Teamwork as joint activity in sailing
Paper in proceeding, 2016

Sailing is a sport and activity that takes a long time both to learn and to master, as much of its competence-based knowledge is acquired through experience. Experiencebased learning is very important, time-intensive, and the factors for success are often tacit and hidden. Should these success factors become explicit and salient, learning would occur faster and produce obvious competitive advantages. This research was conducted by embedding on-going research results into two competitive sailing teams racing in different classes, one offshore keelboat racing with a crew of eight, and a one-design Star-class racing yacht with a crew of two. The data collection consisted of observations, interviews, and video recordings. The results were also verified with the crews to catch biases in the analysis process. A jibe, a specific but common maneuver was analyzed from the perspective of Common Ground within Joint Activity. Maneuvering a competitive offshore sail racer or a previously Olympic Star-class yacht are tasks that fulfill the requirements for Joint Activity. A high level of Common Ground is required for the effective coordination needed in order to perform at a high level and maintain the safety of the crew and equipment. Breakdowns in the coordination of maneuvers were observed, although they must be recorded on video for higher analysis reliability. To achieve greater validity, more and different maneuvers should be considered within the analysis. By better understanding the factors for success, sail racing teams can more quickly gain competence and thus competitive advantages. The research analyzes the teamwork found in sailing from the perspective of Joint Activity and Common Ground and provides insight into how to achieve performance improvements more efficiently.


Fredrik Forsman

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Nautical Studies

Christian Finnsgård

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Logistics & Transportation

SNAME 22nd Chesapeake Sailing Yacht Symposium, CSYS 2016


SNAME 22nd Chesapeake Sailing Yacht Symposium, CSYS 2016
Annapolis, USA,

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


Vehicle Engineering



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