Fleet 329 SpinSheet Crew Party Participation
Each spring SpinSheet, the Cheasapeake Bay sailing magazine, hosts a series of crew parties at Yacht Clubs up and down the bay. The Annapolis party was sponsored by Eastport Yacht Club on April 28, 2019, a chain link fence away from the Severn Sailing Association Lightning Fleet 329 calls home. This proximity made participation in the party a natural for the fleet.
Eastport YC and SpinSheet were wonderful hosts for this event, setting up a gracious space on their lawn with a hosted bar and a live band. The day was a mild one, with moderate breezes (including a slight but noticeable lift in the direction of the bar!) and partly cloudy skies, near perfect for an outdoor event like this.
SpinSheet has hosted these parties each spring for several years and advertises the parties for months leading up to the events. They also maintain a database of both boats looking for crew and sailors looking for a ride. A large bulletin board of the boats that were present at the party was posted. At sign-in, each registered person was given a name tag that identified them as a boat looking for crew, a sailor looking for a boat, and so on.
Joan & Gary Hurban set up a table for Fleet 329 with a sign, an iPad loaded with Lightning videos, a signup sheet, and copies of the most recent ILCA yearbook (see right photo above of Joan). Bill Cabrall cleaned up his boat and was able to position it just over the waist high chain link fence between the 2 clubs, less than 5 feet from the party, and Raeyane Farrell helped staff the table for the 2 hours the event lasted.
Throughout the afternoon Joan, Gary, Raeyane, and Bill spoke with dozens of interested sailors, from talented juniors in the SSA and high school sailing programs, their parents, ex-college sailors, and adults with a wide range of skills. It was a simple matter to show them the boat, and point out the many features that make sailing a Lighting such a great thing to do. By the end of the day the Fleet 329 sign up sheet had grown to some 20 names with contact information. This information has been sent to all the fleet boats.
Searching for crew is a continual challenge for skippers of a 3-person boat like a Lightning. Parties like this one are a good way of building a list of interested people for the entire fleet, and for fleet building activities. Fleet 329 has an advantage given the party comes to within 10 feet of where our boats are parked, but is would be a simple matter for a YC or fleet to host similar events at their own facilities.
When coupled with a ‘Demo Day’ with boats in the water ready for a short sail and marketed to the ever-growing lists of families participating in High school and junior sailing programs, this is a good way to build fleets and strengthen clubs for a reasonable amount of effort.
Fleet 329 intends to make participation in this event a regular part of their annual activities.