Sailing as a Metaphor for Business and Living Well

Feb 06, 2017

As a metaphor for managing a business, yacht racing can be very helpful. Both share common, fundamental elements: a team of people using speed, tactics, strategy, timing and multiple resources to reach a destination and achieve a goal while facing a fleet of opponents.

Yacht racing is different from all other types of racing because each of the boats in the race sails a unique course. The race—whether it is a Wednesday night beer can race, a multi-day regatta or a race across an ocean—has a defined beginning and end, but in between, each boat can sail a widely different route and distance. A business may have a defined beginning and a goal, but its race is on-going and often over multiple racecourses simultaneously.

The environment that each operates in is constantly changing—the physical environment of wind, waves and weather; the competitive environment; and the economic and regulatory environment. Both the business owner and boat skipper must exercise choice and control over some elements and adjust to those elements over which they have no control. Good business managers, like good sailors anticipate when conditions are about to change. The skipper best able to anticipate changing conditions and effectively adjust for them is the one that comes out ahead.

Company and crew each have to develop a short-term strategy for each individual race, a medium-term strategy for a weekend regatta, and a long-term strategy for the entire season of racing. Without a clearly articulated strategy, a boat or business merely reacts to whatever comes along.

Businesses and race boats also require leadership, teamwork and rapid decision-making to be successful. Innovative problem-solving, clear goals and effective communications are also necessary.

Speed alone will not win the race if the wrong strategic choice is made, or if the boat or business sails in the wrong direction. And perfect strategy and tactics cannot overcome slow speed. Winning requires a mastery of all these elements: preparation, strategy, boat handling, speed and tactics.

Have a question? Send us a message!

Come and join the discussion on our message board. You can chat with other members and get the latest news on upcoming events.

Join The Discussion!

Login Form

Register for VSC's Monthly News eMail for access to our discussion blog, latest events, NEW Courses & Cruises and last moment deals on sailing education and cruising.

Create an Account

PayPal Logo

Upcoming Sailing Events

Racing Spotlight

September, 15 2018 12:00 am

Cruising Spotlight

June, 22 2018 6:00 pm
VSC100 Intro to Sailing
June, 29 2018 8:30 am
June, 30 2018 12:00 am
July, 1 2018 8:30 am

NauticED Sailing Education Video

NauticEd Sailing School Network

Click HERE to visit the NauticEd Sailing School Network page.

VSC News Blog

  • RYA Day Skipper Certification - What's in it for me?

    Imagine being capable and confident enough to take your friends and family out on a yacht for a day, a weekend or even on holiday. The RYA (Royal Yaching Association) Day Skipper is a qualification which enables you to safely take charge of a 30-45ft

    Read More
  • Sechelt Inlet - "A Calculated Assessment of Heavy Weather Sailing"

    My stomach had been roiling since we slipped out of Howe Sound that morning but we were all busy on deck working a gusting easterly blow through the middle portion of the Strait of Georgia . On our weather charts we were located just above the

    Read More
  • Learn to Sail by taking a Sailing Holiday

    Fun, active, stimulating and relaxing all at the same time . . .   A sailing trip is a fun way to stay active during your summer holidays Photo: © Buz Talley   Monty Beaton, Yachtmaster Offshore Instructor   Reprinted from article in the Telegraph    If you thought

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2