Top charter and race skipper Philippe Falle discusses how he gets teams of strangers to gel into a race winning crew time after time

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What is the secret to a happy crew that bond at sea as a team and can go on to win?

All skippers try to form a good, harmonious team but not all succeed. One sailor who has a reputation of taking groups of complete strangers, of widely varying levels of sailing experience, and turning them into race winners time after time is Philippe Falle.

Falle, a round the world racing yachtsman and past winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race, has over 200,000 miles of sailing and racing experience. He a founding director of Sailing Logic race training company and has won the RORC’s Yacht of the Year with a race team so is very well versed in getting teams he didn’t select himself to gel – and be highly competitive.

We asked him for some thoughts on what he’d learned over the years. The answers may surprise you because at no point does Falle mention anything about technical abilities or race strategies; it’s all about managing people.

Here’s what he had to say at the finish of the ARC transatlantic race. He had just finished 2nd in the racing division in Grand Soleil 43 Quokka, racing with a crew of nine people who had never met each other or sailed together before they left Las Palmas.