Sailing as Perfect “Wet Lab”

By Captain Joan Gilmore of Sail Away Sailing School, LLC

Contact: or 612-871-8101


I believe that sailing is a perfect “wet lab” environment for team building and for self-discovery. It is particularly perfect for learning interpersonal skills quickly and effectively when participants are directed by a talented and well-trained captain/facilitator (such as yourself). 


Here is why sailing is the perfect environment…

  •   There is no escape. Once you leave the dock, you are unavoidably part of the team.
  •   Everyone must keep working together continuously or else! Unlike other no-escape environments, like power boating, where a single helmsperson can control the boat, each sailing crewmember must keep tending their post to prevent grounding or getting lost.
  •   The elements are few, simple and easily understood…

-the crew – Others can’t be called in to sub for crew that “want off.”

-the weather – You deal with what comes.

-the equipment – You are responsible for repairs at sea.

Since the elements are few, and relatively simple, you have a stripped-down laboratory with relatively few elements outside the control of the crew.

  •   There is little to no interaction with the outside world. Once you are out of cell phone range, the crew has only each other to rely on for knowledge and companionship.

This creates a relatively pure, self-contained wet-lab for examining human interactions in a very efficient and profound way. 


I believe that a carefully chosen crew on a multi-day voyage or even a day cruise is a perfect utopia; a self-contained microcosm of the best that life has to offer.