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post #39 of Old 04-14-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
I had to do a search to understand this. LOL Yes, if Life were one of those video games my son plays so much, I definitely earned a few EXP points yesterday. On the other hand, perhaps everything seemed more exciting to me since this was my first time racing. Hopefully in a few months I'll have even more experience against which to judge it properly.

Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
Oh, yes, did we forget to tell you about the "safety talk" that every skipper is supposed to go through and his plan for responding to accidents before leaving the dock....?
This is a huge one for me. When I was working in aviation, all the pilots I knew did this as a matter of course. Some of them had these elaborate "I will do this... You will do that..." call and answer routines they would run through with their crew before each flight. I'm surprised it's not as emphasized in the maritime industry.

Originally Posted by Hudsonian View Post
You sound like an exceptional person. Your good cheer and positive attitude is important on a small boat. The skip should be grateful for your help and thank you.
Thank you! The Skipper asked me back, so I guess that's a good sign.

Originally Posted by Hudsonian View Post
As you progress, you'll contribute by applying the knowledge and skill you develop to adjust the shape of the jib to the wind and wave conditions. You will learn to observe what's going on around you and accurately report the information to the skip so that the information can be acted upon. if you continue as forecrew, you will learn to trim the pole lift to optimize the spinnaker shape and you will learn to gybe the pole.
I do feel like I could take some of that stuff on next time, now that I've seen it done a few times. I'm looking forward to it!

SO, just to close the loop on this thread, here's how I would respond to myself now that I've popped my racing cherry

1) Dress for the weather - A few people mentioned this and I agree. This, more than anything, made the day a success for me. The water was chilly and the winds were gusty. I took a lot of water in the face. If I hadn't been wearing a waterproof jacket and quick-drying pants with a pair of comfy boat shoes, I think I would've been absolutely miserable. This includes bringing your own PFD so you don't have to worry about borrowing an ill-fitting one.

2) A good pair of gloves- Weight-lifting gloves are better than nothing, but as an earlier poster said, they leave too much bare finger exposed above the knuckle. I tried the PVC-coated gloves from Home Depot, but my particular pair were too thin for my comfort. Luckily, Annie (our last minute fourth addition) loaned me a pair of her sailing gloves and they were fantastic. But even with those gloves, I still managed to lose a little skin off my left index finger. So, a good pair of gloves and a willingness to get banged up is crucial.

3) Pre-launch briefing- I will insist on this next time. At the very least, I would ask "What procedure should we follow if a person goes overboard?" There are a lot of scenarios to consider- person goes completely in the water vs person is hanging off the edge, or hanging off the boom, or caught up in a line or something. Also, what should the victim do? Should they TRY to haul themselves back in, or just let go and wait for a committee boat?

And finally, I would add a 4th: Think about bringing a knife. On two occasions prior to launch, I needed a knife and didn't have one handy. Also, it occurred to me after kicking my foot free for the umpteenth time that there were so many damn lines in the boat, that it would be a fairly easy thing to get caught up in one or more of them if the boat capsized. I, personally, would feel better having a knife handy to cut myself (or a crewmate) free in the off chance that happened. I noticed nobody else was wearing them on their PFDs, but I will get one for the next time; I'm paranoid like that.
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