When ya know ya have good crew... - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 08-28-2008
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When ya know ya have good crew...

While I haven't sailed as much as some on here, I've managed to get into the shyte more than most. One thing I've learned is that people usually perform above and beyond expectations when the chips are down.

Example:

The delivery sail of Oh Joy turned ugly and we were spun to windward by a building sea. After surfing along the face of the wave for a while, I decided that the weatherhelm was too strong to get back downwind and turned hard over the crest. One of my two crew, a guy who's only experience was dinghy sailing the Great Lakes, went forward as we pounded into 10' seas and 45 knots of wind to set the solent stay. Mind you, there's no pulpit nor much to hold onto out on the pointy end of Oh Joy as we plunged into the faces of oncoming waves and sent green water sluicing down the decks past the cockpit but set that stay he did. After spending about 20 minutes up there he came back, drenched, cold and plumb wore out but he got it done, hanked on the Staysail and hoisted it. My other crew, one of my Son's out for his very first saltwater sail, poked his sleepy head out to see what was up. It seemed that he started out on the starboard bunk and woke up in the port one. He later got a chance to prove his metal when he was on the housetop in 60+ knots and 15' seas trying to pull down the Main as again, we pounded into the waves, looking like an outtake from Deadliest Catch. We didn't have harnesses yet but that didn't stop either one of these rookies from getting it done when the chips were down.

I've had other instances when folks have stepped up their game when it hit the fan but let's hear some of yours.
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Old 08-28-2008
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Not quite as dramatic, but a stead fast crew member.

During an overnight 70 mile race I suckered 3 other people to do with me (none of which had raced before) one individual stood out among the rest. Dave was used to sailing his Catalina 25 shoal draft and he was more than happy to do any task I asked of him. Taking the helm, setting a sail, grabbing me something to drink, hiking, grinding, didn't matter, never made one negative comment. He was able to stay up through the entire night, even when the wind died for 2-3 hours and we were moving backwards. Not once did he mention dropping the motor (a lot of the fleet did, forfeiting their race). In the morning old faithful, Dave, is still at the helm surfing down waves in 20kts while the rest of us were trying to catch some shut eye.

We broke the traveler, and he was trying to figure out if the toe rail would hold the mainsheet so we could keep racing. Got news of a 30+kts thunderstorm, and he volunteered to stay at the helm (he brought foul weather gear) and did so to get us all home safe. Not only that, but he replaced the winch handle he dropped at the start before I could order another one. It wasn't even his boat!

I'd be honored just to be rail meet on his boat anytime. Very impressed. Its hard to find people that willingly put themselves either in harms way, or volunteer for the dirty jobs. At least in what some people consider to be the "elitist" world of sailboats.
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Old 08-28-2008
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Charlie- I do agree with you generally, but have to take exception with one point. ...a guy who's only experience was dinghy sailing the Great Lakes. Sailing in salt water doesn't require anything different than Great Lakes sailing. You ddn't describe anything that doesn't happen on the Great Lakes everyday. That's why the call them GREAT Lakes.
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Old 08-28-2008
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Stillraining is a jewel in the rough Stillraining is a jewel in the rough Stillraining is a jewel in the rough
Once it was really..really hot...everyone was sticky..sweaty and agitated...I tip'ed my can back and it was empty...I stared into the faces of a crew that was in no mood to move or exert any more physical activity besides breathing, and that wasent easy either as the heat sneered at your nostrils.

I didnt have to say a word but somehow someone mustered up the nerve to fetch me another cold one...this seen repeated itself all day and half way into the night ...yep I know what you mean, about bucking up and just getting it done a good crew is worth their weight in gold.

:d:d
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Old 08-28-2008
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Aye! .
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Old 08-28-2008
Thanks Courtney.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillraining View Post
Once it was really..really hot...everyone was sticky..sweaty and agitated...I tip'ed my can back and it was empty...I stared into the faces of a crew that was in no mood to move or exert any more physical activity besides breathing, and that wasent easy either as the heat sneered at your nostrils.

I didnt have to say a word but somehow someone mustered up the nerve to fetch me another cold one...this seen repeated itself all day and half way into the night ...yep I know what you mean, about bucking up and just getting it done a good crew is worth their weight in gold.

:d:d
Yup...

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Old 08-28-2008
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Originally Posted by T34C View Post
Charlie- I do agree with you generally, but have to take exception with one point. ...a guy who's only experience was dinghy sailing the Great Lakes. Sailing in salt water doesn't require anything different than Great Lakes sailing. You ddn't describe anything that doesn't happen on the Great Lakes everyday. That's why the call them GREAT Lakes.
Having never sailed there I'll defer to you on that. Considering how many ships have gone down and sailors that have been lost there, not much difference. He sailed lake Erie FWIW.
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Old 08-28-2008
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Having never sailed there I'll defer to you on that. Considering how many ships have gone down and sailors that have been lost there, not much difference. He sailed lake Erie FWIW.
No sweat, just give me a call when you're in the neighborhood and we can fix that!
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Old 08-29-2008
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Lake Erie can be a total screaming what have you, thanks to being more or less in a direct line with summer squalls, and being full of thin water, sandbars and wrecks.

My impression from talking to people who've done off-season deliveries in the ocean and in the Great Lakes is that the main difference in storms is duration and sea room. Storms are vicious on the Great Lakes, but are over quickly. Unfortunately, not always quickly enough before you are smashed to pieces on the shore or by the "square waves" for which these Lakes are notorious.

I hope you bought your crew some beer and some harnesses! They earned 'em.
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Old 08-29-2008
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Crew stepping up and outperforming expectations.

I can only think of one story as I read this thread. Yes, it is not directly on topic but I believe most will understand.

I have never met any of this crew yet yesterday I was fighting back tears as I read their story. It is not unique as we all know people who have fought the same monster. But, their battle is here and now and they are fighting and working together every minute.

My thoughts and best wishes are with Courtney and her crew (Mike, Carrie, and the rest).
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