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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Tips for a new race team member
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Thread: Tips for a new race team member Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-12-2010 03:31 PM
CBinRI
Quote:
Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
Falling overboard is considered a major faux pas.
No joke. I always announce to new crew the "rule" that you have to stay on the boat with us.
05-12-2010 03:30 PM
CBinRI
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimB517 View Post
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".
This is very constructive advice. I particularly like the advice about not talking to other boats. I have been shocked by some of the inappropriate exchanges that have gone on between boats and I certainly don't want to develop that reputation for my boat as, ultimately, it is the skipper who answers for the conduct fo his/her crew.

Also, don't underemphasize the importance of promptness. One of my least experienced crew is always early and he gets Big bonus points, as I do not like changing sails or doing other prep work all by myself. One of my more experienced guys is severely time-challenged, requires "reminder" calls an hour or so before the race starts and I finally had to announce a rule that we would be off the mooring at a specific time because we got so sick of waiting.

If you work your way into the regular rotation, make sure you give as much notice as possible when you can't make it, as it there is nothing more maddening than finding out that you are short-handed at the last minute and trying to cover.

Finally, some degree of yelling may be inevitable, but if you get on a boat where you are being abused, try your best to find another boat. Life is too short and it's supposed to be fun.
05-12-2010 12:30 PM
bellefonte Thanks DrB. That draws a pretty realistic picture. I appreciate it.
05-12-2010 12:15 PM
DrB
Wow, great advice, but some pretty....

militant answers.

First off, if it's a local beer can race, relax, it isn't the America's Cup. Second, your main goal for a first race is to stay out of the way if you are not assigned to job. If you do that well, you'll have done well. If you are given a job, ask what the job entails and who you take orders from. On some boats the skipper gives the orders on other boats, another person oversees the activities and the skipper just drives. Be very clear on who directs you and don't listen to anyone except that person during the activity.

If you can practice the job before hand on the way to the start, do it. Do not focus on anything else except your activity when you are doing it. If your are in charge of trimming the mainsail, do not get concerned about what is going on with other sails unless they affect you. There are other folks that are tasked with those activities, let them figure it out.

If you are just "railmeat", move when told and keep quiet during the sail. If you are on the rail pay attention to the other locations of other boats, wind shifts, etc. Lot's of commands are being given throughout the race and general banter is not advised. Socializing is for after the race. That being said, low voice talking with your railmeat neighbor is ok as long as it does not affect your main function on the boat.

As others have said, yelling or loud speaking will occur. That's okay as long as it is not derogatory. When it becomes personal, think about getting onto another boat next time. You should not tolerate that type of abuse. Captains or crew that verbal abuse their crew are a$$holes IMO and lack both people and sailing skills. I have been on boats that have this type of personality and it just plain stinks. Sailing is supposed to be fun even racing.

I you haven't already raced on this boat, fire an email to the Captain, introduce yourself, tell them about your sailing "resume" and ask what to bring. Bring what you need and not anything more.

When the race is over, help getting the boat put back together. If you liked the experience, captain, crew, and boat, say so to the captain and ask if he/she will have you back. If you didn't and they ask, be upfront and honest and let them know why, even if you need to talk to them out of earshot of others. Folks do appreciate feedback good or bad. Don't be mean about it. For example if a crew member was all over you for making a mistake, say to the captain, "While I enjoyed the overall experience, person A was riding me pretty hard about X mistake. It was my first race and I'm still learning the in and outs. etc. I didn't really appreciate them continuing the badgering well after the incident" See what happens from there. The Cap'n may not have been aware of it and act upon it. Good crew is hard to find as are good boats.

One last piece of advice - Go with an open mind, willingness to listen and observe and work hard, and be enthusiastic.

DrB
05-07-2010 07:10 PM
mfreddo Seems like there is some really good advice here
05-07-2010 06:58 PM
puddinlegs Winches go clockwise. Dumb advice, but lot's of new folks will wrap a winch the wrong way when under pressure. Other advice is to let those around you know exactly what you haven't done on a boat. They need to put you in a positions where you'll do the most good while doing the least harm!
05-06-2010 12:38 PM
JimB517
be prepared

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".
05-06-2010 10:44 AM
Sailormon6 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.

Have fun!
05-06-2010 10:40 AM
zz4gta 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...

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.
05-06-2010 08:42 AM
bellefonte
Quote:
Originally Posted by zz4gta View Post
What boat is it and where are you racing?
oh, its a Cat27. On Eagle Mountian Lake in Fort worth, Texas
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