Yo, Ho, Ho and a Bottle of Rum! - Project Resource Go Sailing
Last Thursday the Project Resource Management team left the safety of our offices to take to the open seas! Thanks to an event set up and ran by the Institute of Directors we had the opportunity to leave landlocked Reading and Birmingham for Port Solent – Portsmouth; to participate in a Sailing Regatta. With little to no sailing experience between the eight of us it was fair to say that the mood in the camp was uncertain and unsettled as to what the day would bring.
After a 5.30am alarm call we arrived at the boat house in need of a cup of tea and bacon roll; and were all pleased to see that both were already on hand; as were most of our competition – several of which looked far more prepared than us. Unsure as to how we should be dressing for a day at sea we’d brought a combination of football socks, scarves, sea sickness tablets and even a log-flume style poncho (Ridda); whilst they were in full yachting get up!
Once we’d had a chance to let the breakfast settle it was “all aboard” and time to meet our Skipper for the day (Geoff), and first mate (Simon). These were the professionals who had the task of teaching us how to get a 40 foot yacht moving through the water – preferably still upright! I think Geoff realised the enormous task ahead of him when upon pulling out of the marina it became clear that only Derek knew what a cleat, gib and boom was; and the rest of us, though willing, were certainly not able! In response to the request for someone to “do a figure of 8 around the cleat”; we were all blank faced and ready to do a Peter Crouch style robot dance….until Derek jumped up and tied a knot to a piece of metal on the side of the lock.
The day was designed to focus on team work; and prior to attending all of us had been on similar events – either with Project Resource or previous employers. I think it’s fair to say that previous experience had left us with low expectations for the day. Once out into open water they’d be two races; and we thought we’d be doing well if we didn’t need to make a mayday call or loose anyone overboard.
Before we knew it the engine had been cut, the main sail had been hoisted and race 1 was underway. We soon realised that although we had a poor position to start, we had a skipper who knew what he was doing. While all other boats took a wide line to the first buoy HMS Project Resource took a more direct route and before we knew it we’d taken the lead! More shocking still was the fact that we managed to stay there and after an hour crossed the finish line first, out of eight boats – Woo Hoo!
During lunch we took some time to reflect on how and why a bunch of novices had won the first race. The key to our success was mainly due to the fact that everyone had a job to do and when we focused solely on doing this, rather than what was going on around us; we were efficient. We also had one clear leader. As skippers go I’ve not had the opportunity to meet many but I’m confident that Geoff’s no nonsense style of telling us clearly and concisely exactly what needed to be done and when also had a big effect on our performance.
The second race didn’t go quite as well (unfortunately we could only manage a mediocre 4th - mediocre, as we now all thought we were Ben Ainsley or Ellen McArthur); however we still performed well and that 4th was enough to secure us first place overall! Cue nice trophies and smiles all round!
At the end of the day we all went home tired and aching; but the main thing was we were all still dry, and hadn’t troubled the Coast Guard. So thanks to all those involved at the IOD, Geoff and Simon for hosting such a great day!