By Buttons Padin
In baseball, players get traded today and are starting with a new team the next day. At first you wonder how they can integrate that quickly into a new team; however, if you’re a second baseman, you know the moves...where to stand in each situation and how to turn a double play with your new teammates at shortstop and first. Sailing is very much the same. By and large, racing boats are sailed the same manner...think sailing best practices.
Sailing in Newport this summer, I’ve been trimming spinnaker on a Fast 40+ but also got to sail on the 12 Metre Intrepid for one race in the Pre-Worlds and then another in the Worlds with a new “team.” In the first race on the 12 Metre, I was in the mast area doing topping lift and downhaul. A skill forgotten on many asym boats, but one I acquired years ago. I managed to do that well (I got “thanked” rather than chided!). Next race I was in the cockpit doing offside runners, the traveler and hydraulics. Again, nothing new so it went well.
Flip that around to the NYYC 175th Anniversary Regatta when we had some new folks on the 40+ for a few days. Being experienced sailors, they could seamlessly fit into various positions and, after getting down everyone’s name, became part of the crew...team. They could turn the double play.
In that way, sailing is like baseball. Frankly, I’d rather get hit by the boom than face flying spikes sliding into second base.