Binani Group senior managers go sailing…and build special bonds

“What on earth can sailing have to do with our business?” This was probably the big question in the minds of the Senior Managers of the Binani Group when they were informed that they were going to have to attend a team building and training session conducted by a sailing company called Aquasail. 

“What the heck, at least we’ll get to experience what sailing is about” was how they consoled themselves.

Binani Group photos                 

Little did they know that in addition to experiencing sailing, some of them would even get to steer a yacht when blindfolded!!!

Yes, sailing blindfolded is just one of the many interesting features of our corporate training programs using the powerful platform of sailing.

Here’s the highlights of what happened that day:

We spent the morning in their boardroom - for a briefing. The managers got acquainted with boats, sailing terms, what happens on a sailboat…and how sailing together in a boat is a lot like “working together in an office.” We’re all in the same boat, right?


They also got a nice surprise… they were going to form groups and RACE their boats!!!

The goal - win the race. The only way to do this was with smooth teamwork.

After watching some movie clips of famous international sailing regattas, after asking thousands of interesting questions…and yes, after getting to know their team mates well, they said they were ready to sail.

So, jackets, ties, and leather shoes were exchanged for sports shorts, T shirts and floaters…not to mention some snazzy eyewear and caps. Well attired for their adventure, they got into taxis and headed for the jetty opposite the Taj Hotel – Gateway of India.

At the Jetty, all teams buckled up with life Jackets (life jackets are a mandatory safety feature on all Aquasail boats) and soon got into their respective yachts. There was the customary introduction to the different parts of the yacht – The tall mainsail which was always very impressive, the Jib with its pulleys and ropes, the tiller, the skipper, and the tindal . The tindal is the one who takes care of the boat- like it’s his own baby, so the tindals usually know every inch of the boat very well.

 Once introductions were made, the managers did some practice sailing runs – just to get the hang of how to “Tack” (catch the wind) and how to “Gybe” (turn the boat). They also got familiar with the orange race markers, the course that their boats would take, and the race master’s  instructions.

All 4 teams lined up their boats at the start (with impressive dexterity for first-time sailors) and got ready. At the sound of Fog Horn, the race began…and they were off. Racing the wind, pulling ropes, tacking Gybing, correcting their course with the tiller, yelling commands, working like great teams…all eager to win.

They raced this way for 3 races, getting better and better with each race. Learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses and finding new elements to their team mates which they were not aware of before.

The final race was a special surprise. They had to race with the skipper in each boat, being blindfolded!!! “How in heaven’s name can I do this” the skippers thought. Your crew members have to be your eyes and you have to trust them. You also need to build a good communication rapport of understandable signals… they were told. They took on this daunting challenge with great sporting spirit.

Skippers blindfolded, they raced – and they learnt real trust and teamwork. The skippers learnt to trust their team mates and the team mates learn to communicate clearly, in time and honestly. So that’s how sailing teaches you to be a good team mate and a great team mate and a great corporate manager. 

"one thing I learnt from this program" said one of the managers, "Is to communicate in a timely manner. These days, when I get significant information, I make sure I pass it on right away without sitting on it. I realized there may be someone out there who may be 'blindfolded' and in the dark right now and needs that information badly."


Read about the corporate training conducted at the Aditya Birla Group.

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Read about the Aditya Birla Grooup's Team Bonding event at our Mandwa sailing center.

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