The other day a beautiful thing happened. Every single sailing coach or instructor on my humble little Vancouver Island got together for a weekend of professional development and sailing. Two talented coaches ran the weekend, one from Manitoba and one from Alberta. Yours truly sat in an easy chair and sipped coffee from a mug that read “Thunder Bay is for Lovers” and took it all in. The rules were simple: you had to sail with someone who was from another club or city, you had to ask any question that was on your mind, and you had to try something new that you’d never done before.
Over the course of the weekend a magical thing happened…we began to act like a community. For two days, we managed to shed the “I’m from this club and you’re from that club” mentality, or worse, the “your from WHAT city/province/country”?! Folks just went out, introduced themselves to a stranger, and then went and rocked some drills. It was very obvious that there were discrepancies in experience levels and technical knowledge, while some people flashed deer in headlights when asked to run a start sequence, others were practising their pumping skills off the startling-to the chagrin of anyone who had no idea what pumping was. But, the point is that over the course of the weekend, these gaps were reduced, and the knowledge was spread out from competitive programs to sailing hamlets and vice versa. Best yet, people made some professional contacts and, heaven forbid, some friends. Funny that eh?