Article and image credited to Victoire Morier

When the word “sailing” is bandied about, usually yachts and cruises come to mind – not necessarily dinghies like the Byte, Optimist (also fondly known as the bathtub) and 420, a two-man boat.

In much the same way, not many people associate aggression with sailing.

It can even be argued that sailing a dinghy is the art of reading the weather, harnessing the wind in the sail(s) and teamwork, in the case of the aforementioned 420.

Resourcefulness and independence are also plausibly more appreciated than aggression. When one is alone at sea in a dinghy, with others independently moving about in their own dinghies, there’s no one else they can depend on for their “survival”, especially if their boat capsizes or takes on water in strong weather.

During regattas, sailors don’t even have a sole “opponent” to focus on, instead facing off against the elements and trying to beat out a field of participants in the shortest time possible. Each race can also last up to one or two hours , depending on weather conditions, making the sport one of patience and endurance as well.

Yet despite all this, aggression is actually still needed in the form of stubbornness, especially if a sailor has to fight against the elements – such as choppy seas and strong winds – to keep their dinghy on course. For instance, when strong winds and waves hit Singapore during the monsoon seasons, sailors have been known to bend the (metal) tiller extensions of their rudders in the effort to keep their chosen dinghy sailing in a straight line.

Stubbornness can be seen as a sign of passive-aggression – a form of covert aggression. While many associate passive-aggressive behavior with sarcasm and sullenness, in this case, it’s a good thing, as this stubbornness keeps the sailor from allowing the rudder to fly free and likely cause the dinghy to capsize, thus feeding into their resourcefulness and independence, as well as drive to “survive”.