Grahame Robb Associates delivers successful programme for newly appointed Clipper Race Skippers

31 March 2023

Grahame Robb Associates (GRA), the Official Learning and Development Supplier for the Clipper 2023-24 Race, recently delivered a bespoke leadership training programme for the eleven Race Skippers.

Based at Grahame Robb Associates HQ, the tailored two-day learning programme created for the Race Skippers focused on enabling the Skippers to develop, maximise and build on their existing expertise through experiential learning in an environment which simulates the pressures of real-life race conditions, as well as throwing them into new environments to apply their skills.

The training was highly centred on the creation of a strong crew culture and team dynamic, utilising practical and proven techniques such as Belbin Team Role Theory and Adair Action Centred Leadership, as well as practical applications in different scenarios.

Building, developing and ultimately racing around the world with a crew made up of diverse abilities, backgrounds, ages and views is a unique role, requiring Skippers to possess a high level of mentorship and coaching skills.

Ineke van der Weijden was one of the eleven newly appointed Race Skippers at the training. Prior to becoming a professional sailor, Ineke worked in International Development providing mentorship to small business owners around the world. Following the residential training she commented: “The team at GRA used a combination of personal profiling, leadership exercises and some theory to gain an understanding of what kind of leaders we are, and how we can use our strengths to build our crews. We came out with some really interesting insights of how we can create a strong culture on board and a cohesive crew, so this is very exciting. This course really stood out because it took such a good approach to making it very specific to our own personalities, and it was a lot of fun too.”

Grace Kitching, Clipper Race Manager, added: “An important part of the Race Skipper training programme is to build on the existing skills of the professional sailors to further develop their leadership and team management styles for one of the toughest jobs out there.

“It was great to be back with Grahame and his team, who provided us with behavioural insights and, through a series of tasks and practical exercises over the two day residential, challenged the Skippers and also brought them together as a team. This is just the start of the programme, with more to come over the coming weeks and months. We are excited for what this will bring to the Skippers, the AQPs (First Mates) and ultimately the Clipper Race experience.”

Based in the UK, the team at GRA are experts in designing and delivering bespoke learning and development programmes. With over 30 years of experience in supporting leaders to grow and develop through stepping far outside of their comfort zone, GRA enables leaders to enhance their awareness of their own leadership style in a practical setting. The company has worked with a range of organisations and clients, from elite sports teams to senior business leaders, utilising practical assessment and development techniques to deliver results-focused programmes.

The Skippers will be returning to GRA HQ for further training in a few weeks time with the eleven AQPs, who are due to be announced in late April.