The RacePreparing your Boat & your Crew

In the first of a new series of the 'Knowledge Box', in which our Race partners impart useful, practical advice and guidance for anyone contemplating doing the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, whether as first timers or old hands, we look at Preparing your Boat & your Crew with the CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Paul Kerr. Paul owns and races Rum Truffle, a Moody 49. They were 166th overall and 4th in their class in 2011's historic Race..

Preparing your Boat & your Crew

  1. Set yourself clear objectives from the start in terms of what you want to achieve from the Race. Are you approaching it as part of a serious campaign or just a fun day out? You need to make that clear to the people you invite - neither is right or wrong, however each requires a very different approach.
  2. Make sure your guests are well briefed and fully aware of what is expected from them well in advance. This includes making sure they have the right clothing, particularly wet weather gear, footwear and plenty of dry clothes to change into. Also, clarify everyone's role from the outset. Make sure you have plenty of food and water.
  3. Know the charts and tides beforehand - you may not have time during the Race - and set realistic goals and keep people informed. Nothing is more encouraging for people than hearing about the milestones; the half-way mark and so on, especially for people doing the Race for the first time when it can be a daunting experience. Always play safe and remember as Skipper you are responsible for your crew. Reduce sail when necessary, the boat often goes faster when it is balanced and it is far more comfortable.
  4. Don't take risks unless you really know what you are doing. Taking an aggressive approach to the start unless you are a real professional is not worth it on a race that may take you eight hours plus. To 'nip' inside the wreck at The Needles may look like an easy way of gaining places but it carries a high risk factor with no guaranteed reward.
  5. Most important and the rule that is most difficult to keep is drink responsibly the night before. Get an early night on Friday - it will pay dividends big time! There is nothing worse than 8 hours of feeling sick, plus it is bad for the rest of the crew. Try to get some practice in on the Friday and be certain to set off early on Saturday morning...without a hangover!
  6. A 'bonus' tip from the professionals (so I have been told) is to find your own space and don't waste time pushing your rights for the sake of it or getting into duals - you will only slow yourself down with dirty air.

Now, it would be irresponsible as CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World not to encourage you to indulge and pamper yourself and/or your crew either before you take on this incredible challenge, or as a reward for doing well.

Some top tips for indulging and preparing your team

  1. Build morale & practice: Team morale is important so why not take your team on a short break somewhere indulgent to both spoil and prepare them? Book a coastal hotel such as Cap Rocat Mallorca where they can enjoy sailing around the island of Mallorca, fishing, diving and water sports. Take your crew on practice sails – you could even enrol in a sailing course for the weekend to encourage successful teamwork and help those newer to sailing feel more confident.
  2. Bond: It’s a good idea to engage in team building activities before the Race to get your team focused. Team building activities can be done on dry land or on the boat. Group diving activities are a great way to connect with your team and can be done somewhere exotic or closer to home. For an indulgent option we suggest Velassaru Maldives.
  3. Get Healthy: Ensure your team is in optimum condition. Check in to a Spa for a pre-race health check and detox. Aquapura Douro Valley in Porto, Portugal is a beautiful Manor House set high on a hill overlooking the rolling hills of the Douro Valley.
  4. Relax: Pre-race nerves? Yoga is a great way to chill the team out! Danesfield House in Marlow-on-Thames is offering a Yoga Programme - new 2012 dates just released! 20th-22nd January, 17th - 19th February and 13th - 15th April. Enjoy a varied Yoga Programme suitable for all abilities.
  5. Incentivise: To give your crew something to look forward to and hopefully celebrate with, why not buy them each a gift to be used after the race? Small Luxury Hotels of the World offer some fantastic Gift Certificates that make a lovely incentive or thank you for your crew members.