If you ask Ed Baird what has been the secret to the success he has achieved in his lifelong sailing career, he has several useful insights to provide.
He was recently honored in the US National Sailing Hall of Fame. He was the 2016 batch of inductees. Here he talks about the virtues that are necessary for a successful career in sailing.
Ed states that the fundamental steps are to look at a sailing team akin to any business or sports team. The foundation has to be laid with good people who want to be better and are talented. They also need to have teamwork and willingness to help each other. When this foundation is laid, then people have to work hard and know the techniques that will help them to improve. It is not only a matter of improving skills of people, but also knowing ways to make an equipment better as well. There are always ways to improve crucial parts of a boat like the mast, shrouds, winches and spreaders. There is better equipment available in the market, but it is necessary to make an investment in a wise way.
Often, equipment failure can occur, when a brand piece is installed or when it gets damaged or malfunctions much before its expected life span is over. In certain races like in the TP 52 class category every race is important and how the performance is in every race. Hence, it is important to maintain a high level of success. Even if a team is not winning all the time, it is important to keep up a consistent performance level. That counts more than winning some and losing some.
Ed also talks about the importance of enjoying sailing. No matter how hard you need to work it should be fun. If it is not enjoyable then it is not worth taking up and spending your life pursuing such a profession or vocation.