Audacious Leadership

Audacious Leadership is an adventure-based unit in leadership. It uses principles of experiential learning to illuminate theories and models, and aims to provide a practical understanding of audacity.

Important Dates

  • Deposit: Due with application - $750 
  • Final payment: Due Saturday 22nd July 2017 - $1750
  • Program commences: Sunday 22nd October 2017
  • Program conclusion: Sunday 29th October 2017

Contact us

Submit documents and application to:


Academic enquiries should be directed to:
Dr John McWilliams - Unit Chair
Telephone: +61 3 9244 5539

Program overview

An audacious leader is likely to be adventurous, fearless, intrepid, bold, daring. We expect to see chutzpah and nerve on display. Such qualities can achieve great things and confer charisma on the leader. At its best, audacity is paired with self-awareness, humility, good judgement and a deep understanding of how people respond to the tasks of leading and being led.

The Audacious Leadership unit will challenge your habits of perception and reaction, allowing you to gain insight into your own leadership, its strengths to be built on, and its weaknesses to be made sound.

The brigantine Windeward Bound provides a working metaphor for an organisational system. It is driven by rope, canvas and human effort to harness the power of the wind and, ultimately, the sun. Its effective management demands answers to leadership questions such as: 'What is the sum total of human energy available in the system? What proportion of this energy is currently being used? What kinds of energy (physical, intellectual, psychic, moral, artistic, technical, social) are represented? What might be done to release this energy for accomplishing greater goals for the system and the individuals in it?'

Permanent members of the ship's company will ensure the safety of the ship and train you in seamanship during the voyage. This will include sail handling, steering, coastal navigation and general work aloft and about the decks. As the voyage progresses, you will take increasing responsibility for leadership and for handling the ship. At the conclusion of the voyage you will be a competent hand.

Assessment in this unit comprises: a leadership learning plan 20%, a leadership learning portfolio 30% and a critical essay of 3000 words 50%.

Places are strictly limited.

Conditions at sea can be challenging and some participants may become ill. Generally people recover naturally and quickly. Please bear this in mind when considering enrolment in this program.


Commencement - Sunday 22nd October: 
The bus will depart from in front of Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart at 9.30 am to join the ship in Recherche Bay.
Do not book any flights until your voyage is confirmed.

Conclusion - Sunday 29th October: 
The ship will dock at Elizabeth Pier in Hobart at noon.
Do not book your flights home any earlier than 4 pm.


You will be required to do some preparation prior to the trip via CloudDeakin. We will post information about the ship, the names of sails and ropes etc. to save time on board.

What the ship provides

  • Wet weather gear
  • Full body safety harnesses - which must be worn at all times on watch
  • Pillow, pillow case, bottom sheet and one blanket

You will also be provided with an Audacious Leadership Logbook and pencil.

Clothing and personal gear

Stowage space is limited and a soft bag is preferable to a hard suit case. The emphasis should be on working clothes that layer up for warmth in cold windy weather but also to provide protection from the sun. It is not necessary to buy any special gear for the voyage.

Medical advice

Please ensure that if you bring prescription medication with you that it is in the original container and its use is clearly labelled.


The days are likely to be fine and sunny but the nights will be cold, so you should pack thermals. The ship provides the best quality storm proof wet weather gear available to all crew. At sea, the weather can change rapidly (that's where the Shakespeare expression 'a sea change' comes from), so it's good to dress in layers. You can check the weather at any time by logging on to the Bureau of Meteorology home page.

Do not bring

  • Cigarettes - "Windeward Bound" is a non-smoking ship
  • Thongs (rubber flip flops) are dangerous
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs - other than those prescribed by a Doctor

What to pack

Headgear Sunglasses

1 Sun hat
Footwear 2 pairs of old shoes: soft rubber soled shoes eg deck shoes / jogging shoes, as shoes can get very wet

3 pairs of socks
Jacket 1 Windproof jacket
Jumpers 2 Thick jumpers
Pants 2 pairs of loose fitting jeans, heavy cotton pants or track suit pants
Tight fitting pants are not suitable for working in the rigging
Shirts 2 Long sleeved shirts - Rugby shirts or skivvies are ideal

3 T-shirts
Swimsuit Bring one
Underwear As required
Bedding Light sleeping bag
Toiletries Brush/comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, towel, deodorant, tissues and lip balm
Thick woollen tights Great for cold nights
Camera Many good photograph
Musical instrument if they are large like a guitar you may have to sleep with it!!
Plastic bags for dirty clothes
Recommended additions
A pair of sailing gloves You can get them at any yacht shop or ships chandlers approx $20. They will stop your hands from getting blisters from the ropes as well as keeping them warm. We recommend the type that have an open ended finger and thumb so you can do fine work, whilst keeping the other fingers closed for warmth
Thermal underwear They are light and easy to wash and dry


Audacious leadersUnit fee

The unit offered as part of this program is:

This unit attracts all standard enrolment fees. In addition to the relevant unit fee each participant is required to pay for:

Study Program fee

The fee for the voyage is AUD $2500 and covers the cost of:

  • accommodation and meals during the voyage

The fee does not cover:

  • unit enrolment fee
  • travel to and from Hobart
  • travel insurance
  • textbooks

Payment Schedule

  • Deposit: AUD $750 deposit* due with application
  • Final payment: Saturday 22nd July – AUD $1750


  • Do not make any travel arrangement until instructed to do so.
  • *$500 of your deposit is non refundable, if you withdraw from the program.


