By Rachael Bennung, Airwaves writer
Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, once said; “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” This quote is very relatable to sailing in doublehanded boats. We see many sailors in high school and college sailing stepping into doublehanded boats for the first time. This is a whole new ball game; you now have to work with another person for success on the water. Communicating in a positive and productive way is essential to successful racing on the water.
A lot of sailors struggle with their transition to doublehanded sailing. We see this a lot of times with the skippers. You are so used to singlehanded sailing and are looking around and not communicating with your crew. This is where skippers need to readjust for sailing a doublehanded boat. Now you have a crew, which is a great asset. You now have someone who can look around the course for you and you can focus on steering the boat. Skippers, you need to focus on your tell-tails, boat speed, and sail trim rather than looking around the course. These are all essential to keeping your speed up while sailing. Every time you move your tiller your boat is slowing down, so this is where you need to use your crew to your advantage. Not only do we need to be communicating, but it needs to be done in a positive and productive way to help you succeed while racing.
Skippers, like we mentioned, you need to use your crew to your advantage. Your crew is your eyes on the course so you need to trust and communicate efficiently together. There is so many ways a crew comes in to help for your success. Here are some ways you and your crew can work efficiently on the water.
- Crews can keep track of the time for the start.
- Upwind the crew can tell the skipper what the other boats are doing on the course.
- The crew can be looking for the pressure on the course and be telling the skipper when the breeze will be on.
- Downwind the crew can be looking for the pressure and what the boats are doing behind.
Talented skippers may get away without good communication in the beginning, but eventually you will see no progress. You won’t be getting better, but only staying the same or getting worse, especially compared to those teams that are working together. If you can’t work as a unit you won’t be successful on the race course. Additionally, bad, or negative communication won’t be effective for your success either. You need to make sure you are able to communicate positively to one another; yelling at each other is not going to make you go faster. You need to work together to find efficient and positive ways to talk and share information.
Adjusting to doublehanded boats can be very difficult for some sailors. It’s a new transition where you need to trust and communicate with another person in your boat. Skippers, you need to learn to use your crew to your advantage so you can sail the boat as fast as possible. Crews you need to make sure you are communicating effectively to your skippers. As the quote by Henry Ford says “working together is success.” Working together as skipper and crew with positive communication is the only way to reach that finish line successfully.