I joined the NYC in 2004 as a crew member and took the ‘Intro to Keelboat Sailing’ class. I was supposed to do it with a friend but she bailed so I really did it on my own. In class they explained all about the crew bank and they had arranged for friendly skippers to come in and speak to us. The skippers invited us out for casual Monday night racing (the program now on Thursdays) to get our feet wet. No matter how easy and welcoming they made it seem, it took a lot of courage to go that first night – some time in July for me – and use the crew bank.
Luckily a boat that really likes teaching grabbed me before my pencil hit the sign-up sheet and I ended up racing and cruising with them for three years and making some new friends. I didn’t know my winch from my ticklers but someone taught and encouraged me.
Ten Years Later…
After ten years, several boats and positions, I’ve learned so much. I can’t believe the nautical language that comes out of my mouth now or that last summer I skippered a boat to Youngstown and back (in a storm, while remaining completely calm) without the owner! I’ve also built many solid, lifelong friendships with whom I’ve had many adventures with.
Bringing in New People
When I talk about the NYC to friends, strangers or prospective members I’m very passionate about how easy we make it to get involved in sailing. It’s really difficult to convince them they can do it too. They worry about not knowing enough, thinking that they won’t get picked because they don’t look strong or young enough. They often still feel so after taking the intro class. I explained there is a job for everyone and with skippers who like to teach newbies and that you do your best learning in practice.
My Message to Skippers
There are a lot of new people just finishing this year’s intro class wandering around looking sheepish on race nights who could use a welcoming smile and some encouragement. Don’t take it for granted how friendly everyone is and reach out to them! The new online crew bank should definitely help! Even if you don’t really need someone but have the space, invite someone without a ride to come and watch from the rail. Give novices one thing to do and explain it thoroughly, pay extra attention and coach with patience. These positive early experiences are important to retaining crew members.
My Message to New Crew
I recommend trying a Tuesday, but just come out on whichever night you can. Thursday night tends have the fewest boats so you are less likely to get a ride. Wednesday night is the most competitive and boats fly spinnaker so it may be a tad overwhelming for your first time but you are completely welcome. Also, it’s polite to bring drinks or snacks for the boat, and if you are carrying a case of beer (cans please) that can only increase your chances of getting a ride.
You will never get picked if you don’t even try, so give yourself a chance.
Why does everyone ask me when we’re going to buy a boat?
The ‘we’ is me and the hubby and we met at the club. I get this question all the time now, like it’s an assumed evolution of learning to sail. I don’t see why I would buy a boat, this Crew deal is pretty sweet.
Happy 10th Anniversary to me and my darling NYC!
by Faith Seekings