The aim of assessment is to provide information about the success of the unit. Assessment comprises of three elements:

Task Value
Leadership learning plan (1000 words) 20%
Leadership learning portfolio 30%
Critical essay (3000 words) 50%

Leadership Learning Plan

You will be asked to complete some measures related to leadership style and preferred group role etc. You will also need to supply a description (1,000 words plus or minus ten per cent) of your leadership experience and learning aspirations. This must be submitted prior to the voyage and will form part of your leadership portfolio.

Leadership Learning Portfolio

The leadership learning portfolio is a collection of evidence about your leadership. It includes the leadership learning plan and can also include assessments, such as 360 degree assessments made by colleagues, comments made by mentors, evidence of achievements related to leadership or of previous leadership-related courses. Our aim is to achieve measurable change in your leadership competence and success. You will also be required to keep a journal, the leadership log, of your experiences during the voyage. After the voyage we will ask you to complete some more questionnaires. All of these data will be combined with your leadership log and your essay to provide feedback on the success of the unit and your own success as a learner.

Critical Essay

The critical essay provides a chance for you to reflect on your experience of the voyage in the context of academic writing about leadership. You are encouraged to take a particular theoretical perspective and provide a critical analysis of it using your own experience as context. The word limit is 3,000 plus or minus ten per cent and the essay is due within a month of completing the voyage.

How to apply

Special enrolment procedures apply. Please contact a student adviser for details.

This unit is open to all postgraduate students at Deakin University. Students from other Australian Universities are also encouraged to apply.

As the interest in this unit is high, and we can only take 18 students, we suggest you submit your application as soon as possible.

Audacious leadersStep 1

Express your interest by emailing with following details:

  • Last name
  • First name
  • Student ID
  • Course name and code
  • Study area: Audacious Leadership

Step 2

Deakin students - please proceed directly to Step 3.

Non Deakin students - please complete the cross-institutional form (PDF, 195.0 KB) and supply current transcript from your University and submit originals with your application.

Step 3

Once your eligibility is confirmed by the study program manager you will be advised to complete the online registration within 7 days of paying your $750 deposit.

Step 4

You will be advised to make an online payment of the final amount and submit the following within 7 days after the final payment:


'A sailing Voyage across the rough Tasmanian south-eastern coast as experiential learning for "Leadership", represented a personal challenge, an adventure, an encounter with myself and a way to identify new attitudes, approaches through critical thinking that influenced the way I address and assess situations to further understand from theory to practice a re-shape of my Leadership skills.'
Francisco Rojo Rosales, October 2015

'Clichés are boring, but the Audacious Leadership voyage presents a challenge that may have been previously missing from your life. The challenge to 'Know thyself'.
I'm sure like our team before you, you are a group of highly motivated, high performing individuals that are on the path to professional success. One thing you may be missing is knowledge of how you react under adversity. What does your leadership style look like at 4am after sleep deprivation and nausea have set in for 5 days? Are you able to maintain your façade of being calm and control, or will you go to a dark place that you didn't know existed?
How do you cope when you're living in the pocket of a small group of strangers 24/7 who have different values and don't conform to your world view? If you're interested in testing your mettle and knowing thyself under pressure, you won't regret the opportunity to participate in this voyage. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Breece Gevaux, October 2015

'This voyage will be in my memory for ever. The memory of the people on the voyage, the funny experiences, and the reflection on being a leader. Thanks for this experience John.'
Clint McCulloch February 2012

'I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to go into this completely unfamiliar and thrilling environment (the ship) learn about exciting things I had never done before (the sails, ropes, masts), do some challenging things (navigate the boat at 3am under shooting stars / climb masts etc) and amidst all of it, to have a unique opportunity to reflect on my leadership approaches and their effectiveness and get feedback on it from my peers.'
Leonardo Arantes, October 2011

'One of the best opportunities that I have ever had.' The voyage provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my leadership style and actively participate in evaluative processes undertaken by my peers. It was a catalyst to test my ability to analyse character and utilise the capabilities of fellow crew members in an intense environment. 'An experience that I would thoroughly recommend to anyone.'
Wayne McKenna, October 2011

This has been the most fun learning experience I've ever had! Through the hardships of leading teams on an 1840s sailing ship you can discover a lot about your leadership potential. I have met really wonderful people including students, faculty, and members of the crew with whom day by day discovered personal areas of improvement that will surely improve my leadership approach at work and in other life situations.
Pablo Juliano, October 2011

'You can read all the leadership books you want or you can challenge your assumptions about leadership and overcome some real personal challenges by taking the Deakin Unit 'Audacious Leadership'. It changed the way I view leadership, the way I run my business and I also overcame my fear of heights. The unit is for students who believe there is more to learn in a real life adventure than just sitting in a lecture theatre.'
Lloyd Chidlow, January 2011

'And I thought I'd signed up for a fun sailing trip! My real adventure was to journey into self discovery and in particular my leadership and behaviour styles under stress. A superb unit which became far more rewarding in the months that followed its completion.'
Paul Allen, January 2011

I can truly say that completing the Audacious Leadership unit was one of the most testing but fulfilling experiences I have had and I have been able to apply these learnings to produce superior business results: I have no hesitation in recommending Audacious Leadership to anyone in a leadership role or with aspirations to be a leader.'
Adam Moss, January 2011

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