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post #26 of Old 11-01-2012
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: San Rafael, CA
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Re: Training and Developing Crew

When I get new crew aboard for the first time I try to figure out what they are wanting, a boat ride, to help out a bit, or to learn how to handle the boat. ( A sailing club I belong to has a fair supply of potential crew, then there are the sailing meetup lists) They are asked to take the wheel, and given instruction for the task at hand. Most are happy to try tacking the jib, but I don't jibe w/o experienced crew. Before we leave the dock for the first time I tell them they are welcome to learn about anything aboard, what ever they'd like to do.

When I find one who is serious about learning, I have a dockside sailing day, 101. We start on a relatively wind free day and raise and lower each sail, change jibs while one is up, tie in the reef on both main and mizzen. If, after a sail or two, they want to go on to 102 we learn to get the boat in and out of the slip and how to turn it 180į mostly in place. 103 has had only one person to get that far, what we did was to figure out how to fly spinnaker and the mizzen staysail, we've yet to fly the mizzen spinnaker away from dock, though the other two sails have been used while out.

But mine is a 37' boat, and trying to teach anything beyond simple steering and tacking while in motion hasn't worked out very well, but after the two to three hour 101 course, I have someone I can work with out there.

I have had two guests with 'keel boat certification' come aboard. One apparently didn't care for my tub of a boat, the other thinks it is grand. But both were able to be very helpful while underway, knowing the terminology, and maybe every bit as important, the risks. One was also very aware of how little knowledge that certificate actually gave him, I encouraged more courses through Power Squadron or USCG Aux.

As a side note, I have one friend for many years who loves being on the boat and really wants to work the sails, but because of his age, being out of shape and general klutzyness that often results in damage to himself or surroundings, he is forbidden from leaving the cockpit. After much pleading I gave in and went though the 101 run down. Before we even completed the reef tying he resigned the class saying it was too hard for him and thanked me for my good judgement, looking out for his best interest. He is becoming a good helmsman, freeing me to handle the sails.
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