Sailing around the world or even around the lake has inherent dangers. There is the possibility of falling off the boat, being hit in the head with the boom, jamming your feet on the toe jammers that decorate the deck, getting your fingers caught in a cleat. While no one goes to sea wishing for an accident, sailing like all sports must be approached with a bail out plan.
Taking on the challenge of skippering a 28 foot monohull in our local women's series is a job I take seriously. With safety as the number #1 concern, it seemed logical that every crew member would need to learn every job on the boat. Then, once familiar with all aspects of what makes a sailboat move and the tactics involved with starts, mark roundings, and choosing the right side of the course crewmembers could be assigned based on the best person for the job.
After a year and a half of racing with the same five crew the time for a rotation came. Looking back changing three positions at the same time may not have been the best decision. However, as a veteran educator I know that sooner or later people have to be given independent practice, without assistance to secure their knowledge and skill. Taking a chance that the crew would exceed my expectation, I was disappointed with our dismal finishes.
Our coach said what he could to make me feel like changing positions was a stupid decision. Another competitor and reigning club champion tried to put salt on my wounds when she proclaimed, "My crew doesn't want to make any changes." Processing that statement made me realize that while on her boat people prefer the autistic never change the routine approach to racing, I contend that until my crew are familiar with all aspects of racing we will never rise to the level I envision.
In retrospect only two positions should have been changed at one time. With that water under the bridge, I look forward our next race with a renewed spirit and with at least three crew who have achieved a level of proficiency that will get us around the race course in record time. What do you think? Do you want your crew to learn all that they can, or do you prefer to limit their expertise to just one job? I'm curious , , , let me know your thoughts.