Meet Molly Goulding

Meet Molly Goulding

Molly Goulding, 2020 Senior Instructor of the Year Nominee

Molly has been sailing out of Glandore Harbour Sailing Club since she was small and worked as club Senior Instructor with grace, efficiency and fun in 2020, as well as introduced a Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign. One of the most challenging things for any Senior Instructor can be creating a good relationship with peers you learnt to sail with.

We asked Molly for a few tips on how to manage moving succesfully from peer to manager.

Molly smiles, “An understanding of each other’s needs and good communication helps a lot. I tried to make sure that I was there to help and the instructors knew they could come to me for advice any time. They know they have a huge position of responsibility and that we work as a team to run the training programme smoothly together” she said.

What was your biggest responsibility?

“Safety is number one of course, followed by fun. But time and resource management are the biggest management skills needed. Repairs, sailors, parents, weather monitoring, fleet changes are forever changing, and you need to manage your time carefully”

We asked Molly for a few tips on managing time and tasks:

  • Write a list of jobs at the start of the day and give each job a time. Eg 30 min repair.
  • Delegation is key. Clarity with instructions is important for a senior instructor especially during briefings and debriefs.
  • Passing on responsibility for different projects or fleet management while I am doing an onshore task.
  • Always give yourself 30 minute buffer times am and pm to help with derigging, talk to instructors, sailors, parents, committee – or make a pot of tea (if you can find the time). Let’s call that “Wiggle Room”.
  • If there is a “not so busy day”, head out onto the water in a more casual role and spend time with the instructors, giving them advice where you can in a non-judgemental and non-pressurised manner. While sailors learn new skills every day, instructors also learn new ways to teach on a daily basis. 
  • Make time to eat your lunch, even if it is while sat in the rib watching. No one wants a hungry senior instructor!

How do you get the committee listen to you?

“Go with your gut instinct and get your voice heard. Remind yourself that you have come through a training programme to become Senior Instructor for a reason and your experience is valuable. If you feel the boats should be reefed, then reef them. Or the forecast is looking gloomy then bring them in early. Don’t be pressurised by others to make a decision you are not comfortable with. Believe in yourself.”

Transitioning from young club sailor to Senior Instructor can be daunting for many young sailors, so we asked Molly if she had a message for other instructors thinking of taking on the role.

“Communication is the key and Irish Sailing were a great support. The Senior Instructor group meeting was valuable and Dave Garvey’s support was much appreciated. You can reach out and talk to Irish Sailing if you need some input. This organisation has provided me with so many skills which are adaptable to every aspect of my life and have genuinely made me a better person for it. My instructor qualification even enabled me to get an incredible job as a sailing instructor in Rhode Island last summer (although in my extremely biased opinion, there’s no place like Glandore). Irish Sailing is renowned for the quality of their instructors in clubs around the world.”

What does working as an SI as mean to you?

“I think everyone should do the course, even if they don’t plan to become a Senior Instructor. It helps you with your management, communication AND your mediation skills. These skills will be with me for life and I know I will use them in my future career as a Speech and Language Therapist.”


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