Team Building Sailing Information: 
Sailing Ideas for Groups

team building sailing

Looking for sailing information? Sailing days, classes and pleasure cruises are all ideal for getting people out of their usual environment and improving communication skills.

Here, we take a look at everything from sailing basics to options for a corporate sailing day. Get a feel for this particular activity by checking out the video clips below and use the information to find out if it will tick your team building boxes.

Sailing Information: Sailing Basics

If you only have a fairly wishy-washy idea of what’s involved in team building sailing sessions, these little factoids will give you a more accurate picture.

Lifejackets and all necessary safety equipment will be provided on a sailing basics away day. You may need to pay to hire boots and waterproofs but this is a minor expense. We paid £7/$12 per person to hire our gear when I tried this activity.

Whilst it is better if you can swim proficiently, the ability to do so is not a must thanks to the life jackets. However, you do actually need to be able to swim. Some schools that offer corporate sailing days also ask that all participants are over 16.

Terms are an important part of sailing basics.

Items are referred to using specific terms and you will use these throughout the experience. For example; Port is the left of the boat and Starboard is the right. The front is referred to as the Bow and the back is the Stern.

Team Sailing Information: Sailing for Beginners

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a grizzled old sea dog to get stuck into this team building activity.

Absolute beginners are shown the ropes by the skipper and old hands can help their team mates so everyone’s a winner.

group sailing charter

I have actually been on a sailing for beginners day so can speak from experience.

There’s more to it than you might think and it was pretty exhausting! However, if you’re looking for an activity that will develop collaboration skills and instil the importance of team member roles, this is the way to go.

Sailing for beginners is all about working together to make a boat move in the direction you want it to. There are no individuals in sailing. Everyone must cooperate in order to achieve the desired outcome.

We went sailing in the UK, on Solent in Southampton. There were 5 of us but the skipper told us he took a group of 30 out the previous day on 2 boats. We were sailing on a sloop and each of us had a turn at the wheel and mastered the art of tacking; using the wind to move in a zigzag motion towards a certain point.

The sails, crew and helm all switched sides which definitely got the adrenaline levels up!

The sailing for beginners day also taught each of us how to hoist sails, tie a proper sailing knot and bring a boat in to dock safely. We also learned alot about safety, including how to use the boat’s communication system in case of emergency.

We were charged £75pp for 1 day with a company called Black Dog Sailing. If you were interested in a sailing weekend, the cost will be around £175pp and there are discounts for groups of 7 and above. We went in high season so prices are lower from September – March.

Have a look at this video clip and get a feel for what’s involved:

Team Sailing Information: Sailing Classes

These are a bit different from the average sailing for beginners away day.

Sailing classes are about learning specific skills, rather than getting an overview during a day out. Choose between land yachting, small scale radio sailing, dinghy classes and windsurfing to name but a few.

There are a number of Royal Yachting Association (RYA) sailing classes and courses suitable for beginners that are worth a look.

Here's a couple of examples:

  • RYA Start Yachting – described as a relaxed but hands-on way to discover what’s involved with sailing a modern cruising yacht. The cost is £199.
  • RYA Competent Crew – this is a 5-day or 2-weekend hands-on course designed to help you become a competent crew member. Prices start from £399.

If you’re simply looking for an introduction to sailing class, this video clip will give you an idea of what's involved:

Sailing Information: Group Sailing Charter

Unless one of you is a qualified skipper, you will need to go for skippered group sailing charter.

You can choose between a day that actually teaches you sailing basics or sailing ship cruises.

The former is a much better team building option and the latter is more suited to employee retention and motivation.

Team Sailing Information: Sailing Ship Cruises

These combine an activity holiday with exploration and relaxation. There are team building benefits too.

The aim is to arrive at a new harbour each day which brings team goal setting into the mix. Having said that, sailing ship cruises don’t tend to follow a fixed itinerary, which is great if you want to work on improving crisis management handling, decision making or problem solving.

The weather plays a huge role, so team members will learn how to react to external stimuli.

Sailing ship cruises are managed by a professional crew and as a general rule, groups of 6-12 can be accommodated.

corporate sailing day

Team Building Sailing: Why Do It?

For starters, it’s much more than just a jolly.

There are plenty of team building benefits to be taken away. If you are considering group sailing charter or a corporate sailing day, the skills learned can easily be transferred to the workplace.

Here are just a few of the benefits:

  1. The importance of team communication – a corporate sailing day just won’t work without it! You’ll soon be off-course if communication skills aren’t up to scratch – talking, listening and following direction are all essential skills. 
  2. Managing resistance to change – team building sailing classes are ideal if you are encountering problems with preparing a group for a forthcoming change in work circumstances. Team members will be taken out of their comfort zones and will learn a new set of skills in an unfamiliar but positive environment.
  3. High team performance – a group who work really well together will perform a task to a high standard both in and out of the office. Sailing is a good way of illustrating what high team performance can achieve. I still can’t quite believe I managed to steer a boat in open water simply using the wind! However, I also know that I would have been unable to do so if it wasn’t for my ship mates.
  4. Morale in the workplace – a team building sailing session is a learning experience but it’s also amazing fun. How often do you get the chance to do something as memorable as this? Sailing is a unique and must-try experience that will be talked about long after the day has passed. It’s a reward and a valuable lesson rolled into one activity.

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