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Wednesday Twilight Races: 10 Tips to Becoming Crew

Each Wednesday night from March through October, the Lake Pontchartrain Women’s Sailing Association helps match crew to boats racing in the Twilight series as well as other regattas. Below are some tips to getting on a boat.

1. Become a LPWSA member. Members get first preference when boats are in need of crew. Consider joining the LPWSA to go to the top of the list and get on a boat.

2. Bring your own life jacket. We suggest everyone we send out wear a life jacket. We are not responsible for providing your safety gear (or ensuring your safety for that matter). And a skipper may appreciate not having to dig around the bilge for a life jacket that is just your size. Non-marking, non-skid shoes, clothes appropriate to the weather and the activity of sailing (no evening gowns -- really), sailing gloves and dry bags are useful too.

3. Be ready to go. Most of the boats take some effort to get ready. Crew should be willing to help get the boat set up and out of the slip. When we match you with a boat, go to the boat right away.

4. If you come in a group, split up. Two is considered a crowd on a boat looking for one. Three is a mob on almost any boat. There are a few big boat that may occasionally take more than three. In other words, if you want to sail with all your friends, you may have better luck going in together to buy your own boat. Split up then enjoy comparing your experiences post-race over a burger and beverage. You are much more likely to get a spot without an entourage.

5. Check the weather. Light wind means less need for crew. Most skippers will be looking for crew when the wind is honking. If the wind is light there may not be a need for the extra weight. The committee boat is a fine place to get a taste of what you will experience if you don't get on a boat. They often need a hand.

6. Be a bragger. If you have experience, let us know, especially if the wind is light. Some skippers will only take experienced crew.

7. Agree to the LPWSA terms and provide your contact info. Although sailing is a relatively safe activity, racing adds a substantial level of risk. You will be asked to sign a waiver and provide up-to-date contact information. The information you provide, however, will only be used for LPWSA sailing related events or opportunities for crewing.

8. Ask how you can contribute. Ask the skipper if there is anything you can bring to make the evening more enjoyable. Many boats carry a cooler for drinks and would appreciate a bag of ice or extra beverages to share.

9. Stay a little later. After the race join your crew and fellow sailors for a recap of the evening. Sailing is a team sport and it’s important to get to know your crew both on and off the water. Wednesday Twilight Races are often followed by live music, burgers on the grill, and cold drinks. Join in the post race celebration!

10. Have fun. Even though it’s a race, we are still here to have fun first and foremost. Enjoy the competition, learn from your skipper and fellow crew, and don’t forget to become a LPWSA member!