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post #27 of Old 03-13-2012
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Re: advice needed, discipline...

Part of the knack of successful racing is getting a clear division of roles. In the OP's situation, it seems to me that there are four roles that are potentially conflict.
  1. Owner: The person who owns the boat. Usually involved in sailing the boat--although (e.g. America's Cup etc teams, charters etc) may not be! Usually in charge of deciding who takes what roles, although may delegate this.
  2. Skipper: The person ultimately responsible for the safety of the boat and her crew, and the highest authority on the boat.
  3. Tactician: The person who decides how the boat should be manoeuvred when racing, by reference to the other boats on the water and prevailing conditions. Orders can be negatived by skipper, but should only be done when the skipper is unwilling to accept tactician's direction due to risk to boat and crew.
  4. Helmsman (Helmswoman): The person at the helm. Duty to avoid collisions...

Obviously, in many boats all four roles will vest in the same person: the owner will be in charge of the boat, making tactical decisions from the helm. Nevertheless, others boats will put the skipper at the helm but cede tactical control of the boat while racing to someone known to have good tactical skills. Or vice versa. I knew one owner who liked to win more than he liked to be in charge and would delegate the helm and tactics roles to people better at those roles than he was .

It might never have struck your helmswoman that being at the helm didn't make her in charge of the boat. It might never strike an owner that someone placed at the helm might think they were in charge. It might never strike a skipper to have someone else be in charge of racing decisions.

The only way to avoid this confusion, as Matt says, is to make sure everyone is fully briefed (at least as to what they need to do and what the hierarchy is) before you go out racing. And the only way to do this is to decide in your own mind, as the owner of the boat, who takes the different roles.

(N.B. Obviously my thoughts on this only apply to racing! Seamanship & leading a team when passage making is a subject I am definitely not qualified to have a view on.)
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