A multi-day regatta presents a new set of challenges and a lot more pressure than your average season race. Here are a few dos and don’ts to make sure your boat and your crew are ready to perform:
Your crew has been racing like a well-oiled machine all summer, but are you ready for a big event like Key West Race Week? Quantum Pacific’s Will Paxton has a few tips for getting your crew and your boat ready for a signature regatta.
Do start planning the logistics of the event well in advance.
No matter if the race is at the yacht club next door or across the country, it’s never too early to start planning for a multi-day event. How are you going to get the boat to the host club, and where will you dock? Is there enough parking for the crew, or does a carpool need to be arranged? Will you order sandwiches or make them at home? Are there dock lockers for spare tools and parts?
When the pressure is on, don’t let a little thing like not having water for the crew or gas in the engine get in the way of a good day of racing.
Do make sure everything is in working order.
You should schedule heavy maintenance right before the big event to make sure everything is in working order, from the winches to the blocks to the sticky starter on the motor to the drawer pulls. When you need to grab a roll of tape, you don’t want it locked in the drawer because of a broken pull! Ask your crew for a wish list, and make sure it all gets done. They might even be willing to come out and help you with it!
Don’t show up to the big event with a brand new system.
Avoid showing up to the big race with a brand new, untested system. Whether it’s a new halyard, winch, or a new cleat arrangement—a practice day is not the same as testing under race conditions. No matter how simple the system, always make sure it’s combat tested by the crew that’s going to use it.
Do measure and mark the boat.
Even black permanent marker fades over time. Go around your boat with a yardstick and a fresh pen to make sure all your numbers are accurate and visible, from the jib car track to the halyards.
Do keep your crew informed.
Believe it or not, your Corinthian crew has a life off the water. While it’s wonderful when your crew seeks out their own weather reports and prints off the sailing instructions, don’t assume they will. Make the effort to keep your crew informed about the race, weather, logistics, and the work you’ve put into the boat preparation. They’ll show up to the boat with their heads in the game ready to put as much effort into the racing as you’ve put into the preparation.
Do get local knowledge.
If you’re traveling for the first time to a distant race, having a crewmember on the boat who knows the area (on and off the water) or picking up a couple locals from the crewlist can be an invaluable asset.
This is the final installment in our race-prep series on finding crew, keeping your crew happy, and turning your crew into a team.