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Sharon Angel had long been working in the pharmaceutical industry when the global crisis hit, prompting her redundancy and a literal sea change. It was 2006. One round-trip later, Sharon returned from the UK to take on the high seas with her Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Instructor accreditation. Back in Australia, she honed her sailing skills as an Instructor and bought a yacht.
Sharon returned to work but the sailing continued with keel boat racing. After a holiday of reflection in 2013, Sharon decided to give something back. What began as an idea to help crew a few disabled kids around the harbour, evolved into a role that would utilise her skills in organisational strategy and business unit management.
Since then, Sharon has helped SWD implement the operational procedures for inshore sailing - in short, a guide on how to equip, manage, and sail a boat so that crew and guests are comfortable and safe, and that the boat is handled correctly to avoid risk or damage. Sharon also helped devise a system to identify crew competency levels (starting from Level 1, 2, 3, First Mate, Skipper) including an individual logbook for volunteers to record their skills and experience. The logbook lets the Skipper know how competent each crew member is on board. Better still, volunteers can keep track of their progress should they wish to ‘upskill’ and advance to another level.
Most of all, Sharon loves being on board with the volunteers and participants. And though she is sometimes pushed out of her comfort zone, she is quick to add that there is far more to be gained, and always something more to learn about herself, the boat, or about sailing (and not always from the experts!)
"We realise that not everyone wants to be a Skipper, but we want our sailing volunteers to have an opportunity to learn. It’s only fair that we give something back, for without our enthusiastic volunteers, we couldn’t keep doing what we’re doing. The same applies to our off-water volunteers. Everyone with the right attitude has the opportunity to grow."