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Old 08-07-2014, 07:53   #31
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
...you may learn racing is an appreciation of how bloody strong most boats really are.
Funny you should say that, most racers I've met brag about how they would race in any conditions. It's like a right of passage. Frankly lake sailing in lightning makes me nervous, so does listing like a top while skirting a Genoa.

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...OPBs, a wonderful arena where someone else spends the big bucks for equipment and for repairs when required. They sometimes supply lunch, too...
If something needed fixed or a sail needed stitching, it was done before the next race. I will give my previous skipper that much. However he forgot to tell me to bring lunch on the boat for the regatta. I got a handful of his pretzels.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:56   #32
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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Imagine if a CEO walked into a boardroom and said: i'm going to yell at you whenever I am under pressure....
I love this analogy! It's so true. The old adage, "would you follow this person into battle?" comes to mind.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:01   #33
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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I was lucky Offshore. The first J-24 boat I raced on was skippered by a grand national champion, and she never yelled. She had nerves of steel though. Later on I crewed on a inebriated boat. Never again.
So how did I get so lucky? Went to the club meeting, looked at who was really admired and in charge-(usually not the one speaking) and asked them if I could crew. When I went to the skipper's meeting, were most of them pick up crew, it was already a done deal.
I agree with above- look for the quiet skipper that makes sure there is a team rotation. He's interested in your development.
Thanks for the story, I like your approach, I was just thinking this morning how it feels like the only way I'll get regular sailing in my calender is by racing, however I would much prefer a weekly sail with a seasoned cruiser who needs a deck hand. I'd like to buy a boat next year or the following and cruise. But beggars can't be choosers when one is learning. Perhaps your suggestion of sitting back and watching who the quiet ones are at the club is just the idea I've been looking for. Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:09   #34
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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...We ended up 3rd in the nationals that year. Vladimir (of course) won and went to Australia for the worlds.

I have never heard that guy raise his voice
Very inspiring! There are four other J24s in our club, that's it. One boat has a juice monkey who's all surly with his crew they crank tunes, pound a few beers and go. The other boat I recall is more focused and laid back. Due to the lack of options (of competitive J24 teams at the club) I might bounce around and try other boats and see where it gets me. But being in a line-up of 20 J24s at the starting line of a regatta, whistling around each other only inches away, made me realize just how exciting One design is.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:12   #35
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

What the OP is looking for may be a lot different than what some of us are looking for in a skipper. I have no doubt if I could hitch a ride with Donna and Yanni I could learn a lot. On the other hand the OP may well be better off with a different skipper.

Probably the best advice is the OP should go to social events on land and get to know some potential skippers who best fit his idea of what a good skipper is.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:18   #36
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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One thing I learned early on was that if you yell, or even talk loud, the boats around can hear you and get a heads up on your tactics, kind like if a QB on a football team yelled in the huddle and the other team knew what play was being run...
Funny you should say that, I asked on my first and only practice where I fell about the boat like a rag doll (the skipper was not going easy on me) while I heard all this chatter "do you guys always talk over each other and tell stories? How do the pros race?" skipper says "The good teams are silent!" - LOL

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...Just remember sailing, and racing, should be fun and if you are not comfortable what ever level you are sailing at you will probably not be having fun.
I agree with that, learning or not, the minute I'm getting a sour taste in my mouth it's time to change something. I really don't want sailing to be tainted by one bad experience. Thanks for that.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:24   #37
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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SNIP

But being in a line-up of 20 J24s at the starting line of a regatta, whistling around each other only inches away, made me realize just how exciting One design is.
Back in the day when the boys from Oz beat Dennis with a faster rule bending boat it was noted that Dennis won every start but lost to a boat that was clearly faster.

If boats are fairly evenly matched the boat that wins the start is often the boat that wins the race. Problem is that this skill does not really translate to anything most non racing sailors need to have. My Dad always use to say you need to keep ten boat lengths away from other boats unless you have a good reason to get closer. This is just one of many examples of why some folks claim racing experience does not translate to skills needed for cruising, or even fun sailing.

But what a good racing background can do is provide an aspiring sailor with time on the water not just in races, but perhaps more importantly time on the water practicing basic sailing skills. Having good habits like frequently checking tell tails, sail trimming, sail changes, and many other things done time and time again in practice do translate well to general sailing.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:25   #38
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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...a guy didn't show up, I did a better job than him and he got flicked - flicking is the vernacular for dumping an unreliable or unskilled crewman - It sounds harsh but the skipper was paying $40k a year just for sails and wanted to win!
I like that thought, really challenging yourself. On the sail home from the regatta I moved from foredeck to flying the spinnaker, do you think anyone told me to wrap it around the winch? Had the sheet double wrapped around my hand and I knew something wasn't right. Thought the wind was going to flip me like a fish. Do you think the skipper said anything? Nope, I told him my hand was going blue with the 14 knot winds I was trying to manage ( and I was popping a couple of pain killers before each race as my arms were sore from hoisting) he says, "why don't you take one of your pain killers?"
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:32   #39
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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Racing teaches you to be a testosterone filled masochist who sails on the edge of safe seamanship.
LOL or as one sailor once said to me "racers have a certain... machismo."

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Why would you wish to make that your formative training if you want to enjoy cruising with others? Choose a boat that has fun and sails with mixed crew.
I guess throwing myself into a tough situation was the initial thought with racing. However from what I'm hearing on this thread there are many cruisers who I could learn a ton from. Hoping I can find one that likes to sail often. Race nights were my excuse for getting out there often.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:42   #40
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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What the OP is looking for may be a lot different than what some of us are looking for in a skipper. I have no doubt if I could hitch a ride with Donna and Yanni I could learn a lot. On the other hand the OP may well be better off with a different skipper.

Probably the best advice is the OP should go to social events on land and get to know some potential skippers who best fit his idea of what a good skipper is.
Point taken, Tomfl. Again I'm a total newbie so I appreciate all these suggestions. Social events, or walking the dock and asking questions about boats - is another suggestion someone gave me. I sat at the bar a few times only to find out who was the most drunken sailor. Somehow the bar attracts a different breed. Haven't given up on a pint and some good conversation but the actual Events or BBQs I'm starting to think would be hugely beneficial for meeting others.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:59   #41
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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SNIP

I sat at the bar a few times only to find out who was the most drunken sailor. Somehow the bar attracts a different breed. Haven't given up on a pint and some good conversation but the actual Events or BBQs I'm starting to think would be hugely beneficial for meeting others.
I am a cancer survivor and the meds I am on do not indicate alcohol, so I never drink it. Even before I developed cancer I did not drink to any extent, so I have little experience with bars. On the other hand I do visit other's boats where there are drinkers. Some folks seem to deal with alcohol better than others.

The marina where I am has a weekly meet and greet and a weekly pot luck supper. Most sailing clubs and yacht clubs have similar events. Those are good examples.

I read your post about holding the spinnaker sheet double wrapped around your had. Under some conditions that could be fatal. Any skipper that would allow that is not a real skipper in my book. Just from the racing standpoint if you had gone over the side the boat would have had to stop and pick you up and lost time to all the other boats in the race. So aside from any injury issues it is simply bad race tactics.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:00   #42
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Beyond the specific sailing skills involved, one of the things you may learn racing is an appreciation of how bloody strong most boats really are.

<snip>

As cruisers we tend to baby our homes/yachts (and incidentally, ourselves), and many of us have no real idea about where limits really are.
Some famous skipper said the boat only has to last until the last horn, then the mast can fall down. Point being they are strong but they are not overdesigned in therms of strength.

In terms of gear failure no cruiser intentionally pushes his boat to the limit. By exploring gear limits and actually seeing failures one gains practical experience at another skippers expense.


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<snip>
however I would much prefer a weekly sail with a seasoned cruiser who needs a deck hand. I'd like to buy a boat next year or the following and cruise.
Just be careful about "booze cruises" - going out every weekend and doing the same thing creates little new learning. When the wind drops to 3 knots most weekend warriors hit the happy button and drop the sails.

You can learn more in light wind sailing than you can in the "macho" arena of 15-20 knots.

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Due to the lack of options (of competitive J24 teams at the club) I might bounce around and try other boats and see where it gets me. But being in a line-up of 20 J24s at the starting line of a regatta, whistling around each other only inches away, made me realize just how exciting One design is.
Handicap racing can be just as fun as one design but often the fleet spreads out due to differing performance and there is no closer quarters work.

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Had the sheet double wrapped around my hand and I knew something wasn't right. Thought the wind was going to flip me like a fish. Do you think the skipper said anything?
He's either not a teacher or believes in the school of hard knocks.

Please never ever wrap a sheet or any line on a boat around your hand. Likewise don't grip it in your teeth - yes that sounds funny but people do it.

OTOH - 14kts downwind in a J can be a blast!
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:13   #43
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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...Just be careful about "booze cruises" - going out every weekend and doing the same thing creates little new learning. When the wind drops to 3 knots most weekend warriors hit the happy button and drop the sails. You can learn more in light wind sailing than you can in the "macho" arena of 15-20 knots.
That's what I'm afraid of. I guess that's why a lot of boats are named Margaritaville.

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Please never ever wrap a sheet or any line on a boat around your hand. Likewise don't grip it in your teeth - yes that sounds funny but people do it.

OTOH - 14kts downwind in a J can be a blast!
I've learned so much about what NOT to do from this guy. And yes we shaved an hour off our return sail to the club. It was thrilling - minus the winch part.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:33   #44
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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Disagree on many counts. Cruising and racing skills are very intertwined- sail trim, reading wind, anticipating situations, close quarters boathandling, boat speed, sail choices, keeping the mast up , and on and on and on (are any of these exclusive only to racing or cruising? Think not)
C'mon. Let's be honest. You can learn all those things without racing, and a lot of racing is squeezing the very last bit of performance out of a boat, which you don't need to do when you're cruising. Sail choices and sailing choices are a lot different in racing than in cruising.

A lot of racing is sailing rules, strategy, pushing the limits of performance, cutting off other boats, and doing things very quickly. Sure, you learn things that are applicable to cruising, but you can also learn those without being with a testosterone-filled guy who is living out his world cup fantasy.

I like racing, but while there is overlap in concept, it's a lot different skill set than cruising.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:41   #45
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Re: How to choose a good skipper

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Just from the racing standpoint if you had gone over the side the boat would have had to stop and pick you up and lost time to all the other boats in the race. So aside from any injury issues it is simply bad race tactics.
And it is telling of many Skippers that they actually had to write that into the rules - LOL...
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