JTC Skipper Academy Dalmatia

JTC Skipper Academy Dalmatia

Navigating Challenges

Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the JTC Academy, an intense training program designed for aspiring skippers by Join the Crew (JTC), an outdoor adventure travel agency for young folks known for its thrilling expeditions. From sailing the high seas to surfing breaking waves and exploring the rugged landscapes of Iceland and the Alps, JTC has expanded its offerings beyond its original sailing trips, yet the essence of adventure and "Vieeel Lieeebe" (Lots of love) remains its core.

The Challenge of Mastery

The academy, traditionally a week-long affair, has recently extended to a rigorous 10-day course that tests every participant's skills on the water. As an aspiring skipper, I was thrown into a demanding environment where I had to manage both the boat and crew through various challenging scenarios - and not all were intentional.

Mastering the Art of Docking

Docking was our fundamental focus, with each day bringing increasingly complex conditions to maneuver - alongside here, med mooring there and a gusty wind every once in a while. It wasn't just about tying the boat to the dock; it was about handling unexpected challenges with precision and calm. Our trainer, ever hopeful for rougher weather, believed that strong winds and tricky currents made the best teachers. And indeed, they did.

Flotilla Coordination and Crisis Management

Beyond individual skills, we practiced flotilla coordination, where multiple boats align and anchor in serene bays, creating a floating community. Nights under the stars, shared with fellow trainees, taught us about the camaraderie and collective effort sailing requires.

However, the real test of our abilities came in high-pressure scenarios - simulated and real emergencies like engine failures, broken sheets or a fire on board were interspersed with loud music or distractions to mimic real-life stress. These exercises weren't just about technical skills; they tested our mental resilience and leadership under pressure.

Lessons in Leadership

Leadership was another critical area of focus. As the days progressed, our instructions to the crew shifted from detailed guidance to minimal communication, reflecting the growth in trust and competence among the team members. The silent coordination required to execute perfect maneuvers without verbal cues was perhaps one of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of the training.

Building a Community

Part of our evaluation also included how well we integrated into the social fabric of JTC. Leadership at sea, much like in any corporate environment, extends beyond technical know-how; it's about fostering a supportive community. Can you engage with your crew and other skippers? Are you able to maintain morale and function as part of a larger network? These soft skills were just as essential as our ability to steer the ship.

Theoretical Knowledge

Theory sessions covered everything from emergency procedures to handling seasickness and injuries. This comprehensive educational approach ensured we not only responded effectively in emergencies but also anticipated and prevented potential issues before they arose.

Reflecting on a Transformative Experience

Reflecting on the intense experiences and the robust training at JTC Academy, I feel a profound sense of accomplishment and readiness. I've not only learned to manage a boat and its crew amid chaos but also to communicate clearly and lead effectively, skills that are invaluable both at sea and in professional life.

As I now step into the role of a JTC-certified skipper, I look forward to many more adventures where these skills will guide me, ensuring safe and enjoyable voyages for all aboard. The journey at JTC Academy was more than just training; it was about becoming part of a community that values skill, spirit, and the deep love of the sea.