About Plotting the Course

“…Rick has correlated the principles of sailing, from the broadest course management to the most subtle wind shifts that can affect the outcome of a race or a business decision.
Plotting the Course is a valuable tool for entrepreneurs and CEOs alike.”

—Brian Smith (UGG Brand Founder)

Sailing is more than simply a sport for many people the world over; it’s also a way of life. There are valuable lessons inherent in the sport of sailboat racing that have enriched the lives of sailors for generations. In Plotting the Course, readers are given a glimpse into the vast and diverse world of competitive sailing and shown valuable tools that the sport can provide for finding success in the ways we live and work.

The foundation of Plotting the Course is the cyclical nature of life’s experiences in parallel with those of a sailing campaign. The challenges that a sailor faces in mounting a competitive effort tend to mirror those that anyone would find in a worthy endeavor onshore, from the early planning stages to the moment of performance and on to the learning phase that follows each challenge and precedes the next. Each of these phases is explored using examples from the world of sailing and provides takeaways that apply for use in life on shore; in business, relationships, or everyday situations.

The competitive worlds of sailing and business have much in common, and the lessons of each translate well to the other. In Plotting the Course, readers will see comparisons between the experiences of top sailors and those of businesses like Walmart, McDonald’s, Nintendo, Apple, and Lockheed Martin to name a few, as well as business leaders like Jack Welch, Richard Branson, and John D. Rockefeller. Lessons on topics such as leadership and decision making stretch beyond the world of business and into the political realm, with looks at the lives and careers of American presidents and other political leaders.

The lessons included within Plotting the Course are not only universal, but timeless as well. Readers will find parallels between the strategic decisions of Hannibal of Carthage and Queen Elizabeth I and those of a sailor navigating rough waters or facing a more powerful opponent. Other examples include illustrations of what WWI aircraft design and London’s cholera epidemic in the 19th century have in common with a sailor’s search for more speed. As these pages show, there is much to be learned from the lessons of history for sailor and non-sailor alike.

Plotting the Course is about much more than sailing; it’s about seeing challenging situations in a new light to get to the heart of a problem and illuminate a solution. It’s about holding on to the lessons we learn over time and using them to drive us forward. It’s about dreaming big, dealing with uncertainty, struggling through loss and adversity, building on success, facing opposition, living and working well with others, and through it all, pursuing happiness.

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