We are aware that sailing may sound very intimidating to the novice sailor but it shouldn't be! On the majority of our sailing events 95% of our guests have never sailed before.

On a standard Team Sailing Day or Corporate Regatta, where guests have little or no experience of sailing it is most likely that they will fully take on only a few of the roles. The roles of Captain and tactician will generally be taken on by an experienced EMG Skipper who will provide support and direction to the crew throughout the event.

Once participants have the swing of things they will take on more responsibility throughout the day and will find that they begin to interact more fluidly and with less guidance from the Skipper.

The Key Roles on a Yacht

The majority of EMG's sailing team building events are on Beneteau First 40s or in simple terms, 40ft sailing yachts. There are nine key roles on board and each is vital to the performance and safety of the yacht and its crew.

Boat CaptainSurprising as it may seem the captain is not necessarily the helm (yacht driver). This crew member must ensure that the yacht is ready for racing, all of the crew are accounted for and that food, fuel and sails are ready for hoisting. The boat captain is key in keeping communications open at all times inboard and may well help other crew members as and when needed. He or she is also generally responsible for talking the whole crew through manoeuvres as they are about to happen and ensuring that all crew are ready.

TacticianThe tactician's role is to get the yacht around the race course as fast as possible taking into account wind, tide, other competitors and the crew's ability. They are also responsible for making sure that the yacht has the correct course and has the correct start times for every race - in short they are the brains of the operation. Main communication is with the helm and boat captain to run through manoeuvres.

The Helm (driver)Just because they 'drive' the boat does not mean they are the Captain. The helm's role is to point the yacht wherever the tactician says and to keep the yacht going as fast as possible at all times. Although it is easy for the helm to get involved with other crew members' jobs, they must try to focus on the job at hand and not be distracted. Main communication is with the tactician and main sheet.

Main SheetFirst things first: a sheet is a sail and the 'Main Sheet' is the person in charge of letting the main sail in and out. The main sheet trimmer has a lot of control over the yacht's speed and manoeuvrability. The main sheet trimmer must focus on their job at all times to help produce the most speed for the yacht at which ever the point of sail they may be (not a job for the faint hearted). Main communication is with the helm.

Head Sail TrimmersThis position is for two crew members, one who will cut the sheet (release it when going through the tack) whilst the other pulls in the loaded sheet. The crew member releasing can then help with tailing the sheet or trimming it - which is a good example of team work. The head sail gives the yacht a considerable amount of drive and as always, the trimmer should keep adjusting the sail depending on the point of sail - never taking their eyes off of the ball. The trimmers are also in charge of trimming the spinnaker sheet and guy when going down wind. Main communication is between each other, boat captain and tactician. Pre start these guys will have a lot to do!

Bowman (the thankless job)The bowman is in control of all sail hoists and drops depending on the point of sail, the bowman spends most of his or her time on the foredeck preparing for spinnaker hoists, gibes and drops. Communication is vital between the boat captain, pitman and mast man to ensure a smooth race. No sails up means no sailing so always be nice to your bowman!

Pitman - The pitman is an extension of both the bowman and mast man and is in control of all of the running rigging which comes into the cockpit. Once again a very important role and always in the thick of the action. Main communication is between bowman, mast man and boat captain. The eyes and ears for the foredeck crew.

Mast manThis position is for the stronger members of crew. A mast man's main job is to assist with the fast hoist of sails during manoeuvres. The mast man and bowman go hand in hand and assist each other on hoists and drops. Main communication is with bow man, pitman and boat captain.

Ballast No sailing team is complete without its members that help to balance the boat in order to gain the top speeds and manoeuvrability. These members of the crew are called 'ballast' and are key when racing for the mark. Acting as Ballast also allows for the best seat in the house.

To discuss our sailing events call our team on 01590 670999 or email us on ask@emg.co.uk