An update from our Navigator Luke:
As in all walks of life, everyone onboard a yacht racing offshore has to make decisions all the time. Big or small, these decisions impact on the boat in different ways. The crew whose job it is to steer the boat and trim the sails constantly have to make small decisions about which way to steer or whether to let the sail out or pull it in. Each individual decision made by these people has a small impact on the performance of the boat at that time but, added together, they are what make the boat sail fast or slow.
The navigator (as I see it, and perhaps I would say this as I am one!) and skipper have to make bigger decisions about what direction they want the boat to head, given the predicted winds and currents and their impact on boat performance. These decisions happen far less regularly, but their impact on the result of the boat of getting one of them wrong can be catastrophic.
I guess you could liken this to any team situation, in which the strategy (big decision) is set by those leading, and is put into practice by the rest of the team. All have at least as much impact on the success or otherwise of the project, but those of the leaders (or in our case, skipper/navigator) are much more visible.
Last night’s decision to head north before the majority of the rest of the fleet was a BIG decision. This was particularly the case given that I knew it was going to result in some short term losses, but obviously looking to make much bigger gains in the longer term. Again, to use a business analogy, this is like investing for the long term.
When we were sitting with sails flapping I am sure that the rest of the crew were cursing my decision to head north. If they were, to be fair, they didn’t show it and got on with working the boat as hard as possible. Now that hopefully the decision has paid off, everyone can share in its success!
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