Sailing is something that is quite unique from other activities. It teaches those principles that turn sailors into the special athletes they are, more than just ability and strategy. However, we are so often focused on the physical aspects of sailing that we forget how much we stand to gain from the sport, both socially and emotionally. So here’s a list of sailing’s top 8 socio-emotional benefits.

  1. Teamwork

Although sailing individually, sailors are forced from day one to work together. No sailor can lift his Optimist boat alone after all. Seafarers gradually realize over time that working together not only helps speed things up, but also enables them to learn more from each other.

  1. Patience

Whether a sailing maneuver is mastered or awaiting the next wind shift, sailing is a patience test. Sailing maneuvers are so complex that executing them well, consistently, could take weeks of practice.

  1. Responsibility

Sailing is a sport requiring a fair amount of equipment. From bringing your sunglasses, gloves and wind indicator to cleaning your boat before a regatta–sailors learn from the very beginning of their sailing journey to take ownership of their equipment. They also learn to be responsible for their choices–whether it’s a bad tactical decision or a sail setting.

  1. Controlling our emotions

As we’ve mentioned previously, sailing conditions can be quite unpredictable. It is through experiences of winning and losing that sailors gradually learn to control their emotions. They find ways to deal with their feelings when they’re alone on the boat – the joy, frustration, et cetera. At the end of the day, the best sailors are the ones who are able to best manage their emotions and prevent them from affecting their performance.

  1. Discipline

Due to its nature, sailing can be an activity that takes a lot of time. It also requires a considerable amount of time on holidays–precious time that could be spending with friends or on school work. That being said, for sailors this creates a sense of responsibility because they know the little resources they have and stay focused on goals.

  1. Accepting defeat

The conditions are constantly changing in sailing. Regattas is conducted over a couple of days and a new sailing state is introduced every day. As a consequence, during a regatta, places often shift –and even during a race itself. Also, unpredictable conditions mean you can go from leading a race to ending up dead last. In sailing, you can’t win every single race, so sailors learn to accept defeat and move on – a skill that’s especially important as races are held back to back.

  1. Friendship

Maybe one of the most important sailing takeaways are established relationships. During windless days and scary storms, it is inevitable that sailors will bond with each other. You can also make new friends with foreign sailors, particularly during those international sailing regattas.

  1. Confidence

The foray into the sport of most sailors begins with the optimist. It’s a single-handed vessel, implying that a single sailor operates it. On the boat alone, sailors are constantly required to make their own decisions, as young as six or seven. We don’t always make the right decisions, but we rise in self-confidence from having the opportunity to learn about themselves. 

Once you’ve conquered three-meter high waves, you can do almost anything.

In conclusion, we realize that sailing is not just a sport which keeps you active, but also a sport that makes you a well-rounded person – something that is far more important than winning medals.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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