SeaKnots

How many times have you been so mad at someone that you swore you would never sail with them again? If you've sailed with half as many people as I have then you know what I am talking about. Although there is one man who I believe I will never sail with again. Sorry folks but his idea dwelled on the disgusting side. Other than that there are probably a handful who I would prefer not to sail with and certainly do not encourage our sailing together.

Then, there are those select few who just don't want to do things my way. How dare? After all when I'm the captain I believe I have the legal right to have everyone follow my directive. Some may think I'm a captain Bly, but like most captains I am assertive and always put SAFETY first. New sailors who are control freaks and like to be their own boss may struggle with taking orders. This can be especially true when they gain that little knowledge which is just enough to cause a mishap.

Crew are special people. They usually are happy to just show up at the dock and climb on board. Few have the ambition to succeeed at levels beyond their local club racing. They just want solace from their personal and professional lives while enjoying the camraderie of others who are seeking refuge. Then, there are those select few crew who want to push themselves to the next level. Those who practice on a regular basis, those who read about sailing, those who initiate conversation with more skilled sailors, and those who sail with a variety of folks on varied boats to enhance their understanding of the sport.

"What happens on the boat, stays on the boat." What a simple cliche. The sad truth is that what happens on the boat can have a strong ripple effect. For example, when a recent tiff broke out between me and a crew member, I knew (know) that unless we sit down and seriously work out all our complaints about each other, I cannot, will not risk the safety of all crew, not to mention possible boat damage. by someone who chooses to not respect me as the captain of the boat. To totally, 100% say I will never sail with that person again, well that would be sad.

Like a marriage, skippers and crew are bound to have differences. All teams experience dissention at one time or another. It is the strong team, the winning team, that learns to put the needs of the team first, and not individual preferences. It is about respect and getting along. After all I crew for people with whom I disagree wtih their tactical decisions, but when I'm crewing I do all I can do carry out my assigned task to the best of my ability. And following words spoken to me by Gary Jobson, I will strive to make others ' look good' no matter how mad I am that we can't see eye to eye.

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Comment by Ed on July 17, 2010 at 7:08am
A captain friend of mine said once with regard to a particular crew behavior and crew behavior in general, "If its not going to ruin the trip, let it go" [don't sweat the small stuff]. I try to use that now as a sounding board for all response to crew disobedience and (perceived) idiocy. I may keel haul you, but nowadays I measure your activity against "trip-ruining-ness" before I do. I try to keep as light a hand as possible. For me that's a big challenge -- I'm kind of a never-wrong-grump (I'm working on it).

I believe that if you plotted the noise level (screaming) of any random boat in any random race on any random buoy field of any random yacht club on any race day, you would find that the peaks in the graph occur predominately (exclusively save for occasional equipment failures or when two skippers are match racing in a fleet race) at mark roundings. This to me, is due to the failure of the skippers to antiquity plan and manage these published, planned events. Whats all the screaming about? A perfectly executed harmonious rounding would be silent. Like if you did it all yourself. But, once you're out of prams, that,s no longer possible; doing it yourself. So its all about leading a team of type "A" know-it-all volunteers and getting them through it together without ruining the trip. A lot of herding cats is managing personalities.

--I'm just sayin'
Comment by Terri on July 10, 2010 at 6:06am
Good post! I think at times it's harder if a woman is Captain of the vessel as far as orders being followed..at least on the smaller boats. Times they are a changing but sometimes not fast enough.
Comment by Emery Viazanko on July 8, 2010 at 10:16pm
Nice write up. When they are paying us Captains big bucks, knowing the rules of the road is the easy part. Matching up personalities is tough. Our rule in the Great Lakes and Florida for a boarding pass includes the ability to get a long. Some people can't cut it. Don't invite them a second time around...
Keep smiling, and remember... Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right."
~Henry Ford

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