Join Date: May 2002
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Re: Is it time to fire the crew?
If those were conventional, production sailboats, I'd agree, but they are state-of-the-art. highly unconventional sailboats. When the boat that you are sailing is essentially one-of-a-kind, where do you go to learn how to sail it and to practice sailing it other than on that boat, and where do you find someone to teach you how to sail it? The designers can give you some guidance by explaining how everything is supposed to work, but the skipper and crew are essentially like test pilots, who must figure out how to optimize it's abilities by themselves. Where do you look to find a skipper and crew who know how to pilot a massive catamaran that can make nearly 50 kts of boat speed? I haven't seen anything vaguely resembling that boat on the Chesapeake Bay recently. How would a tactician gain experience in judging whether his boat, on port tack, is going to cross ahead of the starboard tack boat, when both are making 35-40 kts? The answer is that you start with a skipper and crew with the best sailing and racing skills you can find, give them all the support you can, and hope they can solve all the mysteries about sailing that particular boat before race day. If they don't, where are you going to find another skipper and crew...the second stringers, who you already decided were not as skilled as the first stringers? You can't fire the skipper and crew until you have someone better to replace them, and they probably don't exist just now.