One of the strangest exchanges I have ever had occurred in my days as a sailing instructor. My manager sidled up to me one day and asked, “Do you demonstrate all of the manoeuvres to your students in advance, before asking them to do it?”. Thinking this might be some kind of trick question, I thought for a moment, before replying that of course I did—how else would they know what to do? He then floored me by loudly proclaiming that “I never do—what if you get it wrong?”. I could have told him that surely that was the whole point of it—it would show that we can all make mistakes. That it’s how you recognise your error, take the appropriate action to stop it getting really messy, draw breath, and then go round again and do it right that matters. Mistakes are what we learn from, and that in itself was a valuable lesson for the students. But somehow I recognised that I’d be wasting my breath.
Good communication is a skill that, like every other skill on a cruising boat, needs to be developed and practiced. Molly shares tips for good communication on board, garnered during the last three years while living aboard and sailing 36,000 miles with her family on Sila, a Boréal 47, including an expedition to South Georgia.