Join Date: Jul 2006
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 11
So was just thinking about the last post and about things NOT to do on a race boat.
Don't ask questions.
Don't be pro active.
Don't be attentive. This one's difficult. Lot's of examples... light air, you continue sitting on the windward rail, and when you do move, you move like an elephant on crack. You're the mast person, the spin trimmer asks for pole tip up. You don't listen or care enough to level the butt end of the pole until asked 3 or 4 times. You're sitting on the rail and don't call puffs and waves for the driver and main trimmer. It's light air again. The trimmers are working their butts off to make the boat go. You're asking them if they caught American Idol last week. You don't take occasion to look up the course to see what other boats are doing. Are they lifted? headed? Wind velocity changes? You don't ask who you're main competition is, nor are you ever aware where they are. You've sailed on the same ride for 3-4 seasons, and you don't know any other position on the boat because you don't take opportunities or have the desire to learn them, etc... The list is long, and some of the above assumes that you already have experience.
If you don't, what should you do? Listen intently to everything. Make notes after the race. Think about where you've been and what you've heard. Ask more experienced crew and or the skip plenty of "why?" and "how?" after the race. Sitting on the rail is only boring if you're not using it as an opportunity to learn. Help rig and de-rig the boat. Sure, you're bound to make a mistake, but have regular crew check you're work. Hammering it home, keep your eyes and ears open. Concentration is worth more than raw talent, and often even more than much greater experience. Work hard at learning to anticipate what's going to happen and when. This is very important for everyone, but if you have ambitions to learning bow, this is what makes you THE bowman as opposed to A bowman. I'll stop here by giving the quick example of a friend who only started sailing a season ago. She asks loads of questions on the rail. She's not trimming during races (yet... this is a very competitive boat with a deep talent pool), but asks about what to watch and what we're looking for. She regularly volunteers for deliveries and takes them as an opportunity to do jobs and put into practice things she might not yet do during a race. She's very proactive and has developed a very nice 'boat sense'. Something needs to be done and it's within her reach, she does it. She asks about tactics while she's on the rail. It's a joy to sail with her even though she's the least experienced. When I think of "how to be good crew" without having decades of experience, she's it.