The Sydney to Hobart yacht race is considered one of the toughest in the world. Unpredictable weather

and seas make each race exceedingly demanding on the boats, the skippers and their crew.


In the 1998 race, however, a 'weather bomb' hit the fleet with disastrous and tragic results.


The AFR Midnight Rambler chose to head directly into the path of the storm and after battling mountainous

waves and hurricane-force winds in Bass Strait, the tiny 35-foot boat arrived safely in Hobart, winning the

coveted Tattersall's Cup.


What were the factors underlying this incredible achievement?


Extensive time and energy spent on preparation, and practising manoeuvers in tough conditions, leaving

nothing to chance, played a huge part in the success.


Exceptional leadership and teamwork, however, played a large part in the victory. As one of the crew

members said:


'We had a lot of confidence in the skipper's ability. He instilled optimism and confidence into the crew so

we knew we had the ability to win.'


Managing personalities and bringing people together can be challenging in any situation but the pressure

of a race – especially in a storm – calls for exceptional leadership.


Skippers, and business leaders, need to keep their teams focused on a common goal. They need to keep

an eye out to see if someone is wavering, or a faction developing. Not everybody is perfect so a good leader

is able to deal with imperfections. And they need to do it all under pressure.


Source: Into the Storm, Dennis Perkins with Jillian Murphy