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Last Minute Substitute: We Sail

It is never a good time to suffer an injury or be stuck at home being ill. For the season ahead usually there will be plenty of time to make sure someone is on stand-by or similar but for the past two weeks, notice was so short that an outsider had to join the team. And worse, it was a he. So two successive weeks where “She Sails” became “We Sail”.

And although the sailing consisted of one day match racing a J/22 in 25-35 knots of breeze and one day of starting practice in the J/70 (in beautiful 12-15 knots conditions) there is plenty to take away as an outsider. So joining last-minute as an outsider (who hasn’t done a lot of small boat racing the past 2 years) was very interesting: it challenges the team to fit you in but also requires the regulars to remember their jobs and more importantly how to make sure the team can perform even in a strange setting. Even though the sailing was in two different types of boat and one was match racing whereas the other was starting practice the important part is still crew work.

With a team like She Sails, where the crew changes regularly, having set routines during the day will ensure the crew work will be smooth regardless of who is on board. So a play book (that everybody also checks out and feeds back into) is essential. Before sailing I just had to ask the question and the crew of the day could fill me in on how they were planning to divide the roles. The crew already has set routines for match racing (check laylines, time-on-distance, etcetera), and with the training by Annemieke Bes more tools for fleet racing were added as you no longer have just that 1 opponent to focus on. With probably 30 practice starts throughout the day, and a few single lap races (of about 5minutes each) everyone got a bit of a workout but communication on board became efficient as the day went on. Basically the only thing that went really wrong was that we couldn’t pull off a port-tack start at the pin-end!

Thanks for having me ladies and good luck this season!


(Red; the lack of a proper photo shows how intense the training was. A still of the video is all we got.)

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