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Press Release

27 September 2017

Life on the open seas!

Jean Hill, Director of Organisational Development, discusses her passion for sailing

As Director of Organisational Development (OD) and Executive Board Member at Redmayne-Bentley, I look after the HR, training and organisational development functions and carry out strategic reviews of structures to support the continued growth of the firm and enhance organisational effectiveness. I listen to what people are saying about their roles and expectations and encourage different ways of engaging with all staff, for example staff surveys and regular performance reviews.
As a way of relaxing, I crew a 36-foot Elan sailing yacht named Freewheel. The boat is kept at a marina on the River Orwell, at a village called Woolverstone and I regularly sail down the Orwell past Pin Mill, famous for the Swallows and Amazons author Arthur Ransome, who kept a boat and based novels on the sailing he did in the nearby Walton Backwater and the River Stour. Local sailing includes sailing up east coast rivers to places like Orford, Aldeburgh and Southwold.
I began sailing around 15 years ago. My husband, Peter, has been a sailor for a long time. I would call myself a very good crew hand. I take the helm while Peter navigates!
Being on the open sea with no Wi-Fi access but with the most amazing views is a complete contrast to the office. The regular sailing trips we take cover the South Coast, the Isle of Wight and enjoying time in the Solent, or sailing across to the Channel Islands and France.
I have sailed a number of times in the Caribbean. The beauty of the Grenadines from the sea is magical.
One thing I have learnt is that you cannot plan to the fine detail when sailing – everything depends on the tides, winds, and of course our weather. You would always check the forecast before you set off, and if you’re caught out in bad weather, you’ve usually been unlucky. Many times Peter and I have set off in fair conditions to get to the next port (say an 8-10 hour sail), only for the winds to change and we arrive at our destination in something like a Force 6 or 7!
I have taken part in one of the world’s largest yacht races, the Round the Island Race around the Isle of Wight a couple of times – experiences I have found exhilarating, and loved.
One of the interesting things is that at each harbour and marina, you are in good company and meet people of all nationalities. Having said that, this year we berthed in Ramsgate alongside a fellow Yorkshireman who had sailed on a simple 21ft boat across the Atlantic from Rhode Island with no engine and was on his way back to his home port of Scarborough. The thought of the Atlantic with no engine…!

Life on the open seas!