Big Prob with racing - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 03-28-2010
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Big Prob with racing

O.K. I tried to post on spin sheets with people who said they need crew then when I say I would like too crew litttle or no responce. If you guys want new racers, well you have to help us when we ask to get involved.
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Old 03-28-2010
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Racers want to fill their crews with the most experienced, skilled people they can find. If you have those skills, you're likely to get invited aboard. The last people chosen will be the ones with the least experience. If you don't have experience, then your best likelihood to get on board a racing yacht is to go to the docks from which racers are leaving on race day, and ask them if anyone needs extra crew. Often they don't need skilled crew. They just need extra crew on the rail. Go out with them, and watch, and listen, and learn. After you have developed some skills, you'll be invited back. The hard truth is that you have to learn and earn a position on a race boat. Don't think you're the only person with this problem. I have often had to prove myself, even though I've had a good racing record for 30 years. The skipper of a racing boat has no way of knowing how good you are until you show him. Don't be discouraged. It takes time.
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Old 03-29-2010
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If captains aren't willing to take a risk by bringing on a little new blood, then how do they expect the sport to continue?

I'm glad my captain didn't feel the way you describe. I was invited because although I don't know s---, I've been aggressive and soaking up every bit of knowledge with an open mind.

Sure, I was only rail meat but yesterday was probably the most exciting thing I've ever done. The skipper/owner and the rest of the crew are an outstanding bunch. No screaming, lots of laughter, very laid back. By only having the responsibility of being ballast, I was able to observe and learn so much.

I've been invited back for more. I'm sure that training for more advanced tasks will follow. I greatly appreciate the owner and crew taking a chance on me as a total newb.
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Old 03-29-2010
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I think IF you put in the time to get to know some local people you will find the RIGHT boat

And the RIGHT boat like Bubble found is worth the wait as i have gone on many boats ONCE
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Old 03-29-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
Racers want to fill their crews with the most experienced, skilled people they can find. If you have those skills, you're likely to get invited aboard. The last people chosen will be the ones with the least experience. If you don't have experience, then your best likelihood to get on board a racing yacht is to go to the docks from which racers are leaving on race day, and ask them if anyone needs extra crew. Often they don't need skilled crew. They just need extra crew on the rail. Go out with them, and watch, and listen, and learn. After you have developed some skills, you'll be invited back. The hard truth is that you have to learn and earn a position on a race boat. Don't think you're the only person with this problem. I have often had to prove myself, even though I've had a good racing record for 30 years. The skipper of a racing boat has no way of knowing how good you are until you show him. Don't be discouraged. It takes time.
Yeah, I imagine there are one or two fleets on the Chesapeake where skippers can be that picky, but even then its probably bad for racing overall.

At most other places, skippers are willing to take folks on and give some OJT in order to build a base of crew they can call on. I know I never would have been aboard a sailboat in a race were it not for Fishing Bay Yacht Clubs crew recuiting efforts. The boat I ended up crewing on had a few life time sailors, a couple of evolving landlubbers, and my wife and with experince levels between those extremes. They were thrilled to death when after the first tack on our first time aboard my wife coiled the lazy sheet and prepared it for the next tack and we've been invited back ever since. I've done a bunch or around the bouys races, a few long distance races and did Down the Bay from Annapolis to Hampton with these guys. In all that time we often would have a new guy aboard so the skipper has a cadre to call on. FBYC actively recruits and trains landlubbers to provide crew for their skippers. They do both land based training before the season starts and on the water training before the spring series starts so even a greenhorn will come aboard with a clue as to what's going on.

The experience I got through participting with FBYC gave me the confidence to enter my own boat in a couple of races, and I might try some more. I don't think I'd ever raced my boat, without having had the opportunty to crew, so I can attest to any club official reading this that outreach programs are important if you are trying to build a fleet/promote sailboat racing.

