Sailing racing yacht team composition and organization
Denis Korablev
  • 09.11.2021
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Sailing racing yacht team composition and organization

The principle of building any team is: "The interests of the team are always higher than the interests of any individual". Following this principle, the team exists, grows and wins. If one of the team members puts their interests above the team's interests, then the team is no longer there, you can disperse in different directions.

An extraordinary individualist, for whom his own interests are inviolable, is unlikely to stay for a long time in a sailing yacht. The team of riders has "one head" for all, ie. they must think and act together as one person. The main task of the captain is to build the correct system of hierarchical values, then any person built into the team uses his abilities, skills and bright personal qualities for the benefit of his team.

The captain and his people must go through a difficult path from a friendly company to building a successful, truly "star" team. Individuals become a cohesive team when each person is loyal and committed to the team, when the collective mind prevails, only then should responsibilities be assigned. The question immediately arises, who and where will work more efficiently, how to distribute the team's forces in the optimal way?

How many people are needed in a team?

A team of 5-6 people can take part in short races on the high seas, which is quite capable of handling the yacht in stable weak and medium winds.

According to the experts 2yachts, a full-fledged team of a cruising racing yacht requires 6-7 people (this is the minimum number), but it will be much it is better if the crew of a 40-foot yacht consists of 9-10 members. This number of sailors is required to compete in triangle and loop competitions, as well as in medium distance regattas (200 to 600 miles).

Large yachts require a lot of physical work, administrative positions appear. To service a 50- or 70-foot vessel, 15-17 people are required. If there are fewer people, then the team will not cope with the management of the sailing vessel in training.

How are the roles assigned to the team?

As an example, consider a widely used option: the crew of a 40-foot racing yacht. The team should include qualified, experienced, hardy people in fit. Remember that communication and companionship are important to a real team. Symbolically, the crew is divided into experienced and strong.

What do experienced people with high qualifications do:

  • Helmsman is an important figure, supporting the team's mood and the will to win. He controls the yacht at the maximum possible speed, works with the wave, and must also be in a certain section of the way at a strictly appointed time. A good helmsman possesses such personal qualities as composure, decisiveness, prudence, the ability to make informed decisions, relying on his own feelings. There is an opinion that "the team wins the race, and the helmsman loses."
    • A very common situation is when the helmsman joins the existing team only for the duration of the regatta, then he is obliged to establish contact with all crew members. This is quite justified, since the helmsmen are loaded to capacity and the cost of their work is estimated quite high. The helmsman trains by taking part in competitions with different crews. Only by moving from one team to another and adopting the experience of colleagues, the helmsmen hone their skills and improve their qualifications.
  • Trimmers - 2 sailors (mainsail and staysail), continuously and patiently carry out the process of tuning the sails. The main task: during the race, in all modes, to ensure the maximum thrust of the sails, i.e. so that the sails go through the wind with minimal drag. This position is often entrusted to masters of sports with outstanding physical characteristics, dedication, hard work and attentiveness. The trimmer must "feel the wind", have the ability to analyze the situation, based on intuition. The mainsail trimmer does not see the race itself, because in order to perform its task qualitatively, it needs to constantly monitor the balance of the vessel, i.e. keep the wheel in sight. A cool trimmer monitors the actions of the helmsman during the start and predicts the moments when the yacht needs to stop, and when, on the contrary, to pick up speed.
  • Tactician - located at the stern, closer to the helmsman. An experienced instructor or rider with a clear knowledge of the rules of sailing should be appointed to this position. He must quickly analyze the tactical situation, control it, predict the options for the development of the race and develop instructions for the helmsman. This position should not be combined with other duties, it depends on the tactician whether the performance in the regatta will be successful.
  • Pitman (pianist) - must have such personal qualities as speed, attentiveness, dedication; physical strength is not particularly important. Young athletes cope well with this role and have good contact with all crew members. The pitman's task is to see everything around at 360 degrees, do a number of operations at the same time and manage to control each of them. All the rigging is in his dexterous hands, he must perfectly know all the names of the ropes and their location. The pitman's seat is in the cockpit next to the winches and stoppers. He is obliged to instantly respond to any command, no matter who gives it. At the start, it is usually the pitman who counts, since at this moment he is the only person free from hard work.
  • Tank sailor - located at the bow of the yacht and works in tandem with the helmsman, informing him about the current situation and the location of competitors; he is charged with the installation of additional sails. People who are engaged in gymnastics, surfing, rock climbing become good tankers.
    • Often women are appointed to this position, due to the fact that this person should be lightweight, have courage and poise, attract the attention of yachtsmen in the cockpit and inspire delight and a sense of emotion to the judges at the start. By all indicators, it turns out that there is no better candidate than a petite girl of athletic build

What do the strong do:

  • Taller - is a helper of the staysail trimmer. Any physically strong sailor with the knowledge of a sail tuner, executive and grasping everything on the fly will cope with this position.
  • Masthead - the tank assistant responsible for raising and lowering the sails. The main qualities of a mast sailor: attentiveness, high motor speed, volumetric imagination. It is generally accepted that these are tall young people with long arms. They should have time to select the halyard in a matter of seconds. Mast and tank distribute specific tasks between themselves and will always come to each other's aid in difficult times.
  • Sweeper - removes the spinnaker and performs work on the backstay. Considered a general super-helper, sometimes simply irreplaceable, a very suitable position for beginners. It is desirable that he has hard work, quick-wittedness, endurance and a desire to constantly learn.
  • Grinder - turns the winches in accordance with the trimmer command. As a rule, these are two strong and resilient people, no qualifications are required. But if a team needs good performance in races (for example, in the bay), then grinders need to be prepared and trained. A serious team needs good (worked) grinders.

In all of the above positions, should not be used by professionals, this will greatly hurt their pride, which will negatively affect work efficiency.

  • Navigator is a scarce specialist. He must find the shortest route to the finish line, drawing conclusions from the weather conditions and the polar diagram of the yacht's speeds. In long and medium-distance races, a navigator is indispensable, with one calculation it can help a team to show a good result.
    • At the present time sports navigators have organized a private club, distinctive and not numerous. Interest in navigators is growing, but on a global scale, the number of offers for them is limited.

This structure is exemplary. You may organize your team differently. When building a strong strong team, adhere to the principle: "Learn from those who have already gone this way, and then look for your own!"

Winning the race depends on each member of the team, even if he does secondary work and his role seems quite insignificant. Mutual understanding of the crew and the correct distribution of forces save a few seconds, which can be decisive when summing up the results.

If you want to become a racer - join a team or unite with like-minded people, rent a yacht and take part in regattas, since only experience will make you a real yachtsman.

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