Watch as Will Huerth and a panel of super-crews capture the magic of crewing on a scow in the ILYA. Learn about breaking in as a crew, the fun of multi-generational racing, qualities of a good crew, the road trips, keeping it loose, and much more. The format is free-wheeling and lively; no slides with bullet points – just shooting the breeze!
Shooting the Breeze with Bill is part of the Fast Forward series, and is brought to you by the ILYA and SailZing, LLC. The videos are edited recordings of live webinars conducted in spring 2020. Watch the full video, or use the timings in the video description to go directly to the topics that interest you. Or, read a summary of the key insights below.
- Will Huerth (Lake Geneva) – moderator: A, E, and C scow crew. Multiple regatta championships.
- Coye Harrett (Lake Minnetonka): A and E scow crew, C Scow skipper. Over 10 ILYA and national championships.
- Ben Porter (Lake Beulah): A, E, and C scow crew, C scow skipper. 6 national championships in A and C scows.
- Colin Rowe (Lake Geneva): A, E, and C scow crew. 3 national championships.
- Ed Cox (White Bear): A and E scow crew, along with keelboat crew experience. Father of Eddie Cox and Kate Cox. ILYA invite champion and Blue Chip champion.
Outline and Video Timings
- How to get started as a crew (00:02:54)
- Early crewing experiences after X boats (00:09:40)
- Favorite lake or venue (00:19:00)
- Early road trip experiences as a young crew without parents (00:21:48)
- Sailing with kids – parent and crews (00:26:15)
- Skipper crew relationships (00:31:50)
- Benefits of having young people as a crew (00:33:45)
- Qualities of a good crew (00:41:10)
- Keeping it loose: comments in the front of the boat (00:47:20)
- Keeping the skipper calm, with some family dynamics (00:50:55)
- How do you get your name out there to crew, especially on an A scow (00:57:45)
- Which fleet has the best skippers or teams to sail with (01:00:30)
- Sail barefoot or with shoes? (1:10:05)
- Having a go-to person for mechanical problems (1:15:00)
- Best tip-over story (1:19:50)
The magic of crewing on a scow
The video captures the magic of scow sailing and crewing in the ILYA. You can’t pin it down to any one thing, but look for the following themes as you watch:
- Intense competition with talented sailors
- Fast boats, tight racing, capsizes
- Significant roles for each crew position
- Sailing with family and friends
- Inter-generational sailing – graybeards teach youngsters; youngsters bring infectious energy and joy
Breaking into crewing – put yourself out
What’s the path into sailing on inland waters for someone with no boat or little experience? What’s the path for a young sailor coming out a youth program? The answer is probably crewing on a scow. Every scow fleet in the ILYA (A, E, C, MC) has opportunities for crews.
The panelists shared stories about how they got started. A lot of their opportunities came through family, but they shared several tips on how to get noticed. To break into crewing, you simply have to put yourself out there:
- Let sailors know you are interested; if your lake sails out of a club facility, go to the dock 45 minutes before the race with your gear and volunteer.
- Be persistent – you may not get asked the few times, but eventually it will happen.
- Be available when asked; know the racing schedule and set aside these times.
- Don’t be choosy – say yes to any boat, any skipper, any opportunity.
- Grow your expertise – learn to do different tasks on a boat and then become an expert as you settle into a specific role.
Qualities of a good crew
Obviously, sailing experience helps, but you don’t need to have sailed since age 5 to be a good crew. Other qualities are just as important, including:
- Be reliable – show up on time, every time.
- Help with the “blue collar” work – boat set up, cleanup, put away. Whatever needs to be done.
- Adapt to the skipper’s style – don’t be afraid to ask what he/she wants.
- Do your job – don’t try to do someone else’s. Accept responsibility.
- Always improve – build your expertise with each race. Learn new things between race days.
- Have a winning attitude.
- Be alert and think ahead.
- Accept feedback and criticism. Ignore abuse.
SailZing.com will be developing more content about crewing on a scow. Here are two sailing magazine articles that emphasize the qualities of a good crew on any boat:
How to Be a Better Crew – Sailing World
How to be a great crew member – Sailing Magazine