Coaching Program for Shorthanded Sailing

While many racing events last month were abandoned due to no wind or too much wind, Chesapeake Shorthanded Sailing Society (CHESSS) instituted a new coaching program to help member skippers improve their boat handling skills and build more confidence to sail solo. The program is targeted toward helping people have fun taking their boats out more alone or when short on crew. 

Old Blue, a Pearson 30, broaching, skippered by John Zseleczky. Photo by James Little

This new program is called “Solo+One” and headed by Jeff Halpern. His program focuses on improving systems on sailboats and improving boat handling techniques to enable skippers to go solo safely, more easily, and with greater confidence. The checklist optimizes: dockline arrangements and deck layout; finding ways to improve the boat layout and rig to make it easier to get the boat in and out of the dock alone; and performing various boat handling skills, solo. 

The program also includes a sail on the member’s own boat to share techniques learned from years of having fun sailing their boats solo. This is not a sail training program for beginners. It is simply a small group of more experienced skippers sharing their solo sailing knowledge with other members. Jeff has had some success already with members and has posted more info on the CHESSS website.

The next CHESSS Challenge is scheduled for Sept 23. This is a cruise planned to improve shorthanded sailing confidence and just enjoy our boats. It starts at West River and finishes at Solomons Island with a raftup there to tour boats, discuss shorthanded techniques, things that worked, things that went wrong, and lessons learned. John Zseleczky may describe how he singlehandedly recovered from a broach during the last challenge. Detailed sailing instructions and a link to register can be found on the CHESSS website.

by Chuck Scheaffer