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  #21  
Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Why do skippers yell?

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Originally Posted by blt2ski View Post
Med,

As a few of us are pointing out, are we disCUSSing "yelling" to be heard across 30-50' of deck to give a command.......or are we disCUSSing the skipper the CUSS's, berates, says derogatory comments to crew etc?!?!?!?

I personally am seeing many of us describing "YELLING" in two different ways.

Marty
I like the distinction that was made between "yelling" (speaking loudly) and "screaming" (berating angry yelling).

The topic I posed is more about the skipper SCREAMING and berating rather than elevating the volume of his/her voice in order to be heard. Turning up the volume makes sense when there is wind and other things that impair hearing (though that can still be misinterpreted by the receiver as screaming).

I'm giving some thought to what's been proposed about insecurities about the situation or things not going as planned in ones head. I don't scream at my crew, because my crew is usually my wife, and I really want to to continue to be both wife and crew.

Recently however, I did yell (scream?) briefly and I immediately regretted it and apologized later. I was surprised at myself that I let myself do that, but it absolutely WAS a situation that wasn't going as I planned and I wasn't confident I could easily get us out of it at that moment. The situation BTW was a last minute aborted docking (it was an unmarked ferry dock and the ferry was right behind me) followed by my docking in an unfavorable wind in a hastily chosen slip.

So yes, we're discussing why skippers SCREAM. Yelling of the most ugly kind.

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  #22  
Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Why do skippers yell?

Fair amount of difference between yelling and screaming, the former is sometimes excusable indeed necessary but the latter does tend to betray insecurity. I know cos I've been guilty of that.

Otoh, one of the reasons I choose not to race on a regular basis is that in reality I am simply way to competitive and so often, it is in the heat of battle that the shouter comes out to play.
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  #23  
Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Why do skippers yell?

I believe it's all a question of tone and words.
In a race you are in competition mode and you can yell to motivate and encourage your team. That's motivational yelling on a positive way.
Why would a crew accept to get insulted by a skipper is beyond my understanding
Last time an unhappy, unsecured skipper yield at me I stopped doing anything and asked to be brought back to the dock immediately. And 2 other followed in silence. Any good crew can find a good spot on a good boat.
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Re: Why do skippers yell?

As I just said this past weekend. I may yell TO you (to be heard) but I will not yell AT you.

Yelling pretty much means you've lost control if it's done to berate or criticize someone and you can forget having a productive outcome.

If it's b/c there is some emergency or urgent condition then all bets are off of course.
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  #25  
Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Why do skippers yell?

Without wishing to delve into the underlying psychology, there is a certain personality weakness that causes some people to turn in absolute a**holes if put in a position of power. Being in charge of a boat creates a position of power without many of the restraining influences that would be present in most other circumstances. And that's before you add in the stress and excitement of racing.

Often those that I sail with know more than me so I can learn something along the way and I enjoy the discussions. That just wouldn't happen if there was a lot yelling. But I do have a magic word which means, "just do it and do it now". So far I have used it a grand total of once, when the person on the helm was heading towards some submerged rocks and didn't want to tack yet :-) - In retrospect, I could have probably handled it better but I was starting to panic.

On other peoples boats, I have been yelled at.... also once. We had three "incidents" on that trip, all avoidable, and one of which was to run aground, despite two of us advising that the harbor approach he wanted to make was too risky and that we should wait for the tide. The skipper was very experienced and while I like him as a person, I have never sailed with him since.

I'm not really sure what my waffling is all about except that life is far too short to be yelling at someone... unless they truly deserve it
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Why do skippers yell?

Yes, screaming is a problem. A few thoughts not mentioned:

* Often crew members confuse yelling (to be heard above the wind and engine) with screaming. Often it is hard to tell how loud you need to be.
* Sometimes yelling (not screaming) follows a request when the initial request got no response. The person in question simply was not paying attention the first time, and is offended the second.
* Often folks offer to help, thinking it will be no more complex of physical than an offer to set the table. They think offering help is a politeness, not a promise to approach a task with focus and commitment. These folks just don't understand sailing or sports involving commitment and frankly, the skipper should have spotted that.
* Single hand more often. It teaches planning and the crew won't take no cr_p.

In my own experience, competent crew doesn't get yelled at if the skipper is competent. Competent skippers don't accept much help from unknown crew.
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  #27  
Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Why do skippers yell?

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Originally Posted by Geoff54 View Post
Without wishing to delve into the underlying psychology, there is a certain personality weakness that causes some people to turn in absolute a**holes if put in a position of power. Being in charge of a boat creates a position of power without many of the restraining influences that would be present in most other circumstances. And that's before you add in the stress and excitement of racing....
An interesting point, though you generally don't see managers, schoolteachers, factory foreman and CEOs blowing a vein while screaming at work. Yet you do see the screaming of coaches in any high level sport. Most NFL coaches look like they're seconds away from a stroke during the game....

I wonder if it's the immediacy of sports, of which racing is one, that makes screaming more acceptable than in social or work environments. After all, getting the correct cover-sheet on your TPS report may be important, but it's not immediately urgent and time-sensitive as the $5,000 jib that is flogging itself to bits is....

Hmmm.......

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Re: Why do skippers yell?

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Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
An interesting point, though you generally don't see managers, schoolteachers, factory foreman and CEOs blowing a vein while screaming at work.
Because those that do are looked down on and don't usually last long, therefore there is a restraining influence.

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Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Yet you do see the screaming of coaches in any high level sport. Most NFL coaches look like they're seconds away from a stroke during the game....
Regarded as acceptable behaviour, therefore no restraining influence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
I wonder if it's the immediacy of sports, of which racing is one, that makes screaming more acceptable than in social or work environments.
Could be true in some sports, not all.

Except for the pro. ranks, sailing is one of the few places where you get to be team captain without having to earn that right.
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  #29  
Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Why do skippers yell?

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Originally Posted by Sabreman View Post
I consider yelling a sign of weakness and insecurity. A quiet boat is often highly competent.
Bingo!

Once upon a time, I yelled. I was a new skipper and very insecure. My wife and son both disliked going out with me.

More experience, culminating in a stint as a paid sailing instructor cured me. Even when students tried to decapitate me with accidental gybes, I had to smile and calmly explain what could have been done better.

When I used the same approach with my wife, sailing became fun for both of us.

Yelling is presently restricted those times when it is necessary to communicate over the noise of the engine. We're currently looking for efficient, low cost alternatives for that also.
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Why do skippers yell?

I think non-racers hear the yelling and screaming on a race course, (usually the starts and mark roundings) and are shocked by it because to them is is all meaningless. To the people involved most of it makes sense when you put it in the context of the race. That's not to say there aren't screamers of the worst kind out there, but I have only encountered a few in the many years I have been racing.

Even on boats with highly competent crew there can be a lot of yelling. The fact of the matter is that on a busy mark rounding where all the boats are in close proximity and they are all executing complicated maneuvers, changing sails AND battling for position yelling is a necessity. The skipper and tactician may be yelling at the boats around them to make sure they are given the room they are entitled to, the foredeck might be yelling back to the pit for what they need done, the trimmer might be yelling to make foredeck aware of a problem that they need to resolve etc etc. And all of that communication has to be done over the din of flogging racing sails. You have no idea how loud a new crinkly headsail or spinnaker can be! Yes the yelling can also escalate into screaming when things go wrong; usually proportional to the potential damage or injury that may be about to occur.

When it comes to the true screamers, I can sort of understand how it comes about. Most of my years of racing have been as crew, usually foredeck, and I know exactly what needs to happen and when at a mark rounding. When I am at the helm of my own boat I feel helpless and frustrated when things go wrong elsewhere on the boat because usually it is obvious to me what needs to happen. One has to be VERY patient when training crew, and it is difficult to be patient when you feel helpless because you are holding the tiller. That is why I believe the helmsman should NOT be the one training. If you want to run the boat handling, get someone else to take the helm. A helmsman that is trying to tell everyone else what to do probably isn't doing their own job properly either!

Fortunately I have many skilled sailor friends that I can call on if I want crew for a race, including much better helmsmen, so I am happy to give the tiller to one of them so I can pull strings! Most of the time I prefer to race on other people's boats anyway!
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