. When you are cold, wet, hungry and tired, that is when a yacht skipper must be tenacious. In the face of adversity, the best skippers will rise to the challenge.