The Importance of Teamwork in Sailing

Published Date: April 14 2023


We cannot think of another sport where the importance of teamwork is so vital both before and during the actual event. Whether that event is a leisurely cruise or an ocean-going race. Each crew member plays a crucial role, which is not only essential for performance, but also for the safety of the boat and everyone on board. 


It is vitally important that every member of the crew is fully au fait with the boat, the equipment that they will be handling, the orders that they will be given and what is expected of them.  


It is also essential that every crew member is fully aware of the procedures and protocols that are to be used in any emergency situation. 


The first thing that any skipper should concentrate on is giving the crew a full and accurate briefing. 


For crew who have not been aboard that particular yacht before or who are inexperienced, the briefing should be more comprehensive and include the location and use of items like gas cookers, heads, fire fighting procedures and equipment, and the location and use of life jackets together with other emergency and life-saving equipment. 


Any briefing, even to an experienced crew, should incorporate the sail plan. The objectives of the sail, the weather, wind and sea forecast, an awareness of any particular risks, the allocation of tasks, as well as a comprehensive safety briefing. 


Storm sails-1


The allocation of tasks should start from first boarding and setting up the yacht right through to stowing equipment away at the end of the sail. 


It is also extremely important for a crew to know what to do in an emergency if the Skipper is incapacitated or even knocked overboard. Ensure that at least one other crew member knows how to drop the sails, start the engine and make a ‘Mayday’ call on the radio and what to do in a man overboard situation. 


It is also vitally important that the skipper uses clear and consistent language so that the crew understands him/her (as an example, when does a skipper claim lee-oh on going about? Some skippers announce this as soon as they start the manoeuvre, whilst others will give this command as the boat turns through the wind).


The more you get out there with your team and practice every aspect of sailing, including emergency procedures, the easier it all becomes, the better you will sail and the safer your experience will be. 


So by combining thorough preparation, giving a comprehensive briefing so each person thoroughly understanding their tasks, adopting good standards of communication and practising all of this over and over again, then you should end up with an extremely capable crew. 


One final point, that your crew will thank you for, is to ensure that all your safety equipment is in date and properly listed and that this list is prominently displayed, so that they can find anything they need in an emergency. Upffront can supply a full range of safety equipment, as well as maintenance items like lifejacket re-arming cylinders. 


If you have any questions please feel free to email us at, or click the link below to see our full range of safety equipment:

View Safety Equipment


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