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Risk to Gain

At the Scuttlebutt sailing website is the following quote from the book ‘Risk to Gain,’ by Mark Chisnell, you will find in it how sailing helps you to increase your insight into Theory U (green words are mine):

“When the Volvo Ocean Race begins this October, the online audience will be
captivated by the imagery and power of the boats, but challenged to know
what it is really like to be onboard. But in the book ‘Risk to Gain’,
author Mark Chisnell succeeds in presenting this side of the story in his
account of Paul Cayard and Team EF’s victory in the 1997-98 Whitbread Race.

EF language had a disastrous Leg Two, the team’s first experience in the
Southern Ocean. They regrouped, made changes, and in this extract from the
book, Magnus Olsson describes the moment when they knew it had all come
together, back in the Southern Ocean on Leg Five:

It was probably about 17.30 when Paul [Cayard] emerged out of the hatch. It
was about three hours before darkness, and I was back on the wheel. By then
we were just hurling the boat through the ocean. Over waves, through them,
the boat just kept motoring. Nothing slowed her, nothing stopped her
stride, there was so much power from the rig. How does it go – power is
nothing without control? But we had control, the rudder had grip. And I had
the boat, I knew she was happy. Even so, perhaps feeling that this ride
couldn’t go on forever, I had reached the point where I would be willing to
change down. Paul joined the guys on the couch, sat quietly and watched for
a while. Then he was beside me, yelling in my ear to be heard through all
the clothing: ‘How does it feel, Magnus?’

‘Pretty good actually,’ I shouted back, hesitating for a moment to give the
wheel a big spin. ‘There’s a lot of wind, but she feels fine.’

‘OK Magnus, let’s roll with it, I’m happy.’

(discovering your highest potential and having a container with the poeple you trust and respect)

Then he moved forward and swopped on to the grinder. Now, when someone like
Paul Cayard is grinding, you kind of know that the trimming is going to be
right on the money. It gives you confidence. I needed it; by now it was
blowing up to thirty-five knots. We had struggled on previous occasions to
hold that sail in anything above thirty knots. It was an incredible feeling
to be at the wheel of this charging machine. She simply didn’t hesitate,
carving a trough through the Southern Ocean, hurling solid walls of spray
into the sunshine. We were sailing down a tunnel of water and light. A
sensory overload, trying to pound through the bridge of concentration I had
built to the conditions. Filtering out the feedback I needed from the
waves, the wind and the boat; trying to stem the wild rushes of sound and
motion, damp down the adrenaline-soaked excitement. And there was Paul,
winding like crazy, giving me these huge grins when we clocked it over
thirty knots, with the boys on the couch behind whooping and hollering.
They were moments I will never forget.

(in the flow and generative listening, through filtering out what you really need to know)

There are many special times in the Whitbread. The Southern Ocean is always
special – one way or another. So is rounding Cape Horn. And of course
winning is special too – that, after all, is what you are there for. As it
turned out, on this leg we would do all these things. But sometimes it is
the pure experience that is the best. Knowing you have reached down and
found the ability in yourselves, together, as a team, to do something that
seemed utterly impossible only a few short weeks before. Smoking through
the Southern Ocean, the big Kahuna up, and thirty-five knots on both the
wind-speed and boat-speed dials.”

(let go the fear of needing to win, enjoy the experience and live up to your potential)

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