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  #1  
Old 10-25-2012
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Training and Developing Crew

Help. For several years I have looked for a compatible soul to take on as crew and finally found such a person. Unfortunately my crew is a total novice when it comes to sailing. While I'm not a teacher nor experienced trainer, I advised my crew that the first step in learning to sail was to learn the vocabulary as it makes giving and receiving directions much easier and less confusing. We've now been sailing about a dozen times and while the interpersonal communication is very easy, there remains many problems caused by a lack of sailing vocabulary. As an example, on our last sail I asked him to "release the mainsheet" and he gave me that deer in the headlights look. Since we were in close quarters, I just returned to the cockpit and did myself, which I hated to do.
How do you "professional" teachers and trainers handle this problem. I remember that the initial part of my sail training was in the class room and homework assignments that focused on terminology and understanding the simple dynamics of how a sail boat works. How can I accomplish the same thing but not insult my new crew with homework assignments?
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Re: Training and Developing Crew

Is your "compatible soul" motivated to learn? If so, then the issue is how to communicate your knowlege to that person.

Some people are text learners. (Books)
Some people are visual learners. (Watching)
Some people are tactile learners. (Doing)

I have taught for the US Navy, and for my civilian job, but I'm not a certified, professionally trained instructure. I have taken on total newb racing crew and trained them up. My advice is worth exactly what you're paying for it.

I've never assigned homework, but I communicated with my crew constantly through email, posing questions and seeing who could come up with the answer first. They liked that.

I drew sketches in Powerpoint or MS Paint.
I've demonstrated things on the boat for their learning experience, and then have them repeat what I've done.

I try to find "commonality" to help their memory. For instance, most sail control lines are called "sheets". Main sheet, jib sheet, spin sheet, etc.

Color-code the sheets so that you can direct them by color until they remember which sheet is which.

If I think of more, I'll put it up.
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Re: Training and Developing Crew

You can give them a book. To keep it easy just say "hey I found this book I liked check it out". Do you always use the same wording, is it let out the main or do you use let out the main sheet? You can also label the boat. Most important do they want to learn to sail or go for a boat ride?
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Re: Training and Developing Crew

Fast Track to Cruising: How to Go from Novice to Cruise-Ready in Seven Days: Steve Colgate,Doris Colgate: 9780071406727: Amazon.com: Books Fast Track to Cruising: How to Go from Novice to Cruise-Ready in Seven Days: Steve Colgate,Doris Colgate: 9780071406727: Amazon.com: Books


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Re: Training and Developing Crew

Ok bubble beat me to it and did a better job.
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Re: Training and Developing Crew

I call students "mainsheetgirl"/ guy, (or jibsheet guy, or during a tack, oldjibsheet/newjibsheetguy, etc. So they hear it a lot, and i don't have to remember names immediately ;-)

I don't think teaching sailing vocab is insulting, we all have to learn the jargon in any new endeavor.

It helps if you tell them why things are called what they are and what they mean (or admit you have no idea why but just do it, please). Also tell them they'll sound tragically salty in the bar as they recount how they "flew the kite" (but *not* how they "blew the guy").

We all learn through repetition. In a pinch, go generic--"the line that lets the boom out, yeah THAT one"... Then return to proper jargon when things are calmer.



PS: fortunately the boats I teach on have assymmetrical spinnakers, so I don't have to say "Guy guy" ;-)

Last edited by nolatom; 10-25-2012 at 01:02 PM.
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Re: Training and Developing Crew

I found this book easy to read and understand....I felt prepared for the 1st time I was underway..althought it does take time as a newbie to get all the terminology...
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Re: Training and Developing Crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctl411 View Post
You can give them a book. To keep it easy just say "hey I found this book I liked check it out". Do you always use the same wording, is it let out the main or do you use let out the main sheet? You can also label the boat. Most important do they want to learn to sail or go for a boat ride?
Oh, excellent point ctl411. Consistency is KEY. Always use the same word for everything, until they are up to speed. They'll never learn if you're always changing terminalogy.

Keep things simple.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccriders View Post
While I'm not a teacher nor experienced trainer, I advised my crew that the first step in learning to sail was to learn the vocabulary as it makes giving and receiving directions much easier and less confusing.
I don't really see the point in trying to force someone go learn all the vocab right up front. I've only been sailing for a couple of years and still don't know many of the correct terms, yet still manage to get the boat where I want to go. (I do know what the mainsheet is). Almost everyone I've sailed with to date has zero experience as well. When I want them to do something I just point at it and say "pull in that rope", "let out that line", ect... Terminology is irrelevant as long as they are doing the write action, as time goes on they will learn what your talking about. While they are performing the action you could then inform them what the name of the line is and next time they might have less of a dumb look on their face.

Another suggestion is get them to take a sailing course. They will learn a lot faster that way then being trained by you, for the simple reason that it removes the emotional asspect from the equation. Plus if they mess up something its not on your boat.



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Re: Training and Developing Crew

It is important to get the basic terminology down.
If you have a copy of Chapman's Piloting you could lend it to your respective crew. The first chapter or two deals mostly with what everything on a modern sailboat is called. If you have a copy of the text from a 101 sailing course it should also have a chapter on basic terminology.
The list of nautical terms used throughout history is just too vast to start a newbie on:
Who needs to know what a Baggywrinkle is?
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