How to be a Great Fleet Captain Crew

written by James Sinclair

The Fleet Captain Program makes it easy for Regular Members to start sailing at the club, improve their skills and gain more education while meeting other members and having fun. Note that Fleet Captain Skippers are all volunteers: it is important that they also have a great time and continue to volunteer. The points below aim to summarize the expectations that we should all have so that the program works well.


The is a membership program by members for members. Guests are not permitted on Fleet Captain sails (except that the volunteer skipper is allowed to bring guests). If you wish to take guests sailing at the club, you will need to make your own arrangements with a Skipper Member.

Signing Up

Sign up through the website: click on ‘Make a Sailing Reservation’ under Cruising on main menu, then ‘Click here to log in to the new reservation system’. Use your user name & password provided by the Club office.

Number of Reservations Allowed

You may have one Fleet Captain reservation ‘on the books’ at one time.

Arrival at Docks

Arrive a few minutes before your sailing time. If you need to cancel your reservation, call the club as soon as possible. If you have time limitations on your sail and must absolutely return to dock before a certain time, tell your skipper before departure. Make sure you have appropriate clothing – this might include items such as sailing gloves, boating shoes, hat, sun glasses, sun screen and, especially in cooler weather, layers of warm clothing.


This is the responsibility of all members and there are several important points:

a) Remember that the Skipper is in charge. For example, if the Skipper does not wish to conduct a certain maneuver or wishes to tack early to avoid traffic, his or her decision is final – even if other Skippers with whom you have sailed would have done otherwise.

b) Do not drink any alcohol, sail if excessively tired or do anything before sailing that might affect your ability and performance on the boat.

c) Make sure you wear a PFD and wear it correctly at all times, as required by club rules. The Club recommends that you own a PFD but the Club has some on the boats as well.

d) Remember that the boat may make sudden unexpected movements, for example if there is a sudden gust that the helmsman did not anticipate. Make sure you are holding on to the standing rigging at all times when not seated in the cockpit: take heed of the old maxim ‘one hand for the boat and one hand for yourself’. Do not go forward of the shrouds without the Skipper’s permission (especially if someone is already there, for example when raising or lowering sails). Keep your head below the level of the boom.

e) While on the water, it is the responsibility of all crew to maintain a lookout for traffic or other potentially dangerous situations. Such situations include weather formations that may include thunderstorms. If you see such a situation, alert the Skipper.


Before sailing, help to rig the boat. After sailing, help derig the boat, fold or roll the sails, remove all garbage and wash the boat down with fresh water.

During the sail

Some skippers will assign roles and rotate the crew through them, including periods at the helm. You are not expected to be experienced in every role. If you are uncomfortable with a role, for example sitting on the deck and rolling across during tacks, let the Skipper know. The Skipper will either teach you the role or reassign you.


As a good crew member, you should know the parts of the boat and other sailing terminology. If you are new to sailing, endeavor to study and learn. The ‘Using Club Boats’ section of the website may be helpful.


The Fleet Captain Program is also a social program. Endeavor to participate in the social aspects and whenever possible, remain at dock after sailing in order to mix with your Skipper, fellow crew members and other club members. [Crew are encouraged to buy their skipper a drink at the bar after sailing.]

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