Offshore Sail Training: A Midshipman Skipper’s Perspective
It’s been months since I moored the Commitment (NA-32), a 44-foot sail training craft in the U.S. Naval Academy’s Santee Basin for the last time after my final cruise as a midshipman in the Offshore Sail Training Squadron (OSTS) program. I can no longer remember each distinct day of my voyages, what items needed to be fixed below decks, or even each of my crew members’ names. Come to think of it, I can’t even remember the exact names of all the equipment topside. The good news, however, is that the real value of the OSTS program isn’t found in an academic understanding of sailing, the number of miles sailed, or the speed of the boat. Instead, my three summers spent in the program as a crew member, executive officer (XO), and finally as skipper of an all-midshipman crew taught me invaluable lessons about a far more important topic—leadership—in a way no other training program had been able to replicate up to that point in my career.