Spinnaker Sailing – Caulkheads, Grockles & Oveners

October 4th, 2010 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

A Zircon Day Sailing to the Island of Wight

Slightly delayed, I requested: “permission to come aboard, skipper”, which was only too willingly granted by Master Mariner Jim MacGregor. I had missed my train but thanks to Jim’s local knowledge and quick thinking, I managed to be part of what turned out to be a wonderful day. A friendly welcome by the other Zircon team member and some quickly disseminated health and safety instructions ensured that I would not be knocked off my feet at the first moment of ‘tacking’.

Thanks to Jim’s patience and gentle instructions, I believe we all felt very much up to the task of taking the yacht to our destination. Once we set sail, it was all ‘tacking here and tacking there’. Quite a lot of fun, as I could tell by the face of Chris King who later confessed: “… it was really exhilarating to be at the helm and feel the power of the wind driving the boat.”

In a quiet moment, I thought to myself: “How did I get here?” and remembered the surprise call by Amanda some months ago when she invited me to come on day trip with her and 10 of the team. Zircon’s Directors wanted to reward those who had contributed much to the continuing success of Zircon with a day out. I was quite chuffed and soon excited about the sailing, as a long term dream of mine is to sail around the Mediterranean and visit the ancient harbours and sites of early human history. Perhaps I will achieve this when I finally grow up.

I agreed wholeheartedly with Sarah Linton who said: “I have renewed my love for sailing – which could be an expensive passion! A great experience, spending some quality time with people who I know well, but rarely have time to talk to about the important things.” When Jim revealed our destination- the Island of Wight, I got even more excited!!! After all, Jimi Hendrix played there… and I hoped to discover the hippie heritage that I read about in the papers.

Fortunately the weather played along. Benign winds and the occasional sunshine helped to make this trip stimulating, yet relaxing. When we arrived on the Island, Jim’s sea merchant background and ability to easily connect with people ensured that we were given a premium mooring place for the lunch time excursion of Yarmouth. And we were glad to have some experienced hands on board, as William Shearer put it: “We also benefited from Andy McBurnie’s sailing prowess as we crossed the Solent to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight and enjoyed a great lunch prepared by Felicity Roberts.” I thought the Island looked beautiful, though noticed soon that most of the inhabitants were about the same age as Jimi would have been.

My visit to the local tourist information office was primarily to gain a map and orientate myself, though speaking to the lady behind the counter, an Islander as I soon found out, I was initiated into the degrees of citizenship on the Island. The words you do want to be associated with on the Island are ‘Caulkhead’ and ‘Islander’. The words you do not want to be associated with are ‘Overners’ and ‘Grockle’. I leave it up to the reader to travel to the Island and find out more.

Fully rested we embarked on the return journey, where I took the helm as part of the journey, no Zircon colleagues were missing at the end of the trip so I assume that I had done a good enough job to help us get back. The return journey was equally fantastic for me though I was not happy that Jim told me to get out our ca. 5 ton yacht of the way of a 28.000 ton car freighter. Apparently, the right of way is determined by ones size at sea.

Overall, I can only agree with my colleague Angie Ingman who enthused: “I thoroughly enjoyed my day out on a yacht, the weather and company were excellent. <…> I must admit a day out on a 41 foot yacht was never on my “hit list” of things to do, but I would definitely love to do it again. It is so chilling and relaxing, just watching the world go by,…” Zircon’s directors very much enabled us to get to know each other a bit better and provided an unforgettable experience. William Shearer put this very succinctly: “The emphasis of this day was on having a good time and rewarding team members, the goal was achieved while ensuring everyone had a day to remember. I can’t speak highly enough of Jim’s calm leadership style and friendly manner, making everyone feel at ease and welcome. All in all, a truly memorable day, especially as I finally had a go at the helm.”

The excellent feedback from my colleagues only confirmed my very positive experience of this type of ‘reward scheme’, which might do wonders for once ‘psychological contract’ with Zircon. The psychologist in me took note of this. I did not want to say good bye to Jim and his yacht, though needs must and it is back to the real world.

Thank you Amanda, Sarah, Julie and Jason for a fabulous reward and a fabulous day out!

Written by Dirk Murray-Palm – Zircon Business Manager

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