Get your Sailing Crew up to Speed
Get your Sailing Crew up to Speed

At the beginning of a new sailing season or when bringing new sailing crew into your team, it’s important to make sure everyone’s up to speed with how things work on your yacht, understands your processes and is confident to do their race position.

Crew Manual

A simple crew manual is a great way to share basic procedures, safety knowledge and boat rules with new crew before they arrive on race day.

Sharing some key information about your yacht with crew before they arrive increases their confidence and ability to be well-prepared on race day. It also means you won’t forget to share any important information during your busy pre-race preparations.

Click here to download our FREE editable Crew Manual template.

Position Playbook

A position playbook provides step-by-step instructions for all crew positions and each key manoeuvre on your yacht.

This is also a useful tool to send to new crew before they arrive for their first race or training day, so they can arrive already up-to-speed and ready to do their job.

A good exercise is to create your yacht’s playbook together as a team so everyone has a chance to talk through each step; this makes sure everyone is on the same page about how manoeuvres should be done. Keep this up-to-date and encourage your crew to review it periodically, especially at the start of a new sailing season or when you’ve had a lot of time away from the yacht.

Click here to download our FREE editable Position Playbook template.

Position Cards

Position cards can be a useful on-board tool, especially for less experienced crew.

These are small, pocket-sized cards that contain step-by-step instructions for key manoeuvres on the yacht, for each position. They can be printed and laminated or printed on waterproof material so crew can keep their position cards with them for a handy reference.

Need to reef the main but haven’t done it for a while? A quick check of your position card will show you the steps for your position. Having position cards on-hand can help crew quickly check their steps and avoid mistakes, especially for manoeuvres that are not done often.


Nothing beats on-water training and experience for improving you crew’s performance and confidence.

Plan specific training days into your schedule, especially at the beginning of the sailing season, to get crew together and make sure everyone is confident in their position. If you find it hard to organise training-specific days, try heading out on the water an hour or more before race start to get in a few training runs, or stay out after the race has finished to practice any manoeuvres that may need a little work.

To get the most out of your training, make a training plan and set objectives for each training session. It’s best to focus on practicing and improving a few things each session, instead of trying to do everything.

Before you start, talk through the plan and objectives for the day with your crew. Before doing each manoeuvre, talk through the steps or what you’re trying to achieve, and repeat it several times until everyone feels very confident in what needs to be done. Afterwards, talk about what went well and what could be improved.

After your training session, you’ll want to do a de-brief, just as you would after a race.

Click here to download our FREE editable Training Plan template.

Cross-train Crew

As well as training in their regular positions, getting crew to cross-train in positions they don’t normally do has several benefits:

  1. It provides opportunities for crew to keep learning, keeping them engaged and interested in sailing on your yacht;
  2. It helps crew understand the different positions, and how what they do in their position effects other areas of the yacht;
  3. If someone is sick or can’t make race day, cross-training crew means you’ll have a pool of possible people who can fill different positions within your yacht, allowing you to reshuffle crew as needed.

Your Crew Manual, Position Playbook, Position Cards and regular training will all help cross-train crew to be capable and confident to do any position on the yacht.

How do you get your crew up to speed? Comment with your ideas or stories.