Let me begin with a little backdrop to the headline of this story: I grew up in a small working class town and was never around any wealth whatsoever! In fact, an auntie was classed as ‘loaded’ for having two toilets. Nevertheless, this all changed when travelling and I was asked to help out on a sailing boat. Having never been sailing before and showing a bit of willingness and a tonne of luck, I spent the next 20 years racing around the world.

I’ve spent a lot of time with the owners of these boats and I can definitely class them as really good friends. I think I have a different perspective as this was not in their work time and once you start racing, everyone needs to be equal and I think that was the joy for most of them.

The 8 lessons I’ve learnt:

  • They are not always on their phones. I believe this is true because once you get to a certain level, a good businessman or businesswoman will have systems and people in place to deal with 99% of the workload.
  • They don’t talk about money. I’ve been at the dinner table and can say I have never ever heard any money chat – it’s more funny stories and world issues.
  • They talk about what they did wrong. You learn that their success didn’t happen overnight and they openly talk about what they did wrong on different paths.
  • They still work long hours. Not many take their foot off the gas, even with all of the wealth.
  • Yachts are full of books, not DVDs. Most owners and guests will never be more than 10m away from a book.
  • Most have their own charity. This allows them to know where their money is going to.
  • They like to fill in their time. Once sailing is finished and sometimes it’s long days in the sun, they are on to afternoon tennis, swimming or bike rides.
  • They still appreciate the small things. You would think with their private jets, yachts and even their own island they’d take no notice of the small things. However, sticking the kettle on still brings a smile on a long race.

This is my perspective over the last 22 years of sailing! I’ve been fortunate over these years to meet some inspiring people and I’m not saying they’re all perfect but, who is? And I’ve never been any different, the boy from Grimsby. 

Being yourself goes a long way in the world. 

Carpe Diem,