Setting Your Sailing Goals

Setting Your Sailing Goals

A goal is a personal promise to yourself

The Irish Sailing Take the Helm Women in Sport programme aims to encourage women into positions of leadership, both on and off the water. One of the elements is the Women in Sailing Mentorship programme lead by offshore professional sailor Pamela Lee.

Here Pam updates us on a goal-setting workshop for the mentees led by development coach Lisa O’Carroll.

“A goal is a personal promise to your future self. I’ve come to believe that the challenges we tackle whilst doing the things we love help to prepare us for the challenges we face in our everyday lives. In other words, the challenges we choose to take on are like a training ground for successfully dealing with those that we don’t want or that hit us unexpectedly. The process of setting goals and working towards them is a way of setting ‘challenges’ for yourself and then strategising a way to overcome them, or ‘achieve the goal’. I believe that this is why active participation in sports and hobbies plays such a central role in our lives.

When we play a sport, we are actively working towards something we have chosen to focus on - scoring a goal, winning a race, getting a personal best (PB), mastering a new technique – whether subconsciously or not, we have set a goal and a plan to achieve it. Personally, offshore sailing has had a significant impact on my life this way. After dealing with the mental, physical and emotional implications of a short-handed offshore race or challenging delivery, the hurdles that get thrown at me in ‘real life’ often seem much less daunting.

However, a key thing that I have learnt in the last year of working with development coach Lisa O’Carroll is that you can maximise both your ability to set and achieve goals, as well as the benefits you reap afterwards by building in a structured process of ‘setting and reviewing’ your progress. This was something I wanted to share with the three Irish Sailing mentees and give them the opportunity to gain some techniques for recognising the progress they have made and for putting new, attainable goals in place. We did a group session with Lisa and the results were inspiring.

Each of the mentees listed impressive achievements from their sailing seasons this year and identified the next steps that they each hoped to take. With Lisa’s guidance we were able to recognise these successes and put some stepping stones in place for the next goals in their individual pathways.

At the start of the mentorship, Robyn Lynch listed one of her goals as ‘learning to navigate’. Since then she has practised navigation in various ways on long delivery passages in the Caribbean, France and Ireland, she has learned to use complex Adrena Navigation software and taken on the role of navigator in races and regattas. Her next goal is to continue working on a developing this skill further.

Aideen Kilkelly set out with the goal of gaining more offshore miles and building experience on the helm as a watch leader. She’s smashed this goal with extensive miles in the Caribbean and the Irish Sea, taking on everything from helming, passage planning, sail changes and trim. Her next goal is to focus on the development of the Galway Hooker fleet, and a training programme to get more women involved in and confident in sailing these amazing boats.

Carla Fagan started the season with goals of more racing and ‘stepping back’ in the boat – to the helm and the decision-making positions. In August, she helmed ‘Tiger Roll’ in the Squib Easterns at Howth and was the overall winner of the Silver Fleet. Her next goal is to continue to build her knowledge and understanding of the Rules of Racing, so that she can have even greater confidence in close quarter situations on the race course.

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