How to Crew

Learn how to Crew.

How to Crew:

Eyes Open, Listen, Take Orders, Be Aware, Be Ready to Swim

Many sailboats in our club require one or more crew to effectively race the boat. Crewing is a great opportunity to learn how to sail. The crew needs to be able to learn quickly, take orders, be aware of their surroundings (on and off of the boat), be ready to avoid potentials dangers and swim (with a life jacket) if necessary.

Like many sports, an experienced team (Skipper and Crew) will be able to anticipate each other. An experienced crew carries out the orders of the Skipper “as fast the words come out of the Skipper’s mouth”. Again, this happens over time.

A novice crew will learn sailing terms (names of boat parts and ropes), sailing maneuvers (“tacking”, “gybing”, “broad reach”, “hiking”). Skippers will hand you a rope saying “This is the Jib Sheet” or “We’re going to gybe.” Watch out for the Boom”. Be patient. Watch YouTube “How to Sail” videos. Remember, on the water the Skipper is under competitive pressures like any other sport. Sailing with a crew is like two people driving a car together.

Watch the “How to Sail” video below or the on our How to Sail page.

How to Sail

Capsize Recovery

Man Overboard Drill

Pre-sailing Briefing:

  • “Do you know how to swim?” A good skipper will brief you before leaving the dock. They will ask “do you know how to swim”, “have you ever been on a capsized sailboat” and “do you know what to do if you fall overboard”. Knowing how to swim means the crew or passenger will be better prepared to take care of themselves in the event of a capsize or man overboard.
  • “Do you have experience with capsizing?” If the boat goers over, get free of any ropes and find the skipper. The skipper will make sure you are free of ropes and make sure you have a life jacket on. Listen to the skipper’s commends in the water. – Video – Capsize Recovery
  • “Do you know what to do if you fall off the boat?” – “Man Overboard”- If you or another member of the crew go overboard… should also be a procedure briefed by the skipper. Skippers practice “Man Overboard Drills” in the event this takes place. If you do go overboard, 1) stay calm, 2) listen for directions, 3) the skipper or crew will throw you a life jacket right after you go in. The skipper will sail in a small circle and come up to you.
  • For more information – ask the skipper or watch the videos on “Capsize Recovery” and “Man Overboard Procedure

How to Find a Skipper who needs Crew

  • Be The Early Bird on Race Day. The best way to find a Crew position is to come out early. Introduce yourself to people setting up boats, talk to Dry Race. Talk to Wet Race. Be ready and willing to help. Stand there with your wide brimmed floppy hat, grippy shoes, life jacket and sunglasses (knowing how to take orders, knowing sailing terms (after watching videos or reading) be ready to learn and know how to swim) and be ready to jump when someone says, “Hey you – I need Crew”.
  • Volunteer to serve on Dry Race. Bring your sandwich, snacks (sharing is caring) and cold water ready to learn Dry Race procedures (listening for sail numbers and times, watching for capsized boats, writing down times and who knows, you may even get to change the flags or blow the horn). Every race needs Dry Race. Be one of them.
  • Smile on a Windy Day. Skippers most need Crew on windy race days to hold their boat in the water. Be ready and smile.
  • Arrive Early – Stay Late – Become Part of the Club. Arrive early, walk around and introduce yourself to Skippers. Offer to help. Serve on Dry Race. Help Skippers after the race. Skippers often go out to eat as a group after the race. Ask about where. Offer to Crew for social sailing. This is how you made friends on the playground. This is how you Crew.
  • Find a Skipper on our Facebook Group Page. Post to the page and wait for a Skipper to respond or even message one directly.

1st Time Crew – Be Prepared

Note: Water sports are inherently dangerous. We encourage all participants to know how to swim and feel comfortable on the water. Safety is the responsibility of every participate.

What to Bring:

  • A Life Jacket
    • Due to the nature of sailboat racing it is highly recommended to wear a Life Jacket whenever racing.
    • Due to adverse or dangerous conditions Dry Race may require the use of a Life Jacket to participate.
    • Missouri Law requires everyone on the boat to have access to a Life Jacket.
  • Shoes
    • Rubber-sole with grip. Expect them to get wet. Slipping on a boat is not an option.
  • Hat – Wide Brim to protect against sun and rain.
  • Sunblock
  • Water

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