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Stress-Relief thru Stress? Try Sailing!

by Doris Wagner |


Sailing has long been recommended by HR managers for its team building impacts and stress testing capabilities. But I truly think it can do more than that. How sailing crossed my path several times and what I think it can do to you as a person as well as impressions from last weekend's Barcolana regatta can be found in this blog post. Enjoy!


When I was a child and teen, our neighbours used to have a small Sunbeam yacht on Lake Neusiedl, just an hour east of Vienna. If I was lucky, their same aged son would sometime take me out to sail. More often we would just get stuck in the middle of the lake on a windless day and spend the day burned by the sun. Sail boats were just bathing platforms for me at that time. 


By the time I was in my mid-20ies I dated a student, who was a part-time professional sailor in classical international regattas. I admired the beautiful, huge boats and handsome men and women who performed miracles on deck of stunning boats that I had only known previously from Bacardi commercials.

So I decided to make my first beginner's sailing exam on Vienna's Old Danube myself. After all, I wanted to get behind the magic. But an impatient boyfriend, severe sea sickness and a collision with a rowing boat put a sudden end to my self confidence in this sport just months later.


Only a few years later I met my now husband, who was then in the midst of restoring an old 1970ies Choey Lee ketch which had severe hurrican damages. She is still a real diva, hard to sail alone and needs a mechanic on bord more urgently than a  skipper. But having rounded the globe three times and survived 13 years in the Carribean, she is also a very reliable and comfortable motorsailor to cruise the Adriatic. 

I discovered Zintona (a ginger root remedy against pregnancy sickness) to be THE remedy against sea sickness as well. And a patient and loving husband gave me confidence enough to try sailing for myself again. 

Sailing brings out the best and worst in people. When you're all in the same boat, you will see with whom you harmonize and whom not. You will learn to overcome fear and master difficult and often dangerous situations. Many of them become stories to tell. And you will also learn that sometimes there is nothing you can do about it: the weather remains to blame.

'You can't direct the wind. But you can adjust your sails.'

Most of all, you will learn to let go of your own stress (but stay focused when needed). Relax, enjoy the sea and the brise! 


The 'Barcolana Autumn Cup Regatta' or simply 'Barcolana' is an international sailing regatta with the world's highest number of participating sailboats. It is held on the second Sunday in October every year in the Gulf of Triest in Italy. We took part last weekend with more than 2,600 sailboats of various classes from many other countries in this 13 sea miles adventure. For the city of Triest it is basically the biggest party of the year with food, beverage, souvenir and DJ stalls along the coastline catering the masses. 

If you are not among the serious racers, these are your only goals:

  • finish the race (even if there is no wind)
  • don't collide with any other boat (even if there are plenty of them)

This year we have been blessed with 26°C and pure sunshine as well as 25 knots of wind in the beginning of the race. But unfortunately almost zero wind later on. But as a friend once put it:

 'Everyone can sail with wind. The art is to sail with no wind'
(Rainer Korbel)

But, nevertheless, we managed to finish the race. For a 36 tons ketch like ours (which is definitely not a racer but more a comfortable cruiser) and almost no wind this was something to celebrate.

Thank you to Paolo Ciacchi for being a great skipper and the team of Cantiere Nautico Porto San Vito di Grado for having a great time with us. This has to become a tradition.

Needless to say that you should always consider sun protection when sailing. My favorite before going on bord is definitely our NAVI Anti-Pollution Hydro-Day Cream. And I love to quench the thirst of my skin afterwards with NAVI Revitalizing Hydro-Night Cream.

 See you next year at Barcolana! Promise.

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