Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Hardest Part Is Letting Go

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it is that makes the boat a team and what it needs to do that. The first season my primary role on the boat was teacher. A 100% new crew had to be taught the absolute basics. We shadowed the fleet in the spring series of year one and practiced launching the spinnaker and tacking. We started out by colour coded ropes. "pull the blue and white one", and graduated to proper names until everyone was comfortable. Dockside drills and dry runs for gybing were pretty much a given on race night. Shifting and alternating roles to see who was best suited for which position, and then re-educating.

In season two things were much better. Focus was now on boat handling, rules and strategies. A large part of my time was still spent explaining my decisions to crew in the hopes they would understand the bigger picture of the overall race. This is a difficult task to do while racing.

The hardest part...but essential part...this year has been letting go of control. Passing decision making on to the crew. Letting the tactician decide on a game plan, letting the trimmer decide how much to let it out, Bow person getting us up to the line and in position at the start. I did not always agree with some of the decisions (as the crew may not have always agreed with mine when I insisted) but the key is that they need to make those decisions. In order for the crew to grow as a team it is imperative that they make those calls and decisions.

It is hard to let go of that control feeling. I am a perfectionist at heart and like to have things done my own way but I feel a good skipper needs to build a level of trust on the boat. I want a crew that gels, communicates and acts like one unit. They can't do that if I hold them back.

Next year I want to really push for the micro teams to start making all the decisions. Tactics team at start with bow leading the way, tactics team for strategy, trim team for boatspeed. Off-season meetings will be spent working on these systems trying to refine them.

1 Comments:

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