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Simply The Best

Simply The Best

Our World | On 28, Sep 2012

Over the last 20 years I have been very fortunate and highly privileged to have been invited to or hosted virtually every type of hospitality, team build and educational activity from the finest dinners to golf at Sandy Lane, catamarans in the Indian Ocean to horse riding in the Australian outback. Last Thursday’s Clipper Challenge may not have been the most glamorous, indeed, it was probably the least luxurious and harshest, but in terms of a sense of achievement, team work, engagement, pure fun and good old fashioned laughter, it was simply the best.

50 event organisers from major companies, venues, hotels and P&MM met in Portsmouth at the Spinnaker Tower on Wednesday night for a presentation on “the future of communication events”. The evening looked at the potential impact of an estimated 10 billion hours a day of global internet and social media usage and what affect this will have on the style of communication events in the future. Rochelle Long, Editor of M&IT Magazine hosted what can only be described as a lively debate which continued well into the early hours in All Bar One.

Everyone then retired to sleep(!) in bunks on the 68-foot Clipper yachts which returned earlier this summer from the Round the World Yacht Race. Morning saw a quiet start with hardly any wind, lulling the less experienced of us, including me, into thinking this racing lark was a doddle, but by lunchtime we found the wind and the real fun began.

Hundreds of ropes, lots of sails, poles, pulleys, winches and “stuff” I can no longer remember greeted me and by the time the 5 minute briefing had finished I could not remember the start. “Pull this rope as fast as you can” and “turn that thing that looks like a coffee grinder” cannot begin to explain the concept, but made it simple enough for me. After a somewhat late night, or should I say early morning, I was not in the best shape to take on a task that fit young men struggle with – the coffee grinder. Searing pain from dehydration followed a breathless collapse to the floor after only the first gybe – much to the amusement of my team mates.

Remarkably, with no previous experience on board, we actually managed to get it together and by the end of the day our team of novices was a drilled and capable crew with everyone knowing their job and performing as a team. Amazingly we actually sailed a proper boat and did proper turns – I am assured that “turns” is not a technical nautical term!

Our guests, who are often subjected to 5 star butler service and ultimate luxury, spent the night in a communal cabin on a less than heavenly bunk, shared communal washrooms on shore, ate pre packed food for lunch and spent the day working harder than many of us have ever done before and discovering new places to ache. So what was the feedback after that?

I have never had so many individual, personal and unique thank you’s, ranging from “awesome day”, “fabulous team building”, “best day ever”, “very special”, “please let me come next year” and “fantastic networking”.

Personally, I can’t wait for next year’s event, but why not see for yourself, the fun we had and check out the image gallery on www.pmmclipperchallenge.co.uk. We would also love you to join our group on LinkedIn and share your views on the latest industry discussions.

Nigel Cooper