The fact is that there are only a few fleets where its so competitive that a boat can't afford some developmental crew, and developing crew is important for racing overall and the future of the sailing club. Clubs should recognize this and promote crew development in their "beer can" fleets. Where else are the experienced crew for the hot fleets going to come from?
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Football and baseball and hockey teams fill their core positions with the most skilled players available. Yacht racing teams are no different. Nobody expects a baseball coach to put a totally inexperienced player in as shortstop, or pitcher, or catcher, as long as there are experienced players available. Likewise, a racing team prefers experienced racing sailors to work the pit or the foredeck. If they can't find an experienced person, they'll take on an intelligent, eager, newbie and teach him what he needs to know. Complaining about the unfairness of it, or faulting skippers because they want the best crew they can find isn't going to help anyone get on a racing boat.

There are generally two types of racing. The more serious racing happens on weekends, and that's when skippers want their best crews. On weeknights, usually Wednesdays, boats go out for the more casual beer can races. Those are the races where skippers are most likely to take on newbies and teach them. If you didn't get an invitation to crew after putting your name on the Spinsheet crewlist, your next best chance is to find out when beer can racing takes place in your area and walk the docks where racing boats are sailing from, and let it be known that you're available.

If you're not just a newbie at racing, but also at sailing, then go to your local marina and find someone who needs crew to help sail his or her boat. Often marina employees can direct you to an older person who needs help sailing his boat. A newbie can learn a great deal about basic boat handling from such a person. If you can demonstrate basic skills when you crew on a racing boat, you'll be more likely to be invited back.
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Old 03-29-2010
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I have no racing experience but I have been sailing my boat up and down the Bay for 3 years. When I replied to the ads in Spin Sheets I only responded to the one that didn't ask for experienced sailing racers. My question is why do you post you need crew, then when I respond I am told dont need crew ? I would understand if they said the position was filled or I am not what they need. Instead I get alot of " well looks like most of my crew is comming back so if anything changes, I will let you know."
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Old 03-29-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapworth View Post
O.K. I tried to post on spin sheets with people who said they need crew then when I say I would like too crew litttle or no responce. If you guys want new racers, well you have to help us when we ask to get involved.
OK you want to race up on the Chesapeake. Go to Downtown Sailing Center in baltimore.
downtownsailing.org

Join. Learn to race on J22s/Sonars. Learn the skills. I promise you once you learn how to race you will slowly meet other weekend racers. Then you will be able to race more nights then you could continue to race with us or if you want it is easy to end up being asked on boats tuesday ,wednesday, thursday, friday, sat ,sunday. I will admit I have never been asked to race on a monday.
Don't be negative come out and sail. Racing sailboats is a blast.
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Old 03-29-2010
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One reason that you may not have gotten a response yet is that the racing season has not begun in earnest. I have yet to receive the usual spring, "Whose on board this year?" email from the boats that I normally race on. Skippers typically look who is coming back after last year, and then once they know what thier core crew look like, will add crew as needed. That may only happen a few weeks before racing season, expecially on the boats that go out for a practice session before the first race, or do a "throw-away" race as practice.

You can also follow-up with the skippers who have not responded and let them know that you are seriously interested in their specific boat since the year that I was on Spinsheet's crew needed list I was overwelmed with interested folks and only had one spot open.

Jeff

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Old 03-29-2010
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Spin Sheets? What's that?

Recruiting crew is difficult, even here in Rhode Island where you would think it would be easy. Finding crew members who are ambitious and willing to learn off the boat as well as on is even more difficuly. Finding crew who will make time to practice, well...

Last winter I had this crazy idea that I woudl find a stable crew and one person would become an expert at main sail trim, another at head sail trim and so on... I even provided books no one opened! HAHAHAHA!

In fact you need two complete crews and spares. People available on Tuesday night are not available on weekends or even on Monday night. People available on Monday night, same thing in reverse. People available on weekends have other things do do many weekends. Finding people willing and able to take a week off for a race week? Dream on!

Of course if you want to win, you need to find a crew that is stable and will practice together. That may be the biggest challenge in the sport, at least for amateurs!
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