THE DEFINITION OF TEAMWORK
Robin Team’s Teamwork Has it All Figured Out
📸 Stephen R Cloutier
Robin Team, skipper of J/122 Teamwork
, finished second in the ORC D Division at Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week. Robin says they focused each day on sail selection that would match the day’s forecast and expected courses, but they also tried to stay flexible and remain positive when things didn’t go exactly to plan. “Everyone is always complimenting the others,” he explains.
After racing, Robin says they discuss the day’s racing and what they could’ve done better. Though it’s not a formal debrief, they always keep things positive. “We focused on improvement, even though our crew has sailed together for a very long time.”
As for the crew work, he says "It’s spectacular. We consistently have the first kite set and drawing, and always carry it further into the downwind gates than almost anyone else. We have confidence in each other that allows us to be aggressive in the corners. Our upwind speed always seems to be very good, especially when the wind is above 15kts. He calls 12kts their 'break point'; below that we have a harder time keeping pace with lighter boats. Above 12, we are in a groove all our own."
What did you focus on going into each day at BIRW?
"We prep the boat and sail selection based on the SI’s and courses expected. We take wind pressure into consideration on sail selection of course, but also plan sails for the unexpected. We brief the crew on what we expect, and talk about any unusual goals for the day."
How did you and the team overcome obstacles (bad results, missed a shift, bad starts?)
"We try to remain positive throughout a race and regatta. It comes from different individuals on the boat, from the bow, all the way back to the “brain trust”. Everyone is always complimenting the others. Also our North Sails expert and tactician, Jonathan Bartlett, is a master at keeping our head in the game and focused on recovery and maximizing our potential for each circumstance."
Each day after racing, do you debrief together on the way in? What are some things you talk about?
"We don’t have a formal debrief as such, but our chatter usually covers the days racing, and what we could do better, and where we may have made mistakes. It is usually very positive, and focused on improvement even though our crew has sailed together for a very long time."
What are some things your team is especially good at? (Whether it be technique, conditions, starting in big fleets)
"Our crew work is spectacular. We consistently have the first kite set and drawing, and always carry it further into the downwind gates than almost anyone else. Again, sailing together for a long time, we have confidence in each other that allows us to be aggressive in the corners. Our upwind speed always seems to be very good, especially when the wind is above 15kts. 12kts is our break point, where below that pressure we have a harder time keeping pace with lighter. Boats, and above 12, we are in a groove all our own."
What sails do you have in your North inventory and can you share a few thoughts on how you work with North Sails?
"Jonathan Bartlett is our North guy, our tactician, and our coach. He is what really makes Teamwork
go, and has always helped us reach our potential as Cat 1 sailors. We carry a full North inventory, mainsail, two different # 1’s, #2, #3, staysail, Code Zero
and a full quiver of downwind kites, A1,2,3,4 and my favorite, our A6
. We also have North Spectra cruising canvas, although we now typically just use this on deliveries. We started with our J/122 14 years ago with 3DL sails, then 3Di ENDURANCE,
and now a full 3Di RAW 780
package. We love our North Sails and our Jonathan. Nuff said!!"
📸 Stephen R Cloutier