To win consistently in the sport of yacht racing, there need to be certain elements in place.
First, the boat needs to be in shape and equipped for speed.
Like a thoroughbred, it should be well prepared for whatever it may face.
Second, a skillful skipper who can make the proper decision at the right time and foresee problems before they arise and/or manage them with a cool head when they unfold is also essential.
The third element and arguably the most difficult to manage is the recruiting of reliable and talented crew.
This aspect has been the Achilles heel of many a team’s ability to reach the next level.
The boat is fast, the skipper is experienced and smart, but the crew is always a mishmash of available warm bodies with varying skill sets.
Since most skippers are busy working people, they often neglect taking the necessary time and energy to form a solid team and invariably settle for whatever they end up with.
Local racer Mike Georgia saw this glaring void and became dedicated to the business of solving the problem.
“The lack of crew seems to be one of the biggest problems facing [local] racing today,” said Georgia. “And it’s stopping a good number of people from getting out to race.”
Georgia created a site called www.steadycrew.com, which connects skippers to qualified crew and visa versa.
Through the medium, both parties can seek out the proper skill levels and scheduling information that suits their own particular needs.
The site asks questions of the participants that reduce the need for lengthy culling processes and increase the prospect of finding fellow sailors that will be suitably matched.
“There’s no site like this one,” Georgia says. “I’ve been working in the computer industry for the past 15 years and I know that giving people the whole data base isn’t as important as giving them the usable information that’s in the data base.”
In other words, steady crew.com does most of the work for the searching racers.
After the pertinent questions regarding geographical area, skill level and availability are answered, results are revealed and both parties can then make contact and the likelihood of a successful match is much more probable.
Steadycrew.com has clearly filled a need in the racing community.
Presently the Web site services the area spanning from Santa Barbara to San Diego and Georgia reported receiving over 100,000 hits this past month.
Georgia endures the painful task of entering in all the data that’s needed for the site to operate proficiently with no real reward except for making an improvement to the sport he loves.
He has recently started getting some paid advertisement to supplement all the effort and money he has committed to the project.
“My goal is not to make money, but I would like to see it pay for itself, because it has been six months of my life that I’ve dumped into it,” he says. “More importantly though, I want to unify the sport.
“We’re not unified right now — we’re very segmented, but we all want the same things.”
Georgia is excited and optimistic about the potential of his creation.
“I will not be happy until I have every race event in every geographic area in the United States including Hawaii and Alaska,” he said. “I may even add Canada to the site as well. Imagine the numbers of hits the site will have then.
“Let’s say, for instance, you were going out of town on business and had a weekend to spend in Chicago.
“You could potentially go to my site and sign up as being available to crew on that geographic area’s calendar and get on a list of three, four, or five boats that need your skills on that weekend.”
Exhausted, but happy with how well the idea has been received, Georgia said smiling, “I think I fell into a vacuum here.
“There was really a need and desire for this, otherwise I can’t see how everyone would have adopted to it so quickly.”