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  #41  
Old 04-14-2014
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

The first two races sound like a typical race with an unpracticed crew! Sounds like it was fun! The last race with someone overboard and hurt was not typical...at all. Bumps, scrapes, bruises...absolutely, but the situation with a head injury and overboard could have been life threatening. Sounds like you've already been looking at the situation for lessons learned...and you said "for the next time"...those are the two things that matter!! I'll also restate the need for a crew to practice together and get communication and movement down.

I've raced in many races...it never got less exciting for me, I hope it dosen't for you.
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  #42  
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

Your first racing experience sounds like a Three Stooges episode. The boat sounds unprepared and incompetent to the point of presenting a high level of risk to the crew. You might want to shop around for a safer, better program to race on.

In retrospect, the advice I gave you was probably way too advanced for the level of this racing program. Of your 3 pieces of advice, 2 concern how to dress (pretty basic for any kind of sailing) and 1 concerns the captain's prerogative. I would not advise stepping aboard a competent racing boat and telling the captain how to do his job by requiring a briefing when you are the only new crew.

On a competitive racing boat, the helmsman and crew already have established routines and know exactly what to do at each point in the race. Once the captain and crew have mastered basic boat handling techniques (which apparently this captain and crew have not), strategy and tactics become the primary focus. People get their heads out of the boat and start paying attention to positioning with respect to the other boats, the fleet and anticipated wind and current changes.

It would be more appropriate for you to find out how you fit in the established program. Often, novices are little more than rail meat -shifting their weight during tacks and balancing the boat out downwind.

Be careful about staying with this boat. Sailboat racing can be a dangerous sport. Several people have died on the Chesapeake Bay during racing, at least one due to a head injury from an unanticipated jibe resulting in a man overboard.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 04-14-2014 at 12:11 PM.
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  #43  
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
Your post
All good points and excellent food for thought. Thanks jameswilson29!

After reading your comments, I realize "insist" was the wrong word to use re: a safety briefing. As a new crew, though, I would simply ask the skipper what he expected of me in the case of a man overboard so that I would be in sync with the rest of the crew. (Yesterday, I tried to pull our man back into the boat whereas the skipper expected him to just let go.)
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  #44  
Old 04-14-2014
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

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Originally Posted by ropeclimber View Post
(Yesterday, I tried to pull our man back into the boat whereas the skipper expected him to just let go.)
I don't think this skipper likes Bob. Either that or he's a horrible skipper.
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  #45  
Old 04-14-2014
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

...knee pads. I'm constantly bruised, but having knee pads doesn't make you hesitant when you need to land on the deck quickly. I bought a retractable device that I hook my knife into and then the body of the knife is tucked inside a piece of tubing on the waist strap. Others use a lanyard and tuck all this in a pocket. Whatever you decide, I recommend trying to find your knife with your eyes closed and with either hand.

As to your MOB situation, this is probably less significant when you have chase boats, etc., that can help retrieve crew, but as you move up to bigger boats or offshore stuff, this is really when an articulated plan and practicing that plan come in handy. Chances are you'll never implement it, but what if...? So baring that, it never hurts to ask what the skipper is thinking, which could be a 5 min conversation before leaving the dock. Getting a MOB back on board is the hardest part. We have low freeboard Cal 20s with ladders on the back and people still have a hard time with this. But trying to finish the race with someone hanging off the boom?!? Well, that's just bad form. And generally you're DSQ'd if you don't come back with the crew you started with.
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

Race 1 - typically during the start sequence you don't need to have your eyed glued to the woolies. Most of the time you are holding and defending a position and then powering up for the run to the line so looking out for other boats would liukely be of better use. It is also typical to raise the headsail before dousing the kite not after.

Race 2 - J+M can get almost as complicated as using a spinnaker when gybing and/or using a leeward pole. When the wind is near the beam and not using a pole a foot can be placed on the sheet near the clew to hold the sail further out.

Race 3 - I have raced on quite a few different boats and do not recall a single instance of a MOB brief. During the start I don't recall a single instance where a 'watch your heads' was not called out as everyone is looking at different things for information or are ducking boats during that time.
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

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Race 3 - I have raced on quite a few different boats and do not recall a single instance of a MOB brief. During the start I don't recall a single instance where a 'watch your heads' was not called out as everyone is looking at different things for information or are ducking boats during that time.
Yeah, this is how most boats operate. As I understand the history, though, this is one of the reasons why the Northern California Offshore Racing Council was created. Post-accident reviews from when racers have died indicated a need for consistency in safety and training. Not everyone likes this, and I'm not saying that's what's needed in these dinghy races, but ropeclimber asked a lot of thoughtful questions, posted follow up concerns, and had a potentially dangerous situation, so this gives him some food for thought. It's also probably the wave of the future to document MOB skills -- if nothing else but to CYA as a skipper. Anyhow, it doesn't hurt to ask the question in a way that can benefit the newbie, without being challenging or critical of the skipper.
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  #48  
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

Coincidentally and kinda pertinent for this discussion, Latitude 38 just came out online and reported the following on SF Bay this past weekend....similar outcomes may be quite different offshore or without support vessels.

The weekend's sailing conditions were summer-like in their intensity — a welcome change for many of us who've become tired of medium- to light-air sailing. Among the many races taking place in the Olympic Circle off Berkeley, there were stark reminders of what can go right and what can go wrong in heavy air.

This year the Knarrs participated in San Francisco YC’s Resin Regatta — a welcome addition to the starting line. The six-fleet, 52-boat regatta had the Melges 24s, Etchells, Express 27s, Cal 20s, Open 5.70s and Knarrs sailing on a course just east of Southampton Shoal. Weekend winds built into the low 20s with gusts as high as 26 knots on Saturday — keeping crews busy during each of the five races.

The blustery conditions led to a series of incidents that remind us just how important our safety equipment is. "The first water rescue was a young woman on a Melges 24 who rolled off as the boat jibed for the finish," says PRO Vicki Sodaro." She was wearing a PFD, put her hand up for the support boat to find her, stayed calm and was ferried back to her Melges to sail in the next race." In another instance, a skipper fell off his Cal 20 during a jibe after a finish and his inflatable didn't inflate. This, coupled with his crew being unable to retrieve him, led race officials to rescue him and take him to Richmond YC to warm-up. Race volunteers also assisted in sailing his boat back to the harbor.

In another situation, a young woman was retrieved by her crewmates aboard the Express 27 Abigail Norton after slipping off the deck during a blustery downwind leg in Saturday's third race. Fortunately, she held onto the lifeline the entire time and merely got very wet in the process.
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  #49  
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

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a need for consistency in safety and training
I am all for safety and training though I point out instances of MOB are hardly ever consistent due to differing circumstances. Doing the drills does make one think of alternate scenarios and possible appropriate responses.
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Re: First time crewing/racing this weekend

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I am all for safety and training though I point out instances of MOB are hardly ever consistent due to differing circumstances. Doing the drills does make one think of alternate scenarios and possible appropriate responses.
Completely agree. I can't remember what I was listening to this past weekend about a situation in which the rescuers train all the time, but in that real-life case they said it would have failed as a drill scenario because nothing worked as planned...
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