Tips for a new race team member
As some of you know, I just got accepted to a race team and will crew for the first time May 16th.
While I have some sailing experience, I have never crewed a race. Do any of you have some experience being a captian on a crew and could lend some advise to a greenhorn?
Smartelek responses also welcome. :)
What boat is it and where are you racing?
If it's laid back, bring a 6 or 12 pack of good canned beer. Go 18-24 if its a bigger boat.
Read as much as you can on racing before then, try this... RACING BASICS - Beginner's Racing Manual
Do your job for now, don't worry what goes on outside the boat.
Be agressive in what you do, give 100% all the time. Do not ask any questions after the 4 minute gun until you cross the line and things settle. Any other time, ask away.
Hike hard, like its your mission in life.
Crap lazy crew are easy to find and hard to get rid of. Most people rather sail short handed w/ good crew than w/ people that don't want to be there.
No matter what the breeze, where you are in the pack or who's racing w/ you, sail fast and hike hard. I've been on boats where no one is hiking and it's blowing 20+. All it takes is one to start it, others will follow. You can make up for lack of skill if you put forth great effort. You'll be invited back.
Pack all the regular junk you would for a daysail. A snack that won't melt in your pocket. PFD, maybe a small knife, spray top, etc. Nothing heavy and keep it in one bag w/ a biner on it to clip it to something so it stays where you put it.
There's a bunch more, but I need to bug out of work to go race my weds night series.
hike hard & sail fast!
Well, when I race, the rules are:
Never coil lines.
Do not point out the mark. Talk it out so that other boats cannot see.
One-two wraps max on the winch.
Keep an eye on the blind side as the captain/navigator cannot watch everything a the start.
Check with the captain to see what he wants on the boat. He may not want you bringing hardly anything. Weight.
Falling overboard is considered a major faux pas.
all seriousness aside
Catalina 27, hopefully they won't be too serious, not exactly formula 1, but they do have a very good one design fleet. If it's mix fleet racing, then it should be a cake walk. The 27 will probably like 5-6 on board max. So if you show up and there's 3 others, you'll be busy... :D
Try to move like a cat. Not a linebacker. The 27 is a heavy steady boat, but if you get a 250 lbs rhino jumping on the bow, it doesn't go to fast.
And don't worry, as soon as you get all the in's and out's of the boat straightened out, you'll move to another boat. :p
Unless you're assigned to a function that requires you to be in the cockpit, stay out of the cockpit. The people who need to be there, need room to stand with good balance and room to swing their arms, and that makes the cockpit very crowded.
Only bring food if it's a long race or multiple races in a day. (Check with the skipper first, however, because skippers commonly bring a cooler of food and sandwiches for crew in such situations.) Also, any food or drinks that you bring have to be stored and/or cooled, and the skipper might not want to deal with anything other than what he brings for the crew.
When you begin crewing, you need to be aware that you might be creating a "butt cleat" almost anywhere you sit on the boat, so be sure you aren't sitting on any control lines or sheets. If you're working in the cockpit, get the sheets off the floor after every tack. You can't get good footing and balance if you're standing on line, and you can't tail a sheet if someone is standing on the lazy sheet.
When you see that you're likely to tack or make some other maneuver soon, such as, when approaching a mark or crossing tacks with another boat, get in position in advance, and get prepared for the maneuver. Don't wait until the last second to get in position, and don't wait for the skipper to tell you to do so. Think about those things for yourself, and be prepared, in case the skipper has to make a sudden tack to keep clear of a privileged boat, or if he tacks suddenly to follow a wind shift.
Some skippers and crewmembers want a minimum of conversation, so they can concentrate on sail trim and tactics, and wind shifts and helming and tacking, etc. Other skippers and crewmembers are willing to answer questions while racing. Determine which type of people are manning the boat and only ask questions if they are receptive to them. When they're obviously very busy, don't ask questions or make unnecessary conversation.
If a line gets fouled or something goes wrong somewhere else on the boat, don't rush to that place to help correct it. You might get in the way of the people who are already there to correct it. Only intervene if you are asked to do so, or if you're absolutely certain your help is needed and that you can help. You should trust that your other crew members are at least as capable as you of dealing with the problem.
If you make a mistake, forget about it and go on from there. Dwelling on a mistake, in your mind, will almost guarantee that you'll get nervous and drop the skipper's favorite winch handle over the side or make another mistake later.
I race my own boat and have crewed on a bunch.
Good advice so far....
Be prepared mentally for a little yelling. Be prepared mentally for a little cursing. Directed at you! Be prepared for yelling between the foredeck and the cockpit crews.
I try to never raise my voice at my crew. I've been sworn at like you wouldn't believe on some boats.
Just be prepared for it. At the start, at a mark rounding, dousing or gybing the spinnaker, heavy traffic, crossing situations, things can get tense and exciting. Just remember, no one means it. The whole crew is under stress, that's all.
Also DON'T talk to other boats, yell "Starboard" or something. That is up to the skipper.
Be early. If the skipper says everyone at the dock at 10, be there at 9:45. Be the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Help with everything getting the boat ready and putting her away.
I usually like to answer when given an order. For example, if asked to ease the jib sheet, reply "easing the jib sheet".
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