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Old 10-05-2022, 12:56   #1
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Advice for a rookie.

I am going on an RYA Competent Crew sailing course soon.

Any advice about what to do and look out for.

(I have been on several motorised sailing vessels before, but never sailed)
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Old 10-05-2022, 14:07   #2
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Read the course book carefully before you go.

Wear good weather gear">foul weather gear. If possible, take pics if you think you'll want to ask questions later.

Pay close attention.

Ann
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Old 10-05-2022, 14:27   #3
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Practice your sailing terminology, so when someone says "ease the kicker and tighten the cunningham" you will have a clew.

As one of the old says-- Eyes and ears open, mouth shut, head on a swivel at all times.
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Old 10-05-2022, 16:18   #4
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Ask lots of questions (at the appropriate time, of course!).

Most instructors love sharing their knowledge.

Oh, and make sure you do your share of the duties.
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Old 10-05-2022, 16:21   #5
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Also, get yourself down to a club and let it be known youíre available for crewing.

Putting your location in your profile would help!
E.g. if youíre in Melbourne, Australia, Iíd be happy to take you out to ďlearn the ropesĒ.
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Old 10-05-2022, 18:23   #6
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Learn to tie a bowline knot quickly and properly before you go.
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Old 10-05-2022, 19:29   #7
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Some useful pre-work would be to learn the points of sail, tie a bowline and figure of eight, and as someone previously mentioned - learn the parts of the boat, and what all the lines, sheets and halyards are for. Try to get yourself into the pit early on, as that will force you to figure out which ones go where - look UP. Otherwise you will spend the whole time thinking "do what to the what"?
Enjoy - you will get a lot out of that course.
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Old 10-05-2022, 19:31   #8
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Enjoy the adventure. Sailing is a wonderful gift to give to yourself.
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Old 10-05-2022, 19:54   #9
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Ach - dinna fret yersell, mon! Your instructor/skipper will tell you what to "look out for". For a start, look out for the boom when you come about - and even more when you wear! And pay attention to what you were told in posts above :-)

Have fun, and good luck!

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Old 10-05-2022, 21:59   #10
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Welcome newbie,
Thoughts
1 enjoy the experience;
2 try to choose your skipper carefully if you can-many are sadly rather embittered Types who perhaps lack basic customer facing skills, however others bring years of wisdom;
3 remember there is often not just one way of doing something safely and what works for one crew/boat might not suit another;
4 when visiting a new marina be well fendered up and when leaving donít forget to untie all lines and the power cable- I was saw a sail training yacht from a joint services course on a Victoria 34 once forget to untie all lines when departing so happens to all;
5 watch out for the instructor not paying fair share of restaurant/bar bills;
6 choose somewhere warm to take your course in a reasonable size yacht of type you might sail -
7 donít pack too much gear in a suitcase;
8 try not to choose a course with more than say 3 or 4 other students;
9 find a sailing course/instructor recommended by others- a bad instructor who has say an obsession picking up fenders under sail or such like can be tiresome;
10 practice/learn as much as possible on how you berth yacht eg tides and wind,how it backs, how to use bowthruster if it has one and berthing is the most stressful bit;
11
Go on a course with existing friends ie take a whole boat and instructor;appreciate might not be practical though;
12 choose an area to do course if you can where you might be sailing in future unless seeking sun week away;
13 take notes if you can each evening on what you have covered-some instructors skip parts.
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Old 10-05-2022, 23:36   #11
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Someone who can tie knots is instantly useful on a boat, I often take novices and the ones who learn the knots beforehand and the ones who get stuck into the chores are the most welcome.

Don't overthink this, Comp Crew is for beginners so as long as you read the joining instructions and don't take hard suitcases you will do fine. People who bring hard suitcases really do mark themselves out negatively from the start, it speaks of having an entitled attitude and we expect less effort and more excuses from such people.

Knowing knots will put you ahead of others and learning them beforehand shows the right attitude, if you think you will go on to be a skipper then you need to be what they call a self-starter.

Keep some cord in your pocket to fiddle with in odd moments. Top knots are:
Bowline for making a loop which has no end of uses.
figure 8 in the end of a rope stops it from sliding through a fitting just as you try to grab it.
Reef knot is used for sail ties and tying things together
Clove hitch is used to attach fenders (down to the water and up a little)
OXO a cleat - attaches a rope to a fixed point on the boat
Round turn and two half hitches, sounds complicated but is easy and useful.
Rolling hitch and sheet bend, ways of joining ropes, are also taught but used less often.

To avid overwhelm, lean a knot a day and practice them a lot.
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Old 11-05-2022, 03:04   #12
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

If you can get someone to take you out a few times & show you the basics in a dinghy & there's books & online info on how to be a useful crew member before you take the course, also try doing the various knots blindfolded or behind your back, it makes you think about the process..take a diagram of a yacht with everything named..halyards,outhaul,mainsheets, etc & the purpose their used for..if you could get down to the local marina & have a look at the boats & identify the various parts before you take the course...competent crew is pretty relaxed, you'll have a great time.
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Old 11-05-2022, 08:44   #13
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher34 View Post
Welcome newbie,
Thoughts
1 enjoy the experience;
2 try to choose your skipper carefully if you can-many are sadly rather embittered Types who perhaps lack basic customer facing skills, however others bring years of wisdom;
3 remember there is often not just one way of doing something safely and what works for one crew/boat might not suit another;
4 when visiting a new marina be well fendered up and when leaving donít forget to untie all lines and the power cable- I was saw a sail training yacht from a joint services course on a Victoria 34 once forget to untie all lines when departing so happens to all;
5 watch out for the instructor not paying fair share of restaurant/bar bills;
6 choose somewhere warm to take your course in a reasonable size yacht of type you might sail -
7 donít pack too much gear in a suitcase;
8 try not to choose a course with more than say 3 or 4 other students;
9 find a sailing course/instructor recommended by others- a bad instructor who has say an obsession picking up fenders under sail or such like can be tiresome;
10 practice/learn as much as possible on how you berth yacht eg tides and wind,how it backs, how to use bowthruster if it has one and berthing is the most stressful bit;
11
Go on a course with existing friends ie take a whole boat and instructor;appreciate might not be practical though;
12 choose an area to do course if you can where you might be sailing in future unless seeking sun week away;
13 take notes if you can each evening on what you have covered-some instructors skip parts.
The instructor points above are valid.

I have taken several ASA (Not RYA) courses and the quality of the instruction was totally dependent upon the instructor and his mood that day. Some things were breezed over, and some of the mandatory items that we were supposed to perform like night sailing, MOB or heading offshore were never addressed (lazy).

Bottom line: Print the list of the items they are supposed to teach you / review on the course and use this as YOUR checklist. You are PAYING for the course and demand that all the things on the course outline be covered.

My two cents

Cheers.
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Old 11-05-2022, 10:09   #14
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

After sailing 60 years and speaking "American" for 74 years, after reading previous posts, I needed to be reminded that an English "kicker" is actually a boom vang, and a "reef knot" is actually a square knot. So, advice to the newbie, it is best to use the local terms in any event.

Whenever we were sailing with a newbie, I didn't care if they didn't know something the first time. What distinguished the good from the annoying was how many times I had to repeat the same simple instruction. So, listen and think, be helpful, and you will be appreciated.
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Old 11-05-2022, 12:19   #15
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Re: Advice for a rookie.

One poster used the word "cunningham." I hope the old guys (like me) on this forum know where this word for a piece of sail trimming gear came from.

Brigs Cunningham was a winning American's Cup skipper back in the 50's. He was given credit for the invention of this item. His first name relates to his family's connections Brigs & Stratton, manufactures of small gasoline motors for lawn mowers, etc.

Brigs Cunningham also won his class in the 24 hours of Le Manns auto race in France with a fleet of GM made Cadillacs.
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