It's another early morning, 6am to be exact, as the RLS Sailing team prepares for a big regatta in the Bay Area. Cheerful banter fills the van, mixed with moments of nervousness and excitement. Not knowing whether today will be a perfect day for sailing, or another day with little or not enough wind, everyone is still eager for the opportunity. This certain level of unpredictability is what keeps everyone coming back excited for the next chance to set sail.
Carrying a rather large squad, the sailing team has a clear medley of experienced and inexperienced sailors. The beauty behind this is how the experienced sailors step into leadership roles. One in which senior captain Stevie Thomson has gladly embraced, “Captain-wise, what I appreciate about the role is that it’s much less authoritative and more organizational. But mostly I appreciate what I do because my goal is to make sure everyone is accounted for and listened to in order to have a positive experience each day and to feel like they’re growing and getting more sailing experience than they had the day before.” This leadership has allowed for maximum growth amongst the younger less experienced sailors.
Another interesting aspect of sailing is the opportunity to compete against each other while also being in very separate divisions. It is important that regardless of division or skill level, all the sailors participate in the same drills. Thomson weighs in on the importance of this, “Due to our unique practice schedule, I think my biggest expectation is that we all continue to push each other and prioritize growth on all levels.” Pushing each other every day leads to significant breakthroughs for many, as well as reinforcing leadership ideas for some.
Unpredictability is a large part of sailing. Being able to know that on any given day the weather may not be ideal is a cherished skill. For the sailing squad, this could lead to long mornings, due to “delays” which means that there is not enough wind to compete. The silver lining of this is the further bonding the team can create from the extra down time.
The team’s first traveling regatta this season was in Richmond, which is notably infamous for very little wind. As the team waited for the wind to pick up, they tied the boats together to enjoy some time together, further demonstrating the beauty of the delays.
With so much changing day to day, the sailing team has learned about adaptability. It has been shown that sailing is much more than just competing, it is also about bonding as well as teamwork. While it can be said that sailing is very much an individual, or two person sport, the support that each member of the sailing team provides one another argues against this point. They have found large success throughout their fall season, placing high in almost all of the regattas they compete in. Not knowing what comes next, the sailing team is eager for the next change to set sail.