“Virtues of a good skipper on a charter yacht” is probably the most discussed subject when talking about skippers, their lifestyle, job and responsibilities. It is also a never ending discussion because there is no consensus about what these responsibilities really are. Their ranking is even more difficult to establish.
The following are the virtues that I have compiled from recent discussions:
- Knowledge – in the first place, the knowledge of navigation and seamanship; a good skipper should know how to steer the charter yacht safely, to predict the weather, to repair certain damage, to maintain and use the gear, to get acquainted with the regulations and to be confident in their knowledge. It is important to know foreign languages as well.
- Organizational skills – good organization is the heart of the safe and pleasant cruising. A good skipper has to harmonize his crew’s wishes and demands with realistic and achievable possibilities.
- Interpersonal skills – most of the time aboard the skipper has to deal with people. At the end of the day, the good skipper is not the one who knows everything about sailing but is grumpy all the time. Instead, the good skipper is the one who manages to make his crew content. The skipper is the one who is responsible for good atmosphere aboard and who has to react without losing control over himself in case of disagreement among the crew members.
- Coolness – the skipper is very often coping with different types of people’s personalities on one hand, and difficult weather conditions on the other. In both cases their cold-blooded and well-planned decisions can lead to a happy ending.
- Courage – commanding and steering a yacht isn’t a simple thing to do, considering all sorts of danger that might jeopardize the safety onboard. This is why a certain amount of courage is crucial to be a good skipper. By courage I don’t mean the appetite for hazard, of course.
- Wanderlust – being a skipper means constant travelling; therefore, this job isn’t for sensitive boys and girls.
- Sailing skills – last but not least… This virtue is ranked as the last one with purpose. If one possesses all the other virtues mentioned above, one can make a good skipper even with poor sailing skills. A skipper who works in the charter business should be a good sailor, but it does not mean that good sailors are always good skippers and vice versa. Sport sailing requires a different set of sailing skills when compared to being a skipper on a charter yacht.
This list could be much longer but I think the most important virtues are mentioned. Feel free to take part in the debate and contribute with your own lists and rankings of the most desirable skipper’s virtues.
I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!