April 8, 2018
HAPPY SPRING SAILORS
It will not be long before we are again out on the water. This prompted a few thoughts about captain and crew responsibilities on the water. I was specifically thinking about the captain’s responsibilities on pleasure craft as distinguished from commercial or military vessels.
The first responsibility of the captain is the safety of the crew/passengers. This is followed by the safety of the vessel. The third priority is the mission of the sail. The mission might be the simple enjoyment of a day sail or the need to get to a certain destination by a certain date or time.
Sometimes the desire to have an enjoyable time might conflict with the safety requirements of the first two priorities. This can put pressure on the captain. Yet, the safety of the crew and the ship must be above other considerations. Passengers might even express their willingness to take risk greater than the captain thinks prudent. In these situations the captain might feel it is acceptable to take risk he/she might otherwise not be inclined to take. The responsibility, nonetheless, is to put the safety of crew and vessel above all else.
Captains vary in their risk assessment values. Some captains are comfortable taking greater risk than other captains. This may be due to their view of their skills and experience or just the nature of their personalities. It is, of course, the captain’s responsibility to make the decisions.
It is unseemly to challenge the judgment of the captain when under sail. It then, makes sense not sail with captains in whose judgments you do not have confidence. As captains we are responsible for earning the respect of our crew and passengers by always putting their best interest first.
As crew it is important to remember that we are guests on the boat. We should not be overly aggressive in giving command to others even when we are more experienced. That is the responsibility of the captain. This is especially important when a newer sailor is at the helm. It is the captain who is responsible for guiding that person unless the captain asks someone else to aid the person. Unwarranted and unsolicited advice can be confusing and discouraging.
Above all, I am reminded of the importance of civility in our relationships on the water. Pleasure sailing should be enjoyable. I remember our motto “Chicago’s friendliest sailing club.” from the Communiqué. We want to have a friendly and positive attitude and demeanor while sailing.
Spring has arrived and we can rejoice in the thoughts of wonderful days on the water together with our sailing friends from NWSA!
Fair Winds & Trailing Seas!
2017 Photo Contest Winners
Best Scenic | Best Boat Name | Best Under Sail | Best Group Shot | Best Old Salt | Best Sunset
Read a note written 1976 Commodore Pat Kellogg about the beginnings of NWSA.
Special thanks to Elmer and Joyce Hook for providing this wonderful look at the early days of the NWSA.
Read the accompanying letter.
The NorthWest Sailing Association is an enthusiastic group of sailors living in and about Chicago's Northwest suburbs. The members share a quest for increased knowledge and improved seamanship in a spirit of camaraderie and fun.
Founded in 1974 by a small group of 25 sailors seeking others of similar interests, the Club's initial purpose was to exchange knowledge and experiences. In the course of the years hence, and continuing today, club members regularly sail together out of all major Chicago area harbors, on inland lakes surrounding Chicago, Wisconsin, and occasionally across Lake Michigan and back!
The high point of the summer sailing season, is our Door County / Wisconsin Sailing Weekend. Club members have organized charters in the Bahamas, Florida and other exotic locations, and will plan future charters to various prime sailing areas as the members interest dictates.
Who Belongs to NWSA?
Members include families, couples, singles - anyone interested in sailing; including skippers with large cruising boats or medium or small sailboats; even sailors with no boats. Members who don't know how to sail, but are interested in learning, may wish to crew with our experienced sailboat owners and gain valuable experience and knowledge of boat handling.
Ample opportunity to crew is available at each sailing event, and during the days between events with available skippers.
We Meet. . .
During the boating season, the NWSA sponsors sailing events in many of the major Chicago land lake, and Michigan harbors, as well as inland lakes. We have sponsored cruises in Wisconsin, - Door County, Racine and Lake Geneva; Indiana; Michigan and a Lake Michigan Crossing. Illinois: Waukegan, Monroe, Montrose, Winthrop, Pistakee Lake, Fox Lake; Blackwell Forest Preserve, Warrenville, Busse Woods, Elk Grove Village. Groups have chartered excursions in the Bahamas, Florida, and various prime sailing destinations.