Dispatch From The July Cruise

Taking It All In—St.-Malo •  Photo: Samuelle Grande

Taking It All In—St.-Malo •  Photo: Samuelle Grande

"I came to Saint-Malo by taking a ferry from Dinard and was immediately charmed by the landscape. On my arrival I walked in a daze searching for Marie-Claude and Yseult, the two boats I would be sailing on for the next few weeks. It was very easy to find them; one might have difficulty missing such an imposing and unique pair. I made my way through the touristic throng that was taking pictures of the boat and found myself in front of Will Sutherland. He greeted me with warmth, inviting me to sit down with him. As I sat down, French boys ran about, tying knots, preparing the sailboat and doing innumerable esoteric acts that I assumed would soon make much more sense to me. Will offered me a cup of tea, and I knew that my experience would be even better than I had expected.

            Now, on my fifth day exposed as I have been to sea, sailboat and wonderful people, I can say with confidence that this experience is unique. Everyone on the boat is different. We eat together, laugh together and sail together. We are becoming a team where everyone has his place. With all the backgrounds, histories and cultures I don’t believe that anyone who embarks on this adventure can have a commonplace experience.

 Obviously I can only speak for myself, but I truly believe the QBE leadership program is nothing like any other sailing program offered in the world.  What distinguishes the QBE program is the independence given to the apprentice sailors by Will. His way of teaching is not to dictate but to lead. He lets us make mistakes so that we learn from them. We are all learning simultaneously, but no two people learn the same way. Thus the lessons remain unique and thanks to Will’s methods, effective. I sat down with Will for an hour and listened with amazement to his wonderful sailing stories. Will Sutherland has this way of grasping your attention and making every story he tells into a lesson. His stories made me understand that, just like us, he learnt from his mistakes.

I have only been on the QBE leadership program for five days but I have already learnt so much in that span of time."      

                                                     —Samuelle Grande (Montreal, Canada) English is Samuelle's second language.