Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors, but skillful sailors make excellent U-Haul team members. Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator Lucien Sahali—a skillful sailor—looks at every storm and whitecap as a challenge to overcome. An avid athlete, Sahali started sailing in Monterey, California, when he was 13 years old, winning “The Natural” award after completing his first sailing class.
“Our first time out on the water, the boat tipped over,” recalled Sahali. “Everyone went into the water, but I climbed on top of the boat. I didn’t want to get in the water. It was cold!” he laughed. “The instructor called it a ‘dry capsize,’ and he must have been impressed because he asked if I wanted to compete.”
Sahali was hooked. After sailing competitively throughout high school, Sahali moved to Arizona to earn an associate’s degree in automotive technology. He continued sailing during college, but had to stop for a couple years after graduating because of his work schedule.
When Sahali joined U-Haul in 2008, the first thing he did was get back out on the water and back into competitive sailing. He quickly found the fastest type of sailboat in Arizona—a Viper—and made sure he was on one.
“We race spring and fall in Arizona and summer in California,” Sahali mentioned. “There are anywhere between five and seven races during the summer. The last race we competed in, we came in eighth place out of 25 boats from five different countries.”
Part of the same crew
In addition to sailing, Sahali is an avid cyclist, runner and volunteer. He has participated in the Wounded Warrior Project Phoenix Soldier Ride six years in a row and was the 2010 U-Haul Volunteer of the Year.
“It’s easy to go home after work and complain about your day, but then you think about the people who don’t have a job or place to go home to and it helps keep you grounded and gives you perspective,” Sahali observed. “Volunteering my time to help others in need makes me feel like I’ve accomplished more than any race I’ve won.”
This same compassion, dedication and eagerness to overcome obstacles is a trait Sahali brings to work with him every day.
“There is so much about sailing—any physical activity, really—that translates to work,” Sahali declared. “Everyone is out there together, working toward the same finish line. The people you’re working alongside, as well as your competitors, inspire you to be better and push yourself harder. To top it off, physical activity builds the confidence you need at work to take on any challenge.”