In a crewed boat there is great satisfaction from being part of a good crew.
It is often said that everyone secretly wants to be the skipper but there are also those that get more rewards from being part of a well functioning team.
When you compete in a world class event, great crew work is what makes the difference between two boats. Ninety percent of the difference comes from boathandling and being the slickest at tacking, gybing, working the waves and calling the shifts.
While the helmsman concentrates on steering, the crew do everything else, so their importance cannot be underestimated.
A great crew arrive at the boat early, check and recheck equipment then set the boat up for the days racing. Talk will be about the forthcoming races, the weather, competitors to be aware of and what to expect out on the course.
Those teams that sit around in the clubhouse till the last minute discussing a range of subjects not related to the racing are setting themselves up to fail.
Every crew member needs to have a clear idea of what their job is but must also know the tasks of their team mates so that they can fill in when an emergeny arrises or someone can’t be there.
To be successful, your team must have the desire to win in order to push themselves harder than their fellow competitors, even when they are dead tired.
Good communication onboard is essential and the larger the crew, the more important this becomes. In the case of a huge team there is the need to have a spokesperson for each essential team, as an example bow, mast office, trimmers and tactics.
Too much undisiplined chatter only serves to distract and causes concentration of all crew members to suffer.
On a lot of boats, the downwind leg is seen as the chance to relax but many places can be gained or advantage increased by working the waves and the shifts whilst those around you take it easy.
As well as the desire to win and personal optimism, another essential requirement is compatibilty followed by sailing knowledge and good physical condition.
Most other things to be successful in sailing can be taught, practiced or learned as long as the desire to achieve is there.
How often have we seen a team of champions not succeed because they couldn’t get along, each crew member and their skills set needs to complement other team members.
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