Volunteers Make it Happen!

Volunteers Rock!2015 Pit Crew with the Baldwin Cup

Hello Baldwin Cup followers! With just over a month to go before the big Team Race, we’re kicking off our weekly post to get everyone geared up for race day. On the coming Wednesdays, we’ll share info on how team racing works, the racers, and more. But to kick coverage off, we’re going to begin with the backbone of The Baldwin Cup Team Race at NHYC: our VOLUNTEERS.

Even with the generous support of our presenting sponsor JPMorgan Chase to help make the magic happen, without the months of unpaid hard work on the part of our dedicated volunteers, the Baldwin Cup, quite simply, would not be possible. With over 100 core team members, and many more lending a hand throughout the regatta preparation, the racing days, and the breakdown afterwards, the committed NHYC members who give up their time for Baldwin Cup make up quite the volunteer army.

To give you better insight on what kind of work goes into their efforts, we interviewed three veteran volunteers about their Baldwin Cup service.

Warren Duncan and Shana Conzelman

What are your job titles?
Warren: The Pit Boss
Shana: Damage Control or as I like to sign off BC/DC

And what does that mean?
Warren: The Pit Boss pulls together a group of 26 Harbor 20 enthusiasts that prepare the boats prior to the event, this is key.

The replacement value of the fleet of 24 boats plus 2 spares, is one million dollars. Borrowing this amount for two weeks requires that the boats are “Buffed and Tickled” from stem to stern and despite the best effort of the racers, the boats have to be returned better than when they were borrowed.

The group of 26 enthusiasts is who gets this done, and without them the boats would never go back to the owners in A1 condition. And that would be the last time the one million dollars worth of boats are available to the club.

Next priority is servicing them during the event. On average these volunteers commit over 40 hours prior to the event and 30 hours during the event. Many take a week off from their day jobs.

The preparation before and maintenance during racing requires a group of experts that are intimately familiar with these boats down to the last screw. We are lucky to have a team that can repair any part of the boat and have done so over the years including masts, rigging, and rudder. No boat has even sunk over the years—thanks primarily to the bumper the Pit Crew designed after the carnage during a race at the first Cup, but we have certainly changed, fixed, or rebuilt everything else

And that’s where your job is key Shana, helping bring all that work together during the regatta?
Yes it is. Damage Control consists of four seasoned BC Pit Crew members: myself, Debra Haynes, Ellen Volk, and our honorary support Trish Ramser. We are in charge of documenting any and all incidents where there is contact or damage to our racing boats. This is determined through communication with the umpires and race committee during the races. We record the incident and notify the Pit Crew Team Color Captains. As soon as the subject boat returns to the dock and is inspected it is determined if there is actually recordable damage and evaluated for cost. We file this in the appropriate notebook so the Pit Crew can assure each boat is returned to the owner in better condition than it was received.

We take our commitment to each boat owner very seriously.

What do you do to prepare for Baldwin Cup? How far in advance of April do you begin?
Shana: [Starts chanting] Recruit, recruit, recruit…..

My team is pristine, experienced and ready! Personally, I do everything possible to support the hard working Pit Crew. That starts in January lining up 26 boats and doing whatever it takes to get them race ready! This year we threw a Pit Crew BBQ in February so we could receive our marching orders from our fearless leader Warren here. The camaraderie of the Pit Crew is what makes it successful. This year while attending the Rolex Invitational in Newport Rhode Island, the internationally acclaimed teams talked about our impressive Pit Crew; makes me proud!

Warren: We begin preparing immediately after the race with a debrief. Then key peopled discuss how to recruit volunteers before the Regatta Chairman is even appointed. The real work starts early in the new year and work parties are planned two months in advance of the event!

Sounds like recruitment and teamwork are the name of the game!

Turning to OCS let’s bring in

Scott Mason our PRO

For the uninitiated, what does your job title mean?
As the PRO, or Principal Race Officer, I am responsible for race management on the water, leading a team that includes the signal boat, mark-set boats and finish boat.

How far in advance of April do you begin?
I was asked to serve as PRO again last November, and lined up my key race management personnel immediately.

What is your favorite part of volunteering for Baldwin Cup?
Interacting with the competitors and making sure they are satisfied with the race management.  We have been fortunate to complete the full regatta schedule every year, which competitors appreciate, and the club does a fantastic job of delivering a fulfilling on and off water experience.

What’s the hardest part about preparing for or working the Baldwin Cup?
No wind!

We have an aggressive race schedule and I am a stickler for keeping racing moving. Thankfully NHYC has the best Pit Crew in the business, which keeps the equipment operable and allows race managers to churn out rotations.

What about the Pit Crew, what’s the hardest part of volunteering for the Baldwin Cup?
Warren: With the volunteers we have and the cooperation we get from the competitors nothing is impossible. Cooperation from the weather Gods is helpful and a few more hours in the day would not hurt.

Shana: The constant Pit Crew partying. The Pit Crew parties even harder than they work, I’m exhausted!

Sounds like Shana’s got this volunteering thing down!

What about your favorite part?
Shana: I love the fact that everyone on Pit Crew works and supports each other until we are ready for the sprint—we strive for perfection while enjoying every minute of it!

Warren: This is easy. The appreciation and joy that not only the competitors have during the event but the comments and congratulations from umpires and spectators alike.  When everyone is having fun, we are having fun.

So there you have it lots of hard work both on and off the water seems to drive our volunteers. Make sure you check out the Volunteers Page to see all of those who help make the Baldwin Cup Team Race happen. Our hats off to them!

Til next week, BCTR out.